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Has anyone taken the basic Jackson Hewitt Tax Course?
Their cost is $50 compared to H&R Block's course at $119.

Both courses are 36 hours of instruction, so I am guessing
they cover about the same material.

I just want basic information to help me start using
Turbo Tax or some other software to do our taxes. We
are about to retire and this is one way I could save
considerable dollars every year.

Thanks in advance.

MK
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Well, I'll take this opportunity to plug one of my favorties, an alternative to both programs you mentioned. It's especially appropriate for a soon-to-be retiree.

IRS sponsors the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. In exchange for a commitment to spend 4 hours a week providing free income tax preparation to the poor and/or elderly, you get a good basic income tax course for free. A parallel program, Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) also operates, in many locations in coordination with AARP.

This is a terrific opportunity both to learn tax law and to give to your community. There are several VITA volunteers active on the board who, I hope, will back me up. It's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.

If you're interested call the IRS and ask for the number of your local VITA/TCE coordinator or visit the AARP website, which I assume is www.aarp.org.

Phil
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Can anyone find a link to that VITA stuff? That is if you want to volunteer. Looking for an online form or something. I'm not sure if I'd do it, but it sounds interesting and rewarding.

Btw, to the original poster's question, if it's not something that requires an expert valuation or great in depth knowledge of a particular industry, the people on here can probably help you through most things and point you to the right publications.
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I am a preparer with Jackson-Hewitt. The short course, as we call it, would be quite valuable to you. I do not know how complex your return is, but I highly recommend the J-H course. After taking it, you will understand the tax laws so much better. You will be given tax returns to prepare (in the Jackson-Hewitt program) and coaching to allow you to understand how to prepare them.

Using Turbo-Tax after learning the Jackson-Hewitt program, should be quite easy. You will understand the questions and can input your data with no problems.

Donna
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4 hours a week for how long? I had made contact to volunteer, but it may not work out. It looks like all of the local schedules are 8-12 or 1-5 weekdays. It didn't occur to me that weekends would not be an option.

Debra
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4 hours a week for how long?

My experience has been roughly Feb 1 through April 15, but March is usually pretty slow. The refund people are in as soon as the W-2's are out, and the bal dues wait.

I had made contact to volunteer, but it may not work out. It looks like all of the local schedules are 8-12 or 1-5 weekdays. It didn't occur to me that weekends would not be an option.

I imagine a lot depends on location. Where I worked in Kansas we had two weeknights plus Saturday afternoon.

Phil
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I took the H&R Block basic tax course 3 years ago (and worked as a preparer for 2 years).

As I recall, class was held 2 nights a week, 3 hours a night for 10 or 12 weeks. Most people who take the course do so with the intent of working for H&R Block, but not everyone.

The course material is two big binders full of information and practice problems, and the materials are yours to keep. You'll have weekly quizzes (easy), homework problems, and a final exam. All of the tax returns done in the basic course are done on paper. (If you go to work for H&R Block, then they'll teach you how to use their proprietary software program -- it's much different from the one you buy in the store.)

The H&R Block basic course is very informative, but you'll spend a lot of time covering things that won't be relevant to your own tax situation. If I were you, I would skip the "tax preparer" classes and instead get a copy of IRS Publication 17 (it's free) and read it. Unless you have a very complicated tax situation, Pub 17 and Turbo Tax should be able to guide you through all you need to know to prepare your own taxes.

MF
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Thanks for all the replies and good information. I'm
going to stop by the Jackson Hewitt office and look at
their materials for the course before I decide what I'm
going to do.

Thanks again.

MK
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I know I'm a little late on this, but here's my $.02:
I'm in the HRB class right now. 11 weeks, 3 hours every Monday and Wednesday(other weeknights as well as a Saturday class was available). My cost was $149 because I signed up pretty early...I've learned that people that signed up later paid $199. New for this year, I believe, is that much of the class is conducted on the computer using HRB software. They say they're doing this so we'll be more ready to work for Block when we're done with the class. In my class of 15-20, only 3 have stated that they're interested in working for HRB. So far, it's interesting and informative. I could have learned much of it by just reading Pub. 17, but the classroom discussion helps me quite a bit.

I was thinking about taking the Jackson Hewitt class, but after 2 emails and 2 phone calls that went un-returned over the course of a couple weeks, they didn't make a good impression with me. If I can't get a response as a potential customer, what kind of response would I get as a student or employee?!?

-Snack
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