Liberty Tax Service, H&R Block, Or Jackson Hewitt: Comparing Prep Options
Throughout the country, Americans are not lacking for options when it comes time to file a return. From online filing resources to desktop applications to a proliferation of office-based prep companies, there are a number of different choices. What is the best option for you? Take a look at how the three major national prep offices (Liberty Tax Service, Jackson Hewitt, and H&R Block) compare in key areas and make a more informed choice.
What To Expect When You Walk In
The basic process is similar at all three services. You will walk in and be connected with a prep expert, who will talk with you to determine what forms need to be filed and then complete the process. Then, you will instruct them to e-file for you, file by mail, or provide the paperwork for you to mail in yourself.
The major issues at this stage are the level of knowledge that the preparers have and the customer service you can expect to receive. All of these businesses require the same basic knowledge from the people they hire. Typically, you can expect the person who handles your return to have logged a number of hours in a company-administered training session. The exact details differ, but the basic requirements are similar. If you are curious, ask the person you’re scheduled to work with. If you don’t feel comfortable with the training they have received, ask for someone more experienced.
Customer service between these three major players can vary dramatically. Liberty Tax has the strongest emphasis on making returns fun, and that tends to translate to a more friendly environment in the actual office. A lot of people enjoy the perks that come with such an environment, which tend to be less readily found at other offices.
For many clients, the ultimate factor is how much they can expect to pay. Liberty Tax services usually cost the least, with H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt coming in close together, but substantially higher. At any of the companies you’ll find variation in the price depending on the nature and complexity of your return. It might be worthwhile to compare the individual prices in your area if you are having trouble figuring out which you should choose; there may be local promotions or other considerations which apply to you.
In addition to in-office services, many of these companies also offer online filing. They offer several different service options for customers with different levels of complexity in their filing requirements. Liberty Tax and Jackson Hewitt both offer a fairly comprehensive free option for individuals with a simple return. H&R Block has a free offering, but it is less full-featured than what is available from the other two. Across the board, Liberty Tax offers the lowest prices for online programs.
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