PROS / Our testers found Jackson Hewitt's online filing program simple to navigate and easy to understand. If you'd prefer assistance with filing your taxes, Jackson Hewitt has over 6,000 retail offices in the U.S.
CONS / The service costs more than the competition, and if you want telephone support, you'll need to purchase the premium edition. You may also experience login authentication issues using this service.
VERDICT / Once our testers got around the login challenges, they found that Jackson Hewitt's online tax software was simple to use. It's also a good option if you'd prefer to have your returns prepared by one of their representatives.
Editor's Note: The personal tax deadline for the 2015 tax season was April 18, 2016. You can still use this service to file your taxes late or file an amendment online; however, we will not update this review until the start of the 2016 tax season in January 2017.
Jackson Hewitt's offices are easy to find. This tax preparation service has over 6,300 retail offices nationwide, including over 3,000 located in Wal-Mart stores. In addition to its retail location, it offers online e-file versions as well. The company provides four online filing options, including one for those who need to itemize deductions and claim self-employment income. One of its options is a free edition for those who plan to file a simple 1040EZ return. Throughout tax season, Jackson Hewitt offers a variety of incentives, such as in-office refund advances, Wal-Mart gift cards, American Express Serve cards and free state e-filing.
While a free version is available, this tax preparation service requires an upgrade for those who need to claim dependents, so it might cost more than other versions – around $70 to e-file federal and state returns online if you have dependents and mortgage expenses to claim. Telephone support also requires that you pay for the premium version. The phone-support version costs approximately $90, which includes both federal and state e-filing.
When testing this online tax software, our testers experienced frustrating login issues. Jackson Hewitt's software includes security protocols for authenticating devices to an account. In our case, it treated our test computers connected to our network as one device. In order to bypass the security block, testers had to use their laptops and login using another network.
If you plan to use Jackson Hewitt, we advise that you use one device and try to complete your return in one sitting to avoid any device-authentication issues. Once our team overcame the login issues, they liked the software overall.
Using this tax return software, our testers came up with varied results in real-world testing. It spotted some of the errors we deliberately introduced when filling out our online return, sometimes alerting us to our error and other times not notifying us of any adjustments made. Errors are easy to make. To ensure accuracy, as with all tax prep software, slow down and make sure you enter your tax information carefully to obtain the optimal results.
Aside from the login challenges, our testers liked the software for the most part. They found it simple to use and most did not have to consult help topics. However, the program does calculate your tax paid automatically, so you'll need to verify that the amount matches what you actually paid. For most, the numbers should match, but if you voluntarily include additional federal deductions or need to account for more than one W-2, you'll want to ensure the federal paid amount is correct. In this instance, Jackson Hewitt's tax software was able to catch our built-in error; however, it might not tell you it adjusted for the error. In our tests, it did make the proper adjustments to correct our errors, but it may or may not show an alert for the changes it made.
Jackson Hewitt online tax preparation software is simple to use and was able to catch many of our built-in errors. Our testers liked the clutter-free interface and simple guided interface. However, if you use this service, you may encounter some login challenges that you'll want to be careful to avoid by not changing devices mid-process.