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Some IRS refunds delayed to combat fraud

Georgia residents who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit will not be able to receive their refund until at least Feb. 15. This change was made in an effort to combat tax refund fraud as well as identity theft. Through June 2016, 26 million tax filers had claimed the EITC while there were 20 million tax returns claiming the ACTC in 2014.

The delay provides the IRS with more time to check returns for fraud before any payments are made. In 2013, an estimated 24 percent of EIC payments were made in error. While some errors were honest mistakes, there were some that were made with complete disregard for the criteria needed to claim it. The improper payment rate for the ACTC in the same year was 30.5 percent, which cost the government $7.1 billion.

Starting in 2017, tax preparation services will send the IRS 37 data points for personal returns and 32 data points for business tax returns. Those who are not claiming either the EITC or the ACTC will get their refunds within 21 days of submitting their returns.

Those who have questions about current or past tax returns may wish to talk with an attorney. A tax attorney may be able to represent an individual during interviews or during negotiation sessions with the IRS. Paying taxes owed when they come due may allow an individual to avoid penalties, interest charges or having assets frozen. If an individual has gotten a notice from the IRS, it may be prudent to respond as soon as possible either directly or through legal counsel to resolve the matter.

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