Is H&R Block Actually Free? - An Expert's Perspective

Tax season can be a stressful time for many, and the thought of filing taxes can be daunting. But with the right tools, filing taxes can be a breeze. H&R Block is one of the most popular tax filing services, and it offers a free online filing option. But is it really free? In this article, we'll explore the features of H&R Block's free online tax filing service and help you decide if it's the right choice for you. H&R Block offers more for free than TurboTax Free Edition.

Students will love the quick and simple features, while parents can get information about the earned income credit and the child tax credit, including the necessary IRS letters before filing the application. Yes, the service is free for both the federal and state governments if you file a simple tax return. It covers unemployment income, retirement income, W-2 income, and interest and dividend income. You can also apply for the earned income tax credit (EITC), the child tax credit, and deductions such as tuition interest and student loans. The software was designed for normal people, not for tax experts.

Users can count on a guided, jargon-free option for filing their taxes, even when using the company's free version, which covers a variety of “normal” tax filing situations. H&R Block again offers a user experience that makes filing taxes easier. The free tier also allows users to apply for their stimulus credit. Compared to the competition, H&R Block online offers one of the most extensive programs available. However, H&R Block will not be free for all users.

For example, taxpayers with health savings accounts (HSAs) or who have dependent care expenses must be upgraded to the Deluxe level. H&R Block continues to use a question-and-answer navigation style to help taxpayers use the software. Questions are jargon-free whenever possible. When the H&R block uses jargon, explain the terms through Read More bubbles or other scrolling functions. H&R Block offers free live chat technical support on Deluxe, Premium and Self-Employed levels.

It also offers some “tax guidance”, although this is not tax advice. Rather, the free guide helps users find credits, deductions, or other parts of the software that they may have overlooked. One of H&R Block's pricing problems has to do with contributions to the HSA. If you have a health savings account (HSA), even through your employer, you'll have to pay for the Deluxe edition of H&R Block. The price isn't terrible, but it's much more than free. Free or low-cost software can easily help taxpayers itemize deductions and claim simple credits.

Compared to the competition from H&R Block, the Premium tier is the best value for a paid tier. Supports rental properties, basic income and expenses for self-employment, and all trading and crypto activity. Users who don't need the robust functionality of H&R Block may find that FreeTaxUSA or TaxSlayer offer the necessary functionality at a lower cost. For those who qualify for the free submission, H&R Block Online deserves to be on the list of finalists. It's a premium software, but the free offer is extensive. In addition, the Premium edition of the software could offer good value for money for investors and contractors.

However, users considering the Deluxe Level should think carefully before paying the price. Deluxe users may find a better (and equally useful) deal if they consider TaxSlayer Classic or FreeTaxUSA. These tools can also be a good alternative for self-employed people who don't have assets that depreciate in their business. Homeowners and others with assets that are depreciating should also carefully consider whether H&R Block is the right tool to do the job. TurboTax offers a superior user experience for rental property owners, which is important given the complexity of depreciation. H&R Block is an online, physical tax preparation service that has a robust free filing program, as well as easy-to-use options for more complex tax situations.

Although TurboTax isn't that easy to use, H&R Block Online employs a well-designed interview-type system to guide you through your tax return and eliminate potential errors. Few taxpayers use the Free File system to help moderate- and low-income taxpayers, and that benefits companies like Intuit and H&R Block. Even if your taxes are too complex to use H&R Block's free software, you may be able to file a return yourself using paid software. The Deluxe online plan, the next level of H&R Block, is designed for homeowners, investors, people with retirement income and those who have made contributions to health savings accounts. And while H&R Block tries to sell you more when you file your taxes, it's not overwhelming compared to TurboTax, which tries to sell you more times while using the software. If your employer or financial institution participates, you can import an electronic copy of your W-2 or 1099 form directly to block H&R. Only Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block offer the in-person presentation, although TurboTax has added a new feature - TurboTax Live Full Service - which allows you to meet with a “tax expert” in person via a live video call. H&R Block Online has instructions that carefully explain how users can declare taxes on their cryptocurrency transactions.

We recommend students and other filers looking for free tax software to consider H&R Block as well as taxpayers who want the option of scheduling an in-person appointment with a tax preparation professional. In conclusion, while there are some limitations with using H&R Block's free online filing service - such as having to upgrade if you have an HSA or dependent care expenses - it still offers an extensive range of features that make it worth considering if you're looking for an easy way to file your taxes this year.