For 2017, H&R Block has made a value play. H&R Block tax software offers its typical easy to use imports, enhanced integration with popular business apps (including Uber), and 24/7 tech support via chat.
The prices are still close to the top of the market, but they are well below TurboTax’s prices. However, H&R Block really sets itself apart this year with it's More Zero free filing option - offering a lot more value compared to other competitors - and making it the best free filing option we've seen.
Does the value play make H&R Block a worthwhile software for your taxes?
As a quick note - Amazon is offering a great deal on H&R Block, as well as a 5% refund bonus if yo get an Amazon giftcard. Check out the H&R Block deal on Amazon here.
- Best option for free filing due to inclusion of EITC
- Easy navigation, great import and connections
- Higher priced, but not top of market
H&R Block 2017 Video Review
H&R Block Navigation
H&R Block uses a “semi-guided” navigation system which I think is a great way to streamline tax prep without making it overly complicated. Using options selected at the beginning, the H&R Block software guides users through questions and answers followed by opportunities to import forms at the appropriate time.
At the end of each guided session, H&R Block gives users the opportunity to review the entire section and opt into sections that the software missed.
For example, I imported my W-2, completed my self-employment income, and entered rental income using the guided session. Upon review, I realized that I missed importing my 1099-INT.
H&R Block Ease Of Use
In 2017, H&R Block has greatly improved its ease of use by increasing the ease with which you can import various forms. On top of easily importing W-2 forms (via picture or pdf), 1099-INT and 1099-DIV forms from many financial institutions, H&R Block is now integrating the software with a number of expense tracking apps (including the Uber App for side-hustlers).
When it comes to tax prep, entering information can get tedious and lead to mistakes. H&R Block does as much as any competitor to reduce tax prep fatigue by making it easy to get into and out of the software.
On top of that, H&R Block’s excellent search function and 24/7 chat service make the product easier to use compared to it’s competitors.
H&R Block Knowledge Articles
H&R Block’s robust, easy to understand, and easy to access knowledge articles are a distinguishing factor for the software. The in software articles tend to be short and to the point. They include just enough information to point you in the right direction. However, people who need more detailed information will enjoy the longer form articles that are easily accessible through the search feature.
It’s also important to note that H&R Block’s paying customers do not have to rely on the articles alone. Paying customers can get access to the following help:
Tax chat/Ask a Tax Advisor (inside the product) is available weekdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT, and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT.
Technical support chat (inside the product) is available 24/7.
Technical support via phone is available weekdays from 7 a.m. to midnight CT, and on weekends from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. CT.
H&R Block 2017 Pricing And Plans
All H&R Block plans come with free technical support using the chat function. The paid plans also include tax support with experts (either certified tax preparers or CPAs). It’s also great to see that H&R Block has created a More Zero plan that allows users with just W-2 income to claim a number of credits and deductions for free.
Unfortunately, H&R Block only offers audit support as a paid upgrade with their online plans. H&R Block audit support (includes in-person representation) can be added to H&R Block Online products for $19.99 (and online clients also can add Tax Identity Care for $14.99 – these products bundled together cost $24.99 for online clients). People who are worried about audits may want to consider a software like TaxHawk or TurboTax.
You can also get $20 off of H&R Block by using your American Express card. There is a $20 Amex Offer available to most cardholders - simply login to your account and choose the offer. Make sure you do this before paying for H&R Block.
Amazon is offering a great deal on H&R Block, as well as a 5% refund bonus if yo get an Amazon giftcard. Check out the H&R Block deal on Amazon here.
People itemizing deductions
Investors & Rental Property Owners
Business Owners, Side Hustlers, Contractors
Who Should Use H&R Block 2017?
For 2017, I remain a fan of H&R Block for dividend investors, active traders, and landlords. It offers an excellent user interface, easy imports, and a lower price compared to the more high-end software, TurboTax.
Likewise, the More Zero option for people with simple tax returns is one of the best free options on the market. H&R Block is one of the few free software services for people claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Care Tax credit, Mortgage Interest, Traditional IRA contributions, student loan interest and charitable giving.
Some self-employed people may want to opt for H&R Block Self-Employed, but I think some software services (like TaxSlayer, TaxAct, and Credit Karma Tax) offer similar interfaces at lower prices.
The bottom line is, if you qualify for free pricing, H&R Block is your best choice. And for those that don't, H&R Block is on par or better than most of the competition.
H&R Block Online 2018 Review
H&R Block is the best tax software for people who qualify for free file.