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H&R Block Review – Online Tax Filing Software

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The Bottom Line: H&R Block is one of the leaders when it comes to online tax softwares. They offer an ease to use interface, along with a free version that allows you to file for free.

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Best for Simple Returns

AT A GLANCE

  • Easy to use interface
  • One of the lowest price softwares
  • Best option for free filing
  • Access to tax pros for an added cost.

Overall Rating

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H&R Block is perhaps one of the biggest and most popular tax preparation companies in the country. 

Since tax season is officially upon us, it’s time to think about our options. 

Whether you’re filing as a single person, a family or small business, this H&R Block review will cover what you need to know.

We’re going to focus on the online filing service and its features, pricing, optional add ons and ease of use. 

What is H&R Block?

As one of the largest tax preparation companies in the U.S., it was founded in 1955 by Richard Bloch and Henry W. Bloch who happen to be brothers. 

With its headquarters based in Kansas, the company has around 12,000 retail locations and their software has helped prepare more than 800 million tax returns every year. 

Is it true that I can file my taxes for Free with H&R Block?

Yes, but not every may qualify.

H&R Block will let you file your Federal and State taxes for free if you fall in anyone of the following situations:

  • Anyone with student loan interest
  • Filers with childcare expenses
  • People who have Social Security or W2 income
  • If you qualify for the Child Tax Credit or the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • You’re filing a simple 1040 form

H&R Block offers one of the better free filing programs available.

If you’re not sure whether you qualify, check their website. 

Prices & Plans

H&R Block is one of the more competitively priced tax preparation software services.

Some of their tiers also tend to offer more services for their premium tiers.

The best value from what we’ve seen so far are the premium and free tiers. 

Keep in mind that prices may change especially closer towards the end of tax season, so check H&R Block’s website for the most up to date pricing.

Plan

Free Online

Deluxe

Premium

Self-Employed

Federal

$0

$29.99

$49.99

$79.99

State

$0

$36.99

$36.99

$36.99

Total

$0

$66.98

$86.98

$116.98

Online Assist (Federal)

$39.99

$69.99

$109.99

$139.99

Online Assist (State)

$36.99

$36.99

$36.99

$36.99

You’ll notice in the chart above that there is an option called “Online Assist.”

We’ll go into more details below, but it means you can get on-demand help from a CPA or Enrolled Agent.

Like mentioned above, H&R Block’s free service is a good option since there are plenty of free forms and there aren’t any extra charges if you have to file state tax returns, even if you need to file more than one.

Features

Online-Assist Add-On

All online filing options offer an on-demand chat feature if you need help or have questions about your tax return.

Plus, you can import your W2 by taking a photo of it with your phone.

However the Online Assist optional add-on includes basic features plus the ability to get unlimited professional help from a CPA or Enrolled agent over the phone or live chat and screen sharing capabilities.

Even without this additional add-on (which you’ll need to pay for), you can still get chat services (though not unlimited), video and software support, plus community Q&A forums.

You can also check the status of your refund directly on H&R Block’s website. 

Help with Crypto Investments

If you invest in cryptocurrency and are wondering if H&R Block supports it, the answer is yes. 

The online version offers detailed instructions that show you how you can file taxes if you’ve traded cryptocurrency. 

When determining what forms you need to fill, the tax software will ask, since it’s required by the IRS, "Have you ever bought, sold, or transacted in cryptocurrency?"

Keep in mind that the software will see it like other types of capital gains activities. 

Knowledge Articles

There are plenty of articles throughout the software as you’re progressing through the questions but there are also other educational resources.

These include a search function to find relevant and in-depth articles and an online forum where users can ask questions.

If you’re paying to use H&R Block, don’t forget the add-on and free features that’s included like tech support and live chat to answer specific questions.

There’s also Tax Pro Go for an additional fee.

Finally, for an additional fee you can get a Tax Pro Review, where an H&R Block employee reviews your return once you’re done with it (remotely—you don’t have to go to an office! Win!) 

Note: Tax Pro Review isn't live until January, so stay tuned.

Tax Go Pro

The Tax Pro Go service is a virtual tax prep service where an H&R Block employee will review your return.

This is a great option if you still want to do your own taxes but want some professional advice before filing it.  

Once tax season rolls around, you’ll be able to book this service online and see how much it could cost you.

Then simply upload your documents and then sit in the comfort of your own home while you get to file your tax return. 

Currently. H&R Block says that you’ll get your taxes prepared and filed within five days, assuming you submit all necessary information.

We recommend trying to file as soon as possible because when it gets closer to the end of the tax season it could be busier, potentially pushing back the estimated completion time. 

This service is less than what a CPA will charge, but it’ll still set you back anywhere from $49 to $329.

In-Store & Tax Refund Advance Services

You may already know that H&R Block is pretty much known as a brick and mortar tax preparation service who utilize tax professions in stores.

If you choose to go in person, you can certainly go and get a tax expert to prepare and file your taxes, but the fees may be much more than if you do it online.

To book an in-office appointment starts at $69.  

That amount may sound steep but if you prefer in-person help know that you’ll receive one on one support while there and you’ll get your taxes filed all in one go.  

Just a caveat: Not all of the tax professionals at H&R Block are CPAs or Enrolled Agents.

However, the company does stress that their staff go through more than 60 hours of training.

Plus, they also need to finish a minimum of 30 hours of annual training in addition to the initial one to prepare for tax season.

Whichever route you choose, H&R Block offers some of the better tax refund advance services available. 

First, you can get up to $3,500 tax refund advance starting in January in stores and should be available online soon after.

If you get a refund, you can deposit it in your bank account of choice for free, but you’ll need to pay a $25 fee if you want a check in the mail. 

There’s also a current offer where you can put all or some of your refund on an Amazon gift card.

If you opt for this route you’ll receive a 4% bonus.

If you want to have your filing payment deducted from your federal refund, you’ll be charged $40. 

Drop Off, File Online, or Work with a Tax Pro Remotely


Now more than ever, you need your refund. H&R Block is here to help get every credit and deduction you deserve as safely as possible.

Navigating H&R Block Online

H&R Block claims that they have premium tax software but it can seem clunky at times.

You’ll be guided through a series of short questionnaires at the start of each section when you’re filing your taxes which helps to determine the forms you need to file. 

H&R Block Filing Online

In other words, answering a series of questions H&R Block provides will help omit sections of their software that are relevant to you, and direct you to ones that are.

You’ll be guided throughout the process but it can seem a bit disjointed, especially if you have to enter a lot of different types of information, such as if you have self-employed income combined with a W2 or you have a bunch of investments.

It can feel like you jump around a lot. 

However, when you start to enter information in the relevant tax forms, it seems a lot more smooth.

That’s because their software will break everything up into a few screens or sections.

That way it’ll help to prevent mistakes and prevent you from unnecessarily clicking on more than what you need to. 

Once you’ve finished the guided version, you can go through the software the rest of the way yourself (aka no prompts).

You may want to consider this option if you believe you missed entering in pertinent information or realize you need another type of tax form.

To check, review the summaries at the end of each section, which can be helpful.

What also like that even with some of the clunky navigation, H&R Block’s tax software is still one of the better online tax filing software around.

Customers are able to upload a lot of forms to make it easier. Usually if your form is considered standard, you should be able to upload it.

These can include w2 , 1099-MISC and 1099-INT forms. 

What we also like is the language the software uses throughout the process.

Basically, it isn’t jargon filled and written in a way that doesn’t assume you have a lot of tax knowledge.

Since it links to helpful articles throughout, it’s helpful especially if you feel lost or confused.  

Don’t forget that there’s also the free live chat function if you’re having challenges. 

After Filing With H&R Block

After filing, if you’re getting a tax refund, you can choose how you want to receive the money:

  • Direct deposit to your bank account (fastest choice)
  • Applying the refund to next year’s taxes
  • Buying U.S. Savings Bonds
  • Get it via an H&R Block Emerald prepaid debit MasterCard
  • Paper check
  • Amazon gift card (receive a 4% bonus)

If you used H&R Block’s paid version, you can pay for the service from your refund, though you’ll need to pay $39.95 for the privilege.  

The service doesn’t end there. H&R Block also helps in case you are audited.

No doubt that getting audited can seem very overwhelming so you’ll want to know what kind of support you’ll receive.

You can choose between a service that supports you and helps to protect your identity.

All H&R customers get free audit support — you’ll get guidance on what you can expect and how to prepare for an audit.

There is an optional paid add-on called Worry-Free Audit Support. 

If you opt for this service, you’ll be guided through your audit with help from an Enrolled Agent.

It costs $19.99 and you’ll get audit preparation, IRS correspondence management and in-person audit representation from a tax professional before the IRS.

Their other service is called Tax Identity Shield.

It’ll help you apply for an Identity Protection PIN for your tax return, or what’s called an Identity Theft Indicator. 

This will find out if someone else is trying to use your personal information in order to file a fake tax return.

You’ll pay $14.99 for the service $24.99 if you pay for both services together. 

H&R Block vs. Competition

best choice

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  • Cost: Free to use
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  • Promotion: No current promos

BEST FOR SIMPLE RETURNS

H&R block logo
  • Cost: Free to use
  • Plan: as low as $49.99
  • Promotion: No current promos

BEST FOR SIDE HUSTLERS

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  • Cost: Free to use
  • Plan: as low as $24
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Should You File Your Taxes With H&R Block?

If you’re still comparing tax software, make sure to include H&R Block on that list. 

We think the free version is pretty robust for most needs.

It’s pretty impressive considering it includes HSA and student loan interest forms. 

Even if you need the premium edition of their software, it’s a decent value, particularly for those who may have complex tax needs such as landlords or self-employed folks.

Plus, if you don’t want to do it yourself, you can pay the add-ons to have your return reviewed by a tax professional or to help answer your one on one questions.  

While their pricing for the premium tier may be more compared to others, it’s still worth taking a look. 

H&R Block icon

Quick Summary

Best for: Ease of use

Fees: Free to file (offers other paid options)

Promotion: No current promos

  • Editor Rating
  • Rated 4.5 stars
  • 80%

  • H&R Block
  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: June 25, 2021


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