Amid a crowded field, H&R Block and TurboTax are two popular and respected e-filing tax options. Both deliver a cost-effective way to get your taxes done quickly and correctly, maximizing your return.
There are, however, core differences between TurboTax vs. H&R Block. There isn’t one program that’s better than the other so much as each one is suited to different needs and different tax situations.
This review article will compare both providers side by side, comparing features, prices, customer service, and other information you need to determine which option is best for you.
Founded by the Bloch brothers in Kansas City, Missouri in 1955, H&R Block has been a hugely familiar name in tax preparation services for decades. Traditionally a brick-and-mortar operation, with locations in strip malls and pop-up locations throughout the country, H&R Block has evolved over the years and now offers many e-filing products.
H&R Block offers digital tax filers a range of options to complete their taxes online in a simple, straightforward process. This includes a free federal return and state return for simple tax returns with no itemized deductions.
And for tax returns that are a bit more complicated, H&R Block offers more deluxe DIY tax filing options as well as full-service support. H&R Block users can provide professional, in-person assistance across over 60,000 locations.
Keep Reading: H&R Block Review
The tax software company, TurboTax, is a leader in its industry. With its intuitive and conversational design, TurboTax is popular with novice and seasoned taxpayers alike.
For basic, standard returns TurboTax offers filers a free federal return and one free state return. For more complicated returns and users who want a more white-glove experience, TurboTax has premium (paid) option for full-service assistance — including the option to have a tax expert do your taxes for you.
Founded in 1984, TurboTax has decades of industry expertise and enjoys popularity with business and consumer users of Intuit-brand products like YNAB (You Need A Budget), QuickBooks, and Credit Karma.
Keep Reading: TurboTax Review
TurboTax vs. H&R Block: Pricing
In terms of pricing, both H&R Block and TurboTax offer free editions for federal tax returns and one state return which works for most simple tax situations.
However, as tax situations become more complex — with small business earnings, cryptocurrency, and child tax credits — the pricing structure diverges.
- H&R Block: Pricing is designed to be competitive and accommodate filers of different income levels and with different tax needs. They provide four (4) core DIY e-filing options, including a free version for filers with straightforward tax situations. Paid plans for investors, self-employed individuals, and those with more detailed tax profiles range from $55 to $115 for federal returns and state returns are $49 across the board.
- TurboTax: TurboTax ties its pricing to the level of service filers are seeking. It offers three-tiered pricing for individuals who want to completely do it themselves for free, those who want some expert advice, and those who want TurboTax to do all of the tax prep for them. Filers with straightforward returns can file for free with a “Do Your Own” plan. Paid support ranges from $99 to $409, with state filings $54 or $64.
Pricing also reflects the level of support offered, including audit defense, customer service, or any return guarantees.
TurboTax vs. H&R Block: Packages
|Do Your Own
Free edition for a simple tax return.
A simple tax return is filed using IRS Form 1040 only, without needing any added forms or schedules. Covers W-2 income, interest, or dividends that don’t require a Schedule B, child tax credit, earned income tax credit (EIC), or student loan interest deduction.
$0 to $129 Federal
$0 to $59 per State
Simple returns. Suitable for W-2 employees. Allows for unemployment and Child Tax Credit (CTC)
$0 per State
Connect with live tax professionals on demand.
Tax experts can fix any mistakes and explain the process. They also offer an expert final review before filing, guaranteed done right.
$99 to $219 Federal
$54 or $64 per State
Everything in the Free Online version, plus child and dependent care expenses and itemized deductions
$49 per State
TurboTax experts do your taxes for you. Securely share tax docs to get matched to an expert Work with your pro in real time.
$219 to $409 Federal
$54 or $64 per State
Everything in the Deluxe Online version, plus rental income, investments, and cryptocurrency sales.
$49 per State
Everything in the Premium Online version, plus 1099-C and other income from freelancers, marketplace sellers, and self-employed workers. Allows for itemized business deductions.
$49 per State
TurboTax vs. H&R Block: Features
Both TurboTax and H&R Block offer a line-up of features to make the tax filing process as simple and stress-free as possible.
- Audit Support: H&R Block offers Worry-Free Audit Support as an add-on service for online tax filers. This add-on service is $19.99 and provides H&R Block start-to-finish tax support in the unlikely event of an audit, and the assistance of an enrolled agent to represent you in any in-person before the IRS.
- Tax Professional Support: H&R Block offers access to tax professionals (CPAs, EAs, and other licensed tax pros) online or at a physical H&R Block office.
- Refund Options: You can receive your refund by direct deposit to your checking or savings account, check in the mail, Spruce, or on an H&R Block Emerald Prepaid Mastercard. Filers can get their federal income tax refund up to six (6) days early if they select Spruce.
- Accuracy Guarantee: H&R Block offers a No Surprise Guarantee for all filing options or a Maximum Refund Guarantee if you file with H&R Block Online or with its standalone tax software. There are additional guarantees beyond that for filing with a tax pro or for specific tax forms.
- Overall User Experience: Specific store location reviews are all over the map, but app reviews from users are more consistent. The H&R Block mobile app has a 4.8-star rating on iTunes and a 4.2-star rating on Google Play.
- Audit Support: Available on all TurboTax returns, except Business CD/Download returns. Filers get a consultation meeting with a tax professional to prepare for any audit.
- Audit Defense: Gives you full representation by a licensed tax professional in case of an audit, including communicating with the IRS on your behalf. This is a paid, add-on service for your online filing, or it can be purchased separately with a TurboTax software filing.
- Refund Options: Variety of options including check in the mail, direct deposit, government savings bonds, cash refund advance on anticipated refund amount, or pay ahead for next year’s taxes. With a refund advance, you can get funds within a few minutes of the government accepting your tax documents.
- Advanced Options: With the full-service tax filing option, a licensed expert (CPA, CFP, EA, or another tax professional) will do your taxes for you.
- Affordability: TurboTax offers free federal and state tax filing for simple returns with no itemized tax deductions. The cost ranges from $99 to $409 for more involved tax scenarios like Schedule C or business income, rental property and rental income, freelancer work, dividends, or capital gains.
- Accuracy Guarantee: TurboTax has a 100% accuracy pledge for all tax filing options, promising maximum refund guarantees, tax liability, and audit support. See terms of service for additional information.
- Overall User Experience: TurboTax offers taxpayers an easy and outstanding user experience. Users can opt for DIY, partial assistance, or TurboTax live full service where all the tax work is done on their behalf. It boasts excellent app store reviews, with a 4.6-star rating on Google and a 4.6-star rating on Apple.
TurboTax vs. H&R Block: Customer Support
Both tax preparation software programs offer excellent customer support. Customer service is available all year round, although support hours are more limited outside of tax season.
H&R Block offers the convenience of desktop software and digital technology with personalized in-person support.
- Email: H&R Block does not advertise a customer support email address, but redirects users to help articles and the company’s toll-free number. Users can email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, however, it may take two (2) days or more to receive a reply.
- Phone: Call H&R Block’s customer support line at 1-800-HRBLOCK (1-800-472-5625). Support is available weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST.
- Office Visits: One of H&R Block’s strongest areas of customer support is the ability to visit any of their physical offices to get in-person help from tax professionals.
- Chat: During tax season, H&R Block provides live chat support on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST.
- Tax Support Resources: The H&R Block Resource Center is full of guides, tax tips, articles, videos, tax forms, tax calculators, and more. While there is no community forum like TurboTax, the resource hub is extensive enough to cover virtually any question about taxes and personal finance, including cryptocurrency transactions, earned income tax credits, and itemized business deductions.
TurboTax is known for providing excellent support to its users through both customer service and access to qualified tax professionals.
- Email: Send email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Phone: Call the Inuit (parent company) toll-free customer support number at 1-800-4INTUIT (1-800-446-8848).
- Video-Conferencing: Users completing a Full Service or Assisted online tax filing are eligible for live video conferencing with their assigned tax professional. The video call is not obligatory (you can chat or email online instead).
- Chat: Live chat support is offered during the tax filing season.
- TurboTax Support: Free resource hub helps users who complete their own taxes or who want more information about the filing process. Find articles, guides, videos, tips, and other resources that cover topics like filing fees for small-business owners, investment income, or student loan interest deduction.
- Community Forum: There’s a helpful online forum for Intuit TurboTax customers. Here, users can ask and find answers to questions about tax year guidelines, business expenses, declaring unemployment income, and other common scenarios.
- Physical offices for in-person assistance: Huge network of branch locations making it relatively easy to stop by a center and ask questions about your taxes, including your online tax preparation.
- Free version is more comprehensive than TurboTax: H&R Block’s free filing version allows for a wider range of tax situations, which enables consumers with moderately complex taxes to e-file online for free.
- Cheaper premium services: H&R Block’s premium or paid filing services are cheaper than TurboTax deluxe (paid) plans. It offers similar tax filing features at a cheaper price tag, although the one-on-one expert support that TurboTax offers is not included.
- Extensive free audit support: H&R Block guarantees free in-person audit support in the event the IRS flags your return for an audit. Note that “audit support” does not mean representation or that H&R Block will handle the audit on your behalf. Rather, H&R Block will brief you as to what to expect for the audit and how to prepare.
- Software interface is less user-friendly: While the ease of use overall is pretty good, it’s not as sleek or as intuitive as TurboTax. There’s a steeper learning curve. The online tax software supports fewer forms for state or federal filing and will require more manual entry.
- Fewer high-end features in free and lower-tier versions: While it’s cheaper than TurboTax, it’s not apples to apples. H&R Block’s free and paid-tier tax prep software lacks helpful features that come standard with TurboTax plans.
- In-person support can vary in quality: Experience and expertise of tax professionals can vary wildly from office to office, or even with one office location, which can lead to inconsistency in the quality of service you receive through online or in-person tax pro support.
- Highly intuitive and user-friendly platform: TurboTax is designed to streamline and simplify tax filing, making it appealing to regular tax filers and novices who are doing their first digital tax return.
- Access to tax professionals via TurboTax Live: Connect to a qualified tax expert for personalized advice, especially helpful for TurboTax self-employed or business-owner tax filers.
- Excellent educational content and customer support: TurboTax has an extensive online hub of tax information and resource articles, as well as responsive and knowledgeable customer support agents.
- Audit support: Filers using TurboTax LiveFull Service have assistance from a professional tax professional in case of an audit.
- More expensive: Although TurboTax has free filing options, its paid-tier options are more expensive than H&R Block and many similar other tax software programs like TaxSlayer and TaxAct.
- Limited free version: TurboTax’s free version is limited in the tax situations that can qualify. Users who might fully qualify for the H&R Block free filing are then compelled to upgrade to a paid version to finish their return.
- Upselling can be aggressive: Some users complain that TurboTax is too aggressive in how it prompts users to upgrade from the assisted or free option to a more expensive plan or other add-on services.
TurboTax vs. H&R Block: Which Is Best for You?
The choice between TurboTax and H&R Block boils down to your tax situation and personal preferences.
If budget is your top consideration and you absolutely want to file for free, or as cheaply as possible, then H&R Block may be the best route. Additionally, H&R Block provides in-person assistance at retail storefronts across the country.
For those with a more complicated tax situation, that goes beyond just basic W-2 income, then TurboTax may be the better choice. It’s the best tax software for users in terms of being intuitive, well laid out, conversational, and very easy to understand. And TurboTax can connect you with qualified professionals who can do your taxes for you and eliminate all the hassle or guesswork.
But with either software program, American taxpayers can’t really go wrong. They can do the job accurately, efficiently, and quickly — and for a fraction of what you would pay a tax firm accountant.