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What to know about filing a 2016 tax return

Georgia residents who have taken the earned income tax credit on their federal tax returns will have their refunds held until Feb. 15. The same is true of those who claim the additional child tax credit. According to the IRS, it is taking this step to provide more time to spot fraudulent returns. Refunds aren't expected to be available to taxpayers claiming these credits until Feb. 27.

Those who are claiming the credits are encouraged to file as they normally would, and the IRS will begin to accept 2016 returns on Jan. 23. While taxpayers filing electronically can submit their returns early, electronic returns won't be sent to the IRS until that date. Overall, 153 million returns are expected to be filed this year, and it is believed that 80 percent of them will be filed electronically.

Roughly 70 percent of those who file a return in 2017 are expected to get a refund, and most filers will see their refunds within 21 days of submitting their returns. The average refund in 2016 was $2,857, and the IRS thinks that the average refund in 2017 will be roughly the same. Americans have until April 18 to file their taxes as April 15 falls on a Saturday and the following Monday is Emancipation Day in Washington, D.C.

Anyone who owes taxes to the IRS or has received an audit may want to talk with an attorney. Legal counsel may be able to review any correspondence from the government and take steps in an effort to resolve the matter. This may put a stop to an IRS levy or prevent an individual's wages from being garnished to pay back taxes owed. In some cases, an audit may be resolved with nothing further owed to the government.

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