H&R Block Deluxe Review – Good Value
H&R Block is probably the best-known name in the tax preparation business. While they are mostly known for their thousands offices, where they’ll prepare your taxes for a fee, the company also offers software products so you can file your taxes yourself. H&R Block Deluxe is the middle product of their three paid versions, and it’s likely the most popular version of the software they sell as it offers a good selection of features and reasonable pricing. You can read our full H&R Block Deluxe review below.
H&R Block Deluxe Overview
H&R Block offers four versions of their tax software:
H&R Block Free – Basic 1040 EZ type features. No tech support and no import features.
H&R Block Basic – Offers chat or phone support, along with the ability to store returns for six years and import last year’s returns and 1099 data. Currently $19.99 plus an extra fee for state returns.
H&R Block Deluxe – Help for home mortgage interest deductions, real estate taxes, charitable deductions, investments, dividends and retirement income. Currently priced at $29.99 plus and extra fee for state returns.
H&R Block Premium – All of the above features, plus guidance for self employment income, rental property income and expenses, inheritance assets, home sales and more. Currently priced at $49.99 plus an extra fee for state returns.
Few taxpayers will need the free version; it’s so basic that you could simply fill out the form yourself and mail it in without bothering to take the time to do it online. The paid versions, however, will have a lot of takers, and the H&R Block Deluxe version is probably the most popular, as it has the features that the majority of taxpayers are going to need in their software.
In addition to the features listed above, H&R Block Deluxe also includes:
- Free e-filing. Believe it or not, some companies charge extra for this, on top of a fee for filling out the forms.
- Step by step guidance through a series of “interview” style questions make it easy to fill out your forms and a progress meter shows you how close you are to completion.
- Affordable Care Act related tax forms
- Free, unlimited tech support via telephone and online chat
- Automatic import of your W2 forms
- Accuracy review double checks your return to ensure that the information is accurate.
Each section of the H&R Block Deluxe software provides you with an overview of that section and a list of items that need to be completed to ensure that you fill out everything correctly. Checking certain boxes may trigger follow-up questions if the software requires additional information from you. Every page also has a “Learn More” link that makes it easy to find context-related help.
While H&R Block Deluxe allows you to go through your forms in a linear fashion, you are free to go back and forth if you like and you can bookmark certain sections of the program and even add notes to them so you can return to them later and remember what you were doing. The program has a good search feature for finding forms and can even help you find them by providing auto-complete as you type.
In addition to the progress meter, H&R Block Deluxe also includes a running refund total, that will show you, as you fill out the form, the current amount of your pending refund. It’s easy to print your return, as there is a print icon at the top of each page.
The price of using H&R Block Deluxe is reasonable, though the additional cost of a state return, currently $36.99, can make using H&R Block Deluxe one of the more expensive options for filing your taxes, as other products are somewhat less expensive. DIY Tax, for instance, is completely free for both state and Federal returns. On the other hand, H&R Block Deluxe is a well-crafted piece of software that has the advantage of having millions of users, which allows the company to quickly find and fix bugs, which isn’t always possible with software products with a smaller user base.
All in all, H&R Block Deluxe can provide you with good results. The program is easy to use and comes with better than average tech support. You can even talk to someone at a local H&R Block office if you find that H&R Block Deluxe is giving you trouble that you can’t handle by yourself.
Of course, there are some things that H&R Block Deluxe can’t do, and neither can any other tax software. No piece of software can know about every possible deduction that you could be taking, nor can H&R Block Deluxe know about all of the possible ways of calculating deductions that are permitted by the IRS. The US Tax Code is complex, and there are lots of obscure ways to take legal deductions from your income that most taxpayers and most tax software programs simply don’t know about. If you knew about these ways of saving money, you could enter the information into H&R Block Deluxe and it could account for them. But knowing about all of the deductions available to you is a tax strategy issue, and H&R Block Deluxe is a tax preparation product.
In order to know about how you could be saving money on your taxes, you need more than just H&R Block Deluxe. You need a way of keeping up with all of the changes in the code and how they affect you. You need to know how to find these deductions and you need to have them explained to you in simple English, so you can enter them into H&R Block Deluxe or whatever tax software you’re using without having to spend hours studying. Then you can file your return and know that you’ve fulfilled your obligation to pay taxes while paying the lowest amount legally required of you. H&R Block Deluxe is a good product, and it can give you a good refund, but if you want the largest refund you can possibly get, you’ll need more help.