H&R Block Tax Software Review
H&R Block is one of the biggest names in tax preparation, responsible for preparing a whopping one out of every seven 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 five 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 Tax Pro Review, 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. All online clients can add Tax Pro Review 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 2020 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 for the majority of the year between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm. However, between January 15th and April 17th, they are available 24/7.
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?
Help Questions on Each Page
H&R Block has aimed to make tax and program help easier to access. On the right-hand side of At Home are common questions relevant to the current data entry screen. On the input page for the sale of stocks, for example, At Home displays questions covering where to report sales of assets when a Form 1099-B hasn’t been received, how much of a stock loss can be deducted, and how to enter data from a consolidated brokerage statement. Unlike TurboTax, which uses a community model to answer questions, the answers in At Home are written by the H&R Block staff.
At Home also features a “Guide Me” set of interview questions. On the filing status page, for example, you can either select your filing status directly or you can click on the “Guide Me” button to be led through a series of questions that will help determine the best filing status for you.
At Home also provides an “Ask a Tax Advisor” function for contacting an H&R Block tax advisor for an additional fee of $19.95. (One free question is included in the Premium version, and unlimited questions are included with the Best of Both version.)
If you get stuck on your tax return, you can have your data routed to an H&R Block employee who will personally review your data and finish preparing the return. H&R Block calls this product the “Best of Both.”
At Home Product Versions
H&R Block’s At Home software is offered in Basic, Deluxe, Premium and Premium & Business versions. Differences among the product versions include import tools, extra help and guidance, and access to an H&R Block employee.
Warning:H&R Block also offers a Premium & Business edition that includes At Home Premium plus software to prepare business, payroll, partnership and estate tax returns. The At Home Premium & Business is a more comprehensive software bundle than the similarly named TurboTax Home & Business which covers only sole proprietors who file a Schedule C.
Basic tax software will help you prepare very simple returns, check for errors, and e-file the return for you. The Basic version of tax software is sometimes also the free version (certain income limits may apply to file for free). Basic or free versions may be best for taxpayers who: · Receive a W-2 · File a Form 1040 · Have a simple tax situation · Have no deductions other than the standard · Have no credits other than Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit
The next step up is a deluxe version, which offers help with preparing taxes that include itemized deductions or other expenses you can write off. The software will search for tax breaks based on whether you own a house, made a donation to charity, paid for schooling, paid state and local taxes, or were the victim of a theft, to name a few possible deductions. However, after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was enacted in 2017, the standard deduction nearly doubled, making itemization less of a concern for many taxpayers.
Taxpayers who earned money from rental income or gains on their investments will want to upgrade to a premier- or premium-level package to handle those concerns. Premium or premier tax software can even import your investment information, calculate cost basis and handle cryptocurrency gains and losses. Some premier tax software will also handle freelancer income, self-employment taxes, and inheritance. For example, TurboTax requires freelancers or self-employed to use their Self-Employed version, which is more expensive, while H&R Block handles them within its Self-Employed Online package.
If you run your own business, either out of your home or at another location, it will be necessary to use a tax program that accounts for your various sources of income, payouts, investments, and deductions. Tax software specifically designed for business owners will cover self-employment taxes and help maximize business tax deductions and asset depreciation. H&R Block Premium & Business Tax Software makes it easy for small business owners to file federal, state and business returns with expert guidance every step of the way.
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.