H&R Block Tax Filing Software is a top-tier competitor in the online tax filing services industry. H&R Block is best known for their retail tax prep services, but their best in class software appeals directly to the DIY tax preparers.
The software is easy to use and intuitive, and offers helpful import features, explanations, articles, and customer service that can help even the most complex filers navigate federal and state filing with ease.
H&R Block 2016 Tax Prep Process
H&R Block features a streamlined and intuitive user interface. The process begins with users entering basic information about themselves, their income, where they lived, and more.
Please Note: users have only one chance (at their first login) to import their Federal and State Filings from the previous year (unless you filed at an H&R Block Office). If you are aware of this feature, you can import your filings from TaxAct, TurboTax or H&R Block, but if you don’t do it right away, you lose your opportunity to import.
This can be an annoying feature if you need access to previous filings (thankfully, I did not).
Was not able to import my taxes from last year since I didn’t have electronic records on my computer.
Did not receive a second opportunity to import.
Once users enter their basic information, the software moves users through a semi-guided process to file income, deductions and credits. Software explanations, main menus and section summaries make this process easy.
Before moving to a new section, the software asks if the user needs to enter more information. By clicking “Yes”, users are redirected to the main menu where they can review their options before moving on.
Throughout the process, H&R Block eases the burden of data entry by allowing users to import PDF versions of W-2 forms, 1099-INT forms, and 1099-DIV forms.
After entering income, users move on to enter deductions and credits. When users complete these sections H&R Block offers helpful explanations that allow users to understand whether or not they qualify for certain deductions and credits.
Please Note: Working in a non-linear order may cause users to unknowingly skip out on income, deductions or credits. However, the section summary should cause users to realize whether or not they’ve missed anything.
From reviewing my deduction screen, I realized that I had not deducted property taxes
What If I Get Confused?
H&R Block offered easy navigation, helpful pop-ups and clickable knowledge articles, but it is possible for new filers or people with complex information to become confused. H&R Block offers free phone support and web chat with both Tax and Tech support specialists. Additionally, their online knowledge base is one of the most robust on the market.
However, H&R specialists may look for opportunities to upsell during these help chats (i.e. get clients to go to an H&R Block office). Users should know that in person support from the H&R Block offices is not free.
H&R Block 2016 Plans and Pricing
H&R Block is one of the most expensive filing software’s on the market. While they offer some unique value (including free representation from a tax professional if you undergo an audit after filing using the software), their prices will turn many away. Everyone who files both State and Federal income tax will be required to pay something to file using H&R Block.
The Free Federal edition is appropriate for filers who don’t have property or investments. However, even the free filing comes with a steep $27.99 State filing pricing tag. In this edition, users can import W-2, 1095 or 1099 forms, and accept standard deductions.
Building on the Free edition, the Basic Edition ($24.99 for Federal + $36.99 Per State) offers the ability to store and access returns for up to six years and the ability to import information from previous years.
The Deluxe Edition ($34.99 for Federal+ $36.99 Per State) offers the ability to import investment income, and to itemize deductions like homeowner’s deductions and charitable giving.
The Premium Edition ($49.99 for Federal + $36.99 per state) offers deduction and credit finders suitable for freelancers, small business owners, and rental property owners.
The Final Verdict
H&R Block offers an easy to use interface, a robust platform, but it’s pricing is generally not competitive. Users with easier filing situations (especially those without freelance or rental income) will find better value with lower priced software services. You can see how they compare to H&R Block here.
On the other hand, people with complex filings will still rate H&R Block software one of the top values on the market.
While the price for Premium users is close to the top of the market, H&R Block offers a high speed option that emphasizes ease of understanding and usability. For filers who need true accounting services at a DIY price, H&R Block Online Filing Software is a strong competitor.
H&R Block 2016 Giveaway
To make tax season more enjoyable, we're giving away two copies of H&R Block 2015 Deluxe.
You can enter below. The contest runs from January 8, 2016 to January 22, 2016.
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