Jackson Hewitt Online Review
Jackson Hewitt Online is an extension of the company’s vast tax preparation enterprise, which includes thousands of offices nationwide. That network of offices is a huge help to anyone using their Jackson Hewitt Online software, as it gives you the opportunity to get help from someone in person if you need it. Most online tax software doesn’t have that, and if you’re in a bind, it can come in handy. Otherwise, Jackson Hewitt Online offers a great opportunity to file both your Federal and state tax returns online in a timely manner without spending a fortune to do it. Read on for the rest of our Jackson Hewitt Online review.
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Jackson Hewitt Online Overview
Founded in 1982, Jackson Hewitt is the second largest tax preparation service in the United States, with nearly 7000 locations around the country. Many of these are located in either Sears or Wal-Mart stores, making them accessible to just about everyone. In order to offer a wider variety of services, the company introduced an online product a few years ago for those who want to file their taxes themselves. This product, Jackson Hewitt Online, comes in several different versions, depending on the individual needs of the taxpayer.
Jackson Hewitt Online Free Edition
As part of the Free File Alliance, Jackson Hewitt Online allows you to file your Federal tax return for free, subject to certain conditions and qualifications. The Free Edition is somewhat limited in scope, and is really only of use to taxpayers who have basic W2 income and no additional deductions, such as a mortgage, or Earned Income Credit. In addition, state tax returns are not free and cost extra. The Free Edition does include unlimited email and chat support.
The Basic Edition of Jackson Hewitt Online is a bit more robust than the Free Edition and allows for filers who qualify for Earned Income Credit (with no dependents) or who may have student loan deductions. This Basic Edition currently costs $19.95, and like the Free Edition above, does not include the cost of filing a state return.
Jackson Hewitt Online Deluxe Edition
The Deluxe Edition of Jackson Hewitt Online includes everything above, but also allows you to list itemized deductions, adjustments to income, and offers the ability to file extra credits, such as Earned Income Credit, Education, Child Tax Credit and Dependent Care Credit. As with the above versions, an extra charge applies for filing a state tax return.
Jackson Hewitt Online Premium Edition
For those who have a small business, the Premium Edition of Jackson Hewitt Online is probably the best fit. In addition to all of the above, the Premium Edition offers the ability to file with business and depreciation deductions. This version also includes free support by telephone.
All versions include support by email and chat, as well as the company’s guarantee that their software is accurate. They also have a “biggest refund” guarantee, which states that their software will provide you with the biggest refund possible, or they will refund the cost of filing your return.
Jackson Hewitt Online Pros and Cons
The company is huge and has offices across the country. In addition to support by email and chat (and phone for Premium customers), you can go into one of the company’s thousands of offices for help if you need it in a pinch. For those who like “in person” help, this is a huge bonus that most online tax preparation firms don’t offer.
Jackson Hewitt Online offers good deduction discovery for specific occupations, which is something that not every software product provides. There are dozens of common occupations from which to choose, and the software then makes recommendation for deductions that may be appropriate for you.
The Jackson Hewitt Online software also includes a life events guide, which points out ways you may be able to take additional deductions based on changes in your life since your last filing, such as marriage, purchase of a home, eduction, and other financial and family matters.
The Jackson Hewitt Online software also includes an easy to use interface that can be accessed through your Web browser.
There are some downsides to using Jackson Hewitt Online, as there are with any software product.
The most recent version of the software includes an inaccurate progress meter that may not be correctly showing how much of your return that you have completed.
The Jackson Hewitt Online software lacks a bookmarking system. Many competing products allow you to mark a section and make notes so that you can come back to it later. This is handy if you get to a section and realize that you don’t have all of the information you need to complete it at hand. Bookmarks make a handy reminder so when you come back later, you’ll remember what you were doing.
The software is an online product, which means you need an active Internet connection to use it. This won’t be a problem for most users, but if you were planning to download Jackson Hewitt Online software so you could work on it somewhere where you don’t have an Internet connection, you’ll be out of luck.
Perhaps the biggest drawback to the Jackson Hewitt Online software is that it can’t necessarily provide you with the biggest possible tax savings. That doesn’t come through tax preparation software; that comes from having a solid tax preparation strategy. The U.S. tax code is complex, and allows most individuals to claim all kinds of legitimate deductions that most software products are not equipped to handle. Furthermore, most taxpayers and even tax preparers are not aware of all of the deductions that are available, which means that they, and you, are likely paying too much in taxes.
A good tax strategy, combined with up-to-date information about all of the ways you can save money, legally, on your taxes, is essential to making sure that you don’t pay one cent more than you legally have to. While Jackson Hewitt Online is a good product, it can’t do that for you. For that, you’re going to need another product.