H&R Block Review for 2021
H&R Block has a long-standing reputation as one of the best online and free tax prep software. If you'd like the peace of mind of working with a tax expert (either in person, online or over the phone), H&R Block is a great option. While you might pay a little more, you also get what you pay for because H&R Block offers a wide array of services and a best-in-class online experience.
- Wide Range of Services
- Real Customer Service Agents Available
- Brick-and-Mortar Locations
- Great Reputation
- Free Options
- State Filing Expenses
H&R Block is a tax preparation services company with roots that stretch back to 1955. The company offers self-filing tax services and the option to work directly with a tax professional.
H&R Block is unique in the tax preparation industry because they’re one of the few companies that have both robust online services and brick-and-mortar locations.
In fact, the company has more than 10,000 retail offices located throughout the U.S.
Are you considering filing your taxes with H&R Block? Keep reading to learn all about this leading tax preparation company, including the specific services they provide, the pros and cons of working with them, and more.
H&R Block Online Tax Products
Similar to its competitors, H&R Block offers a free method to file your federal taxes. They also offer a range of paid options. Let’s take a look at each one:
Free Online Filing
If you have a straightforward tax situation, you probably want to look into H&R Block’s Free Online Tax Filing service for Federal and State filing.
H&R Block’s Free Filing Edition Benefits:
- Mobile document uploads. Take a picture of your W-2 with your smartphone and upload it to your H&R Block account in just a few taps.
- Convenient tax records migration. Transfer prior tax returns from other services into your H&R Block account.
- Refund Reveal. H&R Block will continuously display an estimate of your refund as you adjust your tax filing.
Pro Tip: While H&R Block’s state filing fee of $36.99 (state filing is free with the Free Online plan) might seem high, consider that H&R Block’s “Free Edition” accommodates some important tax situations that its main competitor Turbo Tax charges money for. For example, with the H&R Block Free Edition, you can deduct childcare expenses, student loan interest, and child and dependent care expenses.
To deduct these same items with TurboTax, you’d have to upgrade to the $69.99 TurboTax Deluxe plan or possibly an even more expensive plan.
Deluxe Online Tax Filing
H&R Block’s Deluxe Online Tax Filing costs $29.99 for federal taxes and $36.99 for state taxes. This option includes the same services as the free version plus the following:
H&R Block’s Deluxe Online Filing Edition Benefits:
- Document storage. Deluxe account holders can store tax documents for up to six years in their H&R Block account. This is super convenient since an IRS audit can only go back three years (in most cases).
- Homeowner deductions. If you own a home, you’ll most likely want to take advantage of a mortgage interest deduction. You’ll need a Deluxe account to do this with H&R Block.
- Prior year data import. If you filed with H&R Block last year and want to access those documents again without having to manually upload them, you’ll need to pay for the Deluxe account.
- DeductionPro. If you’ve donated money to charity, this feature will help you maximize your tax savings.
- Better customer support. If you run into a technical issue when attempting to file your taxes and you’re a Deluxe account holder, you can simply dial into a tech support line. Free account users only have access to chat support, so if you’d rather talk to support and get help on the phone Deluxe might be worth the upgrade. Good luck!
Premium Online Tax Filing
Property owners will most likely opt for H&R Block’s Premium Online Tax Filing plan. This product will set you back $49.99 for federal taxes and $36.99 for state filing.
In addition to the features included in the Free and Deluxe plans, the Premium plan accommodates the following tax situations:
H&R Block’s Premium Filing Edition Benefits:
- Investment income. If you’ve earned money in the market or through other financial vehicles, you’ll most likely need to sign up for this plan.
- Rental property income. If you’re a landlord that rents out properties, you’ll want to look into H&R Block’s Premium plan.
- Filing for independent contractors and freelancers. If you’re an independent contractor or freelancer and have a relatively straightforward tax situation, the Premium plan can help you file your Schedule C-EZ.
- Automatic expense importing. Premium account owners can easily import their business expenses expense tracking apps, such as Stride.
Self-Employed Online Tax Filing
H&R Block’s Self-Employed Online Filing Edition Benefits:
- Schedule C form. If you own a small business, you’ll most likely to file a Schedule C form with the IRS. You’re in luck: You can do that with this plan.
- Business Partner. This feature ensures that you’ll be able to take advantage of all the potential deductions that apply to your business.
- Business Booster. This feature helps you write off any start-up costs you’ve incurred as a result of forming your business.
- Integration with Uber driver accounts. If you’re an Uber driver, this plan enables you to conveniently import your tax documents right from your Uber account. Less time on your taxes and more time picking up fares. Nice!
H&R Block Tax Pro Review
The H&R Block Tax Pro Review can be added to any of the plans, Free, Deluxe, Premium, and Self-Employed, with the added benefit of having a tax expert review, sign, and file your return.
When this feature is added to an online Federal return, the prices range from $49.99 to $89.99 . Tax Pro Review for a State return is $39.99.
H&R Block: In-Person Services
Let’s face it: Filing your taxes can be a complicated and stressful process. There are going to be some situations where you want the peace of mind that comes with having a dedicated tax professional handle your returns.
With over 10,000 retail branches located throughout the U.S., this is where H&R Block stands out among the competition.
H&R Block Offers the Following In-Person Services:
1. In-Office Service. The H&R Block In-office plan includes a one-on-one meeting with a tax advisor. This service starts at $69, with additional fees depending on where you live and your individual tax situation.
2. Drop-Off Service. H&R Block’s Drop-off service lets you simply file your returns at a local H&R Block office. Customers are then able to follow up with a tax expert who will review and file the return. This service starts at $69.
3. Virtual Tax Prep. The Virtual Tax Prep service—also referred to as Tax Pro Go—is a newer H&R Block feature that first launched in February of 2020. With this plan, you can simply upload your tax forms into your online H&R Block account and one of their tax experts will take it from there. Virtual Tax Prep starts at $49.
H&R Block: Tax Software Overview
H&R Block also offers a range of tax software options that closely resemble the features of their online plans.
H&R Block Offers the Following Tax Software Options:
- Basic Tax Software. The Basic Tax Software plan is $29.95, for federal filing only, an additional fee of $19.95 applies for State e-filing, this package is ideal for those with straightforward tax situations.
- Deluxe + State Tax Software. If you own a home or invest in stocks, you’ll need to upgrade to Deluxe + State Tax Software. This plan costs $54.95 for federal and state filing.
- Premium Tax Software. If you’re self-employed, invest in real estate or need to file a 1099 MISC form, you’ll need H&R Block’s Premium Tax Software plan. The fee for this plan is $74.95.
- Premium & Business Tax Software. If you own a business and want to maximize your work-related deductions, you’ll have to pony up $89.95 for the Premium & Business Software plan.
Another great feature that is available for those DIY filers who may want help from a tax expert along the way is the Online Assist option. Much like having a tax pro sit right next to you, it offers unlimited, on-demand access to a tax expert, enrolled agent, or CPA.
H&R Block: FAQs
Next, let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions regarding H&R Block.
How Much Does it Cost to File Taxes with H&R Block?
It depends on your tax situation. Here’s a quick summary of their fees:
- Free Edition: starts at $0 (duh!) for federal taxes and $0 for state taxes.
- Deluxe Online Plan: starts at $29.99 for federal taxes and $36.99 for state taxes.
- Premium Online Plan: starts at $49.99 for federal taxes and $36.99 for state taxes.
- Self-Employed Online Plan: starts at $79.99 for federal taxes and $36.99 for state taxes.
- Tax Pro Plan: starts at $49.99 to $89.99 for federal taxes plus $39.99 for state taxes.
- In-Person Plan: starts at $69, with additional fees for state taxes depending on your location and tax situation.
- Drop-Off Plan: starts at $69, with additional fees for state taxes depending on your location and tax situation.
- Virtual Tax Prep: starts at $49, with additional fees for state taxes depending on your location and tax situation.
Pro Tip: As I write this post, I’m noticing that the H&R Block website has automatically reduced the price of their paid plans by nearly 25% just because I’ve kept their website open for a while! With that said, I am sure these discounts vary, but definitely keep an eye out for better deals and promotional discounts when tax time comes.
How Do I Download H&R Block Software?
Here’s how to download H&R Block’s software:
- Visit the tax software section of their website from your computer.
- Select the software plan that’s right for you (Basic, Deluxe, Premium, or Business).
- Sign up and pay for that plan on the H&R Block website.
- Once you do, you’ll have access to download the software directly from the website.
It’s that simple!
Pros & Cons of H&R Block
- Wide Range of Services: H&R Block offers a ton of different tax preparation options that can most likely handle almost any tax situation. If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop, H&R Block is probably worth consideration.
- Real People Available: Filing your taxes is a complicated process. I like that you can easily contact an H&R Block tax expert if you have any questions during the process. You can also hire them to handle the entire process for you.
- Brick-and-Mortar Locations: H&R Block has over 10,000 retail locations throughout the U.S. For many people, this is a huge incentive. Not only can you save time by having an expert review or file your taxes on your behalf, but you also reduce the risk of making a costly mistake on your tax return.
- State Filing Expenses: There’s no way to get around paying to file your state taxes with H&R Block. The fees to file state taxes with H&R Block start at $0 for the free plan and $36.99 and up for their other plans. By comparison, TurboTax offers state filing for free (on their simple, free filing plan) and FreeTaxUSA charges only $14.99. If you’re looking for the cheapest option, you may want to look somewhere else.
- More Expensive Than Some Competitors: While H&R Block is at least $10 cheaper than TurboTax, they are still significantly more expensive than other services, like FreeTaxUSA, for example.
Is H&R Block Good?
If you prefer to join forces with a company that has a long-standing reputation and would like the peace of mind of working with a tax expert (either in person, online or over the phone), H&R Block is a great option. While you might pay a little more, you also get what you pay for because H&R Block offers a wide array of services.
On the other hand, if you have a very straightforward tax situation and don’t want to pay to file your state taxes, you might want to look into other options, such as TurboTax.
With so many different tax preparation companies offering more or less the same services, it can be tricky to decide which one is right for you. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to filing your taxes. If there was, you probably wouldn’t need to be reading this right now!
I hope this post has made your decision easier. Here’s to smooth sailing this upcoming tax season!