On a recent afternoon, Karen Johnson, 40, walked out of that office - where she had just paid about $200 to have her return prepared - and said she was unaware she might have qualified to have her taxes done for free.
The office clerk, who makes about $26,000 a year and receives the earned-income credit, hadn't signed up for a rapid refund loan, content to wait until the money appeared in her bank account.
Still, the mother of two said, she will probably investigate free preparation next year, or do her taxes herself.
"Definitely, I will check into it," Johnson said of the free preparation services.
But Bob Phillips, who operates that Jackson Hewitt office and 12 others in the area, argued taxpayers get what they pay for. "That's why we exist. We spend a lot of time and effort for our training."
At Jackson Hewitt in Baltimore, a rapid refund loan - which would give a taxpayer his full refund the day after his return was prepared - would cost about $85 for a $2,000 refund, on top of the preparation fee. The filer can get up to $700 the same day his return is completed by paying another $20.
Phillips said customers seek the loans; he doesn't foist them on people. "For us, the [loan] products are quite secondary to the tax preparation," he said.
Besides promoting more tax relief for low-income families, Casey's Nelson said he hopes the report might induce banks to open branches in poor neighborhoods - by showing how much money residents have at their disposal. That, in turn, would make it easier for families to open accounts, receive refunds faster and build savings.
"If you look just at the income of these families, you may underestimate what's available in these neighborhoods," he said.