Jackson Hewitt is a Brick and Mortar tax preparation office that has taken their services online. The results are impressive. Jackson Hewitt offers excellent value to freelancers, and early stage real estate investors.
Here’s what you need to know about the software.
Jackson Hewitt Tax Prep Process
When you start the tax prep process, you have the option to import your taxes from last year, even if you filed with a competitor. A best practice when you’re filing taxes is to compare to the prior year. This can help you eliminate errors. I loved that Jackson Hewitt accepted tax imports from all the major competitors.
Importing this data also cuts down on the time that you spend on personal information.
Jackson Hewitt allows users to guide themselves through the tax prep process or to use an interview process. The interview questions were direct. But you can get more details if you hover over questions marks on the screen. These little hover screens seem like a small detail, but not enough software packages add them in. For beginning tax filers, they can be an enormous help.
If you choose to guide yourself, you’ll see screens like the one below.
Each start button leads to a series of forms that allow you to enter your personal information. Jackson Hewitt allows you to import your W-2 form, but all other information needs to be manually entered. The one exception? Jackson Hewitt will pull your accumulated depreciation from the prior year’s tax returns.
While Jackson Hewitt isn’t a great option for people with real estate empires, I liked the real estate calculators. If you rent out your house on AirBnB, or you have just 1-2 properties, Jackson Hewitt is a great software option to consider.
If you ever get confused, the software has a ton of hover definitions that include just the right level of detail.
Once you complete filing, the software serves up a few warnings. My warnings included things like, “Your Schedule C doesn’t contain information on a car or small truck.”
What If I Get Confused?
I already mentioned the large number of hover definitions. These impressed me because they offered details without requiring me to navigate away from the tax process. They also make it easy to determine what you’re supposed to do. I recommend making heavy use of these if you get confused.
Jackson Hewitt also offers a Glossary of terms and articles about some more confusing tax items. These are articles are on par with other high end tax software.
If you’re still confused, Jackson Hewitt offers live chat support for technical assistance. Only Premium filers have access to phone support.
Jackson Hewitt won’t give you free tax advice (like H&R Block), but they make it easy to integrate the online software with local offices. This means that you can pay a professional to give you advice if you need it.
Jackson Hewitt Tax Software Plans And Pricing
Jackson Hewitt offers four pricing plans. Based on some recent price action, it seems like Jackson Hewitt aims to stay price competitive with H&R Block. But, squeezing a Basic plan between Free and Deluxe means that this software offers a better price to value ratio for some freelancers.
All the plans (including the free plan) come with unlimited tech support via live chat. Only Premium users can get phone support. None of the plans comes with audit assistance.
$0 Federal + $0 State
$19.95 Federal + $36.95 State
$34.95 Federal + $36.95 State
$54.95 Federal + $36.95 State
Freelancers and Newlyweds
Itemizers, Stock Market Investors
Complex Filers, Real Estate Investors, Self Employed
Adding the Basic plan makes Jackson Hewitt compelling for some freelancers. If you qualify to receive the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Basic plan may be compelling. However, TaxAct and TaxSlayer offer less expensive options with great interfaces.
Jackson Hewitt offers a solid product. If you’re in one of the groups above, start using it for free to see if you like it.