Technology and the internet have made it easier than ever to file your tax return from home and on your own time. However, tax preparation software from companies like H&R Block can take the convenience of online tax filing to another level, which means less stress, more time, and a potentially higher return for you.
For the 2023 tax season, we can recommend H&R Block to anyone who wants assistance organizing their tax information and filing online. This software can help you accurately file your state and federal tax return whether you work for a single employer, own your own business, or have a complicated tax situation that requires a multi-pronged approach. H&R Block even lets you file federal taxes for free, and they promise “more forms for free” than competitor TurboTax.
If you want to file your taxes yourself this year but also want the benefit of tax software that walks you through the process, H&R Block may be exactly what you need. Keep reading to learn how this software works, which packages they offer how much they cost, and how you can sign up.
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How H&R Block Works
One of the big advantages of H&R Block is its easy question-and-answer format. Once you select a tax preparation software option they offer, you’ll start the process by answering questions about your income and tax situation, mostly by pulling information from tax paperwork you have received from employers, clients, and financial institutions.
H&R Block also lets you download last year’s tax return as part of the process, which can be immensely helpful when it comes to jogging your memory on deductions you may have taken in the past or even accounts you paid interest on.
Questions you can expect to answer include your family size, your income, retirement contributions you’ve made to tax-advantaged accounts, and investment income. If you’re self-employed or a small business owner, you’ll also answer questions about your business revenue, your business deductions, and more.
What Happens Next
While you’re entering all your information into the H&R Block online interface, the tax preparation software is processing your data to see which deductions you might qualify for, which tax brackets your income will be taxed in, and any potential changes you could make now to reduce your tax liability for the year. The software is even set up to make suggestions that could help you lower the amount in taxes overall, such as contributing money to a traditional IRA.
H&R Block also makes it easy to “save” your information and come back to it later. You might need a few days to gather all the information to file your taxes for the year, for example, or you might get started and realize you need to reach out to a client or employer for more information. Either way, you can start and stop your tax return at any point during the process.
Once you’ve entered all the information H&R Block asks for, the software provides you with an overview of your tax return including your full income for the year, how much you owe to the IRS or your state tax authority, or how much you can expect to get back in your tax refund.
Finally, H&R Block offers a Where’s My Refund tool that lets you track your refund if you’re due money back for the year. They also offer the opportunity to ask for a refund advance of up to $3,500, which comes on an H&R Block Emerald Prepaid Mastercard.
What’s New for H&R Block In 2023
Like other tax software programs, H&R Block is always tweaking its offerings and using technology to offer more value to the consumer. For 2023, improvements include the ability to download your last year’s tax returns with the software — even if you used a different company to file your taxes last year.
“While people may believe switching tax preparers is challenging, this is not the case when switching to H&R Block,” they write on their website. “Switching to Block can be as easy as two clicks. Just drag and drop to import last year’s tax information from any other provider.”
H&R Block also expanded its price guarantee in 2023, offering up a new “No Surprise Guarantee” that also comes with audit assistance and a midyear tax check-in for all its customers. H&R Block believes their pricing should come in at least $10 below pricing from TurboTax with all their paid tax filing products, and this new price guarantee will help ensure that’s the case.
H&R Block Features and Benefits
H&R Block has so many features and benefits that we cannot possibly cover them all. With that in mind, here are the main perks you can look forward to as an H&R Block customer:
Multiple Plans to Choose From: H&R Block offers a broad range of tax preparation plans to choose from, including online options and in-person tax preparation and support. Their online plans are available in packages that make sense for regular employees paid on a W2, freelancers small business owners, and more. You can even use the software to file basic federal returns for free.
Tax Preparation Assistance Available: Online plans can be purchased with an “assist” add-on that includes “on-demand help from a tax expert, enrolled agent, or CPA.” These programs cost slightly more, but they provide personal assistance for those who need it.
Audit Support: If H&R Block software is used to file your taxes and you’re selected for an audit, H&R Block will support you with audit assistance. Free in-person audit assistance is available with Block Basic, Deluxe, Premium, and Premium & Business desktop software.
Midyear Tax Check-In: All H&R Block plans now come with a midyear tax check-in that can help you identify changes you could make to reduce your tax bill for the rest of the year.
Accuracy Guarantee: This software also comes with a 100% accuracy guarantee. “If the H&R Block tax preparation software makes an error on your return, we will reimburse you for any resulting penalties and interest up to a maximum of $10,000,” writes H&R Block on their website.
Maximum Refund Guarantee: You’re also guaranteed to receive the maximum refund available to you. H&R Block will even refund the fees you paid to use their software and let you amend your return to secure a higher refund at no extra charge.
H&R Block Plans and Prices
H&R Block online tax filing software comes in four different editions:
- Basic: $29.95
- Deluxe + State Online: $54.95
- Premium: $74.95
- Premium & Business: $89.95
Here’s a basic rundown of what each of these plans offers and why you might want to sign up.
The Basic plan, priced at $29.95, is ideally designed for individuals with straightforward tax situations. This plan is especially beneficial for those who might be filing with forms such as the 1040EZ. It ensures that users have a streamlined process with built-in error-checking and a guarantee of accurate calculations. However, it’s worth noting that this option doesn’t delve deep into more complex tax topics. For instance, those who have itemized deductions, business incomes, or rental properties might find this package a bit limited in scope.
Priced at $54.95, the Deluxe + State Online plan caters to a broader range of tax filers. This package is particularly useful for homeowners and those who itemize their deductions. If you have health savings accounts (HSAs) or wish to maximize benefits from mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions, this plan is for you. Additionally, the inclusion of state tax preparation is a boon for those residing in states that require state tax filings. The package also helps users navigate through deductions related to charitable donations and medical expenses.
For those with a more intricate financial landscape, the Premium plan, priced at $74.95, offers a comprehensive solution. This is particularly beneficial for those who are freelancers, part of the gig economy, or self-employed. The package provides in-depth guidance on topics like capital gains, losses, investments, and even income from rental properties. One standout feature is its ability to seamlessly import expenses from popular applications, making the tax filing process smoother for those with diverse income streams
Premium & Business
The most extensive package, the Premium & Business plan at $89.95, is a dual-purpose solution catering to both personal and business tax needs. It’s the ideal choice for self-employed professionals, small business owners, or individuals who juggle both personal and business finances. The plan supports a myriad of business tax forms, provides guidance on asset depreciation, and assists in streamlining business expenses. Moreover, it incorporates tools that help in bookkeeping and crafting precise financial statements, making it a holistic solution for a range of tax needs.
Should You Pay More for an “Expert Help” Plan?
While all the plans we’ve outlined above include tech support and help via online chat, it’s important to note that H&R Block lets consumers pay more money to add an “expert help” feature to each of their tax software preparation plans. With Online Assist, you get access to on-demand help from a tax expert, enrolled agent, or CPA.
This extra assistance is offered virtually or over the phone, and it can be immensely helpful if you want to do your taxes yourself but know you’ll have questions right off the bat.
Pricing for Expert Help plans are as follows:
- Basic with Expert Help: $70
- Deluxe with Expert Help: $115
- Premium with Expert Help: $165
- Self-Employed with Expert Help: $195
Should You Sign Up With H&R Block?
If you want the help of tax preparation software and hope to access as many benefits as possible, H&R Block could be your best bet. Their guarantees go a long way to ensure you’re paying a fair price for the help you receive, and it’s nice to know you’ll receive audit support if there’s a problem with your return.
Also, note that H&R Block has become incredibly user-friendly over the years. With their standard question-and-answer format, all you really have to do is collect all your tax paperwork and answer the questions they ask. H&R Block will do all the grunt work for you, and they’ll even suggest ways you can get a larger refund at the end.
The Bottom Line
We believe H&R Block is one of the best tax preparation software programs for 2023, but there are plenty of other programs you should consider as well. Make sure to check out TurboTax, TaxSlayer, and other competitors and their offerings before you sign up.
With enough research, you should wind up with the right amount of tax help for a price you can afford.
How We Review Tax Preparation Software:
Good Financial Cents reviews various tax preparation software options, emphasizing user experience, feature sets, and accuracy in calculations. We aim to provide users with a balanced perspective, assisting them during tax season. Our editorial process is transparent and thorough.
We source data from software providers, testing functionalities and evaluating user interfaces. This hands-on approach, combined with our research, ensures a comprehensive review. Each software option is then rated based on its strengths and weaknesses, resulting in a star rating from one to five.
For a deeper understanding of the criteria we use to rate tax preparation software and our evaluation approach, please refer to our editorial guidelines and full disclaimer.
Product Name: H&R Block Product Description: H&R Block is a well-established tax preparation service that assists individuals and businesses in navigating the complexities of tax filing. With both physical locations and online platforms, it offers a range of solutions to accommodate different client needs, from DIY tax software to in-person consultations. Summary of H&R Block Founded in 1955, H&R Block has become one of the leading names in tax preparation services in the U.S. and abroad. Its reach spans over 12,000 retail tax offices worldwide, coupled with robust online tools and software for those preferring a digital experience. The company prides itself on its expertise, with thousands of tax professionals ready to assist clients through the intricacies of tax laws and potential deductions. Furthermore, their suite of products and services, including tax courses, financial products, and business services, makes H&R Block a comprehensive resource for varied financial needs. Pros Cons
H&R Block Review
Product Name: H&R Block
Product Description: H&R Block is a well-established tax preparation service that assists individuals and businesses in navigating the complexities of tax filing. With both physical locations and online platforms, it offers a range of solutions to accommodate different client needs, from DIY tax software to in-person consultations.
Summary of H&R Block
Founded in 1955, H&R Block has become one of the leading names in tax preparation services in the U.S. and abroad. Its reach spans over 12,000 retail tax offices worldwide, coupled with robust online tools and software for those preferring a digital experience. The company prides itself on its expertise, with thousands of tax professionals ready to assist clients through the intricacies of tax laws and potential deductions. Furthermore, their suite of products and services, including tax courses, financial products, and business services, makes H&R Block a comprehensive resource for varied financial needs.