Do you find that you’re being gouged on your tax return just because you own a home? Maybe in past years you’ve thought you were filing for free, but instead found yourself being “upgraded” to a more expensive filing product?
We’ve partnered with H&R block to look at the typical homeowner’s tax return and show you a way to file your tax return for free (yes - even if you are a homeowner).
Let’s stop wasting time with the intro and see if we can get you your tax refund sooner!
Typical Homeowner Tax Return
The typical homeowner tax return includes three common deductions related to their home. This often includes the following:
- Mortgage Interest
- Points Paid For Loan
- Real Estate Taxes
Points appear for new home buyers since they are part of the loan origination process. After the first year, you probably aren’t going to have a deduction for points unless you refinance.
The above information is included on IRS Form 1098. Some lenders might not mail out the official IRS form. Instead, you’ll receive a different form with the same information.
Does this sound a little too confusing? Don’t worry, H&R Block will ask you a few quick questions to make sure your mortgage will qualify, and will ensure everything is filed correctly. All you have to do it accurately enter the information you receive!
Cost Of Filing A Tax Return
Some homeowners may not want to do their taxes and instead offload the task onto a tax professional. Others are a little more comfortable with the process and will use tax software to assist them. Both options have costs.
Most tax professionals will charge based on the complexity of a filer’s tax return, which will almost always increase the cost of a homeowner’s tax return. Expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars.
Tax software is cheaper and there is a wide range to choose from - which can make you feel overwhelmed. All provide different experiences and it can be difficult to figure out which one is right for you. Most packages will cost under $100 but can go over this amount once state filings are included.
One drawback of most tax software is the lack of assistance. Unless you have the simplest of returns, you’re likely to have questions. Depending on the service, you may or may not get the answers you are looking for. In many cases, you are simply asked to check with your accountant.
H&R Block's More Zero
How does a homeowner get the best deal on their tax return? Meaning, lowest cost filing, good customer service and is able to accommodate typical homeowner deductions?
H&R Block has the answer in their More Zero online tax filing service. More Zero is a free service. This includes no cost for federal and state returns. Best of all, homeowners can take deductions for interest and real estate taxes using More Zero.
You can find H&R Block’s More Zero tax filing service here https://www.hrblock.com/offers/more-zero/. More Zero is able to accommodate a range of tax filers including 1040EZ, 1040A, 1040 SCH A and Itemized Deductions all for free.
If you haven’t used H&R Block before, you might have concerns about switching to a different tax filer. H&R Block makes this process easy. Simply upload your documents or snap a picture of them with your mobile phone. This includes snapping a pic of your W-2.
The import process supports all of the following forms: 1095-A, 1098, 1098-E, 1098-T, 1099-B, 1099-DIV, 1099-INT, and 1099-R.
Homeowners will be interested in the Schedule A for deductions on mortgage interest and real estate taxes. The Schedule A is part of the free version. More Zero has a guided process to help ensure homeowners maximize their mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions.
More Zero offers everything most homeowners will want in a tax filer. Besides the homeowner related deductions, More Zero also includes:
- Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
- Child Care Expenses
- Student Loan Interest
- Retirement Plan Income
- Cash and Non-cash Donations
When you need technical support, you can get assistance through the included chat support.
Getting help with your tax questions will cost an extra $49.99. This will include access to an H&R Block Tax Pro. Tax Pros have an average of 10 years of experience. But unless there is something odd about your return, you’ll probably won’t need a Tax Pro.
Keep in mind that you can also go into an H&R Block office if needed. H&R Block has tried to put an office within driving distance of every customer.
Another nice feature about More Zero is that as you are going through the tax filing process, your refund will be visible and fluctuate as you enter in more information about your tax return. This is a feature H&R Block calls Refund Reveal™. It allows you to see immediately the impact of your finances on your tax refund. This is honestly my favorite part of doing taxes - I love seeing how new data entered impacts my bottom line.
Maximizing your homeowner tax deductions means more than being smart about the entries are your tax return. It also means minimizing your tax filing costs.
H&B Block’s More Zero has put together a solution that can help homeowners accomplish both tax deduction maximization and tax filing cost minimization.
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 here and here.
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.