H&R Block is one of the oldest & largest retail tax preparation firms in the US. In 2010, H&R Block prepared one in seven U.S. tax returns. Even if you didn’t use H&R Block, you would have seen their offices within a few miles of your home. H&R Block at home is the DIY version of their professional tax preparation service.
H&R Block at home versions
H&R Block at home comes in different prices and flavors. You can be sure to find a version to best suit your needs.
- Free Edition ($0.00 Online Only) : If you have the most basic tax situation and usually file 1040 EZ, you can prepare and e-file for free. You will receive step by step guidance, error checking and free audit support. Yes, there is free audit support for the free edition. This is not available in any other competing tax software.
- Basic Edition(19.95 Online/ $15.96 Download) : The basic edition is a time-saving free edition. This edition pretty much does the same thing as the free edition. The added advantage is it imports your last year’s returns (from both H&R Block and Turbotax software) and has support for W2 import (limited support in my opinion, more on that later).
- Deluxe Edition ($29.95 Online/$35.96 Download) : Ideal for taxpayers who own their homes and have multiple investments. This edition also includes schedule C for self employed, but not as comprehensive as the premium edition. The downloadable version includes one state program.
- Premium Edition ($49.95 Online/$51.96 Download) : This edition includes everything that comes with the deluxe edition plus a few additional features. Premium edition comes with advanced schedule C for self employed and extra guidance for rental property income and expenses. This edition also includes one live tax advice session with a H&R Block Tax professional. The down loadable version includes one state program.
- Premium & Business Edition ($63.96 Download only) : If you are a small business owner and need help with a corporation, LLC, partnership or other types of businesses, this edition is for you. Unlimited business state programs included.
- Best of Both edition ($79.95 Online only) : If you are not very comfortable about doing everything on you own, but don’t want to pay the full price of a CPA, this edition will give you some peace of mind. A H&R Block tax professional will review the return you put together, make sure it is 100% accurate and certify it. This means that if you are audited and penalized by the IRS as a result of the tax professional’s mistake, H&R Block will absorb 100% of the cost.
Here is a summary of the different editions
|Product||Free||Basic||Deluxe||Premium||Best of Both||Premium & Business|
|Best for||First time filers & very basic tax situations||Simple tax situations||Home Owners & Investors||Self employed and Rental property owners||People who are uncomfortable with just online returns and need an expert to go over the return||Small business owners|
*Includes one state program
What I liked about H&R Block at home.
- Complimentary Worry Free Audit Support : If you are audited by the IRS, a H&R block enrolled agent will guide you with the audit and also represent you before the IRS, if you request. Note: H&R Block does not pay penalty and interest charges or any additional tax liability under this Program, unless the penalty falls under their Accurate Calculation Guarantee.
- Accurate Calculation Guarantee : If there is any arithmetic errors in your return, H&R block will pay all the penalty and interest that are a result of these errors.
- Start all editions for free, don’t pay until you file.
- Get your refund in as few as 8 days.
- Guaranteed to get the maximum tax refund or you get your money back.
- Very easy sign up, step by step guidance and intuitive flow. You will be started on personal information, then move on to income, adjustments/deductions, credits, taxes and finally finish with a wrap-up.
What I didn’t like about H&R Block at home.
- H&R Block does offer SmartImport, which supposedly imports your W2 and all the other tax documents (1099 INT, 1099 DIV, etc), but neither my company’s or my husband’s company’s W2 was available for import.
- Same with the 1099 DIV. There are some financial institutions that were integrated for import (E-Trade & T Rowe Price was there) but Vanguard and Fidelity were not available for import. I thought this was a bit annoying considering the popularity of Vanguard & Fidelity.
- This was not a deal breaker to me, but having used Turbotax for all these years, I did miss some features offered by TurboTax -
- Flagging a page to bookmark it and come back later to review.
- Year to year deduction review.
- Side by side comparison of your tax summary to US averages.
Overall impression of H&R Block at home
You can’t beat their reputation or the audit guarantee they offer. For the price, H&R Block’s audit support is the best in the industry. Overall, they offer the best price value for federal online tax software.
My giveaway has ended but you can still win a copy. How? Jacob @ My Personal Finance Journey is giving away 5 copies of H&R Block @ Home Premium edition. Check his giveaway to enter – H&R Block giveaway.
I will be giving away 5 copies of the H&R Block Premium edition (online) valued up to $55 each (to cover the sales tax or part of state filings). You can enter the giveaway by doing any/all of the following:
- Subscribing to my RSS feed or email notifications – 2 entries
- Following me on twitter and tweet about the giveaway– 1 entry
- Becoming a fan of Wealth Informatics on face book – 1 entry
- Leave a comment with your favorite tax tip 1 entry
You can do all of them to have 5 entries to win a copy. The deadline is a week from today, January 31st, 2011 8 PM PST. I will pick 5 random entries and email the code. Each person can win one copy.
IRS will start accepting the returns from February 14th, but you can start you return as soon as you get copy, H&R Block will hold it for you and file it on February 14th.
Disclaimer: I was provided a review copy of the H&R Block premium online edition, but that did not influence the content of this review. The giveaway copies are also provided by H&R Block. I have no other relationship with H&R Block and after I send the code, I am not responsible for anything.