H&R Block Tax Software
H&R Block is a standout company in the online tax preparation software business. Their software program provides a clean interface and enhanced workflow, allowing you to sail through your tax returns in good order.
H&R Block starts every section of your tax return with an overview page, laying out details of the section. The overview incorporates a checklist, giving you a choice over which items apply to your tax situation. It's a straightforward, effective way to organize and smooth your workflow. When you choose an item from the checklist, you are guided through to its completion, via a series of follow up prompts to drive your progress.
As you work, you can click through to embedded links providing additional information about specific items as necessary. This also enhances work flow, eliminating the need to break your focus to search for more information.
If you get stumped or confused while you work, you can book mark any section of the return, giving it a title and additional comments, and come back to it later. As you work, you can access your bookmarks via live links that are in the upper right hand site of the screen.
One of H&R Block's handy perks is the form finding tool. You can look for IRS forms by number and name from within the program. The tool locates the form for you and lets you add that form to your tax return when you get to the section where it's included.
Four Online Tax Software Choices
H&R Block offers four versions of their online tax return software, each allowing you to prepare and file both you federal and state tax returns. As with other tax return software products, each version is targeted at people with specific tax situations depending on their work, family, home, business and investment and overall finances. Your data is secure with all versions of the software.
With the H&R Block free software version, you enjoy free tax preparation, printing and e-filing. This version is perfect if you are filing a very simple tax return on federal Form 1040EZ. Tools include import of your W2, 1095-A and previous returns from TurboTax or TaxAct, and free customer support from a tax expert. The Refund Renewal tool explains the changes in your refund amount so you always know how the process affects your refund. You can complete and file your state return for an additional fee of $9.99.
The basic version of H&R Block includes all the features of the free version, and also allows you to store and access your tax returns for six years. Additional tools allow import of your 1099 forms and the previous year's return from H&R Block, TurboTax or TaxAct. It includes the Earned Income Credit (EIC). Get support via live chat or phone. The Basic tax software costs $24.99, and you can also prepare and e-file your state return for an additional $36.99.
Homeowners and investors will like the Deluxe version of the H&R Block online tax product.
If you bought or sold a home for the tax year, it guides you on maximizing your mortgage interest and real estate tax deductions. It also helps on reporting sales of stocks, bonds and mutual funds, as well as gains from dividends or capital gain distributions.
Additionally, Deluxe helps you report income from retirement plans and rollovers, distributions from your IRAs, 401(k)s, annuities, disability, pension and life insurance proceeds, and more. You'll also get advice on the tax benefits of life changes including the birth of a child, marriage and more.
The Deluxe version is available for $34.95. You can also do your state return preparation and e-filing for $36.99.
The Premium Version of the software is great for the self-employed and rental property owners, and of course it delivers all the functionality of the other versions.
You'll embrace the joys of the Schedule C, for sole proprietors, reporting profit or loss from your business or profession. Knowing how to work the Schedule C is essential for all self-employed people, as it tracks your business deductions, putting money directly in your pocket.
The Premium version also supports reporting on Schedule E, for those who own rental property. You can report royalties, income and expenses from real estate you own that you rent to others. The Premium tax product from H&R Block runs $49.99. You can add state tax preparation and filing for $36.99.
The Mobile Environment
The software is also available as a mobile app for your android or iOS mobile device. H&R Block has updated its mobile offerings to handle sophisticated tax return work. The app guides you through the tax preparation and filing experience. The services and support with the mobile app are equal to what you'll find in the online software.
As with many other tax return software products, H&R Block allows you to import past year tax returns, even from competing software companies like TurboTax and TaxAct. You can only import previous year's returns when you first log in, which is not ideal. You do get a warning message that this is your only opportunity to import the old returns. Best to keep an eye out for this feature or you may miss it and lose the chance.
The H&R Block software gives you a good overview of the tax return process, but does not allow you to skip forward to work on later parts of the return. You must work within the section you are currently working on, and complete it before moving on.
This is one of the more expensive tax return software products on the market. There is a free federal version, but the deals end there. H&R Block also charges more on state return filing that their competitors. Certainly this is a superior product, and you get value for the price here. But if you need a cheaper tool, look at all our tax return software reviews for less expensive options.
If you get stumped with the H&R Block tax preparation software, you can get help via live chat and phone. Video conferencing is available, and you can also visit an H&R Block office. Call ahead to check on additional fees for an office visit.
Verdict - Great
If you are keen to get plenty of support and advice when it comes to filing your returns, H&R Block could be the perfect solution, as it can help to make dealing with your returns far easier and faster.