Editor's Note: Online e-filing services often change what features and prices they offer throughout the tax season. We will update the Online Tax Software reviews as needed throughout the 2014 tax season as new versions are released.
Jackson Hewitt is a popular tax service that now also offers an online tax preparation product in addition to its numerous retail locations. More than 6,500 Jackson Hewitt Tax Service offices occupy most major U.S. cities, including inside 2,800 Walmarts. To stay competitive, the firm now offers online tax preparation software that people can use on their own and from home for a low price. Free Jackson Hewitt iPhone and Android apps can estimate your refund, display special offers and check the status of your return.
This online tax preparation service will e-file 1040EZs and simple 1040s for free and most other 1040 types for $19.95. If you need to claim business expenses or have self-employment income, you can e-file with Jackson Hewitt for $49.95. State returns are an additional $34.95. We considered our test tax scenario to be rather typical; however, since we included one 1099-MISC for some consulting moonlighting (also rather typical in this economy) we were required to upgrade to the business version and pay the higher fee. This online tax software was able to create an accurate return with all the credits, deductions and tax obligations we were expecting, down to the dollar.
The Jackson Hewitt online service includes some convenient features, such as importing from other tax services, including TurboTax, H&R Block and TaxACT. This means that if you filed with a different service last year, you can change to Jackson Hewitt this year with minimal hassle. Of course, it can also import 2013 returns from last year if you filed with Jackson Hewitt. If you have been procrastinating or for some other reason are behind in filing your taxes, you can file back to 2006 by visiting a Jackson Hewitt office.
If you are owed a refund, you can have your refund credited by check, automatic deposit or prepaid debit card. The Jackson Hewitt Smartcard Visa (prepaid debit card) is provided by MetaBank and your refund can be loaded to this card. You can reload the card with your own money should you want to continue to use it as a prepaid debit card. This is a good option for those who do not have an account with a traditional bank. Refund anticipation loans (RALs) are no longer available using most tax services, including Jackson Hewitt.
Jackson Hewitt's online tax software uses technology created by another established tax service; however, it offers different services, fees, guarantees and customer support, so the product as a whole is quite different. We found this tax service simple to use, but if you need help you can contact the firm by email or chat, or read the support topics posted on the website. If you need one-on-one support, the company encourages in-person office visits, but it also offers a toll-free customer service number.
This tax service had a rocky time a few years back, but has since quickly bounced back by filling Walmart and Sears retail stores with tax kiosks and by being able to offer clients simple online tax return filing. We found the web service's calculations to be accurate and the software suitable for those filing straightforward federal and state returns. However, if you just need to file a 1040EZ and simple 1040 and state return, there are more affordable alternatives.
Jackson Hewitt can create accurate simple and complex 1040s, and this year Jackson Hewitt is offering incentives for switching from another tax service and discounts on in-store tax preparation.
Using this service to e-file costs a bit more than many services, especially if you just need to file a simple return with earned income credit and student loan interest. Many other services support simple 1040 e-filing free of charge.
Jackson Hewitt has the resources to help you file your 1040s and state return online easily. In addition, numerous retail locations are available as a convenient option for many filers.