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First day for tax filing

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GREENSBORO, N.C. --- Tax filing season has officially started, and experts have some advice as you start to file your tax returns.

Mark Hanson with the IRS Greensboro office explained, "For most taxpayers, filing season begins today. It's starting a little later this year because of some of the late legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President last year. So, the IRS had to update computer systems."

He reminds tax filers that these computer updates are delaying education credits this year as well, but most other returns should be on time.

"People filing electronically and with direct deposit can expect a return to take ten to twenty-one days. Paper filings will take four to six weeks," Hanson said.

Greensboro Liberty Tax Stores Manager Niki Robison said they've been preparing for this busy stretch since Thanksgiving.

"We are non stop! 81 returns in three hours. That's a lot of people coming through our doors here," Robison added.

Her advice is to not overlook tax credits that many people forget about.

"Medical bills, even eyewear like glasses and contacts. Job hunting! Student loan interest," Robison said. "All of these may help you qualify for extra deductions."

Zaida Vera was visiting Liberty Tax on South Holden Road to file her taxes this year.

"We just want more money!" she joked.

Vera was glad to hear that she will receive tax credits for her daughter, who just started college last fall.

"I didn't know I can get credit for her now. Even though she has a scholarship, this is a great benefit for her."

Hanson said another credit many people neglect to collect, is the Earned Income Tax Credit.

If you are at least 25 years old and made $50,000 or less last year, you may qualify for up to $5,000 back.

In North Carolina, the average EITC is $2,200.

"One out of five eligible taxpayers do not claim the credit, meaning they're leaving thousands of dollars on the table," Hanson added.

Hanson says whether it's one dollar or two thousand, every buck counts.