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November 12, 2015

Online Tax Software

Jackson Hewitt Online Review

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.

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The Good

Help Me Decide guides

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.

The Bad

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.

The Details


  • Editions: Free, Basic, Deluxe, Premium
  • Federal Price: $0 - $49.95
  • State Price: $19.95 - $49.95


Basic (Federal Free Edition)

  • Federal Fee: $0
  • State Fee: $19.95


  • Federal Fee: $12.95
  • State Fee: $29.95


  • Federal Fee: $29.95
  • State Fee: $39.95


  • Federal Fee: $49.95
  • State Fee: $49.95

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