Which option is better, TurboTax or H&R Block? Keep in mind that we’re not just talking about the software TurboTax vs H&R Block in person, the latter is also a software option. In many ways, it’s commensurate with TurboTax, which means it’s considerably more difficult to choose between the two. Let’s take a look at the differences between these two types of software. To be specific, we’ll discuss user-friendliness, cost, customer service and support, and a few other considerations.
TurboTax vs H&R | A Software Comparison
As the original tax software provider, TurboTax has its services down pat. It offers several levels of service ranging from an “interview” style mimicking a human filing your returns to just providing the forms if you feel like going for it. TurboTax is extremely user-friendly for those who like to itemize. It offers lists of deduction value and gives self-employed types a leg up with QuickBooks integration.
H&R Block is … fine. They don’t compare to TurboTax’s high-level features and ease of use. While their navigation and help center are both good, they don’t guide users through the process as well as TurboTax. Plus, their resources are not as robust. For simpler returns, this probably won’t matter much. For those itemizing or filling out a Schedule C, dealing with estates or other involved returns, it may not do the trick as effectively.
Both TurboTax and H&R Block free have software options for filers who have a W2 form or filing simple returns. The former supports the 1040EZ and 1040A, but it doesn’t do 1040 or Schedule A, which is needed for those who want to itemize instead of taking the Standard Deduction.
Tiered paid options make up for the missing items in the free options, think Schedule Cs and so on. H&R Block offers three versions, from $54.99 to $94.99. TurboTax has four choices, from $59.99 to $179.99. The last and highest level includes a review from a real CPA to ensure your forms have been filled out correctly and lessen the chances you’ll have trouble with the IRS down the road.
If you don’t opt for H&R Block’s live review options, it’s probably the better deal. If you want, though, you can add in a review by a real, live human through either Tax Pro Review and Tax Pro Go packages. Of course, you can file in person at an H&R Block office nearby (of which there are many). Opting for the live review brings the cost of the H&R Block online software to just about what TurboTax costs.
Note that both charge nothing for state return prep in the free version. With paid versions, that rises to about $40.
Customer Service and Support
If you want to be able to go in and speak to someone, H&R Block is the clear winner. It has a huge number of physical locations across America. Naturally, if you simply take your forms into a professional preparer upfront every year, then you don’t have to buy the software at all.
If you want the peace of mind of knowing you can go to a live preparer to get your forms checked for less after you fill them out, H&R Block location is there for you. Even if you opt not to go in, any of the paid packages will net you online chat support.
TurboTax offers a high level of support. The paid versions come with online video, where the support representative can see your screen and offer advice. Due to its longevity, TurboTax’s user base is large and active, with a comprehensive array of answers and troubleshooting.
A notable difference between the two is the caliber of review you’ll receive if you opt for the live version. H&R Block guarantees preparers who have passed a 60-hour income tax prep course and complete around 40 hours of continuing education every year. While it certainly makes them better prepared to check a return than most filers, it doesn’t really compare to the TurboTax option.
TurboTax, in contrast, employs Certified Public Accountants or Enrolled Agents to check returns. The latter takes years of coursework and have degrees guaranteeing a high level of specialized knowledge. Meanwhile, Enrolled Agents have to pass an extremely difficult three-part exam and are qualified to represent clients in front of the IRS. Needless to say, the standards are considerably higher. If you have a difficult return, probably opt for TurboTax.
The Bottom Line? The Winner Depends on You
In the end, your choice of software depends on a variety of factors, including:
- whether or not you itemize
- how many forms your return includes
- whether you desire a live review to ensure your taxes are correct
- how confident you are in filing your taxes
- how much help and support you need along the way
Here’s a video by Business Insider about which tax-filing software is better between TurboTax vs H&R Block:
At the end of the day, TurboTax is the more sophisticated option. Unless you want to be able to go into a physical location at some point, H&R Block is probably the runner-up. If, however, you’ve been going to H&R Block for years and want to transition to a software option for the first time, then the continuity may make them the best option. Either way, good luck and many happy returns!
Does the article help you decide which software to use between TurboTax vs H&R Block? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!