Are you looking for an elegant solution to your complex tax filing needs? H&R Block may be the perfect solution for you. H&R Block offers less hand holding than pricey TurboTax. But they offer more help, better knowledge articles, and more import features than their less expensive counterparts.
This year, H&R Block didn’t blow me away with new features and increased usability. Still, they delivered on the price to value ratio that matters to many DIY tax preparers. Here’s what you need to know about H&R Block’s 2016 Tax Software.
** As a side note for this review, H&R Block has delayed releasing their Schedule E until 1/17/17, which is a little disappointing. We leveraged the 2015 version for this review as a result.
H&R Block Tax Prep Process
H&R Block always keeps usability as a top priority, so the tax prep process is straightforward. They even fixed the importing bugs that irked me in prior users.
In 2016, users can choose between a guided software, and self-guided navigation. The guided software impressed me with the well phrased questions. It’s still not as good as the highest priced software, but it’s sufficient for most filers. The navigation makes self-guided options easy too.
Filers will walk through income, adjustments and deductions, credits, and finally taxes paid.
The H&R Block software is organized in a way that makes it easy to file. I especially love their robust importing solutions. You can import entire schedules (such as a Schedule E from your business, or a Schedule C from your small business).
They also allow you to import 1099-DIV forms. H&R Block accurately uploaded all my files and used them to populate my filing.
Regular traders, small business owners, and real estate investors will all love the import features. The built in amortization and depreciation calculators are robust, and allow flexibility. The H&R Block Knowledge Articles and Community forum proved helpful for tricky situations.
What If I Get Confused?
Most people with straightforward filing will breeze through H&R Block’s filing process. However, complex filers may get stuck. If you get stuck with H&R Block, start by investigating their knowledge articles. They offer both theoretical knowledge and practical How-To advice.
The trickiest questions often show up on the H&R Block Community forum. Tax professionals from H&R Block and other community members monitor the forums to help people out.
Anyone can get free technical chat support, but only paying customers get access to expert tax advice via webchat. Finally, for $79.99 you can purchase “Best of Both.” Best of both is a service where H&R Block tax professionals review your online tax return before you file.
H&R Block 2016 Plans And Pricing
If you’re a simple taxfiler, you can use H&R Block for free. That includes both your state and federal filing options.
As a side note, these prices are based on the list price of the software. You may be able to get a better deal elsewhere. We've noticed that Amazon sometimes has amazing sales on H&R Block software.
$34.99 Federal + $39.99 State
$54.99 Federal + $36.99 State
Anyone with a 1040A or 1040EZ
Best value for investors, homeowners, and small-time side hustlers
Required for small business owners who need a full Schedule C
The Deluxe Tier costs $34.99 for Federal and $36.99 for state filing. This level is appropriate for stock market investors, homeowners, and importantly small business owners with simple expenses. If you’re a side-hustler, this could be one of the best value tax software for you. Most softwares require self employed people to purchase the highest tier product, but H&R Block keeps the Schedule C-EZ on the Deluxe Tier.
The Premium plan costs $54.99 for Federal and $36.99 for state filing. This tier supports all major forms.
These are the prices for their online software packages. The online software does not come with an in person audit guarantee. You need to purchase the downloadable software to get that guarantee.
H&R Block represents one of the best value to price ratios on the market. It’s not quite as easy to use as TurboTax, but it has all the features that complex filers value. I’m especially impressed that the Deluxe plan allows you to file the Schedule C-EZ.
Most complex filers committed to DIY tax prep should choose between TurboTax and H&R Block. Side hustlers with basic expenses will see huge value from H&R Block’s Deluxe Schedule. Other complex filers need to decide if TurboTax’s ease of use is worth $35 more. It’s a tough call.
Want to give it a try? You can start your return for free at H&R Block right here.
Have you tried out H&R Block?