Changes you need to know as tax season gets underway

The change is created to give the IRS more time to detect and prevent tax fraud. The average penalty was about $470. However, with additional levels of review aimed at reducing tax-related identity theft and refund fraud, there could be individual delays.

You don't have to wait until then to meet with a tax professional or start the process though.

Taxpayers who file their returns electronically and request their refunds by direct deposit typically receive their refunds sooner, the agency said.

Last year, the non-profit organization helped file 20,000 tax returns.

After Feb. 1, limited quantities of printed tax forms will be available at public libraries, U.S. Post Offices in northern Michigan, Department of Health and Human Services county offices and Treasury Field Offices.

The delay is created to give the agency more time to screen the returns for fraud.

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The IRS says that working with states and the tax industry, ID thefts were cut in half past year. AARP participates in the TCE program and helps taxpayers with low to moderate incomes.

As such, eligibility is based on marital status, income and the number of qualifying children in the household. The IRS Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers with Credentials and Select Qualifications can help identify many preparers in your locality by type of credential or qualification.

Koskinen said the agency is making progress.

The IRS estimates that as many as 26 percent of EITC claims may be paid erroneously.

Or as Duval put it, "Any time you have refundable money, it brings out the creeps, the criminals, the bad folks". A 2016 law requires the IRS to hold refunds claiming the EITC and the ACTC until February 15 to safeguard against identity theft.

H&R Block's website also offers free access to tools like tax and W-4 calculators to compute your refund, and explanatory articles and FAQ pages on subjects such as tax credits and audits. "It is a credit in addition to the regular Child Tax Credit", the IRS says. However, this program has been plagued by billions in losses due to improper payments each year, including overpayments, underpayments and payments that outright defrauded the government.

  • Toni Ryan