In business since 1955, H&R Block is the world’s largest tax preparation company. In addition to tax services available at their offices, H&R Block At Home offers consumers a do-it-yourself online tax solution. However, you’re not completely on your own since tax professionals are available for additional help.
Key Features and Benefits
- H&R Block guarantees an accurate calculation to get you the biggest return. If you’re assessed penalties for a miscalculation, they’ll pay the interest and penalties.
- Gives step-by-step questions and answers to help you through your return. Can be helpful or annoying depending upon how tax savvy you are.
- Offers worry-free audit support on all editions – they’ll help you if you’re audited after preparing with their program.
- Provides five different products to choose from depending on the complexity of your situation.
- If you need help, you can get help from a live tax professional on their 24 hour a day chat service.
- Gives you a way to check your refund status along the way.
- Imports your last year’s tax information, and can import additional info from programs like Quicken and MS Money.
- Saves your return so you can stop and go back to it whenever you’re ready.
- Includes one federal e-file – state is an additional $27.95 if you’re using the free version, or $34.95 if you’re using Deluxe or above.
- You can start any edition for free, and get bumped up to the appropriate version, but you don’t pay until you file.
- Guaranteed to get the maximum tax refund or you get your money back.
- Offers Accurate Calculations Guarantee, which reimburses you should you be served with IRS penalties and interest charges.
- Offers a tax toolkit with a Tax Prep Checklist, several calculators, and a job deduction guide.
- Saves your tax returns so you can access them at anytime.
- Free audit support from and representation from an enrolled agent.
- Extra fee for state e-filing for each state – so if you worked in more than one state, it can add up.
- Only one federal e-filing included for the fee in the online version. If you have to file for multiple people, you’re probably better off buying and downloading the software, which then includes five federal e-files.
- The software isn’t as step by step as TurboTax, and occasionally uses tax jargon which may be unfamiliar.
- Doesn’t offer as much guidance on what to do with your forms – some suggestions would be nice!
- Each package states that it supports certain forms, but it’s not clear if you’re going to get any help with those forms. For example, the Basic edition lists both Schedule A and C as being supported, but H&R Block suggests the Deluxe edition for itemizers and the Premium edition for the self-employed. It’s not clear if the Basic edition just doesn’t do a bang-up job at helping you with those schedules, or doesn’t ask you the extra deduction-focused questions, since it does allow you to use Basic to complete those schedules.
Free Edition – Free
This is only for those who have the most basic of tax situations, such as filing a 1040EZ. It’s great for first time users, since it does double-check for errors, but many forms aren’t supported, so you’re very likely to be bumped up to the Basic at minimum.
Basic Edition – $19.95
Includes everything in the free edition, plus more, including the ability to import last year’s return. It supports the vast majority of forms, so it’ll be able to handle most things for most filers. While the other editions are specifically listed for homeowners or the self-employed, the Basic listing does say it supports the mortgage interest forms and all the schedules including Schedule A and C.
Deluxe Edition – $29.95
This edition has additional deduction and credit maximizers for homeowners and investors. It can handle the sale of stocks, bonds and mutual funds, as well as mortgage interest and charitable deductions.
Premium Edition – $49.95
For the self-employed and rental property owner, this edition includes everything in the Free and Deluxe Editions plus live tax advice, schedule C guidance, tax laws and planning resources, rental income assistance and advanced tax calculators. However, this is as far as the online versions go – if you have a partnership, trust, S corp, employee forms, or other items higher on the tax food chain, you’ll need to download their Premium & Business software for $79.95.
Is It Right For You?
H&R Block does a good job of covering the bases, but their prices are a bit higher than other products. However, they do have great customer support and plenty of enrolled agents on staff to help you now during tax season, and later if you’re audited. It’s a good choice for personal filing but business filers can probably get a better deal elsewhere.
Looking to file your taxes online using a different service? Check out our comprehensive comparison of H&R Block At Home vs TurboTax vs TaxACT.