H&R Block Tax Software Review 2024

H&R Block Online Tax Software Review 2024

H&R Block offers easy-to-use software for tax filers who want to complete their taxes online or using their desktop computer. H&R Block online tax prep consistently ranks as the runner-up in annual listings of the most popular online tax preparation software and is our second favorite option for doing your taxes online. 

H&R Block offers a combination of premium services, ranging from: 

  • Self-service tax preparation online 
  • Online tax preparation with expert assistance
  • Full-service tax prep, where you drop your tax forms at an H&R Block office and they take care of the rest

The software allows regular people without finance or tax expertise to do their taxes independently at a reasonable cost. Users can count on a jargon-free, step-by-step tax filing experience with easy-to-understand guides. 

H&R Block delivers a user experience that makes tax filing fairly simple. But H&R Block is a premium product that can come with a premium price tag. Before you start on your taxes, be sure you know what to expect in terms of cost at checkout.

Check out our list of the best tax software to see how H&R Block compares to competitors, including TurboTax and TaxAct. See this list of H&R Block alternatives if you want something different.

Note: We’re focused on the online tax experience in this H&R Block tax review. H&R Block also offers downloadable tax software, however, for most people who follow online security best practices, H&R Block online is a better option. 

Bonus: Right now, you can save 20% on H&R Block Tax Software Products if you sign up and start through this link >>


H&R Block Review

Quick Summary

  • Free tier includes child tax credit, student deductions, and retirement income
  • Easy navigation and document import
  • One of the lower-priced “Premium” tier options

H&R Block Online Details

Product Name

H&R Block Online

Federal Price

Starts at $0

State Price

Starts at $0

Preparation Type

Self-Prepared & Assistance

Promotions

20% Off

H&R Block Online – Is It Really Free?

H&R Block offers free Federal and State tax filing for a limited number of filers where you only have these common tax forms or situations. Free filing works for these forms and needs: 

  • W-2 income
  • Unemployment income
  • Social Security Income
  • Retirement plan income 
  • Student Loan interest 
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Earned Income Tax Credit 
  • Interest Income 
  • Limited Investment Support

Anyone with more complex needs will have to upgrade to a paid tier. Support for interest and investments is new for the free tier this year. 

Compared to the competition, H&R Block online offers one of the broadest free filing programs. However, H&R Block won’t be free for all users. For example, filers with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or who have dependent care expenses must upgrade to the Deluxe tier. Crypto traders, most investors, and business owners will need the Premium or Self-Employed tier. 

You can also use the IRS Free File program, offering free H&R Block and other tax software through a partnership with the Free File Alliance. This is only available to those earning $73,000 or less annually (adjusted gross income) and meeting the provider’s criteria.

See the full list of the best free tax software here >>

What’s New For 2024?

Like all tax software providers, H&R Block will make updates to meet new and evolving tax needs, such as questions about student loan forgiveness for being able to participate in the program.

Last year, H&R Block added more support for 1099-K forms and updated sections related to education credits, business meal tax deductions, and other tax law changes. 

For 2024, the free version offers expanded support for bank account interest and limited support for investments. Updates are also implemented to keep up with the tax code. COVID relief programs are mostly over, but we’re seeing expanded tax credits for solar energy home improvements, a $7,500 credit for qualifying electric vehicles, and inflation-driven adjustments to many tiers, brackets, and limits for IRS deductions and credits. 

Of note, in 2023, for the 2022 income tax year, we picked H&R Block Premium Online as the best tax software for stock market investments. See our full list of best tax software here.

Does H&R Block Make Tax Filing Easy In 2024?

H&R Block uses sensible workflows to help filers complete their tax returns with minimal pain. 

The following features make your tax prep straightforward so you can understand what you’ve completed and what remains. 

  • Questionnaires
  • Guided software
  • Navigation bars
  • Built-in calculators
  • Simple language
  • Robust import options

Claiming common credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit is a streamlined process, though you may have to enter a few details to unlock those questionnaires. 

The software also makes it easy to handle pre-refunded credits (such as the Advanced Child Tax Credit) and pre-paid taxes (such as quarterly tax estimates).

Our testing revealed only a few drawbacks. First, self-employed people must determine their maximum retirement account contributions independently. Second, limited brokerage integrations compared to top competitor Turbo Tax and limited crypto integrations make the software more cumbersome for active traders.

Compared to all other tax software, we found H&R Block the second easiest tax software to use after TurboTax. The major added benefit here, however, is that you can visit an H&R Block location if you want to convert to in-person tax preparation and support.  

H&R Block Top Features

H&R Block is a premium tax software with a long list of notable features. These are some of the most important features for typical users:

Easy Navigation

H&R Block uses a question-and-answer navigation style to help tax filers through their tax forms. The questions are free from confusing industry jargon when possible. When H&R Block uses jargon, it explains the terms through “Read More” bubbles or other hover features.

Short Questionnaires To Expedite Filing

At the start of each major section (Income, Deductions, Credits, etc.), H&R Block prompts users with a short questionnaire. The questionnaire narrows down the parts of the software relevant to each user. You can always go back and review other sections, but it’s nice to save time skipping areas you don’t need to worry about.

Upload Tax Documents To Speed Up The Process

H&R Block is one of the easiest online filing software platforms. It allows users to upload many forms, including 1099-NEC, 1099-MISC, 1099-INT, W-2 forms, and much more. You can upload a copy to H&R Block if the form follows standard layouts. 

Users can take a picture of supported forms and upload them using the H&R Block app or drag and drop them into H&R Block using their computer. The software reads the uploaded documents and fills out forms for you where possible. (But you should still double check that it’s accurate.)

Robust Depreciation And Expense Calculators

H&R Block software contains easy-to-use calculators for mileage deductions, asset depreciation, and other expenses. These make filing easy for anyone who doesn’t want to calculate depreciation independently. 

Small business owners, side hustlers, and real estate investors should be able to find what they need to get their taxes done without hiring an expensive accountant.

Free Live Chat Tech Support

H&R Block offers free live chat tech support on the Deluxe, Premium, and Self-Employed tiers. This is not the same as answering questions about your taxes, only on how to use the software. 

It also offers limited “tax guidance,” though this is not tax advice. The built-in free guidance helps users find credits, deductions, or other areas that they may have missed. Like most competitors, you must pay an additional fee if you need more help from a human tax expert.

Option To Upgrade For Tax Support

H&R Block’s Online Assist program allows filers to access unlimited support from tax-filing experts. The add-on is pricey, but it guarantees that users get the answers they need from a qualified person. You can upgrade to plans where you get: 

  • Unlimited access for tax questions
  • Ability to hand off your tax return to a professional
  • Get a hybrid experience with online and in-person tax services at a local H&R Block location, a unique feature you don’t get with most other tax apps. 
H&R Block review: tax assist program

H&R Block Drawbacks

H&R Block has only a few notable drawbacks. While the software is slightly less intuitive and flashy than TurboTax, it’s easy to navigate and use. The biggest drawbacks are related to cost and the few troubles we found below:

Can’t Calculate Self-Employed Retirement Account Contributions

Self-employed individuals have flexibility in contributing to their retirement accounts. However, H&R Block doesn’t help calculate the maximum contribution amount for these filers, which could lead to an expensive tax error.

A tax filer may unwittingly contribute more than the maximum amount, or they may undercontribute, not realizing they have more room to save on taxes. This issue won’t affect more filers, but it is a surprising oversight given the quality of other sections of the online app.

Paid Version Required To Report HSA Contributions

One of H&R Block’s pricing gotchas is related to HSA contributions. If you have a health savings account (HSA), even if it is through your employer, you’ll have to upgrade to H&R Block’s Deluxe edition. This could come with sticker shock for some filers.

If you’re eligible, check out our favorite HSA accounts here. 

Limited Financial Institution Integrations

H&R Block does not natively integrate with brokerages or crypto exchanges to calculate capital gains from trading activity. As a result, stock and crypto investors may require additional information to complete Schedule D forms. Typing in all of those trades yourself can be time-consuming and cumbersome.

For some financial institutions, the 1099 forms will be enough for H&R Block to do the work for you, but that won’t always be the case. TurboTax supports direct integrations, so you can download tax info from a handful of popular banks and brokerages.

Audit Support Isn’t Included By Default

H&R Block’s Worry-Free Audit Support costs $19.99. This fee must be paid on top of all other software costs. Several companies offer audit support as an included feature rather than an add-on product for an extra fee.

Related: Should You Pay For Audit Support For Your Taxes?

H&R Block Online Prices And Plans

H&R Block has four major pricing tiers, including a completely free (State and Federal filing cost $0) option. Users can add “Worry-Free” Audit assistance for $19.99. 

The Online Assist plans from H&R Block include unlimited help from tax professionals such as CPAs or Enrolled Agents. These individuals can answer tax questions specific to your situation.

Bonus: Get 20% off H&R Block online by signing up through this link >>

Plan

Free Online

Deluxe

Premium

Self-Employed

Best For

Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Social Security Income, Student Loan Interest Deduction

Itemizers, HSA contributions, People with child care expenses

Landlords, investors, Gig workers (less than $5,000 in expenses)

Self-Employed People

Federal Cost

$0

$55

$75

$115

State Cost

$0

$49 per state

$49 per state

$49 per state

Federal Online Assist

$69.99

$109.99

$159.99

$194.99

State Online Assist

$39.99 per state

$49.99 per state

$49.99 per state

$49.99 per state

Note: Prices are subject to change, especially as it gets closer to the tax deadline. The earlier you start, the higher your likelihood of locking in better prices. 

How Does H&R Block Stack Up To The Competition?

H&R Block offers an impressive set of functionalities through its free pricing tier, and is a winner for people seeking free filing if they qualify. 

The Deluxe Tier is H&R Block’s worst value. Low-cost or free software can easily help filers itemize deductions and claim straightforward credits.

Compared to H&R Block’s competition, the Premium tier is the best value for a paid tier. It supports rental properties, basic self-employment income and expenses, and all stock and crypto activity.

Users who don’t need H&R Block’s robust functionality may find that FreeTaxUSA or TaxSlayer offers the necessary functionality at lower costs.

H&R Block typically prices itself near the top end of the market. Filers looking for a deal on H&R Block should lock in prices as soon as possible to get the lowest possible rates. Plus, if you use this link, you can get 20% off.

Header
H&R Block Comparison
H&R Block Comparison: TurboTax
H&R Block Comparison: FreeTaxUSA
H&R Block Comparison: TaxSlayer

Rating

Stimulus Credit

Free+

Free+

Free

Free+

Unemployment Income

Free+

Free+

Free

Free+

Student Loan Interest

Free+

Deluxe+

Free

Free+

Import Last Year’s Taxes

Free+

Free+

Free

Free+

Snap Pic

of W2

Free+

Free+ (1099-MISC too)

N/A

N/A

Multiple States

Free+

Up to 5

$12.95 per additional state

Classic+

Multiple W2s

Free+

Free+

Free

Free+

Earned Income Tax Credit

Free+

Free+

Free

Free+

Child Tax Credit

Free+

Free+

Free

Classic+

Dependent Care Deductions

Deluxe+

Deluxe+

Free

Classic+

HSAs

Deluxe+

Deluxe+

Free

Classic+

Retirement Contributions

Free+

Free+

Free

Free+

Retirement Income (SS, Pension, etc.)

Free+

Free+

Free

Free+

Interest Income

Free+

Free+ (but limited)

Free

Classic+

Itemize

Deluxe+

Deluxe+

Free

Classic+

Dividend Income

Deluxe+

Free+ (but limited)

Free

Classic+

Capital Gains

Premium+

Premier+

Free

Classic+

Rental Income

Premium+

Premier+

Free

Classic+

Self-Employment Income

Premium+

Self-Employed

Free

Classic+

Audit Support

Add-On

Add-On

Deluxe ($6.99)

Premium+

Small Business Owner (over $5k in expenses)

Self-Employed

Self-Employed

Free

Classic+

Free Tier Price

$0 Fed, 

$0 State

$0 Fed, 
$0 State

$0 Fed, $14.99 State

$0 Fed,
$0 State

Deluxe Tier Price

$55 Fed, 

$49 State

$59 Fed,

 $59 State

$6.99 Fed, $14.99 State

$36.95 Fed, $39.95 State

Premium Tier Price

$75 Fed, 

$49 State

$89 Fed,

 $59 State

N/A

$54.95 Fed, $39.95 State

Self-Employed Tier Price

$115 Fed, 

$49 State

$119 Fed, 

$59 State

N/A

$64.95 Fed, $39.95 State

Cell

Is It Safe And Secure?

Tax Prep companies are prime targets for hackers seeking personal information. H&R Block employs industry-standard encryption, multi-factor authentication, and web-browsing encryption to protect users’ financial information.

However, the company is not perfect. In 2019, the company suffered a data breach in which some customer information was leaked. While generally trustworthy, its cybersecurity history leaves something to be desired. If you’re ultra-concerned about data breaches and hacks, you may want to look elsewhere. 

How Do I Contact H&R Block?

One of the reasons we love H&R Block is because of the many ways you can get help, including online, by phone, or by having a tax preparer virtually prepare your tax return. You can also visit one of H&R Block’s many physical locations. 

To contact H&R Block by phone, you can call 1-800-472-5625. If you want to visit an office in person, you can schedule an appointment here.

Where To Buy

We recommend that everyone who uses tax software use the online version rather than buying a disk or downloading and installing it on a home computer. You’re more at risk of losing your data on your home computer, whereas if you use the online version, it’s always saved and accessible in the cloud if your computer crashes.

With that in mind, here’s where you can buy H&R Block Tax Software.

H&R Block Online: H&R Block online is typically the easiest way to buy H&R Block tax software. You can start for free online, and the guided software will help you pick the best version for you. Or you can jump right into whichever version you need. Plus, you can save 20% on H&R Block Tax Software Products if you go through this link >>

Amazon: Amazon currently has a promotion for H&R Block where you can get the full version of H&R Block, plus 5% cash back if you use the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa. Check out H&R Block on Amazon here.

Retail Stores: H&R Block tax software is also available in some retail stores for a limited time. You can typically find it on store shelves in late December through April. You can find it at Target, Walmart, and office supply stores like OfficeDepot.

H&R Block Promotions

H&R Block currently offers a 20% off promotion when you buy directly from H&R Block using this link. You may pay more if you buy elsewhere.

Is It Worth It?

For those who qualify for free filing, H&R Block Online deserves to be on the shortlist. It is a premium software, but the free offering is expansive. Also, the Premium edition of the software offers good value for investors and gig workers.

However, users considering the Deluxe Tier should think carefully before paying the price. Deluxe users may find a better (and equally usable bargain) by considering TaxSlayer Classic or FreeTaxUSA. These tools are also a good alternative for self-employed people with depreciating business assets.

Landlords and others with depreciating assets should also consider whether H&R Block is the right tool to do the job. TurboTax has a superior user experience for rental property owners, which is important given the complexity of property depreciation and other financial needs.

Check out H&R Block here and get 20% off >>

H&R Block Online FAQs

Here are some common questions about H&R Block online:

Can H&R Block Online help me file my crypto investments?

H&R Block Online has instructions that carefully explain how users can file taxes on their cryptocurrency trades. However, the software treats it like other capital gains activities. There are no special integrations to make crypto filing easier.

Does H&R Block offer refund advance loans?

At this time, H&R Block is only advertising tax refund advance loans to people who use the office locations.

Does H&R Block offer any deals on refunds?

At this time, H&R Block is not advertising deals on refunds. Historically, the company has partnered with Amazon to offer boosted returns for people accepting refunds as gift cards. This may return later in the season.

Do I have to use the self-employed tier for my side hustle?

Most side hustlers and people with minimal business expenses can find their tax liability using the Premium level. The Premium level is less expensive than the Self-Employed tier but supports “simplified” expenses. This includes expenses of less than $5,000. Filers still get to claim the Qualified Business Income Deduction on this tier.

Is H&R Block better than TurboTax?

It depends. We found H&R Block to be better for price and very good for usability. TurboTax does offer one of the easiest-to-use interfaces, though, which can make tax filing easier and quicker.

H&R Block Online Features

Here are the main features available by plan level.

Plan

Free

Deluxe

Premium

Self-Employed

Earned Income Credit (EITC)

Student Loan Interest Deduction

Retirement Income

Digital Document Storage (Up to 6 Years)

Live Tech Support (Phone or Chat)

HSA

1099 Income

Investments

Rental Properties

Small Biz Expense Deductions

Small Biz Asset Depreciation

Editor: Robert Farrington Reviewed by: Claire Tak

The post H&R Block Tax Software Review 2024 appeared first on The College Investor.