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h&r block vs. turbotax

The start of a new year means it’s time to file your federal tax return. Many people stress about filing taxes, but there are a number of tax filing services to make the process easier. Two of the most well-known services are H&R Block and TurboTax. Each is known for offering a friendly user experience. In fact, they both provide information along the way so you understand what you’re doing and they offer affordable filing options. This makes them both viable tax filing options, though which is best for you will vary based on your needs. If you have questions about how to minimize your taxes, consider working with a financial advisor.

A Quick Look at H&R Block

H&R Block has provided consumer tax filing service since 1955. It’s become one of the most popular filing services since then, because it combines simple tools and helpful guidance. That’s useful whether you’ve never filed taxes or whether you’ve been filing for decades. Of course, tools and guidance come at a price. H&R Block currently offers four online filing options. You can see the choices and their prices and features below:

H&R Block Filing Options
Filing OptionCostsFeatures
H&R Block Free Online– Federal: Free
– State: Free
– Best for new filers or simple tax returns
– Supported forms include 1040 with some child tax credits
H&R Block Deluxe– Federal: $60
– State: $50
– Best for maximizing your deductions
– Includes all free features plus forms for homeowners
– Allows you to itemize
H&R Block Premium– Federal: $90
– State: $50
– Best for investors and rental property owners
– All previous features, plus accurate cost basis
– Includes Schedule C-EZ, Schedule D, Schedule E, Schedule K-1
H&R Block Self-Employed– Federal: $120
– State: $50
– Best for small business owners and the self-employed
– All previous features, plus Schedule C

The cheapest filing option is the free option. It lets you file your federal return and all state returns for free. The catch is that this options works for just basic returns. The major forms that it supports are the 1040, Schedule EIC for the earned income tax credit and Schedule 8812 for the Additional Child Tax Credit. You can also use this form with some other common tax forms: Form 1099 (B, DIV, INT and R), 1098 (E and T) and 1095 (A and B). Filing other forms will require you to upgrade to a paid plan.

Paid plans range from $60 to $120 for federal filing. All state filing costs $50 per state with the paid plans. When it comes to these paid plans, most filers can get away with the Deluxe option, which costs $60 and includes software for maximizing tax deductions. If you do freelance work or own a small business, you’ll likely need to upgrade to the Self-Employed plan, which costs $120 at a base level.

One standout feature for H&R Block is its physical locations. If you don’t want to file your return online, you can stop by one of its 10,000 tax offices in the U.S. The tax professionals there will be able to walk you through your filing.

Filing in person starts at $69 for federal returns. Alternatively, you can work with an H&R Block tax professional without visiting a store by paying for the online tax professional service, which allows you to upload your tax documents and then have a tax pro do the work for you. There’s also Tax Pro Review, a paid service where a tax professional will review your return for you before filing.

A Quick Look at TurboTax

TurboTax has been around since the mid-1980s. Part of its popularity is due to the fact that it’s owned by Intuit. Intuit also makes a software called Quickbooks, which millions of companies use to manage their accounting. But TurboTax is also popular because it offers a user-friendly design and straightforward step-by-step guidance.

Like H&R Block, TurboTax has a free filing option that allows you to file your federal return and one state return at no cost. However, the free option only supports simple returns with form 1040. If you want to itemize your deductions with Schedule A or if you need to use any other forms, you will need to upgrade to a paid plan.

There are three paid TurboTax plans that run from $60 to $120 for federal filing. State filing is always $50 per state with the paid plans. The free option includes one free state return. Here’s a breakdown of your options with TurboTax:

TurboTax Filing Options
Filing OptionCostsFeatures
TurboTax Free Edition– Federal: Free
– State: Free
– Best for simple returns using Form 1040
– Comes with easy import, error check, refund explanations, deductions for dependents
TurboTax Deluxe– Federal: $60
– State: $50
– Best for homeowners and for maximizing deductions
– Comes with all previous features, plus charitable donations calculator
TurboTax Premier– Federal: $90
– State: $50
– Best for investors and rental property owners
– Comes with all previous features
– Focuses on investment and rental property income, accurate stock reporting, refinancing deductions
TurboTax Self-Employed– Federal: $120
– State: $50
– Best for self-employed, independent contractors, freelancers, consultants and small business owners
– All previous features, plus access to self-employment tax experts, maximizing business deductions

As with H&R Block, TurboTax’s free option supports the 1040 with some child tax credits. The Deluxe option will be enough for most filers if they want a paid option, though. It costs $60, which is the same price as H&R Block’s Deluxe plan. You get slightly more features for that additional cost, however. Small business owners and self-employed individuals will need to upgrade to the Self-Employed option, which costs $120 for a federal return. TurboTax also frequently runs sales on its services and products during tax season.

TurboTax doesn’t have any physical locations like H&R Block, but it does provide access to tax experts like CPAs and EAs. It will cost extra for you to get access to an expert, but there are four plans available, corresponding to the four plans listed in the table above. For only expert advice, plans run from $80 to $200 for federal returns. But if you want full expert service, plans will cost you anywhere from $130 to $290 for federal returns. State filing still costs $50 per state with each of these versions.

H&R Block vs. TurboTax: Cost

h&r block vs. turbotax

Cost is always a consideration when you choose a tax filing service. H&R Block and TurboTax are the two most comprehensive online services available and likewise they are also some of the most expensive. However, while H&R Block was once cheaper than TurboTax, the companies are now nearly perfectly aligned when it comes to cost.

As mentioned, both services offer a free option, covering simple returns. You can also file some additional schedules and forms with this option. However, H&R Block does cover more forms and schedules with its free option. It also allows you to file multiple state returns for free. By contrast, the free plan from TurboTax includes only one free state return. This all gives H&R Block a slight advantage if you qualify for the free option.

It’s great if you can file your taxes for free, but the average filer will need to upgrade to another option. The Deluxe option is enough for many filers. Both Deluxe options include deduction-finding software, help with charitable donations and access to tax financial experts through online chat.

There are a couple of big differences between the options in the forms that they support. TurboTax’s Deluxe option supports Schedule SE, which allows you to file self-employment taxes. It also allows you to file Schedule C and Schedule C-EZ if you have business income to report but do not have any expenses to report.

If price is your primary concern, you may want to consider a cheaper service like TaxAct. TaxAct is well-known for being affordable but it doesn’t quite provide the same level of simplicity and educational material that these two services offer.

H&R Block vs. TurboTax: Comparing Free Options

TurboTax’s Deluxe option is the more comprehensive option for the average filer, but let’s briefly consider the free options again.

H&R Block and TurboTax both offer a free option for filers with simple returns. You can often use those options if you don’t own a home, you have no investment income other than simple dividends or interest and you don’t have rental properties or business expenses.

You cannot use either form if you itemize deductions. However, there are a few deductions available with the free plans. Notably, you can claim the EIC and Additional Child Tax Credit. H&R Block also includes Schedules 1 through 6, unlike TurboTax.

So if your finances are simple, the biggest consideration is exactly what forms you need to file, because H&R Block includes more forms and schedules with its free plan.

H&R Block vs. TurboTax: User Friendliness

Both of these services are known for their ease of use, but TurboTax is generally the more user-friendly of the two. This is generally true for both desktop and mobile users.

TurboTax’s interview-style approach will guide you through the filing process with simple and straightforward questions. There is minimal tax jargon. H&R Block is also user-friendly, but its questions and explanations are not always as clear as you would hope.

The filing process with TurboTax also includes encouraging phrases throughout. This isn’t a necessary feature, but taxes are stressful for many people. Seeing, “You can do this,” throughout the process may help to reduce some anxiety.

Another important consideration is how easy it is to upload documents. Both services do well on this front. H&R Block and TurboTax both let you upload your W-2 by taking a picture of it. Both services allow you to import your previous returns no matter which tax service you used (as long as you have a PDF version of the return). They also make it easy to fill out your state return after going through your federal return. Your information quickly transfers so you don’t waste time retyping everything.

Bottom Line

h&r block vs. turbotax

So, who wins? Well, it depends what exactly you’re looking to do. H&R Block covers more filers with its free option. The two Deluxe options are the same in terms of price, but TurboTax’s Deluxe option supports more forms that self-employed, freelance and contract workers may need. Both services are user-friendly but TurboTax is slightly simpler with more straightforward language.

Beyond these factors, which tax filing service you choose may come down to personal preference. Some people prefer one over the other because they simply like the way it looks. They might also choose H&R Block so they can have the option of filing at a physical location.

Of course H&R Block and TurboTax are not the only two tax filing services. You may want to consider other options like TaxAct or TaxSlayer if you’re looking for a budget option. Credit Karma also allows you to file entirely for free.

Tips for Choosing a Tax-Filing Service

  • Tax season is a good time to take stock of your overall financial picture. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • TurboTax and H&R Block are two of the most well-known tax-filing services. There are other great services to consider, though, so make sure to shop around. Check out our list of the best tax filing software, as well as the best free online tax software.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/AndreyPopov, ©iStock.com/Xesai, ©iStock.com/mediaphotos

Sours: https://smartasset.com/taxes/hr-block-vs-turbotax
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H&R Block Canada Provides Trouble-Free Online Tax Filing With Help From New Relic

It’s exactly a week before Tax Day—the date many people dread above all others. This year, however, you’ve got it covered: You’ve used free online-filing software to complete your forms with a full week to spare. So imagine your surprise—and horror—when you hit the button to file and the government’s site rejects your form. 

This is a nightmare scenario—and not just for the customer. Tax preparation firms live and die by a single day out of the year, and they get just one chance. If a customer isn’t able to use their service to file accurate, on-time returns, they will go elsewhere—and there’s no amount of marketing that will win them back. 

It was with this knowledge that H&R Block Canada turned to the New Relic platform to monitor the performance and user experience of its DIY online tax-filing software. 

Goal: market disruption 

It was back in 1955 when brothers Henry and Richard Bloch founded H&R Block in Kansas City, Missouri, after realizing that the tax preparation service they had been providing to their bookkeeping clients represented a sound business venture on its own. The company has since grown into the world’s largest tax-preparation firm, generating just over $3 billion USD in revenue in FY2017. Its outposts are located across North America and in 13 foreign countries.

One of those countries is Canada, where the company has been operating for over 50 years, and currently has more than 1,200 offices. With tax experts ready to prepare every type of return (from personal and small business returns to corporate, farm, trucking, fishing, rental, and estate returns), H&R Block Canada is serious when it says it can serve Canadians no matter where they are. 

In 2014, H&R Block Canada aimed to disrupt the market by launching an online DIY application for people who wanted to be guided through the tax return preparation and filing process but didn’t want to come into an office or interact with a tax specialist. 

Although the U.S. arm of H&R Block had launched a DIY online filing application several years prior, H&R Block Canada decided to launch its own online application differently when Dave Falkenberg joined the company. As Director of Product Development, Falkenberg was charged with managing, guiding, and maturing the new DIY software side of H&R Block Canada’s business. 

“When we brought our own tax product to market, we tried doing things differently,” explains Falkenberg. “One of our strategies was to offer the product free of charge—no catches. Today, we’ve started putting in some monetization initiatives. However, none of this would be possible without a significant user base. And if the software isn’t working properly, we can’t give it away, much less find ways to monetize it.”

That’s why from the get-go, Falkenberg was eager to take advantage of New Relic monitoring. With H&R Block Canada already using New Relic APM to track its production and development environments, Falkenberg knew he wanted to dig even deeper using New Relic’s help. 

Testing, testing, testing

Falkenberg’s early days with the company were also early days for the DIY tax filing application, which was in constant flux as the team worked to perfect it. “We rebuilt just about everything along the way, so when I inherited New Relic, I immediately began applying its monitoring to all of our test environments,” he says. 

This proactive strategy worked, and by the second year the product was much improved. While monitoring continued to focus squarely on the application’s Java-based backend, that focus broadened as more employees began using New Relic and H&R Block Canada deployed additional New Relic solutions. 

“The DevOps team really appreciates getting the New Relic-generated stack traces because they allow them to drill down to the line of code causing the error, and to get references back to the data model triggering the error,” says Falkenberg. “As a result, we’ve been able to radically improve the quality of the product.”

The H&R Block DevOps team appreciates the analytics around load balancing that New Relic provides. And no wonder—for a business that revolves around a single, all-important deadline and the months leading up to it, the flexibility to accommodate huge spikes in user traffic is crucial. 

Explains Falkenberg, “As a tax preparation firm, our milestones and deadlines never move; we never get a day back. So we’re always load testing to make sure that everything can scale appropriately. With New Relic running in both the load test environment and in production itself, it’s easy for us to get to the bottom of things if we’re not achieving our test loads.”

Sours: https://newrelic.com/customers/hr-block-canada
H\u0026R Block Review 2021 by a CPA - Pros + Cons - Walkthrough - Tutorial


Near me h&r.block


H\u0026R Block Vs. TurboTax — Which Is Better For Filing Taxes?


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