H & R Block Review

If you are an individual, family or small business, H&R Block may be perfect for you.

E-File State Return
$44.99
Deluxe Plan
$159.98
Mobile App Rating
4.5/5
SimpleScore
3.4 / 5.0
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SimpleScore HR Block 3.4
Mobile App Rating 5
Deluxe Plan Price 2
State E-File Price 2
Self-Employed File Price 3
Support 5

H&R Block is one of the most popular tax preparation companies in the United States and completes nearly one in every seven U.S. tax returns each year. Since 1955, the company’s tax software has been used to prepare over 800 million returns in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, as well as other U.S. territories.

Returns can be prepared by logging in online or downloading the software to your computer. If you prefer to have them completed for you by a tax professional, there are three choices: Tax Pro Go, drop-off or meeting with a tax-pro at one of the company’s 11,000 locations.

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In this article

    H&R Block at a glance

     BasicDeluxePremiumSelf-Employed
    H&R Block Online$0 federal, $0 per state$37.49 federal, $44.99 per state$52.49 federal, $44.99 per state$78.74 federal, $44.99 per state
    H&R Block Online Assist$49.99 federal, $0 per state$99.99 federal, $44.99 per state$139.99 federal, $44.99 per state$169.99 federal, $36.99 per state
    Who should use itFilers with kids, education costs and/or a W-2Homeowners, filers with donations or HSAsFilers with investment or rental property income, freelancers and contractorsSelf-employment and small business income.

    What we like about it

    H&R Block‘s tax software offers a comprehensive free version which is one of the best on the market, if not the best. It has more forms included than many competitors — about 47 total, which is about twice as many as Turbo Tax offers. The company also provides free chat support no matter which package you purchase, as well as the ability to import your W-2 via mobile device camera and import your previous year’s returns from other tax preparers. Further, the price preview feature allows you to see updates as you go so you can understand how your choices impact your costs.

    As for H&R Block’s tax professionals, they are well equipped. Before they can prepare their first return, they undergo 60 hours of training. Further, the average client is served by an H&R professional with more than 12 years of tax prep experience and hundreds of hours of training. So if you need help from a representative, you’ll be in good hands.

    Things to consider

    There are two online filing options to choose between. The less expensive one does not include on-demand help from a CPA or tax professional.

    If your business is considered larger than a small business, H&R Block will most likely not be able to help you prepare your returns. Standards for what constitutes a small business are different across industries and fields. To see if you qualify as a small business, use the Size Standards Table for each industry from the Small Business Administration (SBA).

    Additionally, if you have a less cumbersome tax return, there are cheaper options. Competitors, such as TaxSlayer or TaxAct, may not offer as many functions or support options, but they will likely save you money on your filing fees.

    H&R Block features

    Both the online and online-assist versions of H&R Block’s tax software come with an on-demand chat feature. All H&R versions also come with the ability to import your W-2 by merely taking a picture of it with your phone. If you opt for the upgraded version, you get all of the previously mentioned features, plus the bonus of being able to screen-share and get unlimited professional help via phone.
    As already mentioned, H&R Basic is great if you have a simple 1040 to file as the free version comes with an abundance of forms. In addition, the free version offers no additional charge for multiple state filings. In comparison, TurboTax’s free version allows for one state free; each extra state costs $29.99.

    The Deluxe package is the most popular. It was rated No. 1 in online tax prep by P.C. Magazine in 2019. If your tax return involves donations, an HSA or if you are a homeowner, this option will likely work for you. With unlimited tech support, H&R Block’s package costs $106.98. For a comparable package through TurboTax (including $60 for tech support), it will cost $160.

    The Premier package is the next step up. H&R Block appears to have the advantage in this category because it offers the ability to use this choice if you are a freelancer or subcontractor with simple earnings. Filing through H&R Block costs roughly $150 instead of having to purchase the self-employed + Live option at $190 with TurboTax.

    If you get a refund, you can have it directly deposited into an account of your choice. If you prefer a paper check in the mail, be aware there is a $25 fee. Additionally, H&R Block currently has a promotion with Amazon where if you put some or all of your refund on an Amazon gift card, an additional 4% bonus will be added.

    Lastly, if you have any version but the free version, be aware that H&R Block charges a $40 fee to have the filing payment deducted from your federal refund instead of paying with a credit or debit card.

    H&R Block help and support

    Support is offered in many different capacities. Even if you don’t pay for the unlimited help, you still have access to on-demand chat services, community Q&A forums, video and software support. H&R Block also has a feature directly on its site to check the status of your refund.

    And with the premium add-on of unlimited help, users receive live chat and phone support to help finish up their 2019 taxes.

    Is H&R Block worth the price?

    H&R Block’s online software offers multiple tiers with great features along with competitive pricing. It is cheaper overall for the same, if not a slightly better, product than competitor TurboTax.

    However, filers with more simple tax returns or whose income is under a certain threshold can greatly benefit from the IRS’s free file page that lists all the software that you can use to file your federal taxes — and even state taxes, in some cases — for free.

    Methodology

    SimpleScore

    The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar.

    For every review, our editorial team:

    • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
    • Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
    • Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore

    Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our review of the best tax softwares of 2020.

    Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

    To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.

    However, it’s also possible for brands to have multiple SimpleScores. For example, when we apply our methodology to Chase’s stock trading product, it scores a 3.6 out of 5. On the other hand, when we compare Chase checking accounts, it scores a 4.4 out of 5. this is because we each criterion for every category is different to account for different industry standards and product offerings.

    Questions about our methodology?

    Email Hayley Armstrong at hayley@thesimpledollar.com.

    Mobile app rating

    We took an average of Google Play Store and iOS Apple App Store ratings of each tax preparation company’s app and assigned aspect scores accordingly.

    Deluxe plan price

    Taxes are already not fun in the United States. What makes it worse is if you have to dish out hundreds of bucks to file your taxes. That’s why we award higher scores to brands with lower deluxe plan pricing.

    State return e-file price

    While most tax preparation softwares have free federal tax return filing, many more charge for each state e-file. While users can just print their state return and mail it in, that’s annoying. We award brands that charge less for state return e-filing.

    Self-employed price

    If you own a business or survive solely on freelancing, every dollar counts. That’s why we give out higher scores to brands that charge less for self-employed tax filing.

    Customer support

    Like we said, tax season is hard. That’s why we award brands with higher SimpleScores when they have multiple channels of support. When customers need help filing, it’s important to be able to reach out.

    Jessica Walrack

    Contributing Writer

    Jessica Walrack is a personal finance writer at SuperMoney, Interest.com, The Simple Dollar, and PersonalLoans.org. She specializes in taking personal finance topics like loans, credit cards, and budgeting, and making them accessible and somewhat fun.