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.
- 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).
- 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)
- 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)
- 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)
- 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.