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.
I do them early b/c I typically get a nice federal refund. Sometimes I owe state and I’ll wait to file that one separately (until I HAVE to pay it!) Thanks!
I want to do it early but I always have to wait for my stockbroker to send their yearly report which they don’t do until February. But I appreciate your comments on the H&R Block at Home option to pay more for unlimited tax advice from a professional in addition to the software. I retired in the middle of the year so this year I have both earned income, pension income, annuities, and capital gains. I have always done it myself with the software but that $100 deal looks pretty good for this year.
Early as possible if I expect them to pay me anything! and really late if at all if I owe uncle sam!
Welcome to my world…the one where I try to scramble to pay the IRS back because of the error in the software HR Block used to do my taxes. They offered to reimburse the fee I paid but no help with the $2000 I have 30 days to pay. How’s that for standing by your product??? BUYER BEWARE!
Let’s see … it’s April 9th and I haven’t done them yet! I always file an extension. Procrastination.
I used to file early, however, our tax preparer passed away, late 2009. I am plaaning on filing for the first time, online. I Like to file early, and I most definately need the free software, as you can see.
I would like to do my taxes early beacause every year it seems I wait to the last minute and then its a mad rush to get it done. This year I own my first co-op so it wont be as simple as it used to be as a renter.
I try to get it done by Feb… for the Fafsa.
We like to file by mid-March – so it’s not really early or late, I guess.
I like to file my taxes early – no need to wait until the last minute! My husband is in between, so we usually file in early March.
We usually file an extension because ours are so complicated, but I love the idea of getting the software because I like to understand things before I take it to the accountant. The more organized I can be before I take in my records, the less it will cost us in the long run! I’ve used Turbo Tax in the past, so it was nice to read this review- very good!
I like to file my tax return before the April deadline. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I try to get it done by then. The H&R Block program sounds interesting.
I like to file my tax returns at the last minute usually. It’s not really that I like doing that…it’s just how it always ends up. :)
I didn’t know you could start with the free version and upgrade. Every year I have picked the most expensive version. I am going to try that this year. Thanks!
I like to do my taxes early & online is the best way to go.
I usually file early to get the task out of the way, nothing to worry after.
I do my taxes early. If I get a refund, I want it fast – I don’t want Uncle Sam to keep hoarding my money interest-free. :(
We file as early as possible to get the refund!
For years I always waited until the last minute and went to an H&R Block office until last year. I did the ‘best of both’ through the ebates link and saved an additional 12% off the price. I worked with a member of their team from Michigan I believe and we communicated via IM, email and even phone calls. She was really great and corrected a double entry in my return. Can’t say enough about this program. It was well worth the money and easy as could be.
i do my taxes later than earlier, although now that i have to fill out financial aid forms for my kids college i try to do earlier
Back in the Old Days when life was simpler and we filed the short form, we waited until midnight on April 15th to drop it off at the Post Office. The USPS used to have a lone postman sitting in a truck with the engine running, accepting those late-late dropoffs. We’d drive home and celebrate with a glass of champagne – oh! what a lark it was. Now that the years, the children, the homeownership, the job changes/losses, and the business startups/closings have made things complicated, we’re just happy to get the darn thing done. I usually search for the cheapest e-filer we can find, then I hammer it out and let it fly. H&R Block worked well for us last year – if the price is right, we’ll use them again!