GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - If you've received your W-2, you may be preparing to file your taxes. Tax season officially opened at the end of January and many people already are filing. For Jackson-Hewitt employee, Margaret Jackson, that means more people coming through the door.
"It really started picking up last Friday, when everyone started getting their tax forms in," she said.
District Manager Barbara Pierce said even though you have multiple options, going online isn't always the safest way to file.
"You can miss deductions that you're allowed, or you can take deductions that you are not allowed," said Pierce.
Taking unlawful deductions could mean a hold on your return.
Pierce also said many people may not know how the Affordable Care Act will affect them, and that's where a tax expert can help.
"So many people are worried about whether it impacts them this year. In fact, it does not. But you have to be prepared for next year," said Pierce.
So, if you don't file yourself, you may be wondering what to look for when researching tax companies. Jackson recommends looking for one qualification in particular.
"Look for somebody that is a registered tax return preparer." That is when a business, like Jackson-Hewitt, is registered with the IRS as being able to file taxes securely and accurately.
Jackson said many people come to her because they simply get confused on their own.
"A lot of people don't understand how to fill out some of the information, like what their adjusted gross income is for the year, and that's where we can come in and help and fill out the application for them," she said.
The employees at Jackson-Hewitt said that the opening of tax season was slightly delayed because of the partial government shutdown last fall. But the due date is still April 15th.