THE GOOD

Section overviews, checklists, and walk-through workflow:

Each section begins with an overview and a checklist page. The overview page contains important information for the section that you are about to work through. The checklist page allows you to select individual items that may be applicable to your tax circumstances. After a specific item is selected, a series of follow-up questions is generally asked. This workflow is applied to the major sections and helps communicate expectations, better prepare you for the section, and tailor the tax filing experience specifically to your needs.

Clarifying links embedded into forms:

As you work through different sections, several of the pages have embedded links that allow you to access more in-depth information. For example, the Income Checklist page contains several "Learn more" links that take you to content that further explains the forms. Similarly, the Adjustments Checklist contains "What qualifies" links to help better understand the different deductions. Other comparable links are found throughout the system and can help you move forward with more confidence and eliminate time spent searching for clarifying information elsewhere.

Well-integrated bookmarking system:

Throughout the entire tax filing process, you can add bookmarks to areas of confusion or uncertainty and return to them later. Each bookmark you create consists of a title and any notes you wish to add. You can access all of your bookmarks through an icon that appears in the upper-right side of the screen. After clicking on the icon, all of your bookmarks are presented as a list of live links. These links will take you directly back to the page where the bookmark was created allowing you to easily track back to the sections that needed additional attention.

In-person support:

For those who prefer to interact with a customer service representative, H&R Block is an excellent option. They move away from email support, choosing to focus more on phone and chat. H&R Block also provides support through live video conferencing. For those interested in face-to-face interactions, H&R Block is one of few online tax software companies that also has retail locations. Knowing retail locations exist can provide additional peace of mind for those who lack confidence in the online experience.

Find a form tool:

In the main menu, H&R Block provides a helpful form finding tool. The tool allows you to search forms by name or number. Even if you only know part of the form name, a list will be generated that shows you forms that match based upon your partial search criteria. The results tell you where to find the form, and the tool also allows you to add the form to your tax process to be completed when you come to that section.

Access and print returns:

Print returns is a new H&R Block feature that allows you to quickly access, download, and print your returns. A "Print Returns" icon is located in the upper-right menu, making it difficult to miss. You can print the current year return, as well as returns from the three previous years. Having easy access to this feature is great if you prefer to keep paper copies of tax records.

THE BAD

Import previous-year tax data:

H&R Block allows you to import taxes from the previous year's return, not only from H&R sources, but also from competitors like TurboTax and TaxACT. However, you are only given one chance to import following your first login. The software provides a warning message informing you that it will be your only chance to import. If you're interested in importing, be aware of this feature and be prepared with your import. If you don't need to import, this is something that can easily be skipped, but having the option to import later would be much more convenient.

Limited mobility between sections:

H&R Block does allow you to view a clear hierarchy of all the tasks you may need to complete, but they do not allow you to skip forward and work on later tasks. Once you start a section, the ability to work on the individual subtasks is granted. Working ahead has its risks, as deduction topics can potentially be missed. For those who consistently file similar taxes and know what types of deductions to look for, having the ability to work through sections according to your own preferences would be ideal.

High price tag:

H&R Block is one of the more expensive products on the market. Although they do offer a Federal Free Edition, the State Edition is expensive relative to other products. The quality and reliability of H&R Block may be worth the price, but those primarily interested in a low-cost solution will definitely be able to find an alternative product.

THE DETAILS

Details
Editions Free Federal Edition, Basic, Deluxe, Premium
Federal Price $0 - $49.99
State Price $27.99 - $36.99

FEATURES

Title
  • Accuracy Guarantee The software company guarantees your taxes are accurate.

  • Audit Risk Identification The software indicates your audit risk and recommends solutions to minimize the risk.

  • Double-Check Returns The software automatically double-checks your tax return to ensure it is accurate.

  • Maximum Refund Guarantee The software guarantees you will get the maximum refund possible.

  • Real-Time Balance Meter The software provides a real-time meter displaying the balance of your refund or the amount you owe.

  • Tax Calculator The software has a tool that allows you to estimate your tax refund or the amount you will owe.

  • Prior Year Comparison The software automatically compares the current tax return with the previous year's return and highlights any differences.

  • Business Owner Deductions The software identifies deductions specifically for business owners (Schedule C).

  • Charity Donations The software allows you to deduce charity donations.

  • Depreciation Summary The software allows you to enter depreciated items and provides you with summary figures (form 4562).

  • Itemized Deductions The software allows you to itemize your deductions.

  • Rental Property Deductions The software allows you to deduce rental property deductions (Schedule E).

  • Standard Deductions The software supports the standard deduction method.

  • Vehicle Deduction Methods The software allows you to deduct actual expenses or standard mileage rates for your vehicle.

  • Check Your tax refund can be disbursed via check.

  • Direct Deposit Refund Your tax refund can be deposited directly into your bank account.

  • Multiple Account Deposit Your tax refund can be deposited directly into multiple accounts.

  • Pre-Paid Card Your tax refund can be disbursed via a pre-paid card.

  • Savings Bonds Your tax refund can be used to purchase savings bonds from the U.S. government.

  • Charity Donation Tool A tool exists to help you identify, value, and process charity donations.

  • Deduction Discovery The software searches available deductions to ensure you get the maximum refund possible.

  • Information Transfer You can pull information from previous tax forms directly into current year forms.

  • Interview Guidance The software asks you questions and uses your answers to automatically complete the appropriate forms.

  • Life Events Advisor The software has functionality that helps you identify major life events and understand how these events impact your taxes.

  • Prior Year Returns You can access your return from a previous year.

  • Reminders You can flag or bookmark any areas of uncertainty and return to them at a later time.

  • Rental Property Tool A tool exists to help you identify and process deductions associated with rental properties.

  • Step-by-Step Guidance The software provides interfaces that guide you step-by-step through the tax preparation and submission processes.

  • Asset Depreciation The software compares asset depreciation methods and indicates which option will be most favorable.

  • Industry-Specific Tax Deductions The software provides a walk-through of industry-specific deductions.

  • Amended Tax Returns You can access, prepare, and/or print paper copies of amended tax returns.

  • Costs Deducted From Return Any fees associated with preparing and filing your taxes can be deducted from your tax refund.

  • E-File Extensions You can e-file an IRS tax extension.

  • E-File Federal Returns You can e-file your federal tax return.

  • E-File State Returns You can e-file your state tax return.

  • Free Federal Edition You can e-file your federal tax return for free.

  • IRS Confirmation You receive confirmation that the IRS has received your e-filed tax forms.

  • Prior Year Filing You can access, prepare, and/or print paper copies of prior year filings.

  • Head of House The software supports filing under head of house status.

  • Married Filing Jointly The software supports joint filing for married users.

  • Married Filing Separately The software supports separate filing for married users.

  • Qualifying Widow(er) The software supports filing under qualifying widow(er) status.

  • Single The software supports filing under single status.

  • Alternative Preparer Import You can import forms prepared by other companies or software solutions.

  • Automatic Import You can automatically import your tax forms from partner organizations.

  • Import 1098 Forms You can import 1098 forms.

  • Import 1099 Forms You can import 1099 forms.

  • Import Prior Year Returns You can import your prior year tax return.

  • Import W-2 Forms You can import W-2 tax forms.

  • FAQ The company provides a list of answers to frequently asked questions.

  • Knowledge Base The company provides a knowledge base of detailed help articles.

  • Video Tutorials The company provides video tutorials.

  • Forum The company provides an interactive forum where users can post questions and answers.

  • Glossary The company provides a glossary of tax terms.

  • Audit Support The company will provide audit support if you get audited in the future.

  • Live Chat The company offers live chat support.

  • Phone You can contact the company by phone to get support.

  • Retail Locations You can get in-person support at local retail locations.

  • Social Media You can contact the company with questions through social media websites.

  • Video Conference You can prepare your taxes with a tax professional through a live video conference.

  • Email/Tickets The company has an email or ticket system dedicated to support.

  • Android Application You can download a native Android application of the software.

  • Apple Application You can download a native Apple application of the software for use on your iPhone or iPad.

PRICING

Free Federal Edition

Federal Fee: $0
State Fee: $27.99

Basic

Federal Fee: $19.99
State Fee: $36.99

Deluxe

Federal Fee: $29.99
State Fee: $36.99

Premium

Federal Fee: $49.99
State Fee: $36.99

Comparable


We recently added comments and we're amped to hear your input. Keep it civil and intelligent, and be sure to peek at our Community Guidelines before posting. If you'd like to contact the staff, our inbox is always open.