JMU News

Professor discusses most common mistakes made when filing income taxes

by Mary-Hope Vass


James Madison University’s director of the Master of Science in Accounting program and accounting professor Dr. Nancy Nichols says some simple mistakes when filing taxes could lead to major headaches with the Internal Revenue Service.

Most common mistakes

  • Entering the wrong social security number on the return.
  • Math errors. There are still many individuals who prepare their returns with pencil and paper, so it is important to always double check your math.
  • Choosing the wrong filing status could throw off all of your tax numbers.
  • Claiming or not claiming eligible credits and deductions. Each year many taxpayers claim credits and deductions they are not eligible to take, while others don’t claim credits and deductions they should take. Both errors result in taxpayers paying the wrong amount of tax.
  • Not filing taxes at all. Every year, millions of taxpayers do not file their taxes on time, which results in penalties and interest.

The IRS started accepting 2019 tax returns on Jan. 27 and JMU is working with the local community to provide assistance with this process.

For the fourth year, JMU College of Business students and faculty members offer the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. This program offers free tax return preparation services to members of the community with an annual income of $65,000 or less.

“For some, filing taxes can seem intimidating and overwhelming,” said Nichols. “We understand this process and can ask the right questions to ensure everything is accurate.”

Last year, VITA assisted 450 taxpayers and generated more than $629,000 in federal refunds.

VITA runs Friday in Memorial Hall, Room 7320 from 4 to 7:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. until Saturday, April 11. More information about this program is available at:

Media contact: Mary-Hope Vass, or 540-568-7487


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Published: Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 4, 2020

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