The H&R Block More Zero Plan can be the cheapest way to file your taxes online
The go-to online tax prep software for many is Intuit TurboTax. While this program wins points for being extremely easy to use, it’s probably not your most affordable option; you pay a premium price because it’s TurboTax.
Instead, you might try filing online with H&R Block this year. While you are probably more familiar with their local offices for in-person filing, they are also a popular online alternative to TurboTax.
H&R Block offers the most affordable online tax prep without sacrificing ease-of-use or overlooking key deductions. In fact, most people will be able to file a free return for both state and federal taxes. This is an added bonus over other free tax prep offers because it includes state filing and itemized deductions.
Even if you have investment income or self-employment income to report, you can still save money by filing with H&R Block. My tax situation would have cost $99 using another tax prep software but I was able to save $50 using H&R Block premium online.
H&R Block Online Tax Plans
H&R Block offers four different online plans to file your taxes. Most households will probably qualify for their 100% free More Zero plan that offers a free federal and state return—even for itemized returns.
With other tax prep software, it’s not uncommon to pay $0 for your federal return, but a state return costs $40 or more and itemized deductions aren't allowed.
While the More Zero plan remains entirely free for the entire tax filing season, the prices will rise for the three paid plans as the April 17, 2018, filing deadline approaches.
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H&R Block Free Tax Filing
If you only have regular bank interest and stock dividend income to report, you will most likely be able to file your tax return for free with H&R Block. Unless you were self-employed, sold stock investments, or owned rental property in 2017, there's a good chance you'll qualify for free tax prep.
You will also qualify for the More Zero plan if you have the following tax situation:
- Itemized Return
- Deductible Home Mortgage Interest
- Earned Income Credit
Even if you’re not sure if you can file for free, start with the More Zero as H&R Block will prompt you to upgrade if you need to submit additional forms that require you to pay. Signing up to start your taxes taxes about five minutes.
H&R Block Review Tax Pro Add-On
H&R Block offers one add-on that’s available for every plan called Tax Pro Review. Starting at $49.99, you can file online, and a remote H&R Block professional will review your return to ensure you don’t miss any deductions or raise any audit red flags because of inaccurate reporting. The reviewer has three days to review your return and will send the optimized product back to you for final approval.
You can choose this option if you have a complex return or still prefer to have an extra set of eyes review your return without the in-person meeting. It's a good program if you've never had your taxes reviewed because it can help you find deductions that you can use in future years.
Pay once and save forever, that's my motto.
You can also get additional tax services like six years’ access to prior returns, you will need to upgrade to the Deluxe plan that starts at $34.99 for a federal return but it's a good deal. I've had to print out prior returns twice in the last year for different verifications. Other tax prep software charges extra for prior returns and only allow you to see the last three years.
How Easy Is It to File a Return With H&R Block?
It’s extremely easy to file your return with H&R Block. The free More Zero return is about the fastest tax filing software you'll find since you can import your prior year return even if you didn't use H&R Block last year.
It took me a little longer to do my taxes but only because I have self-employment income and investment income to work through. Even then, I was done within an hour after getting all my tax forms and documents together.
Other tax prep sites require you to enter all your information by hand if you file for free. Importing your data isn’t only quicker, but it prevents typos that can mean the difference between a refund and paying more taxes.
Besides the free data import capability, the H&R Block tax prep also includes:
- Snap-a-Pic W2 Import
- Refund Reveal
- Live Chat Technical Support
- Save and Continue Tax Return If You Can’t Complete in One Sitting
The filing process is straightforward and you should have no problem following the step-by-step walk-through that helps you report your income and deductions. While you won’t be able to ask for tax advice, you can access knowledge base articles for free about various tax topics.
If you have a complex return, you will more than likely be paying for a premium plan and will have unlimited chat support to answer any tax questions.
Income Tax Refund Estimate Tool
With H&R Block’s Refund Reveal, you will also be able to track how much money you’re getting back as you enter your deductions. This feature isn’t exclusive to H&R Block, but you can plainly see how any income stream or deduction affects your final tax bill.
H&R Block’s Refund Reveal is very accurate. There is the off chance that H&R Block might miscalculate your return and you may actually owe money when the Refund Reveal tool stated you qualified for a refund. When that’s the case, H&R Block will pay all applicable interest and fees from the error.
If another tax prep program finds a larger refund based on the same tax information, H&R Block will also credit the difference.
H&R Block Refund Options
If you are due a tax refund (lucky you!), H&R Blocks offers three different payment methods:
- Direct Deposit
- Mailed Check
- H&R Block Emerald Prepaid Mastercard
Direct deposit will be the quickest of the three payment options.
H&R Block Free Audit Support
To get free in-person audit representation, you will need to buy the desktop version of H&R Block. The desktop version can be purchased online by clicking “Download Software” and starts at $29.95 for five free federal returns.
If you file online, you can still pay $19.99 for H&R Block’s Worry-Free Audit Support where an H&R Block professional will guide you through the audit process if you get audited. You will need to buy this add-on before you file your return.
Get this exclusive offer from H&R Block and start your taxes today
H&R Block Customer Service
H&R Block offers 24/7 chat support during filing season. You will also be able to get phone support from 7 a.m. to midnight CST too on weekdays. After the April 17 tax filing deadline, their chat and phone support hours return to normal. I never used the phone support when using H&R Block but did use chat several times. I was always able to talk to someone in less than a minute and always answered my question.
H&R Block might be known more for their 12,000+ physical branches, but they have a stellar online tax prep platform too. I looked for H&R Block reviews before deciding to switch from another tax prep site and was glad I did. Not only did I save money filing my taxes with H&R Block but they offer a lot of extra features that don't come with other tax filing software. Compare H&R Block to other tax sites before you start and you'll find the same.
About the Author
Joseph Hogue is a financial expert and investment analyst. After serving in the Marine Corps, he started his career investing in real estate before becoming an investment analyst for some of the largest private investors. He's appeared on Bloomberg and on CNBC as an investment expert and has published ten books in personal finance. Now he helps investors reach their financial goals and invest in the stock market with some of the same advice he used when working for the rich.