In this H&R Block Online review, we’ll explore how their tax software works, the features it offers, and help determine which package may be best for you. Enjoy!
It’s that time of year that many people dread…tax season!
Preparing taxes can be overwhelming. There are so many forms to wade through, receipts to find, and questions to answer. Plus, there is always the fear of forgetting something or making mistakes because we all know the IRS can be unforgiving.
So, how can you prepare your taxes and know that you’ve done so correctly while ensuring you’ve maximized eligible deductions?
Your answer may be H&R Block’s tax software.
Who is H&R Block?
H&R Block is a tax preparation service that helps you file taxes online. They have been around since 1955 and has 12,000 retail locations worldwide. The company has local offices, online services, and tax preparation software you can download onto your PC.
H&R Block Online Products
Our review will focus on the online tax preparation programs H&R Block offers. Each version varies in price based on the features offered and your tax preparation needs. Let’s look at their options to see if one fits you.
Free Online Edition
H&R Block offers a free version of its tax preparation software. It is free to use and to file a basic tax return. In order to use the free version, you should have a very basic tax return. Compared to other free online tax preparation software, though, H&R Block offers much more:
- Free federal and state tax filing
- Child and dependent care expenses
- Health coverage exemptions
- Earned Income Tax Credit
- Student loan interest deductions
- Tuition & Fees statement
The free version of H&R Block’s software also provides W-2 photo capture, which allows you to take a picture of your W-2 and upload it, saving you time filling in all of your personal information.
As you go through the tax preparation process, you can see your refund go up or down as you enter your tax info. H&R Block’s free online tax filing includes 45 forms, much more than offered by other free online tax software companies. If you have a simple tax return, H&R Block’s free online edition is a great tool to use this year.
Deluxe Online Edition
If you don’t have a basic tax return, H&R Block’s Deluxe Online Edition offers tons of features at an affordable price. The standard price for the Deluxe Edition and to file federal taxes is $49.99, though it can be as low as $29.99. State tax filing is a separate charge, currently set at $36.99 per state filed.
H&R Block Deluxe Online offers several features not available in the free option. You can still capture your W-2 by photo and also import information from last year’s tax return, no matter what program you used to file. Other features that come with this version include:
- Home mortgage interest deductions and real estate taxes (Schedule A)
- Optimize tax savings from charitable donations
- Technical support via phone
- Storage of tax documents and returns for six years
H&R Block’s Deluxe Online tax preparation is perfect for homeowners and people with charitable deductions and health savings accounts (HSAs).
Premium Online Edition
H&R Block’s Premium version is perfect for investors and entrepreneurs. This version offers Investment Income Reporting which guides you through the sale of your investments as well as reporting capital gains and losses (Schedule D). It also provides help with rental properties (Schedule E).
Freelancers and independent contractors with simpler tax returns will love features within the Premium Online Edition. This includes making sure you meet all the requirements of Schedule C-EZ. You can also import expenses from popular expense tracking apps, including mileage trackers. This will save freelancers and independent contractors tons of time on tax preparation.
Other features of H&R Block’s Premium Online include the ability to import 1099-B investment income (including cost basis) as well as determining the cost basis of a home sale, dividend, gift, and inheritance assets.
The Premium version is normally priced at $69.99 but frequently goes on sale for $49.99 for federal filing. State tax filing still costs $36.99 per state filed.
Self-Employed Online Edition
If you own a small business or have a more complex tax return as a freelancer or independent contractor, you will enjoy using H&R Block’s Self-Employed Online edition. This version is regularly priced at $104.99 and goes on sale for $79.99 for federal tax filing. State tax filing is still $36.99 (per state filed).
The Self-Employed software makes it easy for business owners to prepare their tax return with features such as:
- Help reporting profits and losses for your business on Schedule C
- Business tax deductions
- Asset depreciation
- Importing of tax information for Uber drivers directly from your Uber account
- Write off start-up costs
H&R Block’s Self-Employed Online edition is designed to help business owners take advantage of every eligible deduction as quickly as possible, saving time and money.
Tax Pro Review
The pinnacle of all the online offerings from H&R Block is Tax Pro Review. This version offers all of the great features that come with other versions of their software PLUS tax return review services from a real tax pro. Tax Pro review costs $119.99 for federal tax return filing and $36.99 for state tax returns (per state filed).
What makes H&R Block Tax Pro Review special? A member of H&R Block’s tax return team will personally review your tax returns. This includes double-checking every detail of your tax return, personally signing off on it, and filing your return for you.
H&R Block’s tax pro will also make sure you get the maximum refund. They guarantee accuracy and give you access to every tax form possible, no matter how complex your tax return.
If you are looking for assurance that your tax return is accurate and you didn’t miss any deductions, Tax Pro Review might be the right option for you.
Other H&R Block Online Features
Regardless of what version of H&R Block’s online tax preparation software you use, they also offer other features that users will find helpful.
- Peace of Mind Extended Service Plan – For an extra fee, you can receive tax notice support and audit protection for the life of your tax return.
- Second Look Review – This free service looks through older tax returns to see if you deserved more money. Take the online assessment and then take those returns to your local H&R Block office (or through video chat) and a tax pro will take a look for more money. If they find anything, they will help you refile.
- Tax Pro Go – For an extra fee, you can connect with an H&R Block tax pro to get help with your tax return and have them file for you, all from the comfort of your own house.
- Tax Identity Shield – H&R Block works to safeguard your tax identity and your refund from tax fraud, including monitoring and restoration services.
H&R Block Guarantees
Like other online tax preparation software companies, H&R Block stands behind its services with guarantees.
Maximum Refund Guarantee
H&R Block offers a maximum refund guarantee that is sure to put your mind at ease. If you discover an error in their software which should have entitled you to a larger refund or a smaller liability, they will refund the software fees. They will also allow you to use their software to amend your return at no additional charge.
100% Accuracy Guarantee
If H&R Block’s software makes an error on your return, they will reimburse you for any penalties and interest you receive, up to $10,000.
Audit Support Guarantee
If you receive an IRS notice related to the return you filed with H&R Block, they will work with you to understand the notice and give you steps to take to respond at no additional charge (does not include any in-person representation for an audit, provided for a separate fee).
H&R Block’s Tax Tools & Tips
H&R Block’s website offers several helpful tools and tips for tax return preparation. Everything is designed to save you time and maximize your tax return.
Tax Law Reform – H&R Block is on top of recent tax law reforms. Use this section to understand the latest tax law changes to see how they affect your tax return this year.
Tax Calculators – Also available is a free income tax calculator to estimate your refund or how much you might owe this year. Their calculator factors in all of the recent tax reforms to give you a truer picture of your possible return.
Tax Prep Checklist – Print off a complete tax prep checklist or create your own customized list by answering a few quick questions.
H&R Block Support – Search for answers to your tax questions in H&R Block’s support database.
Tax Refund Options
H&R Block offers tax returns through direct deposit, a paper check, or an H&R Block Emerald Prepaid Mastercard. For a fee, you can pay for filing your taxes out of your tax return through H&R Block’s Refund Transfer.
Where Does H&R Block Shine?
H&R Block comes through big-time with affordable tax preparation software, while still offering many features other programs don’t have. Their free program is even more extensive than programs like TurboTax.
The online format is also easy to understand and use, no matter who you are. It is simple to navigate and will help speed up your tax preparation better than many other programs.
For self-employed users, the ability to track expenses easily is invaluable. The fact that you can track them the entire year and scan receipts make H&R Block’s software a top choice for entrepreneurs.
Where Does H&R Block Fall Short?
Many of H&R Block’s excellent features are only available for an extra fee. This includes audit support and more advanced support features.
While their software is often less expensive than other tax preparation software, all of the extra charges add up. Depending on what forms you need, you may need to upgrade to a costlier program to access them.
Who Should Use H&R Block Online?
Those with simple tax returns – Users with simple tax returns should definitely check out H&R Block’s free online software, which allows for much more than other online software programs.
Users who want to local support – If you like the option of being able to file online or visit a local retail location, H&R Block is your best option.
Entrepreneurs and Landlords – For entrepreneurs and landlords, the Premium and Self-Employed online software will make tax filing easy. There are lots of tools available to help maximize your return and write off expenses.
Is H&R Block Online Worth It?
With all these features, H&R Block offers software that is worth the cost. H&R Block has been providing people with quality tax preparation service for over 60 years, and they continue that tradition with these excellent online software options. In our estimation, it’s one of the best tax programs available.
Have you used H&R Block for filing tax returns? Add your thoughts in the comments below!