IRS Name Matching When Opening New Account Myths Answered

There are several myths surrounding IRS name/TIN matching requirements. The most common is that the name on an account must appear exactly as it does on the customer’s Social Security card in order to achieve a match on the IRS system. Not true. The IRS does have very specific guidelines for matching a name to a Taxpayer Identification number, but they focus on a few letters, not the complete name of the customer.

The name control consists of four characters. The IRS’s name control system recognizes all alphabetic and numeric characters. The dash (-) and the ampersand (&) are the only acceptable special characters.

When a deposit account subject to information reporting; i.e. an
interest bearing account, is opened, a TIN compliance program has
three objectives:

  • establish “reasonable cause” regarding the TIN,
  • determine whether backup withholding is required and
  • impose backup withholding if necessary.

This myth, many others and everything you need to know about opening new accounts, will be addressed at IBA’s evening seminar series, 2012 Opening New Accounts in Iowa. There are 4 seminars left in the series – May 14 in Moravia; May 15 in Cedar Rapids; May 16 in Waterloo; and May 17 in Mason City.


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