H&R Block Tax Software Review, 2020

H&R Block Overview

This H&R Block tax software review will go over the most important things you need to know if you’re considering this product.

H&R Block has become a global consumer tax services provider, having prepared more than 720 million tax returns by and through retail locations and digital solutions since 1955.  The company boasts approximately 12,000 company-owned and franchise retail locations in the U.S.  

In fact, the company claims to have an H&R Block branded retail office location within five miles of 95% of Americans, providing access to more than 70,000 tax professionals.

H&R Block offers a free version which features more robust options than the other free tax software options we reviewed.  This tax software one allows you to claim the child and earned income tax credits, student loan interest, and retirement and Social Security income. Additionally, the software allows you to upload PDFs of your tax forms to make the data input part of the tax return quick and simple. 

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H&R Block Pros –

  • Self-guided tax preparation with on-demand support. Offers the chance to do your own return but has in-person professional help available as needed for a fee.  If you want to try preparing your own return but prefer a safety net available to catch you.
  • Flexibility with how to receive your refund. Offers Refund Advance Loans on debit cards to tax filers who will receive a return but may need money sooner.  This is a valuable product offering for filers who claim the earned income tax credit and must otherwise wait until mid-February to receive their refunds.
  • Most functionality seen in free version. In the tax software options we reviewed, H&R Block’s inclusion of Schedules 1-6 is the only one we managed to find.  This puts free federal tax return preparation in the hands of more tax filers.
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H&R Block Cons –

  • More expensive than most competitors. Much like TurboTax, the enhanced functionality and service offerings comes with a price.  However, the powerful software offers valuable services for tax filers.
  • Tax professionals don’t come for free. For basic tax preparation assistance available in-office, services start at $69.  Depending on your needs, this can be a step price to pay if you have a simple question to answer.

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Consult with a Tax Professional In-Person or Over the Phone

H&R Block offers you the ability to sit down with a tax professional who will help you better understand your taxes.  These tax professionals will provide advice on how to maximize your return by finding tax deductions and credits you may have overlooked or not known about.  They also take into account how taxes will impact your retirement (e.g., by reviewing Traditional and Roth IRAs).

Refund Advance Loan

Refund Advance loans are no-interest loans which are repaid with your tax refund.  The product is available from January 4, 2020 to February 29, 2020, to H&R Block clients by Axos Bank and available in five loan amounts ($250, $500, $750, $1,250, and $3,500).  

The Refund Advance product is a loan made against your tax refund, which acts as collateral.  Stated here explicitly, the Refund Advance loan product is not your tax refund.  

The company advertises that it levies no finance charges nor loan fees for the Refund Advance loan product.  However, it does state applicants are subject to prequalification, a process where the company evaluates your creditworthiness based on multiple criteria (credit scores, tax situation from last year, etc.).  

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The company states in applying for the Refund Advance loan, you will not receive any impact on your credit score.  Axos Bank may review your credit report as part of your application but it will not impact your credit.  

If approved, you will receive money the same day you apply and have it placed on the H&R Block Emerald Prepaid Debit Card Mastercard.

Flexible Options for Your Refund

H&R Block offers Refund Transfer, an offering provided by Axos Bank.  The services are a convenient and secure way to receive your tax refund.  

It offers to transfer your refund via direct deposit to your existing checking or savings account (or even into an “FDIC-insured Refund Account”), disbursed by check, or loaded onto an H&R Block Emerald Prepaid Mastercard.  

However, make sure you read the fine print on these offerings.  Be sure to read the fine print on these offerings, however, Federal Refund Transfers cost $39.95 and paper checks cost $25 for disbursement.  

Maximum Refund

If you discover an error in the H&R Block tax preparation software which entitles you to a larger refund or smaller liability, H&R Block will refund the software fees you paid to prepare your return and you may use the software to amend your return at no additional charge. As a note, other tax software providers also offer to refund the difference found between the programs. 

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