H&R Block Review

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PROS / This online tax software program is easy to use and is capable of producing an accurate return.

CONS / It costs more than other programs, and it does not offer a free state e-file option for 1040EZ filers.

VERDICT / H&R Block's online tax software is worth checking out. Our test team found it simple to use, it caught their errors, and it didn't inundate them with complicated tax language.

Last year H&R Block prepared over 24 million returns, and it has prepared more than 650 million returns since 1955. The company is perhaps one of the most well-known tax preparation services. In addition to its more than 12,000 franchise offices located in all 50 states, it offers you the option of filing your federal and state taxes online.

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H&R Block's online software is simple use. In addition, it offers competitively priced plans to choose from, and in our tests, this online tax preparation software successfully caught most of the errors that we deliberately introduced when preparing our tax return. Because of these reasons and others we explain below, H&R Block receives our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award.

Value

H&R Block offers taxpayers four options to choose from to prepare their income tax return. There is a free version, but unlike TurboTax and TaxAct, H&R Block does not offer free state e-filing for 1040EZ filers – state e-filing starts at $9.99. The upgraded basic version, a step above the free version, includes the ability to import previous years' W-2s and tax returns, plus it includes free storage and technical support. While the basic version can handle itemized deductions, homeowners will benefit from upgrading to the third tier, the deluxe version. The deluxe version also helps with investment and retirement income. Finally, there's the premium version, which is the one you'll need to use for claiming self-employment or rental property income.

The tax services that provide the best value to their customers can create an accurate return for a reasonable price. H&R Block has a different pricing model than other services. Most tax forms, such as mortgage interest, are available to all types of filers, but, for an additional fee, you can upgrade to receive additional guidance and customer service options. While most tax forms are available in the lower-tiered versions, with H&R Block, you have to upgrade the version you need if you need mortgage interest, investment income or business deduction guidance. In our comparison, H&R Block costs just as much as TurboTax if you need to file more complex returns.

H&R Block includes step-by-step guidance within the software as well as free tax advice with one of its consultants. In addition, filers can receive up to an extra five percent of their federal refund if they opt to receive a portion of their refund as an e-gift card.

In our tests of tax preparation software, H&R Block performed quite well. It produced more accurate results than its competitors. Testers were also able to create a high percent of correct state returns. The average time it took our testers to complete a return was only 35 minutes, with some completing their return in under 25 minutes.

Ease of Use

H&R Block scored high by our testers in ease of use. Our test team described H&R Block's software as, "easy to use," fast and easy," and "not excessively jargony." Most of our testers did not have to consult the help topics to complete their returns, but they noted that help information was readily available if they needed it. When they did consult the support information, they found the terminology easy to understand. They felt the software was up to date, and it informed them of tax law changes.

All testers liked H&R Block's interface. They reported that they appreciated the uncluttered layout and simple navigation. The interface is streamlined and sections progress in a logical order. If you are thinking about switching from your current tax software program to H&R Block's, it can import returns from other programs, including TurboTax and TaxAct.

In our tests of tax software, our testers intentionally introduced a few errors as they were filling out their return. In regards to catching errors, H&R Block scored better than most of its competitors. In most cases, it immediately alerted the tester of the mistake, and it provided an opportunity for them to fix it right away.

Help & Support

H&R Block provides numerous support options and in-person assistance at its more than 12,000 retail locations. You can schedule an in-office appointment online. Telephone, chat and email support is available to paid customers. Those using free versions can contact H&R Block by email with technical or tax questions. One other nice feature is that downloadable software is available if you'd rather prepare your taxes offline.

 

Summary

This well-established tax software performed exceptionally this year. H&R Block online tax preparation software is simple to use, streamlined and capable of producing accurate returns. It is adept at catching errors and offers easy-to-understand explanations. It is worth considering for processing your tax returns.

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