H&R Block Tax Software Review: A Detailed Look

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Feb 7, 2020

H&R Block is a nationwide, well-known tax preparation company that offers tax returns and refund advances that meet the needs of virtually every taxpayer.

The company has hundreds of offices around the country to help you if you prefer face-to-face interaction. H&R Block also provides four online tax software packages for everyone from taxpayers with simple returns to business owners and the self-employed. Whichever option you choose, H&R Block backs up your return with accuracy and max-refund guarantees.

Use our in-depth analysis of this tax software to help you understand which package is best for you and if H&R Block is a better choice than other options.

Pros: Cons:
  • Simple user experience
  • Add-ons for help from tax experts, CPAs, and enrolled agents
  • The option of filing in an office
  • Free live chat is limited to technical support, not tax experts
  • Pricing is higher than other software offering similar features
  • Automated phone support is frustrating

Supported Tax Forms

  • W-2 and W-2G
  • Schedules: A, B, C, D, E, EIC, F, H, K-1, R, and SE
  • 1040, 1040ES, 1040SR, 1040V and 1040X
  • Forms 1098 and 1099-B/C/DIV/E/G/INT/K/MISC/OID/Q/R/S/SA/SSA
  • Form 1099-SA (HSA distributions)
  • Form 1116 (Foreign tax credit)
  • Form 2555 (Foreign earned income credit)
  • Form 3903 (Moving expenses)
  • Form 5695 (Residential energy credits)
  • Form 8396 (Mortgage interest credit)
  • Form 8829 (Home office deduction)
  • Form 8995 (Qualified business income deduction)

Online Tax Filing Packages and Pricing

Free Deluxe Premium Self-Employed
Price $0 $29.99 $49.99 $79.99
State filing cost $0 $39.99 $39.99 $39.99
Audit assistance Yes Yes Yes Yes
Phone support No Yes Yes Yes
Chat support for taxes No No No No
W-2 import Yes Yes Yes Yes
Live chat technical support Yes Yes Yes Yes
“Online Assist” access to tax experts, CPAs, or enrolled agents Additional $39.99 Additional $40.00 Additional $60.00 Additional $60.00

Free Online

This option gives you a lot of flexibility because it accepts several different types of tax situations, including:

  • Earned Income Tax credit
  • Child care expenses
  • Student loan interest
  • Social security income
  • Homeowners, in some cases

Common forms that this package supports include:

  • 1040, 1040X
  • 1098-E
  • 1095-A
  • 1098-T
  • 1099-B/DIV/INT/R

Deluxe Online

This package is best for you if you have sizeable charitable donations and if you’re a homeowner.

The software maximizes the deductions you can get for your charitable donations and supports forms related to homeownership (1098, Schedule A), as well as:

  • 1099-Q (Qualified education expenses)
  • Form 1099-SA (HSA distributions)
  • Form 1116 (Foreign tax credit)
  • Form 2555 (Foreign earned income credit)
  • Form 3903 (Moving expenses)
  • Form 5695 (Residential energy credits)
  • Form 8396 (Mortgage interest credit)
  • Schedule A/B/EIC/H/R

Premium Online

The Premium package is a good fit for you if you’re an investor or a freelancer taking a standard deduction because it accepts the following forms:

  • 1099-MISC (common income form for freelancers
  • Form 8829 (Home office deduction)
  • Form 8995 (Qualified business income deduction)
  • Schedule D (Capital gains and losses)
  • Schedule E (Rent, royalties, partnerships)
  • Schedule K-1 (Estate and trust income)
  • Form 4972 (Lump-sum distributions)
  • Form 4952 (investment interest expense)
  • Form 2439 (Undistributed long-term capital gains)

This package’s main limitation is you can’t use it if you have more than $5,000 in business-related deductions. Also, Premium doesn’t include Schedule C, which is a popular deduction form for freelancers and business owners.

Self-Employed Online

This package includes all the tax situations included in the previous three plans along with business owners and self-employed.

Additional supported forms included in this software package are:

  • Schedule C
  • Schedule SE

Self-Employed is a great fit if you’re an Uber driver because the software imports your Uber tax information. Also, you can deduct miles you drove for a rideshare or delivery service.

Tax Pro Go

This upgrade allows you to upload all your tax documents and an H&R Block tax pro will file your taxes. Pricing for this service ranges from $49 for simple returns to $249 for self-employed, business owners and freelancer taxpayers.

You’ll pay an additional $39 to file state taxes, too.

Online User Experience and Support

I tried H&R Block’s online software and found it easy to use. The Help search box is intuitive and provided me with pertinent search results.

Also, I enjoyed how the software’s help section automatically shows you articles related to the page you’re working on.

For example, I was on the page where I entered my name, birthday and marital status.

When I clicked the Help button, it showed me two suggested articles: “What do I do if I changed my name?” and “Why do you need to know my birthday?”

I tried the chat support and found it helpful, too, but the representative took longer than I expected to answer simple questions.

Finally, I found H&R Block’s phone support cumbersome and unhelpful. I asked about audit protection pricing and the automated response kept asking if I received an IRS letter in the mail. I could not find an option to speak with a real person.

In-Office Tax Returns

In-office tax returns start at $69 for federal and $59 for state. Prices go up for more complex tax situations.

To schedule an appointment, you can call your local branch or book it on the H&R Block website.

The person who will help you is known as “Tax Pro.” The Tax Pro has, on average, 10 years of experience and completed more than 100 hours of training.

Refund Advances

H&R Block’s refund advance program gives you up to $3,500 of your tax refund before the IRS completes your return. You get the money via a pre-paid card.

To get a refund advance, set up an appointment to do an in-office tax return. When you’re done, you’ll submit your documentation and an application to the bank that funds your advance.

If you’re approved, you could get your money deposited onto a pre-paid card the same day. H&R Block will pay back your advance with the money the IRS sends for your return.

The advantage to this program is that you can get your refund money the same day you file.

The disadvantage is that you have to do an in-office appointment to get the advance. This will cost you at least $69 even if you could file your return online for free.

Maximum Refund and Accuracy Guarantees

There are two main guarantees you get while using H&R Block: maximum refund and accuracy.

The maximum refund guarantee states you could get your filing fees back if you were entitled to a bigger refund than what you received.

This guarantee only applies to refunds that are the result of H&R Block’s error, not input errors you make.

The accuracy guarantee covers situations where the software or tax expert’s math errors result in you underpaying your taxes. This benefit pays up to $10,000 in IRS fees, taxes and interest that result from an H&R Block calculation error.

H&R Block Online Tax Filing vs. TaxSlayer, TurboTax, and TaxAct

H&R Block TaxSlayer TurboTax TaxAct
Free filing Yes Yes Yes Yes
Homeowner filing cost $29.99 $17 to $47 $40 $29.99
Investor filing cost $49.99 $17 to $47 $70 $39.95
Freelancer filing cost $49.99 $17 to $47 $90 $74.95
Business owner filing cost $79.99 $17 to $47 $90 $74.95
State filing cost $0 for free filing, $36.99 for paid filing $0 for free filing, $29 for paid filing $0 for free filing, $40 to $50 for paid filing $0 for free filing, $39.95 for paid filing
On-demand CPA /EA/ Tax expert access Yes (extra $40 to $60) Yes (extra $30) Yes (extra $50 to $90) No
Support options Phone, chat, email, in-office Chat, email, phone Video, phone, chat, email Phone, chat, email
Educational resources Extensive Extensive Extensive Extensive
Paid access to CPAs and EAs Yes Yes Yes No
Audit services Will correspond on your behalf and represent you in IRS audit meetings ($19.99) Will help you draft your correspondence with the IRS but will not represent you in IRS meetings (free).
Correspondence plus representation in IRS meetings ($39).
Will correspond on your behalf and represent you in IRS audit meetings ($39.99) Will correspond on your behalf but won’t represent you in IRS audit meetings (free)

When you've got multiple options for tax software and they all seem to offer similar features, it’s important to get into the details about what you need.

Asking yourself questions about your tax situation will help you find the software that’s most fitting for your needs:

  • Are you itemizing your deductions or doing a standard deduction?
  • How worried are you about being audited?
  • Do you want a tax professional to look over your taxes before you submit them?
  • Would you prefer a tax professional to file your taxes for you?
  • How comfortable are you with filing your taxes on your own?

A good real-life example of how these questions can help is by applying them to H&R Block’s software.

If you have a simple tax return and you’re comfortable DIYing your taxes, then you’ll be most happy with H&R Block’s Free Filing.

However, if you don’t like doing your taxes but don’t want to pay a CPA to do your return, H&R Block’s Tax Pro Go is an excellent choice.

The Bottom Line

While H&R Block is a well-known, national tax preparation firm, its higher-than-average tax software pricing makes it a bad fit for taxpayers who need a cheap filing option.

However, if you’re willing to pay more for fast service and expert advice, then H&R Block’s Tax Pro Go and Online Assist will give you the support and efficiency you want.

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