User Rating: Very Good
Helpfulness of Preparer:
Pros:efficient, nice employees overall, good choice of services
Cons:expensive if you go with standard deductions. Fees around every corner
Yes, it's that time of year again folks. January's come and gone and the fresh smell of W-2 or 1099 is in the air. And hopefully, you're at epinions.com trying to figure out where you're gonna spend all that extra loot you gave your Uncle Sam. Or maybe you're dreading April and searching for a tax whiz to find a way to keep a few pennies in the bank. Either way you need a place to e-file or score a rapid refund. Maybe you were considering Jackson-Hewitt.
Recommend this product?
First of all, Jackson-Hewitt itself is only one player in your tax experience this year. To tell the whole story I'm inclined to include in this review the other hoops you'll find yourself jumping through with this and any other commercial tax service. I'll start with me experience this year.
A Jackson-Hewitt office visit.
I got in for an appointment immediately as a walk in. No appointment was necessary. Granted I went early in the season so I can't guarantee your results on that score. My tax preparer was gracious enough with his intro and got us right to the dirty work. He asked me a series of questions and entered my W-2 information and in about 5 minutes I had my refund amount. No problems here...in great shape at this point. Now we start to go downhill.
A basic no-frills preperation will run you exactly $119.00 at Jackson-Hewitt. For this price you get 5 minutes with the preparer and the IRS will send your refund check in 4-6 weeks. I found this a little steep but I let it slide because I really hate doing it myself. In my case I wanted my refund lickety split(rent was due)so I opted for the rapid refund(or RAL as they refer to it). I had the choice between the RAL, an accelrated check(or ACR which is basically the IRS check only faster and for a fee)or the basic wait for the IRS check.
For the honor of super fast refund I paid an extra $30 plus an additional bank fee of $24 which went to their affiliate bank in Santa Barbara, which provides the loan for the rapid refund(I should mention that rapid refund is basically a bank loan which is satisfied by your refund check from the IRS). So all told the rapid refund option ran me $54 extra. We're up to about $175 at Jackson-Hewitt today which they graciously excise from your check. Easy enough but pricy. But the fees dont stop there.
Cashing the check
Now, what happened to me next wont happen to you if you cash the check at your own bank. Anyway, I couldn't get to my credit union and the only bank that cashes Jackson-Hewitt checks is HSBC in this area. I couldn't find any information as to affiliate banks in other areas. So, upon cashing my check at HSBC bank, another $25 was charged for their bank fee. So now all told my taxes this year cost me $200 and I had a basic, one W-2 preparation.
If you're anything like me and go the easy route with standard deductions, this might be more trouble than it's worth. If you're better with tax forms than I am you might consider saving yourself the $200+ and do it yourself. But on the same token, if you itemize and have a lot of deductions, the charge at Jackson-Hewitt ends up being less than most private tax preparers. So depending ,I guess, on your relative level of affluence the choice is a simple one. If you can do it, do it...if not, Jackson-Hewitt should fit the bill(and hand you one).