jackson hewitt vs turbotax

Contents

jackson hewitt vs turbotax

H&R Block vs. TurboTax vs. Jackson Hewitt

Now that it’s tax season, you must decide whether you will take the do-it-yourself route or hire somebody to prepare your taxes for you. Note that except for medical deductions (now 7.5% instead of 10%, for the 2017 and 2018 tax years), the new tax legislation hasn't changed very much about the 2017 taxes you will file in April 2018.

If you do choose to file your own taxes, there are several tax service programs you can use. Read on for our evaluation of this year's offerings from three popular brands: H&R Block, TurboTax and Jackson Hewitt. (For more, see Taxes Tutorials.)

If you’re a Walmart customer, you might have seen Jackson Hewitt cubicles in the superstore. The company has nearly 6,000 locations, and almost half of them are inside Walmart stores. The company also offers an online filing platform. If your return is simple – for example, you only have W-2 income, maybe some interest income and no deductions or credits – you can file your federal tax return for free. This free option allows you to download your W-2 form automatically and import last year’s returns from competing tax preparation platforms.

Like the others, Jackson Hewitt offers a free option for simple returns, including state filing. If you claim the standard deduction, make less than $100,000 and only have W-2 income, you will probably qualify for the free service. For more complicated returns, there’s a $34.95 deluxe edition geared to homeowners and parents that also covers investment income. The top tier, aimed at small businesses or those who are self-employed, will cost $54.95. With all paid packages, filing a state return is an additional $36.95 per state.

TurboTax is pretty popular, not just because of its aggressive ad campaign but also because Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, also makes QuickBooks, the accounting software of choice for nearly 80% of the nation’s approximately 29 million small business owners as of 2016. As with its competitors, you can file your simple 1040EZ or 1040A for free, and you can automatically download your W-2s if they’re available online.

TurboTax’s first paid option, the deluxe package, starts at $39.99, and a state return costs an additional $36.99. Though $5 more than Jackson Hewitt’s deluxe plan, it supports itemized deductions, which is only included with Jackson Hewitt’s top tier package of $54.95. Turbo Tax’s deluxe plan also maximizes mortgage-interest and property-tax deductions, offers its ItsDeductible service that helps organize charitable donations and value them correctly and covers freelance and 1099 income along with simple expenses.

The $59.99 premier plan is what you use to handle any investments you may have. If you have stocks, bonds or other investment income, you have no choice but to shell out the $59.99. It also covers rental property and related tax implications.

The upper end of TurboTax’s plans – designed for the small business owner or sole proprietor – costs $89.99. It lets users import data directly from QuickBooks, a significant advantage. As a small business owner you may have asset depreciation and a lot of Schedule C income, which makes the Home & Business tier a necessity. (For more, see Who’s required to fill out a Schedule C IRS form?)

New for the 2017 tax year, TurboTax added TurboTax live, a service that allows you to work with a certified public accountant or enrolled agent throughout your tax preparation experience. The service costs $149.99 and, like all the tiers TurboTax produces, does not include filing of state taxes.

If you used Absolute Zero in the past, you can now import last year’s return instead of starting from scratch. If you’re using TurboTax Self-Employed, the app will help you find industry-specific deductions that you might not have thought about.

H&R Block is known for having tax offices within driving distance of most Americans. The company’s free option, More Zero, now offers support for 1040 Schedule A returns as well as simple returns that require only a 1040EZ or 1040A. Filing a state return with the free option is free, as it is with Jackson Hewitt and TurboTax, and support for the earned income tax credit is free.

The deluxe plan, H&R Block’s next tier, is designed for homeowners or investors with support for stock and other investment sales, retirement income and homeownership considerations, such as buying and selling a home and home-mortgage interest deductions. It costs $34.99 and includes support for 1099s, free tech support and a “drag and drop” feature that permits free import of current and past-year data. As with TurboTax, if you’re filing a state return, you should plan to spend an extra $36.99. The deluxe plan provides investor support at a cheaper price point than TurboTax.

The top plan is the premium tier, coming in at $54.99. It includes support for the self-employed and rental property owners. TurboTax offers rental property support in its $59.99 premier plan, and Jackson Hewitt’s top plan, also called premium ($54.95), supports rental properties.

New for 2018: Like its competitors, H&R Block now offers Tax Pro Review. This is a reinvention of a product the company called “Best of Both.” The service costs $49.99 to $89.99, depending on the complexity of the return.

H&R Block also added a self-employed product to serve the more than 60 million freelancers, independent contractors and other self-employed taxpayers. Among its features are integration with Stride Tax and full support for common tax situations faced by self-employed individuals. The product costs $74.99 plus an additional $36.99 per state taxes filed.

Also, customers who direct a portion of their refund to an Amazon gift card will receive a 5% refund bonus. According to Heather Watts, senior vice president and general manager of digital at H&R Block, “For example, if a client directs $3,000 of their refund to an Amazon gift card, they would receive an additional $150, for a total value of $3,150 to spend on Amazon.com.”

All of the packages listed above include selling points such as maximum refund guarantees, free e-filing of federal returns and 100% accuracy. TurboTax and H&R Block now give you the ability to take a picture of your W-2 for entry into the system. The differences involve how much you have to pay to use the features you need. Each of these packages has its strengths. Here are some more things to consider:

  • Least Cost/Simple Taxes All three offer federal and state returns at no cost for those who can use the 1040EZ or 1040A forms to file. H&R Block’s free plan also supports 1040 Schedule A returns with a free state return.
  • Most Help at the Free Federal Tax Level – Jackson Hewitt wins here; it gives you both chat and e-mail support. TurboTax and H&R Block offer community-based support. None of the companies offer phone support until you buy a paid package.
  • Best for Small Business Owners – The differences between TurboTax’s top plan ($89.99) and Jackson Hewitt’s ($54.95) are not that apparent, making the $35 savings with Jackson Hewitt worth considering. However, if you use QuickBooks for your accounting system, TurboTax is the only one of these programs that lets you seamlessly import from QuickBooks.
  • Best for Middle-Class Families – If you’re a middle-class family who doesn’t own a business, TurboTax’s deluxe plan is comparable, if not better, than those of H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt.
  • Comparing Deluxe Plans However, the deluxe plans of H&R Block ($34.99) and Jackson Hewitt ($34.95) have more extensive offerings than TurboTax. Included is support for the sale of stocks, bonds and mutual funds. TurboTax doesn’t offer this capability until you purchase its $59.99 premier plan.

If you’re like most Americans, it’s early enough in tax season that you haven’t yet decided how you will file. If you do decide to go it alone, rest assured that all three brands listed above are solid. Look at your individual tax situation and find the plan that gives you everything you need at the lowest price. (For more, see 10 Steps to Tax Preparation.)

Best Company to use for Filing Taxes: Turbo Tax vs. Jackson-Hewitt

Tax preparations are time consuming and difficult for those with little or no tax preparation experience. While many people are enticed by the idea of filing their own taxes in an effort to save money, any small mistake that is done while preparing your own taxes can wind up costing a lot in the long-run. Today, there are many different companies and softwares that promise to get the best and most accurate results with the least amount of effort on the market, but two of the best are Turbo Tax and Jackson-Hewitt. Both of these companies have been successfully helping people file their state and federal taxes for years.

Turbo Tax is an online tax preparation service that guarantees the maximum return on your taxes or they will give you your money back. There are several versions of Turbo Tax available depending on your personal situation that can help you to easily file your taxes from the comfort of your own home. Versions of Turbo Tax include the free edition, Deluxe edition, Premiere version, and the Home & Business edition.

  1. Free Edition- Best for those who can file their taxes using a 1040EZ form.
  2. Deluxe Edition- Best for those who do not qualify for the free edition but do not have many deductions.
  3. Premiere Version- Best for those who have investments and/or are not taking a standard deduction.
  4. Home & Business- Best for those who own a business.
  • Turbo Tax guarantees 100% accuracy on your tax calculations.
  • Turbo Tax offers a money back guarantee if they do not get you your maximum tax refund.
  • Turbo Tax has a free federal file option if you qualify for a 1040EZ form.
  • Using Turbo Tax is cheaper than hiring a tax professional.
  • With Turbo Tax, you do not get the personal touch of having a tax preparer calculate your taxes.
  • There is room for human error when entering information on an online tax preparer such as Turbo Tax.
  • Turbo Tax charges for filing state tax returns.
  • Free Edition- Costs nothing to file a federal tax return, but costs $27.95 per state tax return.
  • Deluxe Edition- Costs $29.95 for the federal tax filing and $36.95 for each state tax return.
  • Premiere Edition- Costs $49.95 for the federal filing and $36.95 for each state tax return.
  • Home & Business Edition- Costs $74.95 for the federal filing and $36.95 for each state tax return.

Jackson-Hewitt is a tax preparation company that has locations throughout the United States. They have been preparing and filing tax preparations since 1982 and are amongst the most well-known and popular in the industry. In addition to free e-filing, Jackson-Hewitt offers their customers face-to-face interactions while filing their taxes and refund anticipations loans.

  • Jackson-Hewitt offers individuals and businesses a personal tax preparer without the large cost of private tax preparers.
  • Jackson-Hewitt offices are conveniently located all over the United States.
  • Jackson-Hewitt offers refund anticipation loans up to $1500 for those who do not want to wait to receive their refunds.
  • Jackson-Hewitt charges more than online tax preparation companies do.
  • Jackson-Hewitt charges a high interest rate for refund anticipation loans.

Pricing: Jackson-Hewitt offer customers a free federal e-file on their website for those who can file a 1040EZ. For simple tax preparations that are completed in a Jackson-Hewitt office, the price typically starts at $80-$90 and increases based on the complexity of the tax preparation.

Although the personal attention and refund anticipation loans that Jackson-Hewitt offers are great, their services simply can't compete with the low cost and ease of federal and state tax preparations that Turbo Tax offers. Turbo Tax allows you to file your taxes from the comfort of your home while still offering a 100% money back guarantee. In addition to this, they also have different programs for different circumstances to ensure that you are getting the best and most accurate refund you can. Both companies are leaders in the tax preparation industry, but Turbo Tax is a clear winner when it comes to value and ease.

if i got a $200 tax advance from jackson hewitt do i have to file with them. id like to use turbo tax as the fees are cheaper.

Why do you want to report this?

did you ever get an answer as i would like to do the same thing

Why do you want to report this?

I don't have a definite answer but Jackson Hewitt is unlikely to allow this because they want to control the refund. They will likely require the refund to be deposited in their bank account so they can deduct the advance before sending the balance on to you. If they let you file with TurboTax, they can't have the refund deposited in their bank.

Why do you want to report this?

I can understand that. after calling h&r block they didnt advise me to do it,but just said if i didnt file with them i may never be eligible for another loan. and that i just have to repay the loan.

Why do you want to report this?

10 people found this helpful

You would have to ask Jackson Hewitt.

Why do you want to report this?

I just called to ask Jackson Hewitt this question because I did get a $200 dollar loan from them. They told me that I did not have to file taxes with them I just have to contact Metabank (which whom the loans is actually with) and pay them back the $200. I also asked will it still be without an interest fee and he told me yes, I would not have to pay an interest fee. I will be filing my taxes with TurboTax because Jackson Hewitt told me it would be a fee of over $200 plus the loan to file with them.

Why do you want to report this?

Thanks because the fee to file with them is outrageous

Why do you want to report this?

What if you did the return with last check stub. And I e signed but I have not turned in my W-2 can I still decline the preparation services?? Help!! turbo tax caculator gave me a way bigger refund amount then Jackson Hewitt

Why do you want to report this?

I needed this helpful information because I used my last pay stub with them and the hidden fees totaled 600.00 I don't want to return to them and was wondering if I can could use turbo tax instead when i get my w2. I applied for an advance nothing yet. I'm praying i can go through turbo tax without a problem

Why do you want to report this?

People are posting in this old thread from last year, which is in the already-answered queue and won't be seen by the bulk of the forum as needing help. If you don't get help in this old thread, you should start your own new thread at the link below so it will show up as needing help.

Why do you want to report this?

Chyna3132, You e-signed for the loan itself with your paystubs, not the taxes.You e-sign for the taxes when you come in with your W2's. You are not obligated to file taxes with Jackson Hewitt, but you are obligated to pay back that loan to the bank.

Why do you want to report this?

Sunshine527, It would make no sense at all to file with them and you haven't seen any of the loan promised to you! Even if you do received the loan at a later time you still would not have to file with them. Just pay the loan back.

Why do you want to report this?

Why do you want to report this?

Praise God thank you guys for the helpful feedback. I was nearly stressing about that 600.00 fee and not getting the loan. I'm DEFINELTY using turbo tax as I normally do

Why do you want to report this?

This is a TurboTax forum, not Hewitt. I am closing this old out of date thread.

People come to TurboTax AnswerXchange for help and answers—we want to let them know that we're here to listen and share our knowledge. We do that with the style and format of our responses. Here are five guidelines:

  1. Keep it conversational. When answering questions, write like you speak. Imagine you're explaining something to a trusted friend, using simple, everyday language. Avoid jargon and technical terms when possible. When no other word will do, explain technical terms in plain English.
  2. Be clear and state the answer right up front. Ask yourself what specific information the person really needs and then provide it. Stick to the topic and avoid unnecessary details. Break information down into a numbered or bulleted list and highlight the most important details in bold.
  3. Be concise. Aim for no more than two short sentences in a paragraph, and try to keep paragraphs to two lines. A wall of text can look intimidating and many won't read it, so break it up. It's okay to link to other resources for more details, but avoid giving answers that contain little more than a link.
  4. Be a good listener. When people post very general questions, take a second to try to understand what they're really looking for. Then, provide a response that guides them to the best possible outcome.
  5. Be encouraging and positive. Look for ways to eliminate uncertainty by anticipating people's concerns. Make it apparent that we really like helping them achieve positive outcomes.

Ask your question to the community. Most questions get a response in about a day.

Prep Firms Taking the Groan Out of Tax Season

H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt, Others Lure Consumers With Positive Spins, Incentives, Big-Event Strategies

By Beth Snyder Bulik. Published on March 14, 2011 .

It's tax time. Rejoice.

Big tax-prep providers such as H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt are looking to put a positive spin on the annual ritual, given that many of their customers look forward to refunds at this time.

"Our target is hard-working mainstream American families," said Debra Dowd, senior VP-CMO at Jackson Hewitt. "What is overlooked, with so much focus on the stress of tax time, is that it's actually a happy time for many because over 70% get a refund."

It's also a happy time for the media, given that the blitz of tax-prep-services advertising at this time of year is predictable as, well, taxes. It's a necessity given the intermittent nature of the business -- this is an industry where companies interact closely with consumers typically only once a year, and usually complete just one transaction.

Last year, some of the top tax-prep firms spent more than $225 million in the first six months of 2010, according to Kantar, led by H&R Block ($123 million), Intuit's TurboTax ($100 million) and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service ($12 million). Smaller firms such as Liberty Tax Service and even the IRS itself, which spent $1.6 million to get the word out to consumers about its digital capabilities, added several millions more to that total. Still, 2010 represented a drop in spending from 2009, when the total for the largest three was more than $250 million. Jackson Hewitt CMO Debra Dowd

H&R Block CMO Robert Turtledove

H&R Block's "Never Settle for Less" marketing theme this year, created by Publicis Groupe's Fallon, Minneapolis, shows real people in small-town Greenback, Tenn., and at the Nickel Diner in Los Angeles, who brought their taxes in for a second look. Many received money back they didn't know about. "We can't forget that for a lot of consumers and taxpayers, it is the single biggest check they may get all year," said H&R Block CMO Robert Turtledove. "In a cautious economy, you can't afford to take any chances. This is real money and real income, or a real out-of-pocket expense if you do it wrong."

H&R Block is also promoting its "At Home" online software with a memorable national TV ad from Fallon, seen during the Grammys and in other prime time, with a giant pink stuffed bunny at the end of a crane trying to knock down a building, with the theme that you need the right tools for the job.

Jackson Hewitt is taking a similar, albeit smaller, approach with its "Get Every Dollar You Deserve" multimedia ad campaign. Like H&R Block, it employs tax professionals at retail locations, and like H&R Block and TurboTax, it has an online-only at-home software option. *

A general national TV ad campaign serves as "air cover" and complements its local efforts, said Debra Dowd, senior VP-CMO at Jackson Hewitt, such as tax-prep service offices inside Walmart, branded entertainment deals with local radio disc jockeys and co-op advertising in local media with franchisee owners. Jackson Hewitt agencies are Omnicom Group's Zimmerman Advertising, Fort Lauderdale.

That exclusive Walmart partnership expanded from 1,800 to 2,000 retail shops (one-third of the company's storefronts are in Walmart), offering tax prep for as low as $38 at Walmart, backed by a co-branded with-TV ad that garnered a lot of interest, Ms. Dowd said.

TurboTax, the big online tax software and filing service, also maintains an economy-minded theme of guiding consumers to get their maximum refund while they "Choose Easy." TurboTax is using a big-event strategy that included the Grammys, which it has participated in the past, but blew it out this year with five media partners including YouTube, Twitter, and Westwood One; along with the creation of its own prime-time event on NBC, where it took over all the TV commercials during the airing of the movie "National Treasure." The total 35 minutes of TV spots were strung together like a "show within a show" called All Star Celebrity Treasure Hunt. TurboTax also bought out the home pages of Yahoo, AOL and MSN during the Super Bowl.

"The decision to do that is not just to align with the Super Bowl, or the Grammys, but that it's the right timing," said Seth Greenberg, VP of Intuit's media and digital marketing. "It's what you do with that timing that matters."

TurboTax also promoted its addition to its digital portfolio, SnapTax, a mobile tax-filing app for iPhone and Android users. It licensed singer B.o.B.'s hit song "Magic" for a TV and online ad that began the day after the Grammys. Interpublic Group's Dailey, Los Angeles, is TurboTax's agency of record, while Collier Simon, Los Angeles, created the SnapTax work.

And while taxes may not be the most exciting category, marketing professionals can learn a lot from them, said Rohit Bhargava, senior VP-global strategy and marketing at Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence, particularly from the social-media savvy of H&R Block and TurboTax. Both firms have aggressive social-media presences where they not only answer customer questions in real time, but also actively monitor and respond to general tax conversations.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Jackson Hewitt did not offer an at-home online tax-prep software.

Jackson Hewitt Deluxe 2018 (Tax Year 2017)

Comprehensive coverage of tax topics. Improved review process.

Pricey. Frustrating UI and navigation. Amount and quality of context-sensitive help is lacking. Can't import data from competitors or previous Jackson Hewitt filings. Poor mobile experience.

The user experience, navigation tools, and help system you get with Jackson Hewitt Deluxe aren't up to par, especially given its high price. There are better ways to file your taxes online.

Jackson Hewitt is best known for in-person tax preparation, and still has 6,300 brick-and-mortar locations in the US. The company entered the online tax preparation software market several years ago, and it the standard wizard that takes you through the tax process and automatically builds a return with all the required documents. Unfortunately, the company's in-person expertise just doesn't translate well enough to justify its high price. Confusing navigation tools and substandard help remain our biggest complaints, and you can't import data from competitors or even from past Jackson Hewitt filings, this year. Instead, we recommend using Editors' Choice pick, TurboTax Deluxe, which offers excellent help support and intuitive overall design.

Intuit TurboTax Deluxe 2018 (Tax Year 2017)

TaxAct Online Plus 2018 (Tax Year 2017)

H&R Block Deluxe 2018 (Tax Year 2017)

TaxSlayer Classic 2018 (Tax Year 2017)

Credit Karma Tax 2018 (Tax Year 2017)

FreeTax USA Deluxe 2018 (Tax Year 2017)

Liberty Tax Online Basic 2018 (Tax Year 2017)

Intuit TurboTax Tax Return App 2018 (Tax Year 2017)

H&R Tax Prep and File 2018 (Tax Year 2017)

TaxSlayer Classic 2018 Mobile (Tax Year 2017)

Jackson Hewitt offers three options for the 2017 tax year (which is the one you need to e-file by April 17, 2018). Jackson Hewitt Free Edition supports W-2 income and the Earned Income Credit (without children), unemployment, and the standard deduction only. The Deluxe version (reviewed here) costs $69.95 federal and $36.95 per state and lets you claim dependents and the child tax credit, student loans, and retirement income. The top-of-the-line edition costs $109.95 federal and $36.95 per state, and it is designed to meet the needs of self-employed individuals who need to file the full Schedule C. It also supports itemized deductions and other income, credits, and deductions, as well as rental property.

You can start your return on the Jackson Hewitt website with any one of these three options, but keep in mind that the site doesn't warn you if you enter data in an area that requires a more expensive version. TurboTax Deluxe makes it clear if this is the case. You could conceivably get all the way to filing time and realize you owe more than you thought. The worst of it is that, at every level, Jackson Hewitt offers fewer features for more money than any other competitor.

Personal tax preparation websites function similarly, though they vary greatly in terms of support and user experience. For the most part, they're much easier to use than the old method (pencil, paper, and calculator) that forces you to switch back and forth between the 1040 and its related forms, schedules, and instructions.

Tax sites remove this burden from the process. In general, they're proactive and conversational. A comprehensive wizard asks you questions and provides easy ways for you to supply answers. If you aren't sure what a particular query or statement means, you can ideally consult a variety of built-in help resources. Most provide a way for you to chat with or make a phone call to one of the company's dedicated tax professionals. You never have to see an official IRS form or instruction (though that's sometimes an option), and the guidance is usually written in easy-to-understand layman's terms.

As you respond to the site's questions, the software prepares your actual return in the background. These websites—even the totally free Credit Karma Tax—do all required calculations and drop your answers onto the correct lines of the correct IRS documents. When you think you have entered every detail that pertains to your tax-related financial life, they go back to the beginning and quickly review everything, alerting you to problems or omissions. If you need to file a state return, the service transfers over pertinent data and helps you prepare that, too.

Jackson Hewitt Deluxe lacks the Life Events feature found in TaxAct Plus and TaxSlayer Classic. On these other sites, this feature asks you about any significant life changes you might have experienced during the previous year (such as a home sale, marriage, or birth) and provides helpful information about how these might affect your tax return. While this is not an absolute necessity, it's a useful feature that helps you understand the process and typically acts as a sort of a roadmap for the rest of the service.

To get started with Jackson Hewitt, you create an account by entering a unique username and password, selecting and answering security questions and then verifying your identity by text or email. The site then asks you a series of questions about topics such as your filing status and Social Security number on individual screens, even though all of these could easily fit on a single page. When it got to my mailing address, it pulled in a real address that belonged to a relative but which had never been entered on this or any other tax website. The company said this was a browser issue and recommended I clear my cache, historical data, and cookies. I've never had this experience with any other tax service.

Previously, Jackson Hewitt let you import data from competitors' sites, but the company has discontinued that practice. FreeTax USA and others let you import PDFs from other sites. You also used to be able to enter your Jackson Hewitt username and password from the previous year and have the site populate many fields with historical information. This year, everyone using the service must create a new username and password, so even former users will have to start from scratch. That's disappointing.

Once you log in and answer the initial questions, the site asks about W-2s and other sources of income. There are two ways to move through this section — and other areas of the site. If you are an experienced tax filer or have a simple return, you can select the topics you want to visit. In the Income section, this includes items like W-2s and interest income. You select one from the main list, go through its questions, and return to the list for more. If you have a complex return, are fairly new to tax preparation, or just want to make sure you don't miss anything, you can use the sequential interview option. This wizard-driven option takes you all the way through the 1040 and supporting documents, asking questions about every topic covered by the service.

As you would when using any other wizard (or any other tax website), you move around by clicking navigation buttons. Sometimes, an affirmative response to a Yes-or-No question advances you to the next screen. If not, you can use the Next and Back buttons to move ahead or to return to the previous screen. To respond to questions, you might click a button or select from a list or enter data in blank fields.

Jackson Hewitt's navigation is inconsistent. I got stuck in a loop several times in my testing. For example, after I completed some sections, the service kept returning me to screens I had already finished. Also, when you log back into the site after being gone, the site doesn't ask whether you want to return to the last page visited like H&R Block Deluxe does. It just offers File Now buttons for both federal and state returns. If you need to do more work, you have to use the new navigation toolbar on the left of the screen, which does not break each section down into subsections, like H&R Block Deluxe does. You either have to start at the beginning of one of the topic sections or start the interview process again. This could definitely make an already-stressful process worse.

There were other irregularities. When I canceled a screen I decided not to complete, it took me back to the home page rather than to the last screen I completed. Another time, I tried to click the Help button after entering some data, but the software told me that I needed to save the data first. Jackson Hewitt is the only site I've tested that requires occasional manual saving. Also, there I found no way to get back to that original screen after I finished with the Help section. Overall, I spent too much time backtracking and was unable to see a comprehensive view of everything I'd done — something that's standard on sites like FreeTax USA.

The site's graphics, fonts, layout, and overall design are uninspiring. Jackson Hewitt falls well short of sites such as TurboTax Deluxe and TaxAct Plus. Jackson Hewitt's interface simply isn't very compelling, which is a problem for an expensive application that you require a significant (and stressful) time commitment. TurboTax in particular shows that a clear design makes an appreciable difference to the process.

The user experience is important, but so is the quality, accessibility, and depth of a tax site's help resources. Websites that excel at this, like TaxAct and TurboTax, provide instant help for most topics—certainly the most complicated ones. They hyperlink terms and open small windows with clearly written, understandable explanations, or they anticipate issues and make brief Q&As available on the same screen as the questions.

Jackson Hewitt falls short here, too; the quality and quantity of help don't justify the site's high price. The only context-sensitive help on the data-gathering pages themselves is an occasional hyperlinked question or statement. For example, when filling out a Form 1098-T, one question asks, "Is the student pursuing a degree?" The hyperlinked phrase reads, "Why are you asking this?" Clicking on the link opens a small window with a very brief explanation. If you use the Help link at the top of the screen, it searches the site's data files for a word or phrase, but results are inconsistent. Occasionally, it sends you to IRS instructions. One of the main reasons to use tax-prep software is to avoid having to read that agency's officialese. You can also send an email to Jackson Hewitt to get help, but it no longer offers the chat or phone help of past versions.

Jackson Hewitt has improved its final review process since last year. It lists forms you've completed as well as those that are finished. For example, when I left off some information about a dependent (including Social Security number), clicking on that form took me directly to the screens that needed completion. It even returned me to the main review page afterward. This is similar to how some competitors handle this feature. But other sites would not have let me advance past a page requiring a Social Security number. Other times, it prevented me from advancing until I entered the address of a school, for example.

Jackson Hewitt's responsive site makes it usable on mobile devices. That is, you can easily access it by entering the URL in your smartphone's browser, instead of accessing an actual app you download to your phone or tablet, such as the TurboTax Tax Return App. Jackson Hewitt does a good job of replicating the tax preparation experience on the small screen, but unfortunately, then doesn't solve any of the problems already mentioned, nor is the small-screen version of the user interface particularly innovative.

The service offers two mobile data-entry options: You can either select the topics you need to complete or go through step by step. The site gives thorough explorations of the content it supports. But we ran into numerous situations where the site didn't perform as well as its mobile competitors. For example, there's no comprehensive navigation outline. The navigation tool that slides out when you click a link in the upper left corner divides the site into very broad areas, like Federal and State, with no subtopics. So you need to click the Back and Next buttons a lot. The site doesn't automatically save when you advance to the next screen either; sometimes you have to do this manually. There's no chat or context-sensitive help, and searching for words or phrases often only returns a list of forms, not explanatory text.

We can't recommend this expensive, labor-intensive experience for mobile filers, many of whom are no doubt looking for convenience. If you want a better mobile option, take a look at our roundup of the best tax services for your phone.

Jackson Hewitt is a big name in the world of tax preparation, but its DIY online service doesn't provide enough value for its relatively high price. The user experience needs improvement and navigating the site is problematic. The built-in help tools don't even measure up that of less expensive products. Furthermore, the site has dropped the ability to import data from other competitors or even past Jackson Hewitt returns, and it has ceased phone and chat support since last year, too. It's hard to recommend Jackson Hewitt when sites like our Editors' Choice, TurboTax Deluxe, offer higher quality and better value.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 оценок, среднее: 5.00 из 5)
Loading...
Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

− 6 = 1

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!:

map