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JacksonHewitt.com offers an affordable range of tax filing packages to suit your needs, ranging from a free basic tax return to a premium service with several useful additions. The basic package might be enough for many people, allowing you to submit a tax return if you have no dependants. It also includes a free W-2 download, free e-file and continuous email and live chat support. The deluxe package best suits people who are claiming dependents and deductions (for example child care expenses or mortgage interest). This package provides an audit support site should you be audited by the IRS, as well as itemised credits and deductions. Upgrade a stage further and you’ll receive the premium package, which is designed for small businesses and sole proprietors. It essentially allows you to consider business income and expenses, including contractor or freelance status. This package also provides personal audit assistance should you require it. That might seem quite a lot of detail but it’s important to consider whether or not you feel this site can provide you with the support you need before deciding on a package.
The site itself is easy to use and navigate, with clear signposts as to where you need to click to find what you’re looking for. A series of tabs along the top of the screen breaks down the key departments of the site regarding tax preparation and resources or customer care, each of which offers a range of choices which distinguish between the various tasks you need to complete. There’s a fairly extensive list of features available through this site and, though they’re all useful, none of them particularly stands out as unique. The mobile app is a nice bonus if you’re interested in keeping up with your tax filing whilst on the move, whilst the combination of the other features makes for a pretty comprehensive package. We would have liked to have seen more detail regarding how your data is stored and backed up, though, which is of paramount importance given the private nature of the information you’re filing. Some sites provide a cloud system which allows you to check in on your files from any location (assuming you have the log in details) and also serves as a great back-up should anything go wrong with your own computer, though it isn’t all too apparent what JacksonHewitt.com has in place with regard to this.
If you’re looking for information, then there’s a decent amount of it throughout the site and kept in an FAQ section. You can also chat to tax professionals via email or using a live chat system. This is great if you are stuck and need a little push in the right direction or to ask a very specific question which relates to something the FAQ doesn’t cover. Further improvements might be made by including video tutorials, though we appreciated the site’s use of small icons to help distinguish between resources in the “my tax resources” section of the site.
JacksonHewitt offer a fair service at a fair price but some work could be done on offering a greater sense of being ‘hands on’ in the whole process. There are some reward schemes that might be worth considering if you do decide to use their service and advise friends to do so. This site offers a free service for some, which is a great draw, but it’s worth considering what each package has to offer you before making a purchase, particularly if you need specialist documents and help in filing them or are running an expanding business.
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