To the layperson, doing taxes can be one of the most daunting tasks of the year. If you are lucky enough to have an extremely simple tax situation, you can head over to the post office or simply download and print a 1040EZ form.
If you are not eligible for 1040EZ filing, however, it may be worth considering using tax preparation software. There are several benefits to do your taxes with these products. It is cost-efficient and easy, your risk of making a mistake is low, and you will get your refund faster.
When shopping around for high-end tax software, you will no doubt come across H&R Block, a reputable and rock-solid tax preparation and filing platform that can accommodate almost every tax situation.
How it Works
H&R Block’s platform uses a navigation-style guiding system to help users prepare and file their tax returns. When you start, the platform will ask you in a step-by-step manner to provide information, upload forms, or answer questions.
The process of preparing your tax return can be broken down into sessions. After completing a session, you will be able to review the information you entered to ensure that there are no inaccuracies and that you didn’t leave any info out.
The first segment of the preparation involves providing your personal and tax information. You will then receive a filing status that will form the basis of the tax filing process.
The process will then guide you towards entering all the information relating to your income, deductions, and credits. After entering all your financial data, you’ll be asked information about your taxes, including common taxes, penalties, and your household’s health insurance.
The platform will provide you with a list of relevant and miscellaneous forms that you haven’t uploaded yet. If you received one of these forms via mail, you can upload them during this stage.
Based on all the information and forms that you provide the software, it will generate your tax return for the year. Before submitting it to the IRS, you can review the form and store it if you are using a paid version.
Understandable Interface with Step-by-step Navigation
H&R Block is known for their intuitive interface that makes the entire process of tax preparation and filing as simple as possible. The interface was developed to help people who have no experience with tax preparation or software to enter their information, upload forms, and submit their returns with minimal difficulty. In the case of any problems, users can contact the software’s technical support team.
Form importing is a feature that many tax software products incorporate into their platforms. With H&R Block, users can upload W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and tax returns from previous years. Clients can also upload documents from other tax software platforms and, if they have printed forms, take a picture of these forms and upload them to the platform.
The benefit of this feature is that it eliminates the need to key in information manually, which speeds up the process and increases accuracy.
Receiving an audit notification from the IRS can be quite troubling. If you are an H&R Block client, tax professionals will conduct an audit consultation with you to help you understand how the audit works. Depending on your situation and the product that you bought, you may be entitled to further audit assistance after this consultation.
Clients that file their tax returns with H&R Block’s audit software may be eligible to receive free personal audit support as well. If you filed your return at a physical H&R Block store, you can purchase audit support at a nominal fee.
H&R Block offers several guarantees to ensure quality to their users. These guarantees include the following:
- A maximum tax refund guarantee. If other tax software services provide you a higher refund, H&R Block will amend your return and refund the money you paid for their service.
- A customer satisfaction guarantee. All clients are eligible for a refund if they are dissatisfied with the service.
- A 100% accuracy guarantee. H&R Block will reimburse you for any errors on their end and provide you with full in-person audit assistance.
Tools and Support
Depending on the plan you bought, you may be entitled to complete tax support, audit support, and access to ACA, tax, and W-4 calculators. H&R Block also gives their clients access to “knowledge articles” to provide them with information on tax preparation and filing with their software.
There are four versions available that you can choose from: Free, Deluxe, Premium, and Self-Employed. All versions require you pay for a state return which is $36.99.
The Free version offers free state and federal filing services and is geared towards meeting the needs of new taxpayers and people with simple tax situations. With this Free option, you can file the following forms:
- Form 1040EZ and 1040A
- Form 1099 B, DIV, INT, and R
- Form 1098 E and T
- Form 1095 A and B
The free version also allows you to claim for earned income tax credit using Schedule EIC. If you choose this plan, you can claim more than 350 credits and deductions, make use of H&R Block’s technical support via chat, and see throughout the preparation process how your tax refund is influenced by the information you enter.
Deluxe – $29.99
The Deluxe version includes everything in the Free version as well as more forms that allows you to claim more deductions. With Deluxe, you can also file Schedule A, itemize your deductions, use a tool that helps you report charitable contributions, and store six years’ worth of tax returns. However, starting at the Deluxe level, state returns cost an additional flat fee per state.
Premium – $49.99
Premium is ideal for investors, freelancers, rental property owners, and contractors and allows the filing of Schedules C-EX, D, E, and K-1. This version also provides all the features and benefits that are available in the free and Deluxe versions.
Self-Employed – $79.99
This is the most expensive version, as it provides all the forms that H&R Block has to offer as well as Schedule C filing for self-employed people and small businesses.
H&R Block Competitors
The tax software market is worth tons of money, so there are a ton of H&R Block Alternatives. Three of their biggest competitors are:
TaxSlayer – With a company history of more than five decades, TaxSlayer is a top product and worth considering.
- Navigation-style user guidance
- Simple and user-friendly interface
- Four high-quality tax software packages
- Easy form importing from pictures and other platforms
- Paid versions are relatively expensive
- The free version does not include tax support
- There are more affordable plans for business owners
H&R Block Review Bottom Line
H&R Block won’t steer you wrong, but you may find paid versions with more features at lower prices elsewhere. Their Free version, however, offers the same functionality as many of their competitors’ basic paid versions, so if your situation is relatively simple and you don’t anticipate needing much help, go for it.