Jackson Hewitt Online provides a reasonable tax software and includes just enough functionality to make it competitive in the industry. Prices might be a bit high, but having access to retail locations is a great perk for those concerned with filing taxes online who want the backup of in-person service.
As you work through the setup process, "Help Me Decide" guides can assist with some fundamental decisions. For those with very limited tax experience, getting extra guidance with things like identifying a dependent or selecting a status can help remove doubts and ensure the basic information is accurate.
Occupation-specific deduction discovery:
Jackson Hewitt Online provides a tool to help you discover and understand deductions based upon your occupation. The tool provides a list of dozens of common occupations to select from. After an occupation is selected, recommendations regarding deductions that might be appropriate for your circumstances and information about the types of forms that may be needed are provided. Having access to a resource like this can better ensure that deductions are not overlooked and help you understand how to apply appropriate deductions to your taxes.
Additional service from retail locations:
Jackson Hewitt Online is a self-service filing option. They provide several resources to help make that process as simple as possible, including chat, phone, and email support. However, Jackson Hewitt also has retail locations where additional advice can be acquired. Interactions with retail locations might end up costing money, but if you get into a tough situation while working through the online process, knowing you can walk into a retail store and get help provides additional peace of mind.
Life events guide:
Major life events can have a substantial impact on your taxes. Jackson Hewitt Online offers a tool that allows you to browse education, employment, family matters, financial, home, and personal expense life events, and then get information on the impact these events can have on your taxes. Information on deductions, tips, and any FAQs related to the life event call all be easily accessed through one simple interface.
Lack of proprietary software:
Jackson Hewitt Online utilizes software that was originally developed by an industry competitor. Jackson Hewitt Online has taken steps to differentiate, including an aesthetically superior interface, a handful of additional software features, and improved support. Both companies continue to use the software, but for those that are price-sensitive, you can get the same basic functionality from the competitor product at considerably lower rates.
No reminder system:
Jackson Hewitt Online does not have a reminder/bookmark system. Preparing and filing taxes online generally consists of working through several different sections, with each section requiring different types of information. Having a reminder system allow you to easily target sections of concern or confusion, add notes, and return to the section at a later date. Not including reminder functionality means dealing with handwritten notes that can easily be misplaced and perhaps being unable to navigate back to the problem section. A built-in reminder system is a much better option.
Inaccurate progress meter:
Most online tax software require working through several different sections each made up of several pages. Jackson Hewitt Online provides a progress meter that indicates where you are in the process, but unfortunately, it is inaccurate. As you click through the system, you can leave entire sections of pertinent information completely blank, but the meter moves up as if the section was completed. Having some indication of where you are in the tax filing process would be helpful, but only if it's accurate.
Price is relatively high:
Jackson Hewitt Online is not the premier online tax software. Compared to online tax software with similar functionality and services, Jackson Hewitt Online is a more expensive option. For those tax filers with simple tax needs and who are particularly sensitive to price, shopping around for a different product might be the right move.
Free, Basic, Deluxe, Premium
$0 - $49.95
$19.95 - $49.95
Audit Risk Identification - The software indicates your audit risk and recommends solutions to minimize the risk.
Double-Check Returns - The software automatically double-checks your tax return to ensure it is accurate.
Real-Time Balance Meter - The software provides a real-time meter displaying the balance of your refund or the amount you owe.
Tax Calculator - The software has a tool that allows you to estimate your tax refund or the amount you will owe.
Accuracy Guarantee - The software company guarantees your taxes are accurate.
Maximum Refund Guarantee - The software guarantees you will get the maximum refund possible.
Prior Year Comparison - The software automatically compares the current tax return with the previous year's return and highlights any differences.
Business Owner Deductions - The software identifies deductions specifically for business owners (Schedule C).
Charity Donations - The software allows you to deduce charity donations.
Depreciation Summary - The software allows you to enter depreciated items and provides you with summary figures (form 4562).
Itemized Deductions - The software allows you to itemize your deductions.
Rental Property Deductions - The software allows you to deduce rental property deductions (Schedule E).
Standard Deductions - The software supports the standard deduction method.
Vehicle Deduction Methods - The software allows you to deduct actual expenses or standard mileage rates for your vehicle.
Check - Your tax refund can be disbursed via check.
Direct Deposit Refund - Your tax refund can be deposited directly into your bank account.
Multiple Account Deposit - Your tax refund can be deposited directly into multiple accounts.
Pre-Paid Card - Your tax refund can be disbursed via a pre-paid card.
Savings Bonds - Your tax refund can be used to purchase savings bonds from the U.S. government.
Deduction Discovery - The software searches available deductions to ensure you get the maximum refund possible.
Industry-Specific Tax Deductions - The software provides a walk-through of industry-specific deductions.
Interview Guidance - The software asks you questions and uses your answers to automatically complete the appropriate forms.
Life Events Advisor - The software has functionality that helps you identify major life events and understand how these events impact your taxes.
Step-by-Step Guidance - The software provides interfaces that guide you step-by-step through the tax preparation and submission processes.
Asset Depreciation - The software compares asset depreciation methods and indicates which option will be most favorable.
Charity Donation Tool - A tool exists to help you identify, value, and process charity donations.
Information Transfer - You can pull information from previous tax forms directly into current year forms.
Prior Year Returns - You can access your return from a previous year.
Reminders - You can flag or bookmark any areas of uncertainty and return to them at a later time.
Rental Property Tool - A tool exists to help you identify and process deductions associated with rental properties.
Costs Deducted From Return - Any fees associated with preparing and filing your taxes can be deducted from your tax refund.
E-File Federal Returns - You can e-file your federal tax return.
E-File State Returns - You can e-file your state tax return.
Free Federal Edition - You can e-file your federal tax return for free.
IRS Confirmation - You receive confirmation that the IRS has received your e-filed tax forms.
Amended Tax Returns - You can access, prepare, and/or print paper copies of amended tax returns.
E-File Extensions - You can e-file an IRS tax extension.
Prior Year Filing - You can access, prepare, and/or print paper copies of prior year filings.
Head of House - The software supports filing under head of house status.
Married Filing Jointly - The software supports joint filing for married users.
Married Filing Separately - The software supports separate filing for married users.
Qualifying Widow(er) - The software supports filing under qualifying widow(er) status.
Single - The software supports filing under single status.
Import W-2 Forms - You can import W-2 tax forms.
Alternative Preparer Import - You can import forms prepared by other companies or software solutions.
Automatic Import - You can automatically import your tax forms from partner organizations.
Import 1098 Forms - You can import 1098 forms.
Import 1099 Forms - You can import 1099 forms.
Import Prior Year Returns - You can import your prior year tax return.
FAQ - The company provides a list of answers to frequently asked questions.
Forum - The company provides an interactive forum where users can post questions and answers.
Glossary - The company provides a glossary of tax terms.
Knowledge Base - The company provides a knowledge base of detailed help articles.
Video Tutorials - The company provides video tutorials.
Audit Support - The company will provide audit support if you get audited in the future.
Email/Tickets - The company has an email or ticket system dedicated to support.
Live Chat - The company offers live chat support.
Phone - You can contact the company by phone to get support.
Retail Locations - You can get in-person support at local retail locations.
Social Media - You can contact the company with questions through social media websites.
Video Conference - You can prepare your taxes with a tax professional through a live video conference.
Android Application - You can download a native Android application of the software.
Apple Application - You can download a native Apple application of the software for use on your iPhone or iPad.
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