H&R Block Tax Software Review 2023: Is It Right For Me?
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H&R Block has been a trusted name in tax preparation since 1956 when bothers Henry and Richard Bloch created their tax preparation business in Kansas City. Today, in addition to having approximately 12,000 physical locations worldwide, they now offer highly rated online and downloadable software for those who want to do their own taxes. H&R Block also offers a Tax Pro Go service, where users can upload their tax documents and a tax professional handles the rest. When H&R Block decided to create tax software, they did it right. It’s easy to use, provides answers to many questions as you do your taxes and offers one of the best free version on the market.
A new addition to H&R Block’s online offerings this year is Online Assist, which offers unlimited on-demand help from a tax expert, EA, or CPA. Similar to TurboTax Live, this service is available year-round via chat, phone, and screen share. As expected H&R Block is once again neck and neck with TurboTax. While TurboTax remains best overall, we think H&R Block may be the right choice for some filers, especially those looking to save a few bucks.
- Offers one of the most comprehensive free tax returns.
- Local stores if you want to meet with a tax professional in person
- Less expensive than TurboTax.
- Support options are not as flexible or thorough as TurboTax.
- User flow may feel choppy when compared to TurboTax.
Who should Consider Using H&R Block?
Tax filers who want premium service for less.
If you’re looking for a premium product and want to save some money you should consider H&R Block. They offer a lot of the premium features seen in other online tax software for less. What really sets them apart are the +10,000 store locations across the U.S. In person appointments start at $69. If you get stuck or aren’t tech savvy the option to meet with a tax pro in person can be more than worth an additional fee. Like most online tax services, you can start for free to see if H&R Block works for you.
What Are the H&R Block Packages and Their Prices?
The packages offered by H&R Block are priced by what forms you need to file. If your tax return is complicated you can expect to pay more. State returns also cost an additional $44.99.
This year H&R Block introduced Online Assist that allows you to file online with on-demand help from a tax expert, EA, or CPA.
The Free Online edition offered by H&R Block may be the best free version available. While still meant for simple 1040 returns, it covers additional common tax situations not included with TurboTax’s free edition. If you have a W-2, kids, or education expenses this version might work for you. With H&R Block Free Online you can file child and dependent expenses, student loan interest, tuition and fees, and unemployment income (Form 1099-G). If you don’t qualify for the free version you’ll be notified and asked to upgrade.
Meant for simple 1040 tax returns and one of the best free offers, it also includes Schedules 1, 2 and 3. If you have kids, education expenses, and your income is limited to a W-2 this version will probably work for you.
Ideal for home owners and those wanting to itemize their deductions. HSA contributions are also included with this package. More complicated situations like stocks, bonds, rentals, or small businesses filing will need to upgrade.
If you own a rental property, have investment earnings, or freelance/contractor income with expenses less than $5,000 this is what you need. File Schedule D and E, import expenses from apps like Stride, and import 1099-B.
For small business owners, freelancers, and independent contractors, this package includes business tax deductions, asset depreciation, and imports Uber driver tax information.
H&R Block: Online Assist
Combine the expertise and service of H&R Block stores with the convenience of online filing and you get Online Assist.
- On-demand chat with a tax expert, EA, or CPA
- Share your screen to get help exactly where you need it
- Ask as many questions as you want, enjoy unlimited help
You can start with Online Assist, or upgrade at any time in the filing process.
Basic With Expert Help
Deluxe With Expert Help
Premium With Expert Help
Self-Employed With Expert Help
Please note, we’ve reviewed H&R Block based on pricing at the time of writing. H&R Block and many other tax websites start off with lower pricing at the beginning of the season. Prices to file with H&R Block are subject to change without notice. We’ll update prices as they change, but you can verify current prices by clicking through to H&R Block’s site.
How Easy Is It to Use H&R Block?
Guidance Throughout the Process
When you file with H&R Block you won’t have to do much IRS interpretation, if any. They do a good job of simplifying the language and process into easy to understand sections. If you don’t understand a section or question, additional explanations can be found by clicking “Learn More”. Free help is also available via live chat if you need help with the software. For tax related help and guidance you’ll need to pay.
Visually, the H&R Block interface and process are not as enjoyable as TurboTax. The navigation process can also seem repetitive. H&R Block also prefers a more formal color selection and tone to colorful displays and friendly language. While different than TurboTax, it is nothing more than a different approach to solving the same problem of tax filing. To some, the direct business like approach of H&R Block will be a welcomed contrast to the friendly nature of TurboTax.
Tools and Features to Speed Things Along
Typos can create a lot of pain when filing taxes. H&R Block has done a lot to reduce the risk of typos and errors by adding import features and checking your return for obvious mistakes along the way.
Picture Import: Import the information on your W-2 to your tax return by taking a picture with your smartphone. You can also import data from your 1099s.
Import Expenses: The Premium and Self-Employed packages allow you to import expenses from popular expense tracking apps like Stride, saving you lots of time.
Easy Switching: If you’ve decided it’s time to switch you can import data from your previous year’s return from other tax software packages.If you use H&R Block for years, you can get access to six years’ tax returns.
DeductionPro©: Deduction Pro will help you optimize any donations you’ve made throughout the year.
Flexible Filing: File on the go or at home. H&R Block is available on devices that support internet browsing. There’s also a mobile app if you prefer to file from you phone.
How Does H&R Block Compare to TurboTax Software?
H&R Block is one of your best options for tax software, and is consistently neck and neck with TurboTax. How do the two compare?
More formal business like interview and approach than TurboTax
Friendly language and smooth design make for an enjoyable filing experience.
Offers in person help at +10,000 locations in addition to online help.
The industry leader for flexible support options throughout the filing process.
Less expensive than TurboTax, but still more expensive than others.
One of the more expensive options on the market.
What Kind of Support Does H&R Block Online Offer?
H&R Block helps with your taxes starting when you enter the program and potentially long after you file your return if you’ve purchased Online Assist. Guidance and topic help varies according to the support package you’ve picked. Check out the support options below to learn what will work for you.
These general support tools are available to everyone that uses H&R Block, you won’t need to pay more to use them.
These support options are included with paid H&R Block products.
These premium support options can be purchased in addition to your tax return and get you access to tax professionals.
Getting Your Tax Refund with H&R Block
H&R Block offers a variety of ways to get your money if you’re getting a refund. The fastest method is through direct deposit to a bank account. Other options include getting your refund on a H&R Block Emerald prepaid debit MasterCard, paper check, buying U.S. savings bonds, or applying your refund to next year’s taxes. If you load your refund on an Amazon e-gift card you’ll get an additional 4%.
You can pay for your tax return with your refund, but it costs $39.95 to do that.
What Else Should I Know About H&R Block?
H&R Block offers the following guarantees:
No Surprise Guarantee: Get 20% off next year’s tax preparation if H&R Block fails to provide any of the four benefits included in the guarantee, including upfront transparent pricing, transparent process, free audit assistance, and free midyear tax check-in.
Maximum Refund Guarantee: If another preparation service gives you a bigger refund your return with H&R Block is free.
100% Accuracy Guarantee: H&R Block will reimburse you up to $10,000 for any penalties and interests as a result of a software error.
Audit Support Guarantee: If you receive an IRS or state tax notice related to a return you filed with H&R Block they’ll give you steps respond no additional charge. While they won’t legally represent you, their guidance can be helpful.
A Great Option
H&R Block offers a premium tax experience and quality support at a slightly more affordable price than TurboTax. The feel and style throughout the tax interview also tends to be more formal than friendly. For some, this can be a win, but if you’re coming from TurboTax it can be jarring. While TurboTax offers better support and a smoother filing experience, H&R Block support extends to +10,0000 locations around the U.S. where you can meet with a tax professional in person. However, most people will find the online support options to be more than enough.
If you’re a first-time filer or want to change service providers and you like the idea of premium support we recommend you try TurboTax first. It costs more, but also offers the best support and tax filing experience. If you’re a long-time customer of H&R Block, you’ve made a great choice. You’ll continue to benefit from thoughtful guidance and a no nonsense approach to tax filing.