Prior Editions & Updates
Need to file a past return? Weve got prior-year software editions for our state and federal tax programs. And, you can download updates for your tax software product.
*First personal state program included. Additional state programs are $39.95 each.**Unlimited business returns included.***e-File fees do not apply to NY state returns.All prices are subject to change without notice.
State e-file not available in NH. e-File fees do not apply to NY state returns. State e-file available for $19.95. DE, HI and VT do not support part-year/nonresident individual forms. Most state programs available in January software release dates vary by state. State e-file for business returns only available in CA, CT, MI, NY, VA, WI.
The H& R Block User Experience
Navigation is very simple and straightforward. You advance from screen to screen by clicking the Back and Next buttons. You do this throughout the site, though there are other navigation options, too. You can, for example, click a tab in the horizontal toolbar at the top to see its subsections . Directly below this is a list of the forms youve completed click on one to return to it. Links in the left vertical pane show you your real-time, ever-updating tax obligation or refund and take you to housekeeping pages.
The entire site functions in this way. H& R Block Deluxe makes it clear on each page what action you need to take and where you need to go next. But it lacks a comprehensive navigation tool like the one FreeTaxUSA offers. It also feels choppier than TurboTax Deluxes smooth, linear flow. Even on screens where youre just clicking Yes or No options, you still have to click the Next button to advance. That adds up to a lot of extra clicks.
H& R Block is a little more formal in its language and looks than the friendlyeven folksyTurboTax. It uses clear, understandable language, and its navigation and data entry conventions should be familiar to most taxpayers. The two sites simply have different personalities. TurboTax is the human preparer who greets you with a big smile and makes some small talk as he or she goes along. H& R Block is a bit more businesslike. Both are effective approaches.
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Tax Software At A Glance
We reviewed 10 online tax preparers with an emphasis on their DIY online filing options. Here’s how they stack up. You can find out exactly what goes into these ratings at the end of this post.
|Tax prep company|
Editor’s rating: 4.6/5
Cost of DIY online filing: $0 – $54.95 + state return fee
Free version covers: For taxable income under $100,000: W-2 income interest income not exceeding $1,500 student loan interest deduction education credits
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How To Send And Receive Money
As with most other companies, you can pay your fees and taxes by debit card or credit card. There is a 2.49% fee for this service with a minimum fee of $2.59.
If you want to avoid the fees, you can pay directly from your bank account. You can also pay by check or money order.
When it comes to getting your refund, the standard IRS options are direct deposit to your bank account or a check in the mail. H& R Block has an exclusive payment option that will put your refund onto an H& R Block Emerald Prepaid Mastercard.
If you already paid your H& R Block fees, you can receive the entirety of your refund on this card. You can also pay your fees with a Refund Transfer, meaning H& R Block will take their fees from your refund and send the remainder to the Emerald card.
While the Refund Transfer comes with a $34.95 fee, it does help if you need cash now. An additional option if youre strapped for cash is the Refund Advance, but its only available for certain periods.
For 2018 taxes, it was available from January 4 to February 28 and had four loan amounts: $500, $750, $1,250, or $3,000 depending on how much your refund is. There are no finance charges and no loan fees , and the loan processing review doesnt affect your credit score.
This means you could have access to a portion of your refund on the same day you request the loan. Its automatically repaid when the IRS sends your refund.
I dont recommend this option for everyone, but its a great way to take out a loan if you qualify.
What Is The H& R Block Budget Challenge
The H& R Block Budget Challenge is a personal finance simulation that teaches teenagers money management skills. During a 10-week competition, students receive virtual paychecks and bills in real-time and are challenged to build a budget and make financial decisions to help them learn how to pay bills on time, manage a credit card balance, and save money for retirement. H& R Block is sponsoring high school students to participate for free and is giving away college scholarships to those who excel in the competition.
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Easy To File And Get Expert Help This App Is Where Its At
The newly designed H& R Block Tax Prep app lets you do your own taxes on any device, with on-demand help from our tax experts if needed.* Import or upload your W-2s with ease, then prep at your own pace. Start for free and get your biggest refund possible, guaranteed.
Limitations apply. Visit our guarantees for more information. *Additional fees apply for expert tax help.
Spruce is a financial technology platform built by H& R Block, which is not a bank. Banking products provided by MetaBank®, N.A., Member FDIC.
Banking products and services are provided by MetaBank®, N.A., Member FDIC.
Spruce* Spending and Savings Accounts are established at, and the Spruce debit card is issued by, MetaBank®, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated. Mastercard® and the circles design are registered trademarks of Mastercard International Incorporated.
Apple and the Apple Logo are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google LLC. Message and data rates may apply.
How Does H& r Block Stack Up To The Competition
H& R Block offers an impressive set of functionalities through its free pricing tier. It frequently makes our list as the top choice for people seeking free filing.
The Deluxe Tier is H& R Blocks worst value. Low-cost or free software can easily help filers itemize deductions and claim straightforward credits.
Compared to H& R Blocks competition, the Premium tier is the best value for a paid tier. It supports rental properties, basic self-employment income and expenses, and all stock and crypto activity.
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Option To Upgrade For Tax Support
H& R Blocks Online Assist program allows filers to access unlimited support from tax-filing experts. The add-on is pricey, but it guarantees that users get the answers they need from a qualified person. You can upgrade to plans where you get:
- Unlimited access for tax questions
- Ability to hand off your tax return to a professional
- Get a hybrid experience with online and in-person tax services at a local H& R Block location
Is It Worth It
For those who qualify for free filing, H& R Block Online deserves to be on the shortlist. It is a premium software, but the free offering is expansive. Additionally, the Premium edition of the software offers good value for investors and gig workers.
However, users considering the Deluxe Tier should think carefully before paying the price. Deluxe users may find a better by considering TaxSlayer Classic or FreeTaxUSA. These tools are also a good alternative for self-employed people with depreciating business assets.
Landlords and others with depreciating assets should also consider whether H& R Block is the right tool to do the job. TurboTax has a superior user experience for rental property owners, which is important given the complexity of property depreciation and other financial needs.
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The Pros Of H& r Block:
- Seamless data entry when you upload tax documents
- Interface is modern and easy to navigate
- Instructions are clear and helpful
- Company doesn’t try to upsell you while preparing a return
- Ability to save your spot and return later
- Offices in all 50 states where tax professionals can prepare your return in person or virtually
Retail And Digital Tax Services
H& R Block has 70,000 employees in its 10,000 U.S. retail tax offices. In addition to the company’s traditional retail tax offices, it offers digital tax preparation programs and software. It filed 23 million tax returns worldwide in 2016.
The company’s services Tax Pro Review and Tax Pro Go were launched in 2017. Tax Pro Review is an updated version of its former service Best of Both, where clients enter their information and do their returns online and are matched with Block tax professional reviews for help. H& R Block Tax Pro Go is marketed to online filers who do not want to or cannot visit an H& R Block office.
H& R Block’s tax software comes in different versions. In addition to the free edition, there are Deluxe, Premium and Self-Employed editions. Users can log on using various devices, import photos of their W-2 forms and use a searchable knowledge base. The Deluxe and Premium editions include free online chat with a tax professional.
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Fantastic Service Quick Efficient Quality And Reassuring
This app is extremely user friendly. It walks you through literally every scenario. If you don’t understand something, you can click on a link below what you’re looking at for more information. If you still have questions there is another section of frequently asked questions. If you Still need assistance there is a chat available with many options, as well as chatting with a live person. Beyond that if you still have questions you’re able to email, message, chat with or speak with a live Professional Tax Return representative. The customer service is amazing, efficient, friendly, professional and prompt service.The price is affordable and fair. I saved a ton of time, money and stress by being able to use this app and self service but with the Peace of Mind knowing that not only the system looked over my work, but that it was double checked by a live human being. And I have the reassurance of knowing H& R Block has my back if any issues arise or if there’s any type of IRS audit. Just an overall exceptional service.
The Cons Of H& r Block:
- Free version does not include itemized deductions
- Free version does not offer on-demand chat or phone support
The bottom line:H& R Block has something for everyone, wrapped in a modern and easy-to-understand package. These aren’t the lowest prices you’ll find, but the quality of the overall user experience justifies the cost. Whether you’re filing online yourself, looking for some expert help, or want to hand it off to a professional, H& R Block will deliver.
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Final Thoughts On H& R Block 2021
For those who qualify for free filing, H& R Block Online deserves to be on the short list. It is a premium software, and the free offering is expansive. Additionally, the Premium edition of the software could offer a good value for investors, and gig workers.
However, users considering the Deluxe Tier should think carefully before paying the price. Deluxe users may find a better by considering TaxSlayer Classic or FreeTaxUSA. These tools may also be a good alternative for self-employed people who dont have depreciating assets in their business.
Landlords and others with depreciating assets should also carefully consider whether H& R Block is the right tool to get the job done. TurboTax has a superior user experience for rental property owners which is important given the complexity of depreciation.
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What Is Online Tax Filing All About
First, lets clarify what we mean by this service. Online tax filing is a popular way to complete your taxes on your own. Instead of working with a tax professional, you use an online program to answer questions about your tax situation for the specific tax year to prepare your income tax return. Once youve completed your return, the program sends it to the IRS electronically through an e-file service.
While the goal of all online tax filing options is to help you complete your taxes, how well they accomplish that goal and your experience can vary greatly.
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Which Tax Software Is Free
Almost all of CNETs best tax software selections for 2022 include free options for simple tax returns. However, some of those free options only include your federal tax return youll occasionally need to pay extra to file state tax returns.
TurboTax, H& R Block, TaxSlayer and Cash App Taxes all provide free tax-filing services that include one federal tax return and one state tax return. FreeTaxUSAs basic plan is free for federal and $15 for unlimited state returns, whereas TaxActs free plan requires $40 per state tax return.
Be careful to check for restrictions before you start the process of using free tax software at any of the providers. For example, TurboTaxs Basic plan only allows simple tax returns with 1040 forms no unemployment income, stock sales or any itemized deductions like mortgage interest. H& R Blocks Free Online adds a few more forms like Schedules 1 and 3, but youll still need to take the standard deduction. TaxSlayer Simply Free doesnt allow taxable income over $100,000.
Even Cash App Taxes, which earns CNETs award for Best Free Tax Software, doesnt cover absolutely all tax situations. While it does include advanced tax forms for self-employment, rental property, stock sales, small business income and the child care credit, it doesnt allow for foreign earned income, the health coverage tax credit or income from an estate or trust .
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Why Trust Our Recommendations
At Personal Finance Insider, we strive to help smart people make the best decisions with their money. Filing taxes can seem like a frustrating task for many of us and we want to help make the process easier and more affordable.
But “best” is often subjective there’s no single tax software that will work for everyone. Not only are taxes highly personal, but there isn’t one universal user experience. That’s why we reviewed 10 of the most popular online tax preparers to identify their top strengths and weaknesses.
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How H& r Block Stacks Up Against The Competition
H& R Block provides an easy-to-use platform, similar to meeting with a tax preparer. H& R Block walks you through an interview process, much like TurboTax, but itâs a little bit cheaper. TurboTax charges up to $119 for federal tax filing for its highest âdo-it-yourself taxâ package, while H& R Block charges up to $114.99 for federal tax filing for a similar package.
Similar to other online tax software programs such as TurboTax and TaxSlayer, if you need help along the way, youâve to upgrade to another pricing tier or pay extra to get it. But whatâs unique about H& R Block is that its options for expert help go beyond your computer screen. Starting at $80 for federal tax returns, and costing an extra $65 per state, you can work with a tax professional virtually, in an H& R Block office, or by dropping off your tax documents at an office.
And while H& R Block tries to upsell you while filing your taxes, itâs not overwhelming compared to TurboTax, which attempts to upsell you multiple times while using the software.
What It Looks Like
H& R Blocks interface is visually simple, straightforward and easy to use, and it steps up to explain concepts as you go. Skipping around to specific spots can be a little tricky, but a banner across the top keeps track of where you are in the filing process.
Embedded “learn more” links provide more information without having to wander around, the help menu is visible from all pages, and you can click to access the chat support portal throughout.
A price preview button up top tells you which package youre buying, whether youve also selected add-ons, and how much your total software bill is so far.
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If You’re Getting A Tax Refund
No matter how you file, you can choose to receive your refund in several ways:
Direct deposit to a bank account.
Existing H& R Emerald Cardholders can load refunds onto their cards.
Loaded onto an Amazon gift card .
Spruce mobile banking.
Apply the refund to next years taxes.
Direct the IRS to buy U.S. Savings Bonds with your refund.
You have the option of paying for the software out of your refund, but theres a $39 charge to do so.