H&R Block H&R Block
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H&R Block Review

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Rating:
Bottom Line:
Best overall service provider with its Free Federal Return, good support and audit protection; 15% discount on all plans

Full Review:
[Editor's note: H&R Block is currently offering up to 15% off its tax plans for NextAdvisor users. Just click on the Sign up for H&R Block links to take advantage of this deal.]

You probably recognize the H&R Block name and its green block logo from the thousands of offline locations it maintains during tax season. However what you may not know is H&R Block also has a very robust online tax preparation and filing service that offers many unique benefits.


Pricing

You can start any of the H&R Block Online solutions for free, and you won't have to pay until the moment you actually file your taxes. This is a great way to look at and play around with H&R Block's different offerings to see which one is right for your needs. Filing your federal return is free, but you can upgrade to Deluxe ($43.99) or Premium ($63.99) if your taxes are more complicated. For most tax returns, the free edition would be sufficient for the purposes of not only filing but claiming all the deductions you deserve. That said, the most common package is the Basic which the service claims is ideal for couples and/or people with multiple dependents. Among the most advanced editions, H&R Block says Deluxe is for homeowners and investors while Premium is targeted to people with the most complex needs, like dealing with self-earned income either from rental properties or self-employment. The cost to file state taxes is $29.99 for free filer or $39.99 when using one of the upgrade packages. Keep in mind this cost is per state and in addition to the cost to file your federal tax return (whether you file for free or upgrade to a paid plan).


Interface

H&R Block's Basic, Deluxe and Premium tax solutions allow users to import the previous year's tax data from TaxACT, TurboTax or a H&R Block office. You can also import your W2 and 1099. Once you've imported or entered your data, H&R Block Online guides you through the tax process, asking easy-to-understand questions to get you the best return possible. Within every section, H&R Block is kind enough to notify you what materials and information you'll need to fill out the forms — something first-time e-filers will find especially helpful. While many online tax services offer this step-by-step function, H&R Block's is the most intuitive and easy to use.



H&R Block also sports features that can help you keep taxes in mind year round. A section of the service called “MyBlock” has two key features — Organize My Tax Life and a tax estimator. The estimator is self-explanatory and allows you to estimate what your return might be. But the Organize My Tax Life feature is fairly novel. It allows you to input tax documents and receipts year round so that when it comes time to file, everything you’ll need can be in one place. While this tool is helpful if you use it year-round, it's not something you'll immediately be able to reap the rewards of if you're new to the tax service.



Support

If you have questions about your filing, H&R Block features guided online support. There’s also access to blogs and a forum community full of tax professionals. As you navigate through your tax return, you can click on highlighted words or "learn more" links to reveal pop-up text boxes with relevant information. Users can also search for additional information or get help from tax specialists via the The Tax Institute section of the website. H&R Block also provides a Tax Identity Shield service for $30. This service grants you assistance with accessing the IRS' additional protections, such as the personal taxpayer PIN, and alerts you if it detects a return in your name on the IRS' servers if e-filing. It also provides a risk assessment to determine if you're at risk for tax fraud, as well as assistance in restoring your tax identity in the instance a fraudulent return is filed in your name.



H&R Block is the only tax preparation service that we reviewed which offers a direct consultation with a certified tax professional. Consumers can receive online support from Block Live, which connects you with a tax professional via a realtime, secure video conference or chat (prices are determined by your unique needs). H&R Block also offers unmatched audit protection. Its Worry-Free Audit Support guarantees assistance from an H&R Block tax professional in the case of a federal or state audit of your tax return.


Conclusion

Given its superior customer support options and access to unrivaled information and protection, we strongly recommend H&R Block for all consumers. In particular, those that have more complex deductions or intricate questions regarding their taxes will benefit from H&R Block's industry-leading tax preparation and filing support.

Sign up for H&R Block | Compare to Other Online Tax Preparation

If you have a question or concern we haven't answered on our site, please let us know. Your question will be added to the NextAdvisor Forums so that we and other experts in our community can answer it. Due to volume, we aren't able to respond to every question, but we answer as many as we can.



Service Details

Online Federal Tax Products:Free Federal: Free
Deluxe: $43.99
Premium: $63.99

*prices include 15% discount
Federal Only Fees:Free for free filers, listed price for Deluxe and Premium users
State Only Fees:$29.99 for Free Federal Filers, $39.99 for all other filers
Support Options:Unlimited access to online help center; Premium plan includes single consultation with tax professional
Audit Protection:Worry Free Audit Support guarantees assistance from an H&R Block tax professional in the case of an audit

Tax Identity Shield: $30

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