H&R Block is one of the biggest names in tax preparation, responsible for preparing a whopping 1 out of every 7 tax returns that are filed in the United States.
Their huge command of the market is due to the fact that they have both 10,000 physical branches all around the U.S., as well as tax software that you can use at home to prepare your return.
If you need a local branch, odds are there is one within 5 miles of you right now.
For anyone who wants the ease of software and the assurance of a tax pro going over their return before filing, H&R Block also offers the Best of Both service, that allows you to complete your return at home on H&R Block online, and choose to have a professional review of your return to make sure it is completely accurate before you submit it to the IRS. The price for the Best of Both service ranges from $39.99 to $79.99, based on the complexity of your tax return. As of this year, all online clients can add Best of Both to their online filing.
If you just need tax software, you can quickly get it from their website at HRBlock.com. Their suite of products and services shows that H&R Block is committed to being the tax preparation provider you choose year after year.
H&R Block Tax Software 2017 Review
H&R Block’s Tax Software offers a simple but thorough interface that is set up like an interview. The program asks you a series of questions to take you through the tax form. Each question will require either simple yes or no responses, or a checklist, and the software automatically populates the official tax form with your answers. The program is easy to use and makes completing your taxes much less daunting.
H&R Block offers the following features to make sure that filing taxes with their software is as convenient and transparent as possible:
Accuracy and Convenience
Rather than type in the information from your W-2, you may simply snap a picture of the form and upload it to the software with the W-2 Snap-a-Pic feature. Once you’ve uploaded your photo, the software puts all of the correct information where it needs to go. This improves accuracy—since it’s always possible to mistype a number when you enter the information manually—and saves time.
You can also automatically import last year’s return from any other tax prep service for free. This will help you prefill several fields in your current return, shaving time off the chore of tax prep.
If you prefer to do your taxes on the go, H&R Block offers a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices, as well as for Amazon Fire devices. The app itself is free, but once you download it, you have the option of choosing which edition of the tax preparation software you would like to use, at which point you will be charged according to the levels listed below.
The mobile app gives you the option of taking a picture of your W-2 forms to input the information into your filing. Once you have finished filing, you also have the option of checking the status of your return from your phone or tablet.
Throughout the process of filling out your return, the software will display exactly how much of a refund you can expect to get based on the answers you’ve provided. H&R Block guarantees the maximum refund, and this feature of their software helps you to see exactly how and why your refund may go up or down while you are completing your tax return.
Taxpayers who purchase an edition of H&R Block software are eligible for one-on-one expert tax advice via live chat. You can ask an unlimited number of questions of an H&R Block tax professional through the live chat, which is available 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time Saturday and Sunday.
If you buy H&R Block software, you are also eligible for free in-person audit representation in the unlikely event that you are audited. That means that if you are audited, an H&R Block enrolled agent will help you with IRS correspondence, audit preparation, guidance through what to expect during the audit, and attendance with you at the audit itself. In short, if you are faced with an audit, H&R Block will help you manage the entire audit experience, for no additional fee.
Which H&R Block Software Should You Choose?
There are four available versions of H&R Block tax preparation software. Here’s what you can expect from each one:
H&R Block More Zero Edition (Free)
This free online tax software is intended for taxpayers with simpler financial situations. If you plan to file a 1040EZ, 1040A, or 1040 form, then this software should handle your needs quite nicely.
Unlike other free tax software intended for this demographic, H&R Block’s More Zero Edition does allow you to itemize your deductions on the 1040 with a Schedule A, which means it’s a great economical choice for taxpayers who do need to itemize but otherwise have pretty simple taxes.
The state version of this edition is also free, meaning you can file your taxes for $0.
Neither the unlimited expert advice nor the audit support are available for this program, however, so if you have any concerns or more complex tax situations, this may not be the right program for you.
H&R Block Basic Edition ($29.95 for Federal, additional $39.95 for State)
The basic software is best for taxpayers with simpler financial situations, but who would like some additional guidance for their taxes. If you own a home or investments, or are self-employed, this edition may not help you get your best deductions and credits.
This edition does come with the unlimited expert advice and audit support, so skittish taxpayers can rest easy that they will have the personal support that they need in case they hit a snag.
The personal state program download is included with Deluxe and Premium editions. The state program has a $39.95 value, which is how much it costs if you get it a la carte with the Basic edition. State e-file is available for $19.95 per return.
H&R Block Deluxe Edition ($54.95 for Federal plus State)
H&R Block designed this program specifically for homeowners and investors to maximize their deductions.
It includes the features available with the Basic edition, as well as plenty of guidance to help you claim the deductions for your home mortgage interest and real estate taxes.
The DeductionPro feature will help you to track and value all the charitable donations you have made throughout the year, and the investment income reporting feature will guide you through Schedule D, so that you will know you have correctly reported your investment income for the year.
In addition, you also receive free storage and access of your tax returns for up to six years with this edition, making it simpler to revisit your tax data anytime you might need it.
H&R Block Premium Edition ($74.95 for Federal plus State)
Taxpayers who have self-employment income or real estate investments will need to step up to the Premium edition.
The program helps you report profits and losses from freelancing, contracting, or businesses you own on the Schedule C form.
It also comes with expert guidance for reporting royalties or income and expenses from rental real estate for the Schedule E form. The advanced filing calculators in this edition also help you determine the cost basis of your sales, dividends, gifts, and inheritance assets, so you feel sure that your numbers are 100% accurate.
This program also includes DeductionPro, the investment income reporting feature, the unlimited expert tax advice, and the audit support.
H&R Block Guarantees
H&R Block goes so far as to provide guarantees for their software products. They guarantee that they will provide accurate calculations on your return, or they will pay the penalties and interest charges. This is on top of their maximum refund guarantee. If you get a bigger refund with another tax preparation service, H&R Block will refund your purchase.
H&R Block proudly displays their customer support hotline (1-800-HRBlock) on their main support page. They also have the unique advantage of having local offices nearby to guide you through difficult questions. However, their online portal has plenty of documentation to help you through the technicalities of using the online product.
Have you used H&R Block’s software for tax preparation? What did you think?
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