TaxWise® and ATX™: IRS instructions for Name Control

Individuals

A name control for an individual is generally the first four characters of the last name on the information return. For example: Ralph Teak- Dorothy Willow -Joe McCedar

  • The name control consists of four alpha and/or numeric characters.
  • The hyphen (-) or a blank space are the only special characters allowed in the name control. These characters cannot be in the first position of the name control.
  • The name control can have less, but no more than four characters. Blanks may be present only as the last three positions of the name control.
If an individual has a hyphenated last name, the name control is the first four characters from the first of the two last names. Examples are Brandy Cedar-Hawthorn- Victoria Windsor-Maple.
For joint returns, regardless of whether the payees use the same or different last names, the name control is the first four characters of the primary payee's last name. Examples are Joseph Ash & Linda Birch- Edward & Joan Maple
 
Reminder: If a payee's last name has been changed, for instance, due to marriage, please tell the payee to contact SSA. SSA will issue a new social security card reflecting the payee's new name and will automatically send IRS the new name. To change the name shown on a social security card, the payee should complete SSA Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Number Card. Form SS-5 is available at www.socialsecurity.gov (or ssa.gov) or by calling SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1 -800-325-0778) or by visiting a local SSA office.
 

Sole Proprietor

A sole proprietor must always use his/her individual name as the legal name of the business for IRS purposes. For example, Mark Hemlock is a sole proprietor who owns a business called The Sunshine Café. Because this is a sole proprietorship, the name control is the first four characters of the individual's last name - HEML.
  • The name control consists of four alpha and/or numeric characters.
  • The hyphen (-) or a blank space are the only special characters allowed in the name control. These characters cannot be in the first position of the name control.
  • The name control can have less, but no more than four characters. Blanks may be present only as the last three positions of the name control.
  • The name control for a sole proprietor's name is the first four significant characters of the last name.
  • When the taxpayer has a true name and a trade name, the name control is the first four characters of the individual's last name.
    • True Name: Arthur P. Aspen
    • Trade Name: Sunshine Restaurant
    • Name
 

Business

Generally, the Name Control is derived from the first four characters of the corporation. The ampersand (&) and hyphen (-) are the only special characters allowed in the Name Control. The Name Control can have less, but no more than four characters. Blanks may be present only at the end of the Name Control.
Note: Do not include ''dba'' as part of the Name Control. The initials stand for ''doing business as.”
 

Business Name Control Valid Characters:

  • Numeric (0- 9)
  • Alpha (A-Z)
  • Hyphen (-),
  • Ampersand (&)
 

Special Business Name Control Rule

If an invalid character is used in the name line, drop the special character from the taxpayer's name. Example: Jon.com should be considered as “Joncom” so the Name Control should be “Jonc.”
  

Business Name Control - Examples

 
Name Control
Underlined
Name Control RuleRule
Sumac Field Plow Partnership
11th Street LLC
P & P Consulting
Y-Z Drive LLP
ZZZ Club
John Hackberry LLP
ELM
OAK! Tree
SUMA
11TH
P&PC
Y-ZD
ZZZC
JOHN
ELM
OAKT
Derive the name control from the first four significant characters of the partnership name. 

Blanks may be present only at the end of the name control.
The Willow LLC
The Hawthorn
WILL
THEH
When determining a partnership's name control, include the word “The” when it is followed by only one word.
John What & Mary Who

Hawthorn, Willow & Hackberry
WHAT

HAWT
Determine the name control from the first four letters of the first partner’s last name.
 
Michael Woods & Joseph Light, Ptrs
dba M&J Furniture
M&JF
 
If the business or a trade name is present and it can be determined that the trade name is for a partnership, follow the Name Control procedures for partnerships.
Derive the name control from the first four significant characters of the partnership name.

Blanks may be present only at the end of the name control.

Estate and Trust Name Control - Examples

Estate Organization Name Control (Underlined)Name ControlRule
Frank Walnut, Estate, Allan Beech, ExecWALNThe Name Control is the first four characters of the deceased individual's last name.
  Note: The decedent's name may be followed by or preceded by “Estate” on the name line.
Jan Fir Trust FBO Patrick Redwood Chestnut Bank TTEEFIRIf the organization name control contains the name of an individual and the words “Trust” and “Fund” are both present, use the first four characters of the trust’s name or individual’s last name.
Jan R. Fir Children’s TrustFIRC
JRF Children’s TrustJRFC
ABCD Trust No. 001036ABCD
Donald C Beech Trust FBO Mary, Karen, & Mike BeechBEEC
Testamentary Trust U/W Margaret Balsam, Cynthia FigBALSNote: Never include any part of the word “trust” in the Name Control
Michael Teak Clifford TrustTEAK
Cedar Corp Employee Benefit TrustCEDAWhen the organization name contains the name of a corporation and the words “Trust” and “Fund” are both present; apply the corporate name control rules below.
Magnolia Association Charitable Lead TrustMAGN
Maple-Birch Endowment Trust, John J. Willow TrusteeMAPLWhen a corporation, association or endowment is part of the Trust name, use the first four characters of the name of the corporation, association, etc.
Trust No. 0129C FBO Margaret Laurel129For numbered trusts, use the first four digits of the trust number, disregarding any leading zeros and trailing alphas.
Trust No. 12100 FBO Margaret Laurel1210
0020 GNMA Pool20GNGNMA pool, use the first four digits of the pool number, but do not include any leading zeros or trailing alphas. If there are fewer than four numbers, use the letters “GNMA” to complete the Name Control.
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