turbo tax vs hr block

turbo tax vs hr block

Doing your taxes can be frustrating enough for some people, but if you are using software such as TurboTax or H&R Block, you expect the process to go a little quicker and better than if you were to do your tax returns manually. Therefore, you should compare TurboTax and H&R Block to see which one would make things easier for you.

TurboTax is easy to understand as is H&R Block, but H&R Block allows you to import information from TurboTax, which would make things easier when enter your personal information and income. However, you cannot import information to TurboTax from H&R Block. Both have question formats and provide explanations of questions. You can import financial information from Quicken and other software programs into TurboTax and H&R Block.

The error-check feature for both programs is easy to use and allows you to run a check to see whether you have any errors that could create an alert or red flag by the IRS. If you have any errors, you are taken to that specific error and guided through the process to make the correction.

TurboTax sends an email to you right away saying that it has received your returns and is forwarding them to the appropriate government agency. H&R Block has a slower response time; your acceptance email can take a day to reach you.

Within one of two days of receiving your return, TurboTax emails you that your return was accepted or denied by the government. H&R Block emails you a link to visit the website to see your notifications.

H&R Block and TurboTax have the option for free efile under certain conditions. For TurboTax, your adjusted gross income must be $30,000 or less, you must qualify for the earned income credit, or you must be in the military. H&R Block has an AGI of $56,000 or less and you must be under the age of 50 years old. If you don't qualify for free efile, H&R Block costs more than TurboTax. The state returns cost more at H&R Block compared with TurboTax.

The help section for TurboTax is available 24/7 and you can ask as many questions as you like. H&R Block regulates how many times you can use free help.

TurboTax vs H&R Block: How 2 of the most popular tax-filing programs stack up

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To help ease the pain of filing taxes, you may want to consider online tax-preparation software that will help you get your affairs organized . Two of the most popular choices areВ TurboTax or H&R Block.

When it comes to choosing one over the other, don't stress too much — at the end of the day, they're pretty similar, says Michael Solari, a certified financial planner at Solari Financial Planning. "They're only as good as the person inputting the data," he tells Business Insider. "If you're making above $250,000, you should have someone prepare your taxes because of the complexity. Otherwise, I wouldn't go too crazy spending money on tax software."

Both programs offer a free federal edition for simple tax returns. The other editions — from "basic" to "home and business" — vary in price, depending on your needs. Filing for your business is the most expensive option in both cases.

TurboTax and H&R Block offer similar services at similar prices. Here's how they stack up:

Samantha Less/Business Insider

You have until April 18 to file your 2015 taxes, but that doesn't mean you should wait until the week before to complete them. В If you're ready to begin filing withВ TurboTaxВ orВ H&R Block, simply click the links to get started. Hopefully you'll find that whatever software you choose helps you get your affairs organized quickly, efficiently, and affordably.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Business Insider's Insider Picks team. We aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting, and if you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners, including Amazon. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Have something you think we should know about? Email us at [email protected]

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TurboTax vs. H&R Block Review: Which Tax Software is Best?

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Tax season is almost over. And if you’ve been putting off filing your taxes, it’s time to get the ball rolling! TurboTax and H&R Block are the two most popular online tax filing options.

As you sit down to enter your taxes, you may have trouble deciding which online tax filing service is best: TurboTax or H&R Block? Which is cheaper and which will give you the biggest refund?

If you’re having a hard time picking the winner when it comes to TurboTax vs. H&R Block, then read on to find out which one is the champion.

TurboTax is a product of Intuit, a major finance software company. Intuit is known for Mint.com, an online personal finance tracking app, and QuickBooks, a popular bookkeeping and accounting software for small businesses.

Users of Mint and QuickBooks may find TurboTax a little more intuitive and user-friendly. They can also take advantage of some import options between the programs. TurboTax has been continuously ranked as the number one best-selling tax software in the U.S. for over 25 years.

The large accounting firm H&R Block is responsible for the creation of its software that goes by the same name. H&R Block also has offices located around the country.

Over the years, this company has pivoted from offering only in-office tax filing to a company focused on both DIY taxes and an option to go into an office. H&R Block claims they have more ways to file for free than TurboTax.

H&R Block vs. TurboTax: Which is best?

I’ve used both H&R Block and TurboTax to file my taxes over the last three years. I used H&R Block for 2014 and 2015 and switched to TurboTax in 2016 to give it a try. Here’s what I found when comparing TurboTax vs. H&R Block.

The first thing to consider when deciding between TurboTax or H&R Block is the cost. Depending on the complexity of your return, both TurboTax and H&R Block offer Basic, Intermediate, and Deluxe versions.

For the Deluxe version, TurboTax charges $34.99 plus $39.99 per state. H&R Block Deluxe runs $34.99 plus $36.99 per state. While H&R Block is slightly cheaper, they are so similar in price that it wouldn’t be the deciding factor in most cases.

Both TurboTax and H&R Block offer a maximum refund guarantee. While the guarantees are worded a little differently, the basic gist is if you can get a higher refund using another program or an accountant, the company will refund the cost of your purchase.

However, the only way to know which will yield the biggest refund is to complete your taxes with both programs, which is a huge hassle for most filers. It took me more than three hours to enter all of my tax forms into both, and I already had everything gathered together when I sat down!

Both TurboTax and H&R Block allow you to enter your taxes into the program and view your results before paying. You only have to pay when it’s time to file. This does give you the option to compare the two before filing.

At the end of the day, both programs are excellent and created by tax experts who know what they’re doing.

Therefore the refund you receive – if you get one at all – will be comparable regardless of your choice between TurboTax or H&R Block. You can trust both to do a good job if you enter everything correctly.

With similar pricing and refund expectations, the decision on TurboTax vs. H&R Block comes down to the user interface. Both tax programs are designed with their users in mind and are easy to follow.

What’s more, both programs offer similar features and abilities to add and edit information on your return. However, the TurboTax user interface is a bit better than the H&R Block one. In my experience using both, TurboTax is a little more intuitive and a bit faster.

TurboTax offers easy-to-follow prompts, like the one below asking about the most common scenarios for tax filers. After checking off a category, it is added to your input flow and asks you additional questions.

Compare this to the screenshot below of H&R Block’s W-2 information page. During my tax filing experience with them, everything worked just fine. But, I did have a few frustrating moments when I had a form and couldn’t figure out where to enter the information. That didn’t happen with TurboTax.

Overall, with both entry screens, you are given very clear instructions. And, both programs offer easy prompts and questions.

However, I liked TurboTax better thanks to its intuitiveness, user interface, and the ability to quickly find and change information.

Both H&R Block and TurboTax offer varying levels of support and audit defense for tax returns filed with their respective programs.

TurboTax has a robust online help and support section, but if you want help from a human on your return, H&R Block is stronger in this area.

H&R Block also offers free in-office support in the event of an audit. While the odds of being audited are minuscule, this is a huge benefit and why I picked H&R Block when I started doing my taxes.

H&R Block gives you the flexibility to add an in-person review with a tax expert for $39.99 once your taxes are complete. This allows you to make sure you did everything right and ask any questions you may have.

You can also ask questions online and receive answers from H&R Block tax experts at no charge. Replies are quick but not instant; they were quite good about getting back to me.

However, when I filed my taxes with TurboTax, I didn’t have the same types of questions come up that I did with H&R Block. My taxes were not simpler for 2016, but the TurboTax flow and process didn’t leave me with many questions. If I did have questions, I was able to quickly find a resource from the TurboTax library to keep me moving forward.

Both products offer premium audit defense as an upsell. TurboTax charges $44.99 and H&R Block charges $19.99.

Is TurboTax better than H&R Block?

Both TurboTax and H&R Block are outstanding programs. Depending on your needs, either one could be best for you.

With high-quality tax returns and a maximum refund guarantee from both, the decision comes down to a preference for a better online experience or better in-person support.

If you prefer self-service and want the easiest, fastest online experience, TurboTax is the winner. But if you prefer getting a little extra help in-person, H&R Block is superior.

You should also consider your personal preferences. If you have been using one program for a long time, sticking with what you know will probably serve you best.

The bottom line: you can rest easy with either option. If you’re doing your taxes for the first time, check out our complete guide for tax newbies.

Competition is fierce among the biggest tax-prep software providers. Here’s our point-by-point comparison to help sort out which is better for you: H&R Block or TurboTax.

(H&R's free version can do a bit more)

H&R Block and TurboTax have similar list prices in general, but there are some notable differences. TurboTax’s top-tier, throw-it-all-at-us version costs around $200; H&R Block’s corresponding top-tier product is only a little cheaper when you add the human review to make it an apples-to-apples comparison at the high end.

H&R Block’s expanded free version works with the 1040 and Schedule A (as opposed to just the 1040EZ or 1040A for TurboTax’s free version), which could be huge for some filers. Military members get a discount from TurboTax, depending on rank; H&R Block partners with Military One Source.

  • Free version supports 1040EZ, 1040A and 1040 (including Schedule A for itemizers)
  • Three paid versions, ranging from $54.99 to $94.99 (list prices)
  • State return prep is $0 for free version, $36.99 for paid versions (list prices)
  • Free version supports 1040EZ, 1040A
  • Four paid versions, ranging from $59.99 to $179.99 (list prices)
  • State return prep is $29.99 for free version, $39.99 for paid versions (list prices)

Both providers offer several versions of paid products that accommodate increasingly complex tax situations. Itemizers will probably find the Deluxe versions a good pick; the Premium/Premier versions are generally tailored more toward investors and people with rental property. (And remember, you’ll pay extra to get your state return done.) If you’re self-employed,the Self-Employed versions can handle the heavy lifting.

Winner: H&R Block

Its free version works with the regular Form 1040 and Schedule A, which could mean big savings for many filers. Second, And its products are a little less expensive than its TurboTax counterparts.

Only one entity determines how the math works on a tax return, and that’s the IRS. So unless there’s a programming error, you should get the same numerical “answer” no matter which tax software you use. But you still have to feed the software all of your information, and there are a million ways to do that. Which is why we look at features and ease of use — we want to know which offerings are least likely to make you want to pull your hair out.

TurboTax is widely considered the most user-friendly tax software provider on the market. The interview-style Q&A interface keeps things in plain English, and you can skip around if you get sick of the interview process (or you can head straight to the forms if you’re the confident type).

H&R Block’s interface is also straightforward and easy to use, and help is available within the preparation process — many terms are hyperlinked so you can read a definition or get more information, and the software is quick to send confused users to a searchable knowledge base. As with most software packages, a banner keeps track of where you are in the return process.

Both providers offer photo and other import options for W-2s to speed things up. TurboTax’s paid users also get ItsDeductible, which is helpful for quickly finding the deduction value of donated clothes, household items or other objects. TurboTax’s Self-Employed version offers a neat expense-tracking feature through QuickBooks, including the ability to store photos of your receipts and track mileage from your phone. New this year is a feature that calls attention to common deductions in your industry. And the paid versions come with SmartLook (see next section).

If you want every single cutting-edge bell and whistle on the market, TurboTax is probably the better choice. But H&R Block is nothing to sneeze at — especially this year. Both have solid options with intuitive interfaces that will help things make sense, offer guidance where needed and keep the process moving in a logical manner so you get done quickly.

Here’s where things get heavy.

TurboTax boasts a huge knowledge base and a large, active user community. Users with paid versions also get real-time help using SmartLook, which connects you to a tax specialist via one-way video (you see them, but they just see your screen) using the TurboTax mobile app or your computer. You can ask questions, and the specialist can see your screen and highlight areas you might need to address or show you where to enter more information.

New this year is TurboTax Live — a high-end package that gets a one-on-one review with a certified public accountant or Enrolled Agent before you file, as well as unlimited live tax advice from an on-screen CPA or EA. You can make an appointment or talk on the fly to the advisors via one-way video. Hours of operation are 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. local time in general, though that may widen during tax season. All of the agents are CPAs or EAs and are employees of TurboTax; they’ll even sign and e-file your return if you want. Help is available via chat, too.

H&R Block’s online tax packages have a second line of defense in the enormous band of human tax preparers at the company’s 12,000 or so offices nationwide. Help at one of these locations isn’t free, but it helps to know it’s there. Users of all the paid packages do get free online chat with a tax expert.

If you want a human to check your homework, you can purchase the Tax Pro Review add-on feature, which costs between $49.99 and $89.99 depending on which software package you buy. This competes directly with TurboTax Live. H&R Block says the people who provide tax support and review tax returns submitted for Tax Pro Review are graduates of its 60-hour Income Tax Course and must complete at least 18 hours of continuing education and an average of 20 hours of skills training on policies and procedures every year. The tax pros handling Tax Pro Review returns are “certified at H&R Block’s highest levels and are our most tenured and experienced tax professionals,” according to the company.

Winner: It depends on what you prefer

TurboTax and H&R Block offer the best support options on the market. Because of its brick-and-mortar locations, H&R Block may be better if you want more ways to access face-to-face support in case you run into serious trouble. But TurboTax has a heck of a lot to offer filers who are comfortable getting advice online, and both providers give users access to actual tax pros, which is a good thing.

Refunds, audits and other considerations

If you’re getting a refund, you can have the IRS directly deposit the money into your bank account or send you a paper check. This is the fastest way to get your refund, regardless of whose software you buy.

Both companies have an option where you can have your refund loaded onto a prepaid debit card. And both let you use your refund to pay for your tax-prep fees. But know that the cards come with fees and that paying for your software out of your refund will come with about a $40 charge at either company.

Audit protection is another feature many tax-prep companies tout. The level of service varies, though, so read the fine print. In general, there’s guidance (which basically means helping you understand what’s happening if you’re audited) and representation (which means someone from the company will speak with the IRS on your behalf). Many preparers offer free guidance, but if you want representation you may have to pay.

TurboTax: If you get an audit notice, you’ll get free guidance about what to expect and how to prepare. But if you want someone to actually represent you in front of the IRS, you’ll need to buy TurboTax’s “Audit Defense” product when you file. That runs $44.99.

H&R Block: Users can purchase a sort of combo product called Worry-Free Audit Support. This gets you one-on-one contact with a tax professional to help guide you through an audit. It costs $19.99 and includes IRS correspondence management, audit preparation and in-person audit representation.

Winner: H&R Block — but only if you’re worried about an audit

If you just want the cash from your refund, both companies can get it done. If things ever get messy with the IRS, though, H&R Block has an edge because its audit defense add-on is less expensive than TurboTax’s service.

Despite its dominant market share in DIY tax prep, TurboTax may not be the clear choice for everyone. Our advice is to take a hard look at H&R Block before you decide. You might get the job done for less thanks to the expanded capabilities of its free version this year. But if you like lots of support at your fingertips and can pay up, TurboTax has all the bells and whistles and is a very attractive option.

Should I Use TurboTax** or H&R Block?

Editor’s Note: While our More Zero offer has ended, you can still get free online tax filing for your federal 1040A or 1040 EZ and read about the benefits of working with H&R Block to get your taxes won.

More people are using DIY tax filing options than ever before. Both H&R Block and TurboTax ** offer online filing during tax season, but which option is right for you? The answer may depend on your filing situation, your career, or even where you live.

How much will it cost you to file taxes at home? That all depends on what you need. Self-employed filers will need to pay $119.99 for TurboTax’s ** Self-Employed filing option, while H&R Block users can enjoy a comparable service for less. Our Self-Employed DIY option lets self-employed individuals file their taxes for only $94.99. In addition, H&R Block’s Deluxe and Premium users can access free online assistance from a tax professional.

TurboTax** vs H&R Block – CONVENIENCE

Filing taxes at home lets you finish your return on your own schedule. However, some extra perks can make it faster and easier to complete your taxes. H&R Block’s mobile option lets you file your taxes via your smartphone and even lets you upload your W-2 with a photo. It’s another way that we do our best to make tax filing as quick, simple and hassle-free as possible.

TurboTax** vs H&R Block – SUPPORT SERVICES

Sometimes it pays to have extra help. While both TurboTax ** and H&R Block offer online and phone support to tax filers, H&R Block offers Tax Pro Review SM so you can have your entire tax return reviewed and signed by one of our experienced professionals. It’s a great way to make sure that you’ve completed things properly – and can expect your maximum refund.

More Value Was Offered With More Zero

When it comes to comparing TurboTax vs. H&R Block, one brings you more savings than the other.

Again, this year H&R Block More Zero let you file your federal and state 1040EZ, 1040 A or 1040 with Schedule A completely free. When you file with H&R Block Online, you can rest assured we’ll help you get your taxes won. Not only can you rely on more than 60 years of tax expertise, your return is backed by our guarantee for 100% accuracy.

Getting started with More Zero was simple even if you used a different tax filing provider in the past. With any online product, you can upload a PDF of last year’s return with an easy-to-use drag and drop feature. You can also import a picture of your W-2 using your smart device. We’ll walk you through the rest.

Although our More Zero offer has ended, you can still get free online tax filing for your federal 1040A or 1040 EZ.

Considering a new tax preparation service? Learn how to compare tax services and pay half of last year’s price when you switch to H&R Block.

What is the Earned Income Tax Credit, and do you qualify? Learn more about what this tax credit can do for you.

Learning how itemize tax deductions can help you boost your refund. H&R Block’s More Zero option lets you file itemized returns for free.

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