H&R Block is one of the world’s largest tax service providers with offices all over the country. Their H&R Block at Home tax software is the online version of sitting down with one of their tax pros. Now you can get your tax return done without ever leaving your house.
I should preface this before we start. I’ve been a loyal user of a Turbotax for years. So I could easily say it’s not worth the effort. But I’ve been digging through their online software for a few days. While I don’t think I’ll switch, because I’m comfortable with what I use, H&R Block at Home does have some nice features.
Besides, what is nice about online tax software, you don’t pay until you’re done. So if it doesn’t work the way you want, it’s hard to figure out, or you have problems with it, just stop, head down to their tax office, or use a competitor.
Free – Who doesn’t like free. If you file a simple tax return every year, there’s no need to pay for any extras. It’s perfect for a simple 1040 or 1040 EZ return. And it’s the best place to start for beginners. There are two things to note – you’ll have to enter any past tax return info, W-2, and 1099s by hand. And like most tax software, the Federal eFile is free, you have to pay to file your state return.
Basic – This plan gets you everything in the free plan, plus you can digitally import your prior returns, W-2, and 1099s. It’s perfect for someone with a simple return but still wants some extra guidance getting it finished.
Deluxe – This plan is perfect for homeowners and investors. You get everything in the basic plan, plus it guides you through mortgage interest, property taxes, investment income and charitable donations. Plus, it helps find your eligible credits and deductions.
Premium – If you’re self-employed or have rental properties, this is for you. You’ll get everything in the Deluxe plan, plus it provides Schedule C guidance, rental income/expense help, and advanced cost basis calculations.
Premium & Business – This plan is for more complex small business owners. It’s only available in the download version of the tax software. The plan covers the C Corp, S Corp, LLC, partnership, estates, trusts, and non-profits. It even guides you through payroll and employer forms.
The plans above include the Federal eFile free. State tax returns are provided at an additional cost.
H&R Block Advantage
Easy To Use
H&R Block at Home takes a little getting used to at first. The step-by-step guide made it a lot easier. If you’ve never used H&R Block before, you’re can pull your information off a PDF file from last year’s return. Or you can enter your info by hand.
Like most tax software, you can save your return and come back later to finish it. Another great feature gives you the ability to bookmark sections of your tax return and leave notes for yourself.
The H&R Block tax software uses easy to understand interview questions to find out which sections you’ll need to cover. It goes through the income and investment sections first. It even pulls your cost basis information direct from your broker. Then the software finds all the credits and deductions you’re eligible for and skips the rest. Once you are done, it double checks your tax return for problems before you eFile.
H&R Block at Home has help support off to the right side. It offers common questions asked in each section. So, if you’re stuck or confused it’s the first place to go.
If that doesn’t answer your question, there’s a search box at the top. When that doesn’t work, each paid plan provides one free session of live, personal tax advice with a tax professional.
H&R Block at Home offers audit support with every plan. If in the slim chance you do get audited, you’ll have a resource on your side. An enrolled agent will help with all your IRS communications and guide you on how to prepare. Additional representation is offered for a fee. Though, getting your own tax lawyer is a better idea.
Best Of Both
There is one more feature you won’t find with any other online tax software. H&R Block offers a Best of Both option. You can finish your return online and have a tax professional review it, make adjustments, then sign and eFile it for you. You can take advantage of an H&R Block tax professional and have an extra set of eyes look over your return.
I noticed a few disadvantages. First, I had to refresh my browser several times because of connection issues. I’m not sure if the problem was on my end or theirs, but I had to redo two sections. A bit annoying but it only cost me a few minutes of time.
If you’re used to other tax software holding your hand through each section, H&R Block lets you go on your own. Which is nice if you know what you’re doing. So, a basic understanding of the tax code helps. But that’s normal for any online software.
Start For Free
Like any tax software, H&R Block has its limits. The more complicated your taxes get the more you should think about using a tax professional. That said, as long as you are confident and capable of doing your return, try the software for free.