In 2021, H&R Block is once again coming out as a strong contender for the company with the biggest value in tax software.
It’s free version covers a variety of “normal” tax filing situations, and the prices for all tiers are lower than TurboTax equivalents.
As always, H&R Block is ahead of the curve in terms of usability. Its user experience enhancements are making tax filing easier. But H&R Block is a premium product which can come with a premium price tag. Before adopting it, you’ll need to know whether it is the best tool to help you file your taxes this year.
Does the value play make H&R Block a worthwhile software for your taxes? Here's what we think in our H&R Block review below.
Bonus: Amazon is offering a great deal on H&R Block, as well as a 3.5% refund bonus if you get an Amazon giftcard. Check out the H&R Block deal on Amazon here.
- Best option for free filing due to inclusion of EITC and more!
- Easy navigation, great import and connections
- One of the lowest priced top-tier options
H&R Block Online Details
H&R Block Online
Starts at $0
$36.99 per State
Self-Prepared & Assistance
H&R Block Review Video
H&R Block Online - Is It Really Free?
H&R Block offers free Federal and State tax filing for people in the following situations:
- W-2 income
- Unemployment income
- Social Security Income
- People with Student Loan Interest
- People claiming children as dependents
The free tier is also allowing users to file for their Stimulus check tax credit if they didn't receive it. Compared to the competition, H&R Block online offers one of the broadest programs available.
However, H&R Block is not supporting free filing for users with contributions to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). These users have to upgrade to the Deluxe tier.
What's New In 2021?
While H&R Block has made a few tweaks to the user experience, it did not come out with huge new innovations this year. Its most innovative change is its “Have a Pro Do It” offering which allows users to upload a virtual shoebox of documents and an enrolled agent or CPA will complete the filing. It’s a great way to go contactless in 2021.
In 2021, we were excited to see H&R continuing some of its most competitively priced offers. In particular, gig workers with less than $5,000 in business expenses may qualify to file using the Premium tier rather than the Self-Employed tier.
However, we are disappointed to see that in 2021 is not supporting HSA contributions through its free tier.
While novelty isn’t H&R Block’s strength, that shouldn’t scare users away. It is still one of the most robust platforms with expanded free to use capabilities.
H&R Block Online Prices And Plans
H&R Block has four major pricing tiers including a completely free (State and Federal filing cost $0) option. H&R Block’s Premium pricing tier is one of its most competitively priced tiers.
The real value tiers here are the Free and Premium editions.
Bonus: Right now, you can get 20% off H&R Block online if you sign up and start through this link >>
Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Social Security Income, Student Loan Interest Deduction
Itemizers, HSA Accounts
Landlords, investors, Self-employed or side-hustlers (less than $5,000 in business expenses)
$0 per state
Note: Prices are subject to change, especially as it get's closer to the tax deadline. The earlier you start, the higher likelihood you have of locking in better prices.
H&R Block prices itself as a premium tax software, but the Navigation doesn’t quite match the pricing. The software also has short “questionnaires” at the beginning of each section. These questionnaires now include easy to read check boxes, so you can cut straight to the most important parts of the software. Unlike past years, the navigation was extremely simple and easy to use. If I tried to skip ahead or fill out incomplete information, the software provided useful messages related to what was missing.
Where H&R Block’s navigation makes a lot of sense is in form entry. The software guides users on how to enter information quickly and accurately. When necessary, the software breaks up forms into a few screens (to prevent entry mistakes), but you don’t need to do unnecessary clicking.
The software also allows users to navigate through the software themselves (once they’ve gone through the guided option). This can be helpful if you missed something or didn’t have all the forms you needed. It also includes helpful summaries at the end of each section.
Ease Of Use
H&R Block is one of the easiest online filing software packages. It allows users to upload tons of forms including 1099-NEC, 1099-MISC, 1099-INT, W-2 forms and much more. If the form is standard, you can upload it in H&R Block. People using the app can snap pictures of W-2 forms to complete filing.
The other thing that makes H&R Block an easy to use software package is the language used throughout the software. The software does not assume users have robust tax knowledge. They use language that makes sense to normal people, and they link to helpful articles throughout the software.
Plus, if you've never used H&R Block before, they make it easy to switch by letting you simply upload last year's taxes!
Additionally, all users can get free LiveChat support if they struggle with the software.
Given the unusual circumstances surrounding 2020, H&R Block has thoughtfully curated its Covid related articles. It serves those up to users as soon as they enter the software.
On top of these articles, H&R Block sprinkles article links throughout the software. Additionally, it has a forum for users to ask questions, and a library of more in depth articles. A simple search will bring up a curated assortment of relevant articles for most users.
If you file your taxes through H&R Block online, you can opt to put some or all of your return on an Amazon gift card. When you do that, H&R Block will add 3.5% to your refund.
Check out the H&R Block deal on Amazon here.
H&R Block also offers free Tax Identity Theft monitoring and restoration help if someone steals your identity. At check-out, users have the option to purchase Worry-Free Audit support. This includes help from an enrolled agent if you undergo an IRS audit.
Can H&R Block Help Me With My Crypto Investments?
H&R Block Online has instructions that carefully explain how users can file taxes on their cryptocurrency trades. However, the software treats it like other capital gains activities. There are no special integrations to make crypto filing easier.
Can I Get My Missing Stimulus Check Through H&R Block Online?
Never received your 2020 coronavirus stimulus check? Or were you underpaid based on your 2020 income?
The Recovery Rebate Credit allows tax filers to retroactively receive the stimulus money. You will need an IRS letter Notice 1444 Your Economic Impact Payment to file for this credit.
H&R Block allows users to reference this document and request the appropriate credit at tax time.
H&R Block Virtual Tax Service
Note: H&R Block will not offer virtual tax prep starting after May 15 due to the high likelihood it cannot be completed before the tax deadline.
H&R Block also has a virtual tax prep service called Virtual Tax Prep. If you want pro to do your taxes, but still want to do them online or at home, this is a great hybrid.
With this service, you can book at tax pro online, see the price, upload your documents, and have your return filed all from the comfort of your own home.
As of writing this, they expect to have your taxes prepared and filed within 5 days of submitting all your information online. However, as it gets busier and closer to tax season, that could change.
This service is a premium service, with prices from $49 to $329 for the service. However, that still is better than many CPAs will charge.
Right now, College Investor readers can get $25 off Virtual Tax Prep with H&R Block by downloading this coupon. Enter the code from the coupon at checkout. Offer is only good for new clients. Download the H&R Block coupon here.
H&R Block In-Store And Tax Refund Advance
H&R Block is most well-known for their large network of stores that have tax preparers and tax professionals able to assist. Plus, H&R Block is also known for having some of the best tax refund advance products available.
In store, customers can expect to have an expert tax professional prepare and file their taxes. This does cost much more than the online products offered here.
The Tax Refund Advance is available up to $3,500, and is available starting January 2, 2021 in stores. You can also get $25 off your in-person tax prep with this coupon. Download the H&R Block coupon here.
How Does H&R Block Compare To Other Tax Software?
H&R Block has an impressive set of functionalities available through its free pricing tier. However, other tiers are still fairly expensive. This year H&R Block is being compared to TurboTax, which is the only software that beats H&R Block on user experience.
It’s also compared to “bargain” software FreeTaxUSA.
FreeTaxUSA doesn't have quite the user experience that H&R Block offers, but their prices are far lower. If you don’t qualify for H&R Block’s free tier, you may want to look at one of those low cost options before moving forward.
Here's what you get with these companies AND which tier of pricing it's included at.
Student Loan Interest
Import Last Year's Taxes
$36.99 per additional state
$40 per additional state
$12.95 per additional state
Earned Income Tax Credit
Child Tax Credit
Retirement Income (SS, Pension, etc.)
Free (but limited)
Free (but limited)
Capital Gains Income
Small Business Owner (over $5k in expenses)
Free Tier Price
$0 Fed & $0 State
$0 Fed & $0 State
$0 Fed & $12.95 State
Deluxe Tier Price
$29.99 Fed & $36.99 State
$50 Fed & $50 State
$6.99 Fed & $12.95 State
Premium Tier Price
$49.99 Fed & $36.99 State
$90 Fed & $50 State
$6.99 Fed & $12.95 State
Self-Employed Tier Price
$84.99 Fed & $36.99 State
$120 Fed & $50 State
$6.99 Fed & $12.95 State
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 (and equally usable bargain) by considering TaxSlayer Classic or FreeTaxUSA. These tools may also be a good alternative for self-employed people who don’t 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.
H&R Block Online FAQ
Here are some common questions we get about H&R Block online:
Is H&R Block Online Free?
H&R Block does have a robust free file tier that includes a lot of common tax situations, including employment income, earned income tax credit, and more. Many users will qualify for free filing with H&R Block.
Does H&R Block Offer Tax Prep Assistance?
One of the reasons we love H&R Block is because of the ways you can get help. You can get help online, through phone, or even have a tax preparer virtually prepare your tax return. You can also visit one of H&R Block's network of locations as well.
How Much Does It Cost To File With H&R Block?
This all varies based on your tax situation. It could be as low as $0, or could be well over $100 if you own a business and have to file multiple state tax returns. You can also pay for professional tax preparation, or purchase an add-on like Worry Free Audit Support.
Is H&R Block Better Than TurboTax?
It depends. We found H&R Block to be better on price, and pretty good on usability. TurboTax does offer one of the easiest to use interfaces, though, and it can make tax filing easy.
What Are The Alternatives To H&R Block?
TurboTax is the biggest competitor to H&R Block. You can also look at FreeTaxUSA, TaxSlayer, and TaxAct. Check out our list of H&R Block Alternatives here.
Does H&R Block Support Health Savings Accounts?
Yes! But sadly, not on the free file version. You would need to upgrade to Deluxe for that.
Can you file multiple states for free?
On the free tier, you only get one free state. If you need to file a return in a second state, you would pay for that state.
H&R Block 2021 Online Review
Ease of Use
Features and Options
Plans And Pricing
H&R Block is an online and brick and mortar tax preparation service that has a robust free file program, as well as easy-to-use options for more complex tax situations.
- One of the more robust free tax filing options
- Easy to use for more complex tax situations
- Solid pricing for investors and the self-employed
- Tax advance loans
- Depreciation situations are a little lacking
- May not be the best pricing for users who need the Deluxe version
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.