Editor's Note: Online e-filing services often change what features and prices they offer throughout the tax season. We will update the Online Tax Software reviews as needed throughout the 2014 tax season as new versions are released.
H&R Block is backed by nearly 60 years of tax preparation experience. Since its inception, the company has prepared more than 24 million returns. It helped its clients receive more than $50 billion in tax refund money last year. This tax service supports all tax forms and provides simple federal e-filing for free. Our Top Ten Reviews Bronze Award-winning online tax software, H&R Block, can help you create accurate federal and state returns stress-free from your own home.
This tax preparation service can even provide one-on-one support to your house; you don't even have to visit an office to receive professional support. Using the Block Live service, you can work with a tax professional via video conference, telephone or instant chat. You can also access H&R Block services from your iPhone, Android device or iPad.
H&R Block offers a wide range of tax services, from free simple e-filing to online declaring of self-employment and rental income. Most taxpayers can easily use one of the online versions. However, should you need assistance, most Americans live within five miles of one of the company's thousands of local offices, where the business employs more than 100,000 tax professionals. We did a quick check and discovered five retail offices located within five miles of our corporate headquarters, including two bilingual offices.
This year, H&R Block helped us effortlessly prepare accurate federal and state returns using our test tax scenario. For the 2014 tax season, we created a rather typical 1040 scenario with itemized deductions and a simple 1040EZ situation. This online tax software guided us straight to our earned credits and deductions, and it produced a correct return to the dollar. H&R Block tracks the most current tax law changes and even found our deliberate errors.
H&R Block provides tax services for all types of filers, from 1040EZ to investors and the self-employed. For the purpose of this review, we tested the Deluxe version – which can handle itemized deductions and many common personal tax scenarios – and the free version. If you are a little behind, H&R Block can help you file prior tax years back to 1992.
All versions come with double error-checking, a guided interview process, free audit support for those who subscribe to their support plan, and a maximum-refund guarantee. We feel that H&R Block can help you prepare simple and complex 1040s with accuracy. To help reduce entry errors, it can import from prior years, from other services, and from W-2s and 1099 forms. It can also import your tax information from TurboTax and TaxACT.
This product is a bit harder to use than the top-ranked product for first-time filers. However, most filers will find the H&R Block online tax preparation service and software to be helpful and user-friendly. This service also makes it easy to receive your refund. Disbursement options include check, direct deposit or deposit to a prepaid card. This service also provides refund anticipation checks for a fee, so that you can get your money before the IRS even processes your refund; this service costs an additional $34.95 for federal and another $13 for state. H&R Block places the money on a prepaid card or deposits it directly into your bank. A paper check refund costs an additional $25.
One thing that sets H&R Block apart from most other services is that you can visit a local office, talk to a professional tax preparer, and have him or her prepare and submit your taxes for you. While preparing taxes online and e-filing is the preferred method for the do-it-yourself types, other filers are anxious about preparing their own returns or have complex filing scenarios that they want help with. So it is convenient that H&R Block has more than 11,000 tax offices across the U.S., with over 100,000 tax professionals available during the tax season.
This tax service provides some good support options, including telephone customer and technical support. H&R Block's website hosts installation, download and login help, as well as contact information to local offices. During the tax season, you can also contact a representative via instant chat 24/7. During the off-season, reps are available by chat and telephone Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST. Video conferencing is also available. With this service, you can take advantage of one-on-one video conference assistance with preparing your return (for a fee based on the services needed). H&R Block is also active on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. You can even log in to your H&R Block account through Facebook.
H&R Block provides good tax help while you are logged in preparing your return. It provides a “Get Answers” section that answers frequently asked questions relevant to the section you are working on. There is also a “Get More Help” option and searchable help topics. We found the tax help current, thorough and relevant. The website has tax articles, tips and a tax blog. We found the blog up-to-date with useful posts. A free iPhone app is available through the iTunes store. This app provides a tax estimator, a help center, a tax checklist, a tax quiz and a “Find an Office” search tool.
If this time of year gives you tax anxiety, or if you have a more complicated tax situation, H&R Block is an experienced tax preparation choice. The firm provides a wide variety of tax support options and many opportunities for one-on-one support with a trained tax professional. It also offers easy-to-use online tax software if you are comfortable preparing your returns independently. H&R Block is one of the most experienced tax preparation services, with over 100,000 tax professionals ready to help. In our experiences with H&R Block professionals, they have always been able to help us prepare an accurate return right down to the dollar.
H&R Block touts over 60 years of tax preparation experience and more than 11,000 offices for one-on-one assistance. Its online services are simple to use, and H&R Block can support most tax situations – even business taxes.
Additional services such H&R Block's audit support and their "Peace of Mind" service plan may include additional fees.
If you need personal assistance creating your return, H&R Block is a wise choice. This tax service provides in-person tax assistance.