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Jackson Hewitt Online Review – Tax Preparation and Filing


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Our rating

4.5/5

Jackson Hewitt Pros

  • Pricing locked in for three years
  • Great value for complex returns
  • Physical branch access if you’re stuck

Jackson Hewitt Cons

  • No free version
  • Higher pricing for in-person assistance
  • No prior-year imports from other programs


Additional Resources

Jackson Hewitt’s tax service helps millions of Americans prepare and file their taxes each year. There’s a good chance you’ve seen a Jackson Hewitt storefront office in your town — there are several thousand outposts spread around the United States.

You’re probably less familiar with Jackson Hewitt Online, the company’s online tax prep and filing service. It offers tax preparation assistance for taxpayers in a wide range of circumstances, from simple situations to more complicated scenarios involving investments, business income, and itemized deductions

Jackson Hewitt Online offers one DIY plan and one tax professional-prepared plan. Both are competitively priced compared to online tax software like TurboTax, H&R Block, Liberty Online, and TaxAct. But is Jackson Hewitt Online right for you? 


Jackson Hewitt Online: Pricing and Capabilities

Jackson Hewitt Online has two tax prep plans: one for people comfortable with doing their own taxes and one for folks who prefer to have pros do it for them. 

The pricing is straightforward, but it’s not set in stone. Jackson Hewitt reserves the right to raise prices at any time, so confirm yours prior to filing. On the bright side, once you choose between DIY and a tax professional and pay your filing fees, your pricing is locked in for three years.

DIY Prep and Filing 

Jackson Hewitt Online’s DIY option costs $25 per filer. This price covers your federal return and any state returns you need to file. It covers virtually all tax situations, from very simple to very complex. It has many capabilities, including some of the most common tax filing needs.

  • Earned Income Tax Credit. Jackson Hewitt Online allows you to claim the earned income tax credit and file Schedule EIC with or without dependents.
  • Student Loan Interest Deduction. This edition allows you to deduct student loan interest from your taxable income subject to the IRS’s $2,500 maximum benefit.
  • Child Tax Credit. You can claim the federal child tax credit and other dependent care expenses as well.
  • Retirement Income. You can claim retirement income, such as Social Security payments and distributions from IRA and 401(k) accounts.
  • Itemized Deductions. If you’re better off itemizing deductions rather than claiming the standard deduction, you can file Schedule A with the DIY plan.
  • Investment and Interest Income. You can claim capital gains and losses from the sale of securities like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and cryptocurrencies. It also allows you to claim interest and ordinary dividend income greater than $1,500.
  • Income From Real Estate Sales. If you sold your home during the tax year, this edition allows you to claim capital gains or losses (if required).
  • Business Income and Deductions. This edition includes support for self-employed professionals and small-business owners, including those who need to file profit or loss from a business, partnership, or S-corporation. It also includes support for business-related tax deductions and credits, including the home office deduction.
  • Rental Property Income. The Premium Edition includes support for Schedule E filers — people who own and earn income from rental property.
  • Farming Income. This edition includes support for Schedule F filers — farmers and people who earn income from farmland.
  • Less Common Situations. If you don’t see your situation represented above, don’t worry. Jackson Hewitt Online supports just about any tax circumstance, even relatively uncommon ones.

File Online With a Tax Professional

If you’re not comfortable prepping your taxes from start to finish, Jackson Hewitt Online’s full-service product could be right for you. 

For a flat fee of $99, a Jackson Hewitt tax professional prepares your return. The process is simple:

  1. Match With a Tax Pro. Create your account and get matched with a dedicated tax pro. These are the same folks who prepare tax returns in Jackson Hewitt’s many physical branch offices.
  2. Have an Initial Conversation and Upload Your Documentation. Upload all of your tax documentation, including income statements and potential deductions. You can communicate with your tax pro via text message or video chat, depending on your preference.
  3. Stand By to Answer Questions. Your tax pro gets to work preparing your return. If they have any questions, they’ll reach out to you.
  4. Review, Sign, and File Your Completed Return. Once your return is complete, you’ll have the opportunity to review it for accuracy. If everything looks OK, sign it and give Jackson Hewitt permission to file on your behalf.

Additional Features of Jackson Hewitt Online

No matter which plan you choose, Jackson Hewitt Online has some additional features worth noting.

  • W-2 Importing. You can import your W-2 directly into Jackson Hewitt’s online filing system rather than manually entering the data.
  • Prior Year Return Importing. If you prepared last year’s tax return with Jackson Hewitt Online or at a Jackson Hewitt storefront, you can import it into your current year return. But you can’t import returns from competitors.
  • Email and Phone Support. Jackson Hewitt offers free phone support during regular business hours. The email support feature is available 24/7, though after-hours queries can take up to 24 hours to produce a response. Email and live phone support are suitable for technical issues with your return and basic tax questions. More complex questions are best directed toward a branch office. Branch offices are open during regular business hours earlier in the season and later during crunch time.
  • Secure Storage and Access. Jackson Hewitt Online stores your current and prior-year tax returns in a secure digital locker. You’re permitted to access prior-year returns whenever you like at no additional charge.
  • Maximum Refund Guarantee. Like most competitors, Jackson Hewitt Online has a maximum refund guarantee. Filers who receive larger federal refunds (or smaller federal tax liabilities) from identical returns filed with competitors are entitled to full tax prep fee refunds.
  • Accuracy Guarantee. Jackson Hewitt Online extends an accuracy guarantee to all filers. If the IRS hits you with a tax penalty or interest charge attributable to a Jackson Hewitt software calculation error, you’re entitled to full reimbursement from Jackson Hewitt.
  • Help Database. Jackson Hewitt Online has a support database that covers most major topics related to tax preparation in general and Jackson Hewitt Online’s system in particular. The content is generated by Jackson Hewitt staff, not users, as is the case with some competitors. Most major topics are covered, though the treatment isn’t as exhaustive as some competitors’ help databases.
  • Tax Calculators. Jackson Hewitt Online has several useful tax calculators, including a general calculator that helps you determine your overall tax liability, a calculator that helps determine whether you’re eligible for the earned income tax credit, and a calculator that helps determine whether you’re subject to self-employment tax.

Advantages of Jackson Hewitt Online

Jackson Hewitt Online has quite a bit going for it, including locked-in pricing and excellent value for complex returns. 

  • Pricing Locked in for Three Years. Once you file with Jackson Hewitt Online, your pricing is locked in for the next three years. If Jackson Hewitt raises its prices, it won’t affect you.
  • Great Value for Complex Returns. Jackson Hewitt Online offers tremendous value for complex returns. For DIY prep, you pay just $25 for federal and state filing. For professional prep, you pay just $99 for the same scope. In both cases, it doesn’t matter how complicated your return is.
  • Comes With Physical Branch Access. Jackson Hewitt Online is backed by thousands of physical Jackson Hewitt branches across the U.S. If you change your mind about DIY for any reason, you can take your partially completed paperwork to your local Jackson Hewitt office. 
  • Most Site Features Are Mobile-Friendly. By and large, Jackson Hewitt Online has a mobile-friendly website and preparation system. 
  • Can Move Between Sections at Will. Jackson Hewitt Online allows you to go between sections of your tax return at will. That’s a big advantage if you have a complex tax situation. It makes it easier to prepare your return in sections as new information (for instance, 1099 forms from contract employers) becomes available. 

Disadvantages of Jackson Hewitt Online

While Jackson Hewitt is an excellent value, consider these drawbacks before signing up.

  • No Free Version. Jackson Hewitt Online doesn’t have a free version like many of its competitors. Your minimum tax prep price is $25 no matter how simple your situation. 
  • Pricing Jumps for In-Person Assistance. If you can’t complete your return online, either by yourself or with a pro, you’ll pay more to have a Jackson Hewitt professional complete it in person. 
  • No Prior-Year Imports from Competitors. Jackson Hewitt doesn’t allow you to import prior-year tax return information from competing tax prep programs, only Jackson Hewitt Online itself. That’s a major time-waster for new customers. TurboTax and H&R Block both allow prior-year PDF imports that take just seconds to execute.

How Jackson Hewitt Online Stacks Up

So, how does Jackson Hewitt Online compare to top competitors? See how its features, capabilities, and pricing stack up to another popular option: TurboTax.

Jackson Hewitt OnlineTurboTax
Free PlanNoneYes, for simple situations
Expert AssistanceYes, for $99 per federal returnYes, free online for simple situations; prep by pros starts around $80
Pay With Your Refund?Yes, for an additional feeYes, for an additional fee
Cost for Self-Employed Filers$25 for DIY prep; $99 for full-service filingStarting at about $110 for DIY prep; about $220 and up for professional assistance

Final Word

Cost-wise, Jackson Hewitt Online occupies a middle ground between budget-friendly bare-bones online tax prep services like FreeTaxUSA and more expensive full-service options like TurboTax. However, it has another significant advantage the majority of its online competitors can’t claim: a thousands-strong, coast-to-coast storefront tax preparation office network.

These tax prep offices are always there if you become overwhelmed or decide you no longer have the time or energy to devote to DIY preparation or remote prep with a tax pro. You’ll pay more for in-person preparation, but that expense could well be worth the added peace of mind.

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The Verdict

Our rating

4.5/5

Jackson Hewitt Pros

  • Pricing locked in for three years
  • Great value for complex returns
  • Physical branch access if you’re stuck

Jackson Hewitt Cons

  • No free version
  • Higher pricing for in-person assistance
  • No prior-year imports from other programs
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Brian Martucci writes about credit cards, banking, insurance, travel, and more. When he's not investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, you can find him exploring his favorite trails or sampling a new cuisine. Reach him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

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