Jackson Hewitt(R) Tax Franchise Locations Help Last-Minute Filers - With or Without an Appointment, With Less Than 48 Hours To Go Until Tax Deadline

Many Offices Opening Earlier, Closing Later to Assist Taxpayers in the Home Stretch to April 15 Deadline

PARSIPPANY, N.J. // PRNewswire-FirstCall // -- With the midnight deadline for filing an annual tax return hours away, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service® locations across the country provide taxpayers with the assistance and information needed to accurately complete and file their returns on time. For additional taxpayer convenience, many Jackson Hewitt offices around the country are offering extended hours by opening early and closing later, as well as adding extra staff during peak times -- lunch and after-work hours.

"During these final hours, it's all about helping last-minute taxpayers with their concerns so that they take the right steps and file correctly, even in their rush to meet the deadline," said Mark Steber, chief tax officer, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. "By going to the Jackson Hewitt web site at www.jacksonhewitt.com and using the Office Locator, those who have not yet filed can quickly identify a nearby, convenient location to assist them in getting the job done in time."

Steber says tax preparers at Jackson Hewitt are working to help last-minute filers with their concerns during the last hours leading up to the filing deadline, including:

  • Helping claim all credits and deductions available: Working with a knowledgeable tax preparer can help last-minute filers find out about and claim all of the credits and deductions available to them, including new and recurring tax considerations. "Talk to your preparer about any changes you had in 2009," said Steber. "Did you buy a home? Have a baby? These and many other common life events have valuable tax benefits you may be able to claim."
  • Choosing the right filing status: Choosing the correct filing status may be straightforward for some taxpayers who clearly fall into a specific category, but it can be confusing for those who have more complex personal circumstances or where there is a misunderstanding of how each filing type is defined. A tax preparer can provide guidance on the most appropriate option.
  • Determining when to itemize -- and when to claim the standard deduction: Many taxpayers, such as those who make charitable donations, have unreimbursed business expenses, deduct mortgage interest and are eligible for certain other tax benefits, find that it is advantageous to itemize on Schedule A (Form 1040). For others who do not itemize, they should know about the increased standard deduction amounts available for Tax Year 2009.
  • Filing electronically (via IRS e-file): Submitting a tax return through IRS e-file is not only faster than mailing a return, it's also more accurate and includes a confirmation of receipt, so taxpayers know their returns have been received before the deadline. When you e-file and use direct deposit into a bank account, you can receive your refund in as little as 8 to 15 days. Jackson Hewitt provides free electronic filing with paid tax preparation.

Steber notes that those considering filing for an extension, which provides them six more months to file (until October 15, 2010), should keep these points top-of-mind:

  • An extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay. Anyone filing for an extension must submit IRS Form 4868 and pay at least 90 percent of their estimated tax liability by the April 15 deadline. Otherwise they may incur penalties.
  • Taxpayers are required to make a 'good faith' estimate of their tax liability in order for the extension to be valid. If the estimate is not found to be valid, the extension may be invalid, with possible penalties and interest imposed.
  • U.S. citizens living abroad with a main place of business outside the country are allowed an automatic two-month extension (until June 15, 2010 for calendar year taxpayers) to file a 2009 tax return and pay any federal tax due. However, interest will be assessed on any taxes not paid by April 15.
  • Members of the military who are on orders outside the United States on April 14 have an automatic two-month extension to June 15, 2010 without filing a Form 4868. However, they must pay at least 90 percent of taxes on or before April 15 for the extension to be valid.
  • Individuals serving in a combat zone have additional time to file, with automatic extensions for both filing a tax return and paying any money due. The extended deadline for filing is 180 days after the last day served in a combat zone, or the last day of qualified hospitalization for injury from service in a combat zone (whichever occurs later).

Once an extension is requested using IRS Form 4868, no further extensions are typically allowed.

"Keep in mind that there is still time to meet with a nearby tax preparer to file a tax return on time," added Steber. "But if you feel you must file an extension, be sure to understand what's involved and to complete the right paperwork so that there are no surprises down the line."

About Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc.

Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. (NYSE: JTX), with more than 6,300 franchised and company-owned offices throughout the United States, is an industry leader providing full service individual federal and state income tax return preparation. Most offices are independently owned and operated. In addition, an online tax preparation product, Jackson Hewitt® Online. The company is based in Parsippany, New Jersey. To locate the Jackson Hewitt Tax Service® office nearest to you, call 1-800-234-1040.

SOURCE Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc.

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