Taxpayers are on the lookout for tax tools that will make the tax filing process easier, faster and cheaper. Thus, the H&R Block vs. Jackson Hewitt comparisons cannot be helped, particularly as these are the most dominant online tax tools available today.
Overview of H&R Block
When it comes to ease of use, even for beginners in online tax tools, H&R Block takes the cake! The tax tool provides users with a wide range of features that allows them to search for tax information, prepare and file their taxes, and make corrections, among others. Such is its straightforward design that it can be used by nearly all types of taxpayers who file their taxes online, or with the use of the H&R Block tax preparation software, or in an office.
Most users say that the Tax Information Center is among the most useful features they have seen on an online tax tool. Here, taxpayers can find nearly everything they need to know about taxes including e-filing, types of taxes particularly business and income taxes, allowable tax deductions and write-offs, IRS tax forms, letters and possible responses, deadlines and extensions, and tax tips, among others. In a way, users have an online tax advisor for free!
We like that H&R Block offers a W-2 Early Access tool that enables employees/taxpayers to secure electronic copies of their W-2 forms from the nearest H&R Block office. The concerned taxpayers can then file their taxes at an earlier date and possibly get their refunds earlier, too.
The Tax Information Center also has other useful features, such as the Tax Prep Checklist, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Calculator (i.e., for the determination of ACA’s impact on their taxes), and W-4 calculator. Keep in mind that these tools require inputs from the taxpayer, not to mention that the taxpayer has ultimate responsibility over his or her tax returns.
For the 2019 filing season, H&R Block offered five plans, namely:
- Free Edition for taxpayers who only file a W-2 income and who rent their homes.
- Deluxe Edition (starts at $49.99) for investors, homeowners and taxpayers with retirement income, among others.
- Premium Edition (starts at $69.99) for independent contractors, investors, and freelancers.
- Self-employed Edition (starts at $104.99) for self-employed taxpayers including freelancers and independent contractors, as well as rental property owners.
- Tax Pro Review Package (starts at $144.99) that includes a thorough review by a tax professional of a client’s tax return before it’s filed.
Keep in mind that while you may want the Free Edition, it may not be the most suitable for you because of your income-generating ventures. Be sure to ask an H&R Block professional first before choosing from among these five plans.
Overview of Jackson Hewitt
The Jackson Hewitt platform is also straightforward and easy to use, as well as equipped with a wide range of useful features. Since the tax language can be confusing, if not bewildering for the average taxpayer, the platform also uses conversational language in explaining tax-related matters – and it’s a feature that we like! Among the features we liked are the all-inclusive tax assistance database, the review by experts of the IRS tax forms, and the step-by-step instructions.
Taxpayers can choose from different tiers of services and payment at Jackson Hewitt. First, the free option is suitable for taxpayers who file relatively simple tax returns, such as those who earn less than $100,000, either W-2 income or unemployment income, and claim standard deductions only (i.e., no itemization). The option also applies to married and single individuals who claim the earned income tax credit (EITC) albeit who don’t have dependents to declare.
Second, the families and retirees who have dependents and who claim EITC, child tax credit, student loans, and/or retirement income can avail of the second tier. Third, taxpayers who file complex returns will find the more expensive plan beneficial to their needs; those who earn income more than $100,000 as well as those who have rental property, itemized deductions and other credits find it useful.
Aside from these three plans, Jackson Hewitt also offers plans for W-2 filers, 1099 filers, and business filers. These plans usually have higher fees than the abovementioned do-it-yourself plans since the former involves reviews by tax professionals.
In a way, Jackson Hewitt’s pricing scheme isn’t as straightforward as that of H& Block’s plans. But if discuss these plans in detail, you will likely find that Jackson Hewitt’s prices are fair and reasonable, especially if you consider the professional tax review.
Between H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt, we have to say that both offers great tax services, especially for people who are new to the U.S. tax system or who don’t have the time necessary for filing tax returns. The trick here is in choosing the best online tax tool that will address your specific needs in it, whether you are an individual or a business.