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H&R Block At Home (formerly TaxCut)

by Ryan Guina

H&R Block is the one of the oldest retail tax preparation firms in the US, with offices dating back over 50 years. In addition to their brick and mortar offices, H&R Block has one of the most popular tax software programs on the market, which is available as a download or for purchase on a CD-ROM.

I recently received a review copy of the new tax software from H&R Block, and I wrote this review based on the advance copy I received. Later in the tax season I will be giving away some free tax preparation software, so be sure to stay tuned!

TaxCut is now H&R Block at Home

The biggest news regarding the new version of H&R Block’s tax software is the name. The change from TaxCut to H&R Block at Home was done to leverage H&R Block’s long history of tax preparation and knowledge as the number one tax preparation retailer in the US. In addition to the name change, there are some other new features worth noting.

2009 tax season enhancements

Along with rebranding, H&R Block at Home focused on simplifying tax terminology to make their software program as easy to use and understand as possible. They also improved the user interface and other features. H&R Block at home features:

  • Simplified terminology and explanations
  • Step by step instructions and built in user-help functions
  • Access to live tax pro help if needed
  • Free tech support
  • Free e-file
  • Up to 5 federal e-files included (software only)
  • State tax filing support
  • Guaranteed accuracy
  • Audit support from a tax professional at no additional cost

H&R Block at Home 2009 edition standard features

H&R Block walks you through the tax preparation process almost like it is an interview, which gives you personalized tax guidance based on your situation. The interview and tax preparation support makes it easy to:

  • Report various income sources. Personal income, small business income, freelance income, hobby income, etc.
  • Maximize deductions. Charitable contributions, mortgage interest, etc.
  • Record Investments. Including dividends, rental property, and the sale of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
  • Import data. H&R Block at Home supports importing data, including your W-2 and 1099 information, plus your prior year tax information from TaxCut or TurboTax.

H&R Block at Home provides feedback as you complete each stage of the process and displays your anticipated refund or how much you will owe. You can also track your refund or payment once you e-file. Below is a screenshot of the tax summary.

H&R Block at Home versions

There are 5 versions of H&R Block at Home, which should be enough to handle the tax situation for almost any DIY tax preparer. Each of the “higher” versions comes with the features of the level preceding it, plus additional features. There is also “H&R Block Best of Both,” which is described below this section.

  1. Free (online only). The most basic tax situation, and comes with the option to upgrade if necessary (does not support schedules C, D, E, F, or K1 without upgrade). (FREE).
  2. Basic (software only). Everything needed to file federal taxes. Ideal for people with very simple tax situations; great for first time tax filers or those without many deductions or other complex situations. ($19.95)
  3. Deluxe. Everything you need to file federal and state taxes. Includes personalized tax guidance and tools to maximize home mortgage interest deductions, and income from stocks and other investments. Also includes live audit support and H&R Block DeductionPro. Ideal for tax payers who own homes and/or have multiple investments. ($29.95 – $44.95)
  4. Premium. Everything needed to file federal and state taxes. Includes everything found in the Deluxe edition, plus support for schedule C, help with rental income deductions, advanced tax calculators, and one free session with an H&R Block tax professional. Ideal for those who are self-employed or own rental property. ($49.95 – $59.95)
  5. Premium & Business. Everything found in the premium edition, plus support for corporations, partnerships and LLCs, estates and trusts, and non-profit returns. Product will support personal and business taxes, plus 5 federal e-files, and unlimited state tax returns. Ideal for people who need to file personal and business taxes. ($79.95)

The prices for the different versions vary depending on whether you purchase the online edition or a physical copy from a retailer. The online version is generally a few dollars cheaper. You can get a current price list from H&R Block: http://www.hrblock.com/.

Try it out for free. You can start your taxes with H&R Block at Home online for free. You will not be required to pay until you decide to either print or e-file your taxes. This is a great way to try a new software program without feeling like you have to use it because you paid for it.

H&R Block Best of Both

H&R Block at Home also offers the “Best of Both” program which gives you the freedom to complete your taxes at home and contact a professional tax preparer when you have questions (no limit on number of questions). The tax professional will also review your return, submit it to you for your electronic signature, and e-file it for you. The program works by matching you with a tax professional with the experience to meet your needs, or you can choose a tax preparer with whom you have previously worked. The price for H&R Block at Home Best of Both is $99.95 + state filing if applicable.

Overall impression of H&R Block at Home

Overall, I am impressed with the product H&R Block puts out, and you can’t beat their reputation or the audit guarantee they offer. With over 50 years experience and an easy to use product, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend H&R Block at Home to any of my family or friends.


Published or updated February 17, 2014.
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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Marc

What version of H&R Block tax software should I purchase to do my own personal taxes. I only have w-2 information and a completed schedule k-1 for a business that I am involved in as a partner. The business taxes were already completed – I just have a K-l with – what version shall I buy (the least expensive) to simply complete my personal taxes with this K-l schedule?

Thanks

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2 Ryan

Marc, The lowest priced version that supports a K-1 filing is the Deluxe version, which rings in at $29.95 for the online version and $44.95 for the CD-ROM version.

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3 fredct

I had major issues once with the other ‘big player’ in the tax software industry (not sure if I’ve shared the story on this blog). Combined with their horrible, dreadful, no-good, very bad support, it took weeks to straighten it out.

Ever since then I discovered ‘Tax Act’, and I have been thrilled with their response & helpful support (“100% Made & Supported in the USA”). And the price is a downright steal compared to the big guys – all inclusive including a state return for $16.95, and you can find discounts over that if you search around too. They’re legit and very good.

So explain where I’m coming from, taxes are not highly complicated (no business income, etc), but neither are they incredibly simple – I do have dividends, interest, cap gains, etc. TaxAct may not be *quite* as user friendly as the big guys, but it has improved every year. For instance, I’ve found some of their wording a tiny bit unclear sometimes, but I’ve reported it to them and they’ve fixed it for the next year. If you’re even just modestly comfortable doing your taxes, it should be more than sufficient. And you don’t pay until you print or file, so if you start it and don’t like it, you haven’t committed a dime.

Just my recommendation. What have you got to lose besides 2/3rds of the cost?

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4 Ryan

Most of the tax software programs out there allow users to fill out their information online without paying until they decide to either print or file. Thanks for bringing that up – I will add it to the article.

I never had any problems with the other “big player.” I used them for years until this past year when I started using an accountant because my tax situation calls for sending in forms and estimated tax payments throughout the year (small business income, payroll taxes, etc.).

That said, try out a few interfaces and software programs and use the one with which you are most comfortable or that offers the best bang for the buck. Thanks for sharing, Fred.

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5 fredct

To explain, I used them for a couple years and never had a problem… until I discovered a bug in their state return. Yes, a flat out bug. It was adding up the numbers wrong (I didn’t understand why at the time, but it turned out that anything with a purchase date of ‘various’ was being categorized as short term, even if I’d told it it was long term. It worked fine on the federal return, but just messed up when doing it on the state).

I emailed, they told me to use the chat. I chatted, they told me to call. I called, they suggested maybe I should try email. I used their forums, in hope to get the attention of someone working for them. I set up multiple ‘call backs’ (call me at such-and-such a time), and multiple times I got NO CALL AT ALL. Everyone I spoke to on the phone insisted (politely, but nonetheless insisted) that it must be my fault, or a problem with my install.

After multiple weeks of trying to get *someone* to listen to me, I even went as far to contact the state department of revenue to tell them that a major piece of tax software was filing incorrect returns.

Eventually, they released a bug fix report saying they had fixed such an issue. I don’t know how they actually discovered it, but no one ever acknowledged it to me. After tax season I sent them a feedback form explaining all this. All I wanted was something like “we’re sorry to hear about the difficulty you experienced submitting feedback and we’ll work to improve this process for our customers”. I never got anything. So I was done with them.

I agree with you that the software is fine… so long as the software is fine. But if its not, may the heavens have mercy upon you when you try to convince them there’s an issue.

By contrast, in first experience with TaxAct, I discovered a non-critical display issue… only on Firefox and only on a Mac. For such a minor thing, I expected little, but I sent them a note about it anywhere. A couple days later I got a response saying they’d told their development team. A couple days after that it was fixed. I was sold.

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6 Ryan

I would be sold as well. That’s one of the great things about some of the smaller companies – less red tape and the agility to make improvements more quickly. Thanks for sharing your experience. :)

7 Milt R. Smith

Biggest missing feature from TaxCut is direct import of data from brokerages, etc., as does TurboTax. That feature trims tons of typing and would get me to use TC if it had it.

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8 MILT R. SMITH

YES, BUT: If you wish to IMPORT all data from a stock brokerage firm DIRECTLY at click of a mouse, you will need TurboTax. By comparison, you CANNOT do so with TaxCut. I’ve tried to get a straight answer about such capability from TaxCut support, and all I get is the runaround – so that means TaxCut does not have an equivalent capability. The import I’m referring to saves PAGES of typing.

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9 Diana

Can I get by with the basic version if I took money out of an IRA early? How about if I sold stocks not in an IRA?

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10 Ryan

Diana, the Basic version may not cover all investment scenarios, but I’m not 100% certain. The good news is that you can start the Basic version online for free, and you can upgrade at any time. You don’t have to actually pay for anything until you print or file.

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11 Kim

Does anyone know if I could use the H&R Block At Home (Deluxe edition) for my 2009 taxes if I used the H&R Block Tax Cut Premium edition last year? I do have rental property that I own but not sure if the Deluxe edition would cover that?

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12 Ryan

Kim, based on the product descriptions, it looks like you will be better off going with the Premium version. However, if you start the process online, you can try the Deluxe edition and upgrade without losing your progress if you need to. Best of luck!

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13 tw

I don’t know how anyone can give this “New” software program a good review. Not only is the steps more confusing, there is less features. One of the major draw backs is that it doesn’t import finanicial info from major companies like TD Ameritrade. I just got off phone support with H&R Block and they confirmed that they did not reach an agreement with TD Ameritrade, for what every reason. I asked for a refund but they refused. I told them I was going to buy Turbo Tax and do this years return , so I would not have to enter all the stock info by hand. I would return to their software program next year, if they resolve this problem. (Which I know they will) They still refused to refund any part of the price of the software. I have used Tax Cut every since it hit the market. NO MORE. I am going to eat the cost of the H&R Block software and buy Turbo Tax tomorrow.

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14 Shawn

Hi,
You can go to TDAmeritrade, and under “History & Statements” go to “Tax Center” and there you can pick the “.txf” format that you can use to import to H&R Block Tax Cut. I was having the same problem too.

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15 Ryan

Thanks for the info, Shawn.

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16 Kathy Leneau

Has anyone ever had trouble with the renters credit in H&R Block at Home Deluxe? My son rented between 1/1/09-5/1/09 (5 months), which I entered into the program. The program said he was not qualified, then gave him the $60 credit! Huh?

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17 fredct

I’m not aware of any ‘renters credit’ in federal tax law, so I think you must be thinking of some state return? In which case I’d suggestion looking at the instructions for your state and determining whether he should be qualified or not. Then go back through the program and make sure it works out correctly.

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18 Guy

If I were to buy the software from HR Block (deluxe), could my sister and I file seperate returns with the one software? Or do we each need to buy one? Thanks!

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19 Ryan

Guy, you would each need to purchase a separate version.

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20 Shawn

It comes with 5 Federal efile returns and 1 State efile return. They say you can do your taxes with it and your neighbors if you like (it said that on the box). So yes you can do that with HR block. You can also just print it out and send it in too.

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21 Shawn

The 1 state efile return is for the software version that lets you do “state” taxes too. I personally was using the Premium home version for self employed.

22 Ryan

Thanks for the update, Shawn. I used the online version for the review and I believe the version I had was limited to one return, and that was what I based my answer on.

23 Joe

I’ve been a user since TaxCut first came out. Up until now I thought it was a fine product, with increasing functionality and ease of use. But I recently discovered that if you have your tax return data password-protected (highly recommended — you never know when you’re going to get hacked, virus’ed, lose your laptop or whatever), that the password is there in your data file in CLEAR TEXT. All someone needs to do to open your TaxCut/AtHome return is to browse your data file with NotePad or similar simple browser program and search for “psswd=”. Voila. There’s your password just a clear as you’d like. Now they can open your return. (FYI: your data file can be found by doing a file search in Windows and search for the name of your return followed by “.Txx”, where xx=09 for 2009 for instance). I reported this problem to them on April 10 via their chat system. It seemed like news to them, but I find it hard to believe they didn’t know this, that they never actually looked at their own data file format. So, I say steer away from this product. What else didn’t they test, or didn’t care about security-wise? This is incredibly unprofessional. Shame on their programmers.

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24 friendlybikerguy

I thank God for you Joe… a life saver. I tried every possible password I knew but could not open my 2010 (.T10) file. I read your note, opened my 2009 (.T09), found the password and it was the same one I used for 2010. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

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25 Milt R. Smith

The big omission in Tax Cut(whatever name) when compared with TurboTax is lack of automatic import of interest, dividends and other data directly from such as brokerages. This feature saves pages of typing and makes TC strictly second choice.

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26 HRBlock Jeremy

Milt-
H&R Block at Home does offer importing. You can import directly from many major financial institutions, as well as many payroll services. If your particular institution is not available, the data can still be imported in TXF format through the programs Smart Import feature.

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27 Dave

Had a system crash and I’m trying to recover the data files from Tax Cut 2009.
Looking for the file names and extentions for 1040, 8582,6251, Schedules A B D E.

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28 HRBlock Jeremy

Dave –
The file extension is “.T09″. It should be located in the “H&R Block” folder in your default drive, or you can locate it using the “search” function on your computer.

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29 ken handzik

does anyone know how to find out why there was an update release of the 2009 version of the program NOW in September 2010?

asking the install program about what changed just listed a whole bunch of form names with no explanations.

Thanks

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30 RON HARTMAN

Had a computer crash and was able to move all tax data into the new pc, however I can open any returns, it appears that the returns are there but not the tax cut program. They all have the T09 extensions, but won’t open.

Thanks

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31 Kathryne Frazier-Knudson

Ron,
Sorry, your software needs to be reinstalled in order for your data files to pull up. If you do not have access to the 2009 software please let me know and we can assist.

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32 Karen Gatewood

I bought TaxCut and successor programs since 2006. Last year I downloaded 2009 H&R Block at Home and I have all the purchase info at the time, including activation ID, last four of cc, Key Code. Now I need to load it into my new computer, then I’d like to purchase 2010, so I can bring the info forward.

I have been poring on line for more than 2 hours without success. H&R tech support is closed for the weekend. Can anyone help, please?

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33 James

I have previously used Tax Cut and am trying to import my .T09 file to the online version. It is not liking it though and says they ‘weren’t able to load” it. Is this a consistent problem? Would this happen if I buy the deluxe version on CD-ROM?

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34 Dave

I’m experiencing the same problem. I installed version of 2009 T09 file will not import into online version for 2010. Any suggestions?

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35 Roger

Me too. Did you get any help by now?

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36 diana

I cannot install the Premium. Keep getting an error message. Looked online and tried the “fix”…still nothing. Is anyone having the same issues?

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37 Bill

Same problem as James, Dave, and Diana. Not happy with the changes to this program and I have been a loyal customer since the 1990s. Went for the Premium version this year and now find that it is all online and no download. I prefer to download and run and not from “cloud”. Not enough info up front is making an unhappy customer. Not pleased.

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38 Roger

I downloaded the full Business Edition from Amazon. 2009 won’t import even after a re-install & re-export the T09 file. Did you get any resolution? I am NOT using the on-line edition.

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39 Roger

I downloaded the 2010 business edition from Amazon. The import won’t load my 2009 t09 file!!! I even re-installed 2009 (Deluxe) and exported it again. Same file size, no import into Business 2010! What gives?

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40 Joe

I have tax cut files on my computer for 09 and 10. i am unable too open them.

Listed under t09 and T10 my computer does not rcognize.

i need to acsess the files can you help.

Thank you.

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41 Ryan

Joe, you will need to contact H&R Block about this.

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42 Virgil Maners

I use tax cut. Ihave TC year 2010 on my old computer.( a 2001 XP operating sysem. ) I have a new windows 7 operating sytem computer and I loaded Tax Cut 2011 on it. How can I import data from my 2010 Tax Cut program? Or can I?
Thanks for any info!!

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43 Ray

I have all my H&R Block tax returns on my old XP Pro computer. I want to transfer the earlier versions (at least from 2009 to 2011) on my new computer, which is Windows 7. Please advice how is the best method to be able to accomplish this task. At minimum I need to be able to import my 2010 data on my old XP Pro computer to my new Windows 7 computer. I tried reloading the CDs on my new computer but I receive compatibility issues and cannot load the older software. There has to be a way around this. Otherwise I will have to use my old computer for H&R Block for all my taxes or just take everything to an accountant and be done with it. Please advice.

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44 Linette

Ryan, my computer crashed & I was able to save my tax returns (08 ,09 ,10) that I filed using TaxCut however I am unable to open them. I know I need to download these programs again to obtain that information however my 2010 taxcut program I purchased online & downloaded. Is there a way to download this again without having to repurchase it? Thanks for your help.
Linette

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45 Ryan Guina

Linette, I would contact TaxCut to see if they have a way to extract that data.

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46 Dick

I am a do it yourselfer. I have created a .txf file to import capital gains into taxcut. However, I have been unsuccessful in importing schedule A charitable deductions. I tried the following for example and it did not work.
V036
A My Stocks
D 12/31/2012
^
TD
N280
C1
L1
Pmy charity
D03/15/2012
$-500
^

What is the exact format that taxcut will recognize as valid 2012 data? Thanks

Reply

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