Knowing what to choose between Turbotax vs H&R Block is one of the keys to make your tax preparation a breeze.
The start of the year is also the time when people get busy preparing for the filing of the federal tax returns. In fact, a lot of people stress about filing taxes, which is totally understandable because if you are not an expert, it can totally get a little challenging.
However, unlike the old times, filing taxes today can be a breeze — that is if you have the right tool in the form of tax software.
Today, there are two names that are popular when it comes to providing tax filing services — these are TurboTax and H&R Block. Both software provides a user-friendly experience. More so, they give information along the way to help you better understand the things you are doing.
To be fair, the both have their own amazing features, at the same time, they also have their share of downsides. But between the two, which is better TurboTax or H&R Block?
TURBOTAX VS H&R BLOCK: OVERVIEW
Before we head on to reviewing both software side by side, it is just right to know what these are first. So, here’s a little background of both TurboTax vs H&R Block:
TurboTax is a tax filing software owned by Intuit, which is also the maker of the popular finance tool called, Quickbooks. It has been around since the mid-1980s. Yes, this is not really new.
TurboTax has gained popularity for a lot of reasons, and one of them is that it provides a user-friendly design and straightforward step-by-step guidance to its users.
The software comes with a free filing option that basically allows you to file your federal return, at the same time, file a one state return for free. However, as compared to its paid version, the free option only supports very simple returns with form 1040. Thus, if you want to itemize your deductions with Schedule A or you are in need of other forms, you will have to upgrade to a paid plan as the free version does not support it.
The good thing about TurboTax is that it offers three different paid plans, which means you have the freedom to choose whatever fits your needs. The plans run from $39.99 up to $89.99 for federal filing. Meanwhile, state filing is the same for all the plans — it is at $39.99 per state. Meanwhile, the free version of the software offers one free state return only.
Talking about its free version, TurboTax’s free option supports 1040 with some child tax credits.
Another option is the TurboTax Deluxe option, which we find very ideal for most filers. It costs $60, which is higher compared to most tax filing software including H&R Block’s Deluxe option, which we are going to share more about later on.
For an additional cost, you will get to have more features that are helpful overall.
In addition, the software also has a Self-Employed option, which costs $120 for a federal return. This option is obviously ideal for business owners as well as self-employed individuals.
Although it does not have any physical locations, TurboTax provides access to tax experts like CPAs and EAs. However, if you wish to get in touch with experts, you will have to pay an additional cost.
For your reference, here is a table of the different TurboTax filing options for you to choose from:
|TurboTax Free Edition||Federal: Free
|– Ideal for simple returns that use Form 1040
– Features Include: Error Check, Easy Import, Deductions for Dependents, and Refund Explanations
|TurboTax Deluxe||Federal: $60
|– Ideal for homeowners, as well as for maximizing deductions
– Features Include: Error Check, Easy Import, Deductions for Dependents, Refund Explanations, and Charitable Donations Calculator
|TurboTax Premier||Federal: $90
|– Ideal for investors and rental property owners
– Features Include Error Check, Easy Import, Deductions for Dependents, Refund Explanations, and Charitable Donations Calculator, with focus on Investment, and Rental Property Income, Refinancing Deductions, as well as Accurate Stock Reporting
|TurboTax Self-Employed||Federal: $120
|– Ideal for independent contractors, consultants, freelancers, self-employed, and small business owners
– Features Include: Error Check, Easy Import, Deductions for Dependents, Refund Explanations, and Charitable Donations Calculator, with access to Self-Employed Tax Experts, and maximizing business deductions
Before moving on, know more about TurboTax and H&R Block, you may want to check this video by Business Insider. We find this really helpful especially for beginners in tax filing or those who want to try out any of these services.
As compared to TurboTax, H&R Block has been around since 1955. Since then, it has earned its popularity as a consumer tax filing service provider. More so, because of combining simple tools and guidance, which makes it even more efficient. Such tools are very helpful especially for people who have never filed taxes in the past or have not been filing taxes for a long time now.
These tools, however, comes with a price. However, if you come to think about it, especially once you experience using the software, you will agree if we say that it is worth it.
Just like TurboTax, currently, H&R Block offers four online filing options for you to choose from, and these are as follows:
|H&R Block Free||Federal: Free
|– Ideal for new filers, and simple tax returns
– Supports Form 1040 with some child tax credits
|H&R Block Deluxe||Federal: $29.99
|– Ideal for maximizing deductions
– Includes All Free Features, Forms for Homeowners, Allows Itemization
|H&R Block Premium||Federal: $49.99
|– Ideal for rental property owners, and investors
– Includes More Zero and Deluxe Features, as well as Accurate Cost Basis, Schedule C-EZ, Schedule D, Schedule E, Schedule K-1
|H&R Block Self-Employed||Federal: $79.99
|– Ideal for small business owners
– Includes All Free, Deluxe, and Premium Features, and Schedule C
As you can see int the above table, the cheapest option available is the free option. However, it comes with a lot of limitations. Meanwhile, if you need other forms apart from 1040, Schedule EIC, Schedule 8812, and other common tax forms like 1099, you will need to upgrade to their paid plan.
H&R Block’s paid plans ranges from $29.99 up to $79.99. Meanwhile, all state filing costs the same at $36.99 per state. These ones are for paid plans. Of all the options, most filers choose to get the Deluxe option, which costs $29.99 only. It includes software that is helpful in maximizing tax deductions. As for freelancers and small businesses, they are likely to upgrade to the Self-Employed plan, which is priced at $79.99 only.
Unlike TurboTax, H&R Block has a physical store. So, if you prefer filing your return offline, all you need to do is visit any of their more than 10,000 physical offices in the United States. Their offices do have tax professionals who will help you with your filing needs. For your information, filing is a person that will cost you %59 of federal returns.
TURBOTAX VS H&R BLOCK: USER EXPERIENCE
Apparently, both are known for being user-friendly. However, generally speaking, TurboTax is proven to be more user-friendly than the other. This is regardless if you are accessing it on your desktop or mobile phone.
TurboTax uses an interview-type approach, which is done to help guide you through the whole filing process. The questions, however, are very simple and upfront so you do not have to worry about wasted time and all. It is also noteworthy that they use very minimal tax jargon. Thus, if you are new to this, you won’t get intimidated.
As with H&R Block, it is also user-friendly as we have said earlier. However, there are some questions as well as explanations that are not that clear.
Meanwhile, as compared to H&R Block, TurboTax comes with encouraging phrases all throughout. For instance, you are having a hard time in a specific area, you will get messages like “You can do this,” which, although unnecessary, helps boost your confidence if you are a first-timer.
Another thing that we looked into is the ease when it comes to uploading documents. We found both services to be doing great in this aspect. Both TurboTax and H&R Block allows you to upload your W-2 by simply taking a photo of it. Also, both allow you to import your past year’s tax return regardless of the tax service you used back then.
As with filling out of state return after filing your federal return, filling out was made easier by both. Needless to say, all information is transferred quickly so no need to worry about retyping everything again.
TURBOTAX VS H&R BLOCK: NOTABLE FEATURES
As we mentioned earlier, both TurboTax and H&R Block offer photos and other document importation options including the past year’s tax return regardless of the service you previously used.
It is worth noting that TurboTax has an ItsDeductible feature, which basically helps to quickly find the deduction value of household items, donated clothes, as well as other items. More so, the service’s Self-Employed option offers amazing features like expense-tracking through Quickbooks, tracking mileage from your mobile phone, as well as storing photos of your receipts.
Meanwhile, H&R Block’s Self-Employed option allows you to import driver tax information, at the same time, integrating with the expense-tracking app called, Stride Tax. All of H&R Block’s paid versions or options allow the importation of the past year’s tax return regardless of the service used. You may also import your 1099s if you need to.
TURBOTAX VS H&R BLOCK: PRICING
When choosing anything, one of the key things we look into is the cost. When buying or subscribing to anything, we make sure we take into consideration its value for money, which is totally fine. After all, we are using hard-earned money here, right?
Having said that, we are now going to compare TurboTax versus H&R Block cost-wise. When it comes to pricing, which one stands out?
As we have earlier mentioned, both TurboTax and H&R Block are two of the most popular, at the same time, the most comprehensive when it comes to online tax filing services. Needless to say, they are also the priciest in this line.
While both services provide a free option, this only covers very simple returns. Thus, if you are a business owner or a freelancer who needs a lot of different types of forms, you will need to upgrade to their paid filing options.
To compare, the free plan that TurboTax offers comes with one free state return. Meanwhile, H&R Block offers more — which makes them better compared to TurboTax.
Now, when it comes to paid options, both have a Deluxe option. The Deluxe option is actually enough for most filers as it already includes access to tax financial experts through online chat, as well as deduction-finding software, and helps with charitable donations.
As with the forms they support, TurboTax’s Deluxe option supports Schedule SE, which basically allows the filing of self-employment taxes. In addition, it also allows you to file Schedule C and Schedule C-EZ — that is if you have a business income that needs to be reported but has no expenses to report.
Comparing it to H&R Block, the cheapest option they have is the Premium one, which basically supports Schedule SE as well as Schedule C-EZ. If you need to file Schedule C, you will then have to upgrade to their Self-Employed option, which is priced at $79.99 for federal filing.
Overall, when it comes to pricing, H&R Block is obviously cheaper compared to TurboTax. However, the lower prices of H&R Block may be misleading as you will need to upgrade to a higher option should you need specific forms. This specifically applies to those who earn an income as freelancers, contractors, etc.
Ultimately though, we have to say that regardless of what you choose between the two, how much you spend will basically depend on what you need. Thus, in the end, it’s hard to really tell which one is the best deal.
TURBOTAX VS H&R BLOCK: CUSTOMER SUPPORT
As part of our comparison – TurboTax vs H&R Block — we are also going to look into their customer support.
TurboTax has been known to be great in this field. In fact, they provide a searchable knowledgebase, as well as video tutorials. They also have an online community, which is great especially for newbies.
But above all, they have an amazing support feature, which is called as the TurboTax Live. This feature is basically new but has gained so many praises already. The feature offers a one-on-one review with a CPA or an enrolled agent before filing tax returns. It also provides you with unlimited live tax advice, which we find really helpful for beginners.
More so, they will even sign and e-file your tax return if you think it’ll work for you. You can also make an appointment and talk on the fly to a tax pro through a one-way video. One-way video means, you see them, but they don’t see you ensure your privacy.
TurboTax’s support is available seven days a week, from 8 in the morning until midnight Eastern Time.
By the way, they also have a new feature. This refers to an offline review option that allows you to ask questions and receive answers from a CPA, a tax attorney, or an enrolled agent through email.
Meanwhile, we have to say that H&R Block is competing real hard with TurboTax having two new features, which were only made available in 2019.
The first feature is called, “Ask A Tax Pro,” which basically lets you have on-demand chat sessions with a tax expert. This service is unlimited. Thus, you can avail it anytime you need to. More so, using this feature lets you share your screen with the tax pro so you get to discuss things out.
This feature works both via tablet or mobile phone. You may also opt to speak with the tax pro via phone. This feature is available from 7 in the morning until 11 in the evening on Mondays through Fridays, while on weekends, it is available from 9 in the morning until 8 in the evening Eastern Time.
The only downside about this feature is — it’s not for free. To avail, you will have to pay $39,99 for Free and Deluxe users, while $49.99 for those using Premium and Self-Employed.
The second feature that H&R Block has is the Tax Pro Review, which provides a one-on-one review of your whole tax return with a tax pro. He or she will go over your documents and ensure the accuracy of details. He or she will also look into possible missed deductions as well as credits within the span of three days. More so, the tax pro will even sign and e-file your return on your behalf.
H&R Block allows you to communicate with the tax pro through a secured message center, or you may wish to arrange a phone call if you want to.
Again, this comes with a price though. It costs $49.99 for Free users, $79.99 for Deluxe users, and $89.99 for both Premium and Self-Employed users. If you wish to buy it as a standalone product, you may do so. It costs $119.99 plus an additional $36.99 per state return filed.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON TURBOTAX VS BLOCK
So, overall, TurboTax vs H&R Block, which stands out? Well, we have to say it all depends on what it is that you exactly need or are looking for. Regardless of the price, the features, and all that, at the end of the day, it all boils down to what you need.
We just have to say though that whether you go for TurboTax or H&R Block, one thing is sure — you get your money’s worth.
Having read all that, have you decided which is the best for you yet? Remember when choosing the better option between TurboTax vs H&R Block, it all goes down to your tax filing needs.