The Federal tax deadline has been extended until July 15, but it’s still a good idea to be thinking about your next steps in filing your 2019 taxes. In particular, you’ll need to decide whether you want to do your taxes yourself or outsource them to a seasoned tax professional.
H&R Block has got you covered if you’re looking for a good online option or a combination of both options. The company’s brick-and-mortar locations are available across the U.S. for anyone who wants in-person help from qualified tax specialists.
But if you prefer to file your taxes online, H&R Block’s free and paid online tax software is one of the best options available. The company offers a multitude of online tax filing options, and you can upgrade your plan if you’re looking for additional support.
H&R Block is a great choice for anyone who wants flexible options for doing their taxes online. However, there are less expensive options you can consider.
Table of Contents
- Introduction to H&R Block
- H&R Block Plans and Pricing
- H&R Block Features
- Benefits of Using H&R Block
- Downsides of Using H&R Block
- Best Alternatives to H&R Block
- Who Should Use H&R Block?
- Bottom Line
Introduction to H&R Block
H&R Block is known for its in-person tax services, but it also offers an online filing option. The H&R Block Deluxe Online Tax Filing software is an easy, cost-effective way for individuals and small businesses to file their 2019 taxes.
One of the benefits of using H&R Block is the variety of options the company offers to tax filers. If you have very simple tax needs, it’s possible to file online entirely for free.
The company’s paid plans tend to be on the pricier side, but it may be worth it to you thanks to the wide range of features provided. The software offers a wide range of features, including an intuitive interface, a W-2 importer and free audit support.
H&R Block’s online tax filing software is a great option for single filers and businesses looking to maximize their deductions. And certain plans offer video chat and phone support for anyone looking for a little extra help.
H&R Block Plans and Pricing
Depending on the level of support you’re looking for, H&R Block offers a free and paid version of its software. Here is an overview of each of the packages the company offers, and some of the pros and cons of each.
H&R Block’s Free Online plan is entirely free to use. The software lets you file Form 1040, and take the child tax credit, earned income tax credit, and the elderly or disabled credit.
But what sets it apart from other tax software is that it lets you file schedules 1, 2 and 3. These are forms that allow you to report business income, deduct interest from your student loans, alimony, retirement contributions and more.
The additional forms make the free plan an excellent option for anyone who has a W-2, kids and education costs. However, if you need to itemize your deductions or you run a small business, you’ll probably want to invest in one of the paid plans.
- Free for filing state and federal taxes
- More comprehensive than most free tax filing software
- A great option for standard W-2 filing
- You won’t receive the same level of support
- Not the best option for freelancers or small business owners
- Doesn’t allow you to itemize deductions
The Deluxe Online plan costs $49.99 for filing federal taxes and $44.99 to file state taxes. You’ll receive all of the options you’d get with the Free Online plan, plus the ability to maximize your credits and itemize deductions.
If you run into any problems along the way, you have access to technical phone support. And you can store your tax information and returns in MyBlock for up to six years.
The Deluxe Online plan is a suitable option for homeowners or anyone who needs to track their HSA contributions. But if you need to file a Schedule C, you’ll have to upgrade to another plan.
- Allows you to maximize tax credits and itemize deductions
- Receive access to phone support
- Make the most of tax savings from charitable donations
- Store your tax information for up to six years
- Doesn’t let you file a Schedule C
- Not the best option for freelancers or small business owners
Premium Online is ideal for freelance contractors, investors and rental property owners. It costs $69.99 to file your federal taxes and $44.99 to file state taxes.
This plan allows you to file a Schedule D, E or K-1, which makes it a good option for investors and anyone who owns rental property. It’s also not a bad option for freelancers with limited monthly expenses.
The software allows you to import your tax information from popular apps like Stride. And you’ll receive access to live chat and phone support.
- Lets you file a Schedule D, E or K-1
- A good option for freelancers with simple expenses
- Import tax information automatically from apps like Stride
- Doesn’t let you track business tax deductions
- Not a good option for freelancers with more than $5,000 in expenses
The Self-Employed Online plan costs $104.99 to file your federal taxes, and $44.99 for state taxes. You’ll receive all the features listed in the previous plans, with a few additional perks.
This plan is going to be the best option for anyone who’s self-employed or runs a small business. With this plan, you’ll get access to H&R Block’s Business Booster, which will help determine what expenses you can write off.
Also, the Self-Employed Online plan will help you figure out your home office deduction and vehicle expenses. And if you’re an Uber driver, it will automatically import that information for you.
- A good option for anyone self-employed
- Track your business deductions and asset depreciation
- Automatically import Uber driver information
- One of the most expensive online tax filing plans on the market
- Adding additional support will increase the price even more
Note: The pricing on each of these plans could change the closer you get to the tax deadline. It’s a good idea to purchase the software early if you want to get the best deal on price.
H&R Block Features
One of the benefits of using H&R Block to file your taxes online is that you’ll gain access to a wide range of features and support. Here is an overview of some of the software’s main features.
Filing your taxes on your own can get confusing, which is why H&R Block offers its Online Assist program. You’ll choose any of the four plans listed above, and for an additional fee, you’ll receive access to a trained tax professional.
With the Online Assist plan, you’ll receive help from a tax expert via live chat or over the phone. You can request assistance during any part of the process, and you can share your screen so you can show them the problem.
W-2 Photo Import
Even the free plan provides access to the W-2 Photo Import feature. You’ll simply take a photo of your W-2, and H&R Block will import all the necessary information.
On-Demand Chat Services
Even if you don’t pay for the Online Assist program, everyone has access to on-demand chat. However, some H&R Block users have complained that the chat services are a bit awkward to use.
Tax Refund Options
H&R Block provides several different options for how you can receive your tax refund. If you provide your banking information, the company will deposit it directly into your account. You can also request a paper check or prepaid Mastercard.
If you love making purchases on Amazon, then you may be interested in the promotion H&R Block is currently running with Amazon.
When you choose to put a portion of your refund on an Amazon gift card, you’ll receive a 4% bonus. To qualify, you must electronically file your taxes using an eligible H&R Block plan.
Benefits of Using H&R Block
H&R Block won’t be the right choice for everyone, but there are many advantages to using the software. Here are some of the biggest benefits to consider:
- Intuitive interface: H&R Block makes it easy to file your taxes, even if you’ve never done it yourself before. This is mostly thanks to the company’s intuitive, easy to use interface.
You can import your tax documents and W-2 ahead of time, and the software will fill in all of the relevant information for you. The software walks you through the process of filing your taxes, and a banner across the top tracks your progress.
- Free plan: H&R Block offers one of the best and most comprehensive free plans on the market. It provides more forms than any of its competitors, and you still receive access to chat support.
Plus, if you find that you need additional support, you can pay a little more to upgrade to the Online Assist plan.
- Comes with a variety of support: One of the benefits of using H&R Block is that you can choose what level of support you need. If you have simple tax filing needs and just want the option to ask questions via chat, then the free plan may be the right choice.
But if you’re nervous about getting stuck or making a mistake, you can pay for the Online Assist program. This option gives you access to phone support, and you can even share your screen with a trained tax professional. That way, they can walk you through whatever challenges you’re facing.
- Store your tax returns: If you choose one of the paid plans, you can store your tax information and tax returns for up to six years. The company will save your data in MyBlock, and you can download or print a copy of the previous year’s returns at any time.
- Free and paid audit support: Receiving an audit notice is scary, which is why H&R Block gives its customers free audit support. If you contact the company, they will walk you through the steps you need to take to respond to the IRS.
If you want additional protection, you can buy the company’s Worry-Free Audit Support. For $19.99, you’ll receive access to an enrolled agent who will walk you through the audit.
You’ll also receive assistance in responding to IRS notices, advice on preparing for an audit, and audit representation.
Downsides of Using H&R Block
There are downsides to using any online service, and H&R Block is no exception. For one thing, the paid plans are more expensive than other similar types of online tax filing software.
Unless you qualify for the free plan, you’re going to have to pay to file your returns. And it can get pricey, especially if you need to do more than itemizing your deductions. Plus, the company charges a hefty fee for state returns, and every state you add increases the price.
Customers do have the option to choose from a wide range of plans, which is helpful. But this could be very overwhelming for someone new to filing their taxes online.
Plus, all the additional add-on services can add up quickly, and if you aren’t careful, you could end up paying a lot more than you bargained for.
Best Alternatives to H&R Block
If you want to file your taxes online, H&R Block is not the only available option. There are four other services you can consider if you’re not sold on H&R Block just yet.
- TurboTax is probably H&R Block’s biggest competitor. Both companies offer comprehensive tax filing software at a premium price.
But H&R Block’s free plan provides twice as many forms as the free plan offered by TurboTax. And H&R Block allows you to file multiple states for free, whereas TurboTax’s free plan only allows for one state filing.
However, many users feel that TurboTax’s software is the more user-friendly of the two. The company uses an interview-style approach, which tends to be easier to understand.
- TaxSlayer: Unlike H&R Block, TaxSlayer doesn’t charge any out-of-pocket fees. Instead, you’ll have them taken directly from your tax return. But doing this can delay your tax return slightly.
The company guarantees their returns are 100% accurate. So if you incur any state or federal fees after filing with TaxSlayer, the company will reimburse you. And TaxSlayer is the most affordable tax filing software on this list.
- TaxAct: If you switch from TurboTax or H&R Block to TaxAct, you can upload your previous year’s return for free. And the company promises fast, simple returns for anyone with limited tax filing needs.
Plus, TaxAct provides a $100,000 accuracy guarantee on all personal tax returns. The company will also cover software costs, higher tax liabilities and tax penalties.
- Jackson Hewitt offers in-person and online tax filing options. The company has 6,000 locations across the U.S., with about half of them located inside a Wal-Mart store.
Jackson Hewitt offers several different online filing options, including a free plan. However, to qualify for the free version, you have to earn less than $100,000 per year and can only file one W-2.
The company also offers plans aimed at homeowners, small business owners, investors and anyone with more complex tax filing needs. And Jackson Hewitt’s plans are more moderately priced than some of the other options on this list.
Who Should Use H&R Block?
H&R Block has an option for everyone, no matter how simple or complex your tax filing needs are. The company’s free plan is one of the best options currently on the market, and you can pay for additional support if necessary.
The interface is simple and easy to use, and you can streamline the process even further by importing your tax documents and W-2 ahead of time.
All H&R Block customers receive access to customer support, and the Online Assist program is available for anyone who anticipates needing a little extra help.
However, H&R Block’s paid plans can be pricey, especially if you choose to add additional features. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, then TaxAct may be a good alternative.
TurboTax also offers a comparable product, though the free option isn’t quite as good. But some customers argue that TurboTax’s software is easier to navigate than H&R Block’s.
H&R Block is a great option for anyone that wants to file their taxes online from home. The software comes with a wide array of support and features, so it has a plan for everyone.
Whether you’re a single filer, a real estate investor or a small business owner, H&R Block has a plan for you. However, there are other options you can consider if you have limited tax filing needs and want something less expensive.
Do you prefer to file your taxes in-person, or do you file them online yourself? Have you ever tried H&R Block’s online tax software before? Let us know in the comments below.