When tax time rolls around, one thing you’ll have to decide is whether you’ll do your taxes yourself or hire a pro. If you’re leaning toward letting someone else do your taxes, some of the top options include Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block. Both companies also offer a DIY option if you’d like to complete and file your tax return at home. It helps to know what to look for when comparing Jackson Hewitt vs. H&R Block.
Consider working with a financial advisor as you engage in tax planning.
What’s Included in Jackson Hewitt’s Tax Preparation Services?
Jackson Hewitt is the second-largest tax prep company in the United States. Headquartered in New Jersey, the company processes an estimated two million tax returns each year.
There are two ways to file your taxes with Jackson Hewitt:
- With the help of a tax pro at a Jackson Hewitt location
- By yourself online
If you’re interested in getting help with taxes, there are approximately 6,000 Jackson Hewitt locations to choose from, including 3,000 locations inside Walmart stores. You can sit down with your tax preparer and answer questions as they work on your return or drop off your tax documents and pick up your returns later.
The fees you’ll pay to let Jackson Hewitt prepare your return can depend on how complex your return is. Services start at $65, with additional fees for state returns. All tax prep packages include:
- Maximum Refund Guarantee
- Lifetime Accuracy Guarantee
- IRS audit assistance
- 24/7 access to documents
- Online data storage
- Year-round service
The Maximum Refund Guarantee can put money back in your pocket. Jackson Hewitt will refund your federal return fees if you get a larger refund or smaller tax bill with a different tax prep company.
If, after a tax audit, you end up having to pay interest or penalty charges to the IRS because there was an error in filing with Jackson Hewitt’s software, the company will pay those fees for you under the Accuracy Guarantee.
What’s Included in H&R Block’s Tax Preparation Services?
H&R Block offers tax preparation services in the U.S., Canada and Australia. The company has a sizable footprint, with more than 12,000 locations of which approximately 9,000 are in the U.S.
You can get your taxes done with H&R Block in one of two ways:
- With a tax professional
- Online filing yourself
When you file with an H&R Block tax professional, you’ve got multiple options for doing so. You can file virtually from home, meet with a tax preparer in person or drop your taxes off. The addition of virtual filing is a plus if you want to be able to talk with a tax pro while your return is in progress but you don’t have time to meet in person.
H&R Block’s tax prep fees with the help of a tax professional start at $85. But again, what you’ll pay can depend on how involved your return is and what’s required to complete it. Additional fees apply to file state returns.
You’ll get a Max Refund Guarantee when you file with H&R Block as well as a No Surprise Guarantee. The first guarantee returns your tax filing fees to you if you get a bigger tax refund elsewhere. The second means you’ll know how much you’ll pay for tax prep before H&R Block begins your return.
How Easy Is Filing Online With Jackson Hewitt?
Jackson Hewitt’s tax software makes it as easy as possible to complete and file an accurate tax return. The program includes step-by-step instructions, and you’ll get access to free live chat support if you have questions. You can use the software to prep and file your returns on desktop or mobile devices. It’s easy to transfer information over from your federal return to start your state return. There’s also a built-in accuracy checker to review your return for errors before you file.
Jackson Hewitt’s online tax filing comes with the following:
- Maximum Refund Guarantee
- 100% Accuracy Guarantee
- Satisfaction Guarantee
If you’re not 100% happy with your experience, you can get your online tax prep fee refunded to you. You’ll pay a $25 flat fee to file online yourself with Jackson Hewitt. The fee applies to state and federal returns. You can add on audit protection for an additional fee.
How Easy Is Filing Online With H&R Block?
You can start filing your taxes with H&R Block online for free and you only pay a fee when you file. Additional fees apply for state returns.
There are four filing packages offered, including:
- Deluxe, which may be appropriate for filers with children or other dependents
- Premium, which is suited to investors
- Self-employed, which is designed for sole proprietors and business owners
Similar to other tax prep programs, H&R Block’s software walks you through each section of your return step by step. If you need professional expertise to complete your return you can add that on for an extra fee.
Jackson Hewitt vs. H&R Block: Comparing Costs to File
Cost is an important consideration when deciding where to file your taxes. Some tax prep companies are cheaper than others, but it’s helpful to weigh what you pay against the value that you get in return. In terms of in-person filing with a tax pro, Jackson Hewitt’s base rate is less than what H&R Block charges. There is a trade-off, however, since Jackson Hewitt has fewer locations to choose from and there’s no option to file with a tax professional virtually.
You can start your return online for free at H&R Block vs. paying a $25 flat fee at Jackson Hewitt. However, if you need to upgrade to a Deluxe, Premium or Self-employed package, the price to file your return yourself gets more expensive.
Jackson Hewitt vs. H&R Block: Which Is Better for You?
Whether it makes sense to file your taxes with Jackson Hewitt or H&R Block can depend on your situation and needs. Both have good points and in terms of the services offered, they’re fairly comparable.
You might choose Jackson Hewitt to file taxes if you:
- Want to pay a flat fee to file taxes online yourself
- Need professional tax help but are looking for the lowest-cost option
- Would like reassurance that you’re getting an accurate return and the largest refund possible
On the other hand, you might prefer H&R Block if you:
- Want to be able to file your return virtually
- Need comprehensive online filing software that covers a variety of special situations
- Would like to be able to upgrade and get professional help at any time when filing online
When considering any tax prep company, there are certain things to keep in mind. Fees are at the top of the list. As our comparison of Jackson Hewitt vs. H&R Block shows, Jackson Hewitt is cheaper for in-person filing and it may also be less expensive for online filing if you have more than just a basic return.
Customer support also matters as it’s helpful to be able to talk to a tax pro if you need to, even when you’re filing your return yourself. Considering the company’s overall reputation may be wise as well since customer reviews can tell you a lot about what people like or don’t like.
If you’re looking for advice on where to get your taxes done, a financial advisor may be able to help. While financial advisors are different from tax advisors, they could help you figure out whether it makes sense to hire a pro or do your own return. Your advisor could also offer guidance on how to create a financial plan that’s designed to minimize your tax liability.
Tax filing doesn’t have to be a headache if you’re choosing the right place to get the job done. Whether Jackson Hewitt or H&R Block is the better fit can depend on what your return involves, how you’d like to file and what you’re willing to pay to finalize your return.
Like with any financial decision, do some research before deciding on the right tax prep service with you. This is an important decision to make considering you’ll likely want to use the same tax service year-over-year so you have all your filings from past years saved with that provider.
Tax Planning Tips
- Consider talking to a financial advisor about how to build a comprehensive tax plan. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Before starting your tax return, it helps to organize the information you’ll need. Regardless of whether you file with the help of a tax pro or do it yourself, it’s a good idea to have your W-2 and 1099s on hand. You’ll also want to round up any receipts for expenses that you plan to deduct, as the IRS will want to see a paper trail on the off chance that you’re selected for an audit.
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