H&R Block At Home Review

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.



Author

By , on Feb 9, 2010
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{47 Comments}

  1. Jessica:

    We try and do ours towards the end of Feb. We like to know how much we are getting back and how much we are going to owe, the sooner the better!

  2. Linda Borchert:

    Ugh – we are self-employed and always have to pay, so I stall as long as possible! We’ve used TurboTax in the past, but I’d be game for trying H&R Block this year…
    Thanks, Lynnae!

  3. gt0279a:

    I always file early when I will get a refund. Easy to be organized these days with W2s and statements held online and usually accessable before 1/31.

  4. Kari:

    I always wait until the last minute. I send my husband and the dogs away so they don’t have to hear me scream, rant, rave, etc. I really should just hire someone already….

  5. We always file early because we need the refund money!

  6. Early bird! As soon as we get all of our tax docs, we rush to get our rebate.

  7. Leighann:

    We have good intentions of filing early but we usually end up filing ours in March. A good tax prep program would be so helpful!

  8. Dave:

    Since we usually get a good refund, I like to file early.

  9. Vanessa:

    I usually file early, but because I am in school this year I won’t have the time until Spring Break. We do expect to get a refund. I usually use Tax Act. Does this mean that is no longer available and I have to switch?

    • Karen Foster:

      I just used TaxAct for my family’s taxes this week. They made several upgrades to their system this year, including allowing you to enter W2/1099′s/etc on a screen that looks just like the form you are holding. And it was FREE! (For the federal edition) and my family uses the 1040, a Schedule A and Schedule C.

  10. Danna:

    Last year, my taxes were filed by Jan. 31. This year, I have decided to start a Roth IRA for 2009 for myself and my husband and I am still working things out. Despite the fact that Roth IRA’s are not usually tax deductible, people in a certain income bracket can get a “retirement savings” deduction up to a certain amount. I am going to max that out. Then I think I’ll only owe about $150. I just need to figure out where I want to open my IRA.
    BTW, I learned this fact from the “error check” on Turbotax online. So, I don’t need your software coupon, I just wanted people to know about the retirement thing. I don’t mind spending the $14.95 to pay for the service I’ve already used.

  11. Kim:

    I like to do it early but something is always missing and by the time I get it, it’s usually a last minute exercise.

  12. Heather S:

    We always file early! We’re more organized and it’s a nice feeling to get it out of the way and get our money faster!

  13. I usually do mine and my boyfriend’s early. But this year is much more complicated as I started my own small design company last year. I need help!

  14. Lin:

    We’ve been compiling our tax paperwork in a file, waiting for all the paperwork from employers etc to arrive in the mail, then we can start focusing on preparing our taxes. We learned the hard way last year that having a CPA file taxes cost us a ton, so having the H&R Block At Home software would come in very handy. And save us a lot of money filing our taxes.

  15. Pat:

    We like to file as soon as we get all the paperwork together. As it comes in we put it in a “Tax” folder, then collect it all and get to work.
    We try to get as little a refund as possible, by adjusting our deductions every year. That way we are not lending Uncle Sam any interest free money.

  16. Lauren:

    This year is a little different. I’ve lived in 2 different states and am having a hard time decide how to file. Hopefully, this software will help.

  17. We usually do our taxes earlier rather than later. In fact, we have all our necessary paperwork collected, but just haven’t had time yet. I was going to possibly do them this weekend (what a romantic Valentine’s Day….doing the taxes!) but now I think I will wait until next week!

  18. Rhonda:

    We try to do our taxes early. We buy the software and I start filling it out in March, but it inevitably doesn’t get sent until April 13. I don’t know why we procrastinate. Maybe this year we will file early (yeah, right!).

  19. Deoxy:

    I like to file early, but this past year I rolled an old 401K into an IRA and am still waiting for the right tax forms.

    Diana

  20. Tamara:

    I like to file early. Would have already have it completed & sent except the one weekend I’ve been free lately (Jan. 30/31), I didn’t yet have my W-2. Plan to finish by the end of this month.

  21. Taliface:

    I like to wait, but only until the end of March.

  22. Even if we owe, we usually file early to get the task out of the way. My husband is meticulous about keep the records, so it ends up being fairly atraighforward to do the taxes by hand.

  23. We should file early, as we do get a refund, but it’s usually at the beginning of April. Sigh.

  24. Vera:

    I always file early – as soon as I get all the tax papers – just to get it out of the way and be done with it!

  25. Just wanted to mention that if you are in the Military H&R Block will do your taxes free- online, over the phone or in a store. (usually if you go and talk to your family assistance center or even your supervisor they can point you in the right direction to find out-you have to go through the right channel)
    Just thought some of readers might not know & could get them done for free!

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