Tax season is in full swing now. Many people who are getting refunds have already filed their taxes, while those of us who will have to pay are reluctantly getting our paperwork together in anticipation of slogging through the tax preparation process. Recently I had the opportunity to review H&R Block At Home. When I use tax preparation software, I want it to be clear, thorough, and guaranteed. Does H&R Block stand up to my expectations? Let’s find out!

H&R Block At Home Options

H&R Block at Home has 4 online options: Free, Deluxe, Premium, and Best of Both.

  • Free. If you have a very simple tax return, this is the best option. It doesn’t cost anything for federal e-filing, but each state will cost you $29.95.
  • Deluxe. If you own a home or have complicated stock transactions, this is an economical choice. It costs $29.95 to for federal e-filing, and each state is $29.95 in addition to the base price.
  • Premium. If you have a complicated tax return, this is a great option for you. It covers self-employment and rental income, and it also provides you with a tax advice session with an H&R Block tax professional. The base price is $49.95 for federal e-filing, and again, each state will cost you $29.95 more.
  • Best of Both. This is a great option if you have a complicated tax situation, and you’re on the fence as to whether you want to save money by doing your own taxes, or spend the money on an accountant. You receive unlimited assistance from a tax professional, and after you have prepared your return, that tax professional will review it and e-file for you. The cost is $99.95 for federal e-file, and each state is an additional $29.95.

Preparing Your Taxes with H&R Block At Home

It’s been a few years since I’ve used H&R Block, but preparing a tax return with H&R Block At Home is as simple as I remember it being with their former program, Tax Cut.

H&R Block At Home guides you through a series of questions, making sure that you enter all the necessary information and get the biggest refund (or tax break) possible.

For fun, I started my return with the Free Edition, even though I know I’ll need to use the Premium or Best of Both edition. Sure enough, when it came time to state what kind of income I needed to enter, H&R Block clearly stated that I’d need to upgrade to enter self-employment income, and then the software gave me the chance to upgrade on the spot.

I like that feature, because if you don’t know what level of H&R Block At Home you need to use, you can start at the lowest level and only upgrade if necessary.

Along the way, H&R Block gives you links to “Learn More” if you don’t understand what they’re asking for. This is useful when you have deductions, but don’t know how to categorize them.

All in all, I was impressed with how clear and easy it was to work my way through my somewhat complicated return.

I also like the fact that you don’t have to pay, until you actually file your return. If you start your return and decide the software isn’t for you, you’re not out any money.

H&R Block At Home Guarantees

  • Accurate Calculations Guarantee. This is available for all levels of H&R Block At Home, including the free edition. If the software causes a wrong calculation, resulting in you having to pay penalties and interest, H&R Block will reimburse those charges. (limits apply)
  • Worry Free Audit Support. Available to Deluxe and Premium users, Worry Free Audit Support will provide you with an enrolled agent to represent you, in the event you are audited. This isn’t legal representation, but someone to come alongside you to prepare for your audit and attend the audit with you. The agent will also help you in all communications with the IRS.
  • Maximum Refund Guarantee. This guarantee is also available to Deluxe, Premium, and Best of Both users. H&R Block guarantees that they will provide you with the maximum refund (or least liability) to which you are entitled. If you find that another tax program gives you a bigger refund (or lower liability), using the same data, H&R Block will refund the fees you paid them to prepare your return.
  • H&R Block Guarantee. If you are a Best of Both user and elect to have a tax professional look over your return before filing, you are covered by this guarantee. If an error is made on your return, H&R Block will pay for the resulting penalties and interest. And if you’re audited, they will explain your audit notice and let you know what documentation you’ll need to provide the IRS.

If you are a Best of Both user and opt to e-file your return without having a tax professional look over your return first, you will be covered by the Accurate Calculations, Worry-Free Audit Support, and Maximum Refund guarantees, instead of the H&R Block Guarantee.

My Opinion of H&R Block At Home

H&R Block At Home provides is a great value in tax preparation software! The price is low, compared to other programs, and H&R Block’s guarantees assure you that your tax return will be accurate. As for my expectations of clear, thorough, and guaranteed, H&R Block definitely meets them all.

Even though I’ve been a long-term Turbo Tax user, I may just use H&R Block this year. It’s less expensive, has a great guarantee, and provides everything I need.

So, do you do your taxes early, or do you wait until the last minute?

*H&R Block provided me with a $150 coupon, so I could fully review their tax program.