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If the atom in question is not in the third row or lower and cannot access the d orbitals then it must follow the octet rule with the exception of hydrogen in H2 but formal charge should not be ignored since it can be used to find resonance structures and to make sure that the electrons are in the most stable configuration. This means that formal charges should be close to zero and if the compound is an ion, that the net formal charge matches the charge of the ion. It also is stable for more electronegative elements to have a more negative formal charge. For example, if there is a compound where you can leave a positive charge on nitrogen or on oxygen it will be more stable for nitrogen to have a positive formal charge since it is less electronegative than oxygen.
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