The best tax software can make tax prep simpler. But with so many choices of tax filing programs out there, deciding which option is right for you can be one of the more complicated parts of figuring out how to manage money effectively.
Jackson Hewitt is one tax filing option, and it's a good one regardless of whether you want to file your taxes online or you need in-person help. This Jackson Hewitt review can help you decide whether its services are right for you.
Jackson Hewitt: The basics
Jackson Hewitt has been providing tax services for more than 35 years. Millions of people use the firm's online filing service or get help in person at one of close to 6,000 Jackson Hewitt locations.
Using the company's services is convenient even if you need in-person help from a tax preparer, as around half of its total branches are in Walmart stores around the country. Tax services at these locations are typically available during evening and weekend hours too, for filers who have a busy schedule and can't visit a tax pro during business hours.
Unlike some other tax filing services, Jackson Hewitt is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and it has received an A+ rating. The company also gives you a choice of multiple online filing programs, including a free version of its tax software for those with simple returns. Also unlike some competitors, its free version even allows you to file multiple state returns at no cost rather than limiting you to just one.
How much does Jackson Hewitt cost: Products and pricing
Jackson Hewitt offers three different online filing options, including a free version for taxpayers. Here's what you need to know about the company's software solutions.
|Free||$0 for federal and state returns||Single or married joint filers with less than $100,000 in W-2 income who claim the standard deduction|
|Deluxe||$29.99 for federal returns
$36.99 per state return
|Tax filers with children or other dependents, as well as individuals with retirement income or who deduct student loan interest|
|Premier||$49.99 for federal returns
$36.99 per state return
|Self-employed individuals, those with rental income, people itemizing deductions, or tax filers with more than $100,000 in income|
Jackson Hewitt Free
If you make less than $100,000 and have a simple tax return to file, Jackson Hewitt's free version could be ideal for you. You won't pay anything to file either your federal or state tax return with this program, but you must meet certain requirements and you're limited in the deductions and credits you can claim.
Both single filers and married joint filers can use the free version, but only if their taxable income is less than $100,000 and if their funds come solely from W-2 wages or unemployment benefits. Itemizers can't use the free version, as it's exclusively for filers claiming the standard deduction. And although you can claim the earned income tax credit using the free program, you can only do so if you don't have children.
Jackson Hewitt Deluxe
Jackson Hewitt's Deluxe version may be the right choice if your situation is a little more complicated, but you still don't have atypical sources of income.
If you have dependents, this program is a good option for you because it enables you to claim the child tax credit as well as a deduction for dependent expenses. Student loan borrowers will benefit from the ability to claim a deduction for their interest costs with this program (if they're eligible), and teachers can also use it when deducting educator expenses.
Individuals with retirement income can use Jackson Hewitt Deluxe as well, though if you have self-employment income or income from rental properties, you'll likely need to upgrade to the Premier edition.
Jackson Hewitt Premier
Jackson Hewitt Premier is designed for people with more than $100,000 in income, or who have unusual income sources such as money from self-employment or rental properties. If you want to claim more credits or deductions than those for student loans and educational expenses, this is the software you may want to use.
How does Jackson Hewitt work?
As with most companies offering tax filing services, Jackson Hewitt online provides multiple different versions of their program so those with a simpler return pay less than tax filers with more complex needs. However, it stands apart from competitors because its free version enables you to file multiple state returns at no cost, whereas some others limit you to just one return.
As with many programs, the free version is limited only to those who claim the standard deduction. If you need to claim the child tax credit, educator expenses, student loan interest, or the EITC with children, you must pay to file. This is also common, though some online filing programs provide more options with their free version. For example, TurboTax free allows you to claim child tax credits, 1 but you'll need to use the Deluxe version of Jackson Hewitt's product to do that.
Jackson Hewitt also promises to get you the maximum refund amount, and its maximum refund guarantee goes beyond what many competitors offer. Although many companies refund your tax filing fees if a different software program would net you a larger tax refund, Jackson Hewitt will do that and give you an additional $100.
It also offers a Lifetime Accuracy Guarantee, so you won't have to worry about any mistakes that cost you money. If errors in your return with Jackson Hewitt result in penalties or interest, it will cover the amount as long as you provide notice and documentation within 30 days of the IRS sending you a notification of an issue.
Jackson Hewitt won't offer you a refund advance loan, and there's no audit protection guarantee, so you're on your own if you end up audited.
Jackson Hewitt pros and cons
Here are some of the biggest benefits of using Jackson Hewitt:
- You can file multiple state returns at no cost if you qualify for the free version of the software. Some other programs only allow you to file one state return for free.
- Its maximum refund guarantee is more powerful than most competitors. You'll not only get your filing fees back but will also get $100 if another software program would've netted you a larger refund.
- The company is Better Business Bureau-accredited and has received an A+ rating, so you can rest assured that it's a safe tax preparation service to do business with.
And here are some of the biggest downsides:
- The free version is limited. Competitors offer the opportunity to claim more deductions and credits than Jackson Hewitt does.
- There's no audit support. If you are audited by the IRS, you won't get the same level of help that many competitors offer.
- You won't have the option to get a Refund Advance Loan, which some competitors such as H&R Block offer. Taking these loans is usually a bad idea because of the cost, but if you absolutely need this service, Jackson Hewitt won't provide it.
How to contact Jackson Hewitt
You have three options to contact Jackson Hewitt if you have questions or need tax support:
- You can call 800-234-1040 between 8 a.m. and midnight ET on Monday through Friday or from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays.
- You can use live chat between 8 a.m. and midnight Monday through Friday or from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday.
- You can visit one of 6,000 local branches, including 3,000 locations in Walmarts across the U.S.
FAQs about Jackson Hewitt
Is Jackson Hewitt legit?
Jackson Hewitt is a legitimate company. It has been in business for more than 35 years, is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and has more than 6,000 Jackson Hewitt office locations across the U.S.
Which is better, Jackson Hewitt or H&R Block?
Jackson Hewitt and H&R; Block both offer online tax filing software and in-person support. And both provide free filing for simple returns. Because they are similar in many ways, the best choice for you will depend on your situation and your needs.
H&R; Block provides the opportunity to take advantage of more potential tax savings with its free version. You can claim a child tax credit, report retirement income, and claim a deduction for student loan interest with H&R; Block's free program. If you want to do any of these things with Jackson Hewitt, you'll need to pay for its Deluxe version.
However, Jackson Hewitt provides a better maximum refund guarantee because the company will pay you $100 plus refund the fees you paid to file if they don't help you get the largest possible refund. H&R; Block will refund only your filing fees, with no additional compensation if it doesn’t help you get the most money back.
How much does it cost to get your taxes done at Jackson Hewitt?
The cost of tax filing service with Jackson Hewitt varies. You may be able to file online for free, or may need to pay up to $49.99 to use the company's deluxe service because you are self-employed, itemize your deductions, or have unusual income sources. The more complicated your situation, the more likely it is that you will incur costs to use its online filing program.
What is the best tax preparation company?
Most of the different online tax preparation companies have their own unique strengths and weaknesses so the best company will depend on your needs. For example, you may be interested in finding a service that allows you to pay your taxes with a credit card, or that provides the strongest possible guarantees that it won't make tax mistakes that cost you.
If you're interested in a service that provides the opportunity to file for free even with a slightly more complicated tax situation, H&R Block or TaxAct may be a better option because you can do more with these company's fee-free services than with many competitors — including Jackson Hewitt. TurboTax is especially well regarded for the simplicity of its service, and TaxSlayer is one of the most affordable filing solutions.
The bottom line
Figuring out the best option for filing taxes can be a challenging aspect of how to manage your money. Jackson Hewitt may be a great choice if you qualify for its free option or you want to work with a company that stands behind its promise to help you get the biggest possible refund.
But if you want a company that offers audit support or provides the opportunity to use its free service even if you're claiming the student loan interest deduction or child tax credits, then you might want to consider working with a competitor this tax season.
The ability to visit a Jackson Hewitt location during weekend or evening hours at a Walmart is a major advantage, especially if you think you may end up needing more help than you can find online. The company's live online chat or phone support is also available seven days a week, so help from a tax professional is just a call or click away when you need it.
If Jackson Hewitt doesn’t sound like the right choice for you, check out our picks for the best tax software.