Jackson Hewitt’s main selling point is that they offer advances on tax returns to their customers, something not that common in the market, making it one of the best tax software options out there.
Jackson Hewitt was founded in the early 1980s in the north-east region and grew quickly throughout that decade and beyond, going public in 1994. Last year the company prepared almost 3.5 million tax returns for customers through more than 7,400 franchised company-owned offices, including locations within Kmart, branches of Walmart and mall kiosks. These numbers make the company one of the major players in the tax preparation business alongside names such as TurboTax and H&R Block.
Jackson Hewitt’s main selling point is that they offer advances on tax returns to their customers, something that’s not too common in the market. Some of these offers are on reasonable terms, others are not recommended. The company offers three products, with a free version that’s suitable for people with basic tax returns on incomes up to $100,000.
The software is generally held to be as straightforward as any of their main rivals, especially for less complicated returns (though these free returns are limited to W-2 filers with no dependants under the aforementioned $100,000 annual income threshold). Also, some of the 0% advance loan options are only available to in-store customers and not online users. The software also comes with less features than some of its competitors (such as audit assistance guarantees) but there are live links to online help and with over 6,000 physical locations, there’s a reassuring amount of support available.
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Jackson Hewitt Tax Service review: Cost
- Free version: $0
- Deluxe edition: $66.98
- Premier edition: $86.98
Handles all State and Federal tax returns
Download your W-2
No Fee Refund Advance
Jackson Hewitt products range from free, for very simple tax returns, through to $86.98 for the most advanced ‘Premier’ version which includes both State and Federal taxes.
The company’s prices are around the industry average for online preparation of State and Federal taxes. The Free version allows users to file both State and Federal taxes for free, but with some notable limitations. Users must be single, or married and filing jointly, must have under $100,000 of annual income and be a W-2 employee with only standard deductions and credits.
The Deluxe edition is marketed at families and retirees or, for example, those with student loans and it costs $66.98 for preparation and submission of both State and Federal taxes.
Finally, the Premier version ($86.98 for both State and Federal taxes) is for anyone with an income of over $100,000, the self-employed and those operating rental properties.
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service review: Products
- Free: for simple returns with limitations
- Deluxe: for families, retirees and those with student loans
- Premier: for incomes over $100K, self-employed and rental properties
Jackson Hewitt’s Free edition is perfect for simple tax returns that are for an annual income of less than $100,000. It can be used by people who are single or for married couples filing jointly. The Free edition can handle the standard deductions and earned income tax credits, as well as W-2 wages paperwork and unemployment.
The Deluxe version is the most popular of Jackson Hewitt’s products and is best for families and couples with more than basic tax information to submit. It can process information about children and other dependents including child tax credits and student loans.
Finally, the Premier edition will work for people who earn over $100,000 and who have more involved tax returns, for instance those with rental properties or who are self employed or run a small business. This version can process itemized deductions and it includes real time access to customer service agents.
Jackson Hewitt Tax Service: Usability / User reviews
- Slightly more complicated than competitors
- Experienced users 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, say TurboTax or H&R Block, but it’s still relatively user friendly. Jackson Hewitt has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2018, and the organization currently give them the top, A+ rating.
Should you choose Jackson Hewitt Tax Service?
Jackson Hewitt offer a good range of tax preparation products at reasonable prices that are around the industry average. This includes a perfectly usable free edition of their software that works well for basic tax returns and other products that are backed up by some 7,400 physical offices across the United States. Their software, while good for the price, is straightforward and user friendly, though the interface doesn’t quite hold up to the clean user experience of some of their rivals. One big selling point is the fact that Jackson Hewitt offer an interest-free tax return advance of up to $3,200, though this has to be arranged through one of their physical offices. Overall, the company offers a good value product with good functionality and usability that will appeal to most users preparing tax returns.