It is Jackson Hewitt’s advances on tax returns, combined with the wide range of filing options that it has to offer, that help to make this well-established company one of the best tax software options around. Jackson Hewitt has been operating since the early 1980s, and now has almost 6,000 franchised company-owned offices, half of which can be found within Walmart stores. Whether you want to meet with a tax professional or simply drop off your documents, these office numbers make the company one of the major players in the tax preparation business.
Alternatively, you can file for yourself online, or simply upload your documents from the comfort of your own home, ready for Jackson Hewitt’s tax pros to do all the hard work and file on your behalf. The software is straightforward to use, particularly for less complicated returns, and there are live links to online help. Of course, support is available in its offices and participating Walmart stores too.
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service review: Plan options
- Online: $25 Fed only; $49 Fed & unlimited State returns
- Standard: $69
- Deluxe edition: $179
- Premier edition: $249
Jackson Hewitt offers an online service for those who are confident they can file alone. If you only want to file a Federal return, it’s $25, or you can add the option to file unlimited state returns as well, for an overall price of $49. With many of the other top-rated tax software providers offering free filing for a similar Federal filing service, including our top choice overall of TurboTax, this probably isn’t something you’d entertain with Jackson Hewitt.
Handles all State and Federal tax returns
Download your W-2
Upload documents and let tax pro file for you
No Fee Refund Advance
If you’d prefer a “done-for-you” tax service rather than a “do-it-yourself”, there are three Tax Pro from Home packages available. Here, you simply upload your tax documents, and a dedicated tax pro will find every credit and deduction that applies to you.
The Standard edition is aimed at those with the simplest filing requirements, including students and renters, and costs $69 for federal returns. Here, you’ll get unlimited W-2s, can be unemployed or have education credits and/or student loan interest, and could also have pensions, IRAs and Social Security income. It is also suitable if you have interest or dividend income up to $1,500.
The next step up is the Deluxe edition which costs $179, and is marketed at families and homeowners. This offers everything from the Standard plan, but also includes the facilities to deal with itemized deductions, and capital gains and losses. Finally, there’s the Premier version, which includes all of the aforementioned options for the self-employed and those with complex filing needs at a cost of $249.
All of these prices include a federal return, unlimited access to a tax pro and the client care support team, and your return being backed by all of Jackson Hewitt’s guarantees. You'll be charged extra for each state return you need to make, and there are cheaper options available elsewhere - notably at TaxSlayer. However, what you pay is not far off the industry averages, and if you want stress-free filing without the need to leave home, the price of employing a tax professional to do the hard work for you could be worth paying.
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service review: Features
- Fee-free refund advances
- Refund guarantee, plus $100 is higher elsewhere
Jackson Hewitt excels when it comes to tax refund advance options, allowing filers to apply for an Early Refund Advance to access up to $700, and a No Fee Refund Advance - in the form of a 0% APR loan provided by MetaBank - for up to $4,000. However, with the deadline of February 21 for such advances already passed for the 2021 tax season, other features take the spotlight.
This includes the guarantee that no other tax preparer can get you a larger refund - and if you find someone that does, you’ll get your tax prep fees back plus $100. If the IRS flags a mistake by Jackson Hewitt, the company also promises to cover any interest and penalties, while for complete peace of mind, you can pay for the Worry-free Guarantee, which provides cover for reductions in refunds or extra liabilities, if the company is at fault.
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service: Usability
- Slightly more complicated than competitors
- Can directly access relevant topics
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
Jackson Hewitt uses more or less the same interface throughout all of its versions. While it’s still relatively clear and intuitive it doesn’t quite match up to the clean and unfussy screens that many of its direct competitors enjoy. It does offer users options to move through the process though and experienced users can select the topics they want to visit from the on-screen menu, while newer or less confident users can go through the sequential tax return preparation wizard.
The software seems to ask more questions of users, even on relatively straightforward sections and if the return isn’t done in one sitting, logging back in for a further session doesn’t take you to a bookmarked point. Users are required to find their way from the start (which isn’t that complicated, but it’s not particularly convenient either).
Saving is done through prompts, which is helpful, but users can’t rely on autosave functions. The interface just isn’t quite as compelling as that of perhaps H&R Block, but it’s still relatively user friendly. Jackson Hewitt has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2018, and receives the top A+ rating.
Should you use Jackson Hewitt Tax Service?
Jackson Hewitt offers a good range of tax preparation products at prices which are neither the cheapest, nor the most expensive. Its software is straightforward and user friendly, and if you pay for one of the Tax Pro from Home plans, all you need to do is upload your paperwork, and the experts will do everything for you.
Where Jackson Hewitt also stands out is the option to take an interest-free tax refund advance. Although the deadline for this has already passed for this year, the company still offers a good value product with good functionality and usability that will appeal to most users preparing tax returns.