Using tax preparation software can help you navigate your tax return without spending hours trying to make sense of various forms and their accompanying instructions. Even if it costs you money, using H&R Block tax software (and other programs) can be worth it. Here’s a look at what H&R Block has to offer.
What Is H&R Block?H&R Block is well-known for its in-person tax preparation services. You can go in and sit with a human and have someone help you with your taxes. It costs money to make an appointment, but for some consumers, it’s comforting to sit down with someone.
If you want to do your taxes on your own, with some guidance from software, H&R Block offers that option as well. H&R Block’s online tax software options provide you with a way to file your taxes from the comfort of your own home. Plus, if you decide you want to talk to someone, you can make that happen, since the company offers extensive customer support.
Who Is H&R Block Good For?
Additionally, if you have relatively straightforward taxes, Credit Karma offers a free product that includes some business aspects.
If you think you’ll need someone available to answer questions, H&R Block is a good choice. It’s a full-service option for those who think they’ll need some hand-holding. Plus, it’s ideal for those who worry that they may have to visit with someone in person at some point.
H&R Block Features
|Small Business Features|
|Audit Assistance Included|
|Accuracy Guarantee||Penalty and interest reimbursement|
|Filing Support||Live Chat and Phone: M-SUN 8A-5P CST|
H&R Block Plans and Pricing
There are some basic features you can expect when you use H&R Block online, including:
- Ability to use your phone camera to capture your W-2
- Upload a PDF of last year’s 1040 to automatically begin populating your return (you can also import a file from TurboTax)
- Real-time tax refund results
- Extensive knowledge base to draw from
- Ability to get real-time help and even share your screen with tax professionals (for a fee)
- Access to audit support (for a fee)
Different products come with different levels of complexity, so what you choose depends on your tax situation.
Federal Return: $0
|Those with uncomplicated tax situations who meet certain requirements can file a tax return free using H&R Block. You can’t file a Schedule A with the free version, but for many tax filers, the recently doubled standard deduction makes itemizing moot.
You can even file a state tax return free if you qualify for the free federal version.
Federal Return: $49.99
|If you plan to itemize your deductions, you’ll need to get at least this version. If you have real estate taxes, mortgage interest, and/or an HSA, this version can be a good choice. It comes with DeductionPro, which is designed to help you maximize your eligible deductions. On top of that, you get free support via chat or phone.|
Federal Return: $69.99
|In addition to the features that come with the Deluxe version, the Premium H&R Block online tax software comes with the ability to report up to $5,000 in freelance or contractor income. It can also handle stock sales and rental property income. You can also use the software to help you figure your cost basis and import expenses from popular apps, including Stride, making it easier to account for them.|
Federal Return: $104.99
|If you own a business, or if you make more than $5,000 from your freelancing or contract work, this version might be a good choice. You’ll be able to figure the home office deduction, depreciation, and vehicle expenses. You can also use H&R Block’s Business Booster to help you find expenses to write off. You can also import data from rideshare services, including Uber. And of course, you get access to all the features in previous versions.|
Tax Refund Options
H&R Block tax software offers some interesting options for receiving your refund. As expected, you can choose to receive direct deposit by providing your bank information. You can also opt for a paper check. But H&R Block also offers other interesting choices.
- Direct deposit
- Paper check
- Prepaid MasterCard
It’s important to understand that pricing changes frequently for tax prep software, including H&R Block. However, H&R Block offers upfront price transparency, assuming you choose the appropriate product.
How to Sign Up
H&R Block asks a few questions that can help you determine which version is right for you. Once you figure out which product to use, you can start the process by setting up an account — or you can set up an account later. Some features can’t be accessed until you create an account, however.
There’s a disclosure form you can choose to sign. You don’t have to in order to proceed, but it makes it harder for H&R Block to personalize your taxes if you don’t allow the disclosure.
Once you get through those steps, you can start working on your tax return. It’s fairly straightforward, and you can start your taxes without providing credit card information.
One of the nice things about H&R Block is that you can start your return by uploading a PDF of your previous year’s Form 1040. Make sure you upload only the two pages of the 1040, though. Other documents aren’t needed.
You can file your taxes using H&R Block Tax Prep. It allows you to import last year’s tax information and use the phone camera to get pictures of your W-2 and other documents. You use one sign-in, so you can switch to a desktop later — or back again.
H&R Block offers extensive customer support. You can get access to unlimited live chat support free, and even call and talk to a person.
Additionally, if you pay extra, you can use screen share capabilities to better display your issues. An extensive online help center answers basic questions, and there are support items throughout the software as you fill out your forms.
Finally, if all else fails, you can visit someone in person in one of the 12,000 branches across the country.
H&R Block Pros & Cons
Access to tax professionals—You’ll be able to talk to tax pros via phone or live chat. These are people who know taxes.
Start your return without providing payment information—With upfront pricing, you’ll have an idea of what you’ll be expected to pay, and you can start the return without providing a credit card.
Easy to navigate—H&R Block offers intuitive navigation that walks you through the process. Also, the ability to snap your information or upload previous returns can help reduce the time you spend dealing with your return.
Audit support—So you can get representation if your return is scrutinized.
Option for free filing—If you have a very simple return and meet certain criteria, you can file fr
Price is on the high end—If you don’t qualify for free filing, you’ll have to pay for your return, and it can get pricey, especially if you need more than just a few itemized deductions.
Add-ons can increase the price—While audit support is a nice touch, you’ll pay for it. Plus, other add-ons can increase the price dramatically.
Steep price for state returns—Each state return increases the price you pay. H&R Block charges a hefty rate for state returns.