TurboTax vs H&R Block: Which tax software is better?

TurboTax vs H&R Block comparisonFirmBee / Pixabay

Just the thought of having to file your tax returns makes people feel anxious and stressful. In the past, many of us have struggled to meet the filing deadline. Some of us, for some reason, are reluctant to seek help of an experienced professional. Fortunately, there are a bunch of tax filing services that make the process a lot easier for us. Two of the most popular tax services are TurboTax and H&R Block. In this TurboTax vs H&R Block comparison, let’s check out how they stack up in terms of features, ease of use, pricing, and support.

TurboTax vs H&R Block: Features

Both TurboTax and H&R Block have been around for decades. TurboTax is from Intuit, the same company that makes the accounting software Quickbooks. It has a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate, even for beginners.

Once you sign-up and input all the basic information to get started, TurboTax guides you through every step of the filing process. Both TurboTax and H&R Block are easy to sign-up and get started. H&R Block’s interface is pretty good, but it’s not as refined as TurboTax. They both allow you to file your taxes through their mobile app or desktop version.

Both services allow you to easy import your previous tax returns irrespective of the service you used in the past. You can also easily upload your documents. Individuals and business owners who use Intuit’s Quickbooks accounting software will find it easier to use TurboTax.

TurboTax also allows you to see your total income for the year, debt-to-income ratio, and credit score to give you a picture of your financial health. If your tax situation is complicated or you want audit protection, TurboTax has you covered with relevant options.

H&R Block’s interface might not be as user-friendly as TurboTax, but it has improved significantly over the last few years. It offers two mobile apps. The Tax Prep app allows you to prepare and file your taxes. The MyBlock app lets you upload tax documents throughout the year and check your Emerald Card balance for tax refunds.

H&R Block has built-in calculators to help you with your tax situation. It also provides in-depth articles to guide you through the process, no matter how complex your situation. Unlike TurboTax, it gives you a Price Preview so you know how much you’ll have to pay when you upgrade your package or add more expensive services.

Both services are highly secure. Both H&R Block and TurboTax use bank-level encryption to ensure that your data is secure. They use two-factor authentication if you try to access your account from a device they don’t recognize.

Professional help

Most of us are going to need tax advice from a qualified professional while filing our taxes. You’ll have to upgrade your plan on both services to seek professional help. TurboTax has a live filing option with each of its plans. The TurboTax Live is available at an additional cost. It allows you to get assistance from a real CPA or EA through live video chat as you are filling out your taxes. It’s an excellent option for people who need professional assistance but don’t want to pay a hefty sum to a CPA to file their taxes.

There is also the TurboTax Max audit defense option. It includes identity theft coverage services and a dedicated tax professional to represent you.

H&R Block also provides the option to get a live CPA to help you. You can add this option as an upgrade to any of their tax filing plans. But H&R Block goes a step further for people who want in-person help. It has thousands of physical offices across the United States. Head over to one of its locations for in-person help if you get stuck on something. H&R Block’s physical locations give it an edge in terms of in-person support.

If you have encountered an issue with the software itself, you can check out their frequently asked questions (FAQs) or reach the customer support through phone, email, or online channels.

TurboTax vs H&R Block: Pricing

Both TurboTax and H&R Block have a free filing option that is best suited for simple tax returns and new filers. TurboTax’s free plan allows you to file the federal return and one state return. It only supports simple returns using Form 1040 with some child tax credits. If you need to use another form or itemize your deductions, you have to upgrade your plan.

The TurboTax Deluxe option is good enough for most people. It costs $60 for federal and $45 for state filing. The TurboTax Premier plan costs $90 for federal and $45 for state taxes. It includes rental income, stocks, bonds, and other investments. The TurboTax Self-Employed plan is aimed at self-employed professionals. It costs $120 for federal and $45 for state taxes.

If you want to add TurboTax Max, it will cost you $50. Adding TurboTax Live can set you back by $60 to $90 depending on your package.

H&R Block is much more affordable than TurboTax. Its free plan covers Form 1040 along with Schedule 1 through 6, which makes it better than TurboTax’s free plan. Its Deluxe package costs only $30 for federal and $37 for state filing.

The H&R Block Premium costs $50 for federal and $37 for state filings. It’s best suited for rental property owners and investors. The Self-Employed option costs $80 for federal and $37 for state filings. The H&R Block Tax Pro Review costs $145 and gives you access to a tax professional to walk you through your filing.

Which is better?

It comes down to what you want from the tax service. If you want to file a simple tax return, the free plan from H&R Block is the obvious choice. If you want to see a tax professional in-person to help you through the process, head over to your nearby H&R Block office. Also, H&R Block’s pricing is much more affordable than that of TurboTax.

TurboTax is a bit costly, but it has an incredibly intuitive and clean interface. It guides and motivates you at every step of the process. Choosing the tax service also comes down to your personal preferences. If you are familiar with a service’s interface, you might be more inclined to go with it.

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About the Author

Vikas Shukla
Vikas Shukla has a strong interest in business, finance, and technology. He writes regularly on these topics. - He can be contacted by email at vshukla@valuewalk.com or on Twitter @VikShukla10

1 Comment on "TurboTax vs H&R Block: Which tax software is better?"

  1. The big choice for me is I need to be able to toggle between interview questions and the underlying forms. I have complex tax situations, and viewing the underlying forms allows me to better understand how certain checkboxes ripple through the return. The feature that TurboTax has that lets me do this, has made me very tax-savvy through the decades. If you have more than the simplest filings, I’d recommend TurboTax, unless h&r block also allows this too.

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