If you’re looking for help filing your taxes, H&R Block is the best filing option for those who qualify for the free edition and want the convenience of multiple filing options. H&R Block beats its main competitor, TurboTax, in pricing, mobile app ratings and free edition. The company also offers more customer support options, including in-person help at more than 9,000 offices across the U.S.
The deadline to file taxes for the 2021 tax year is April 18, 2022. Before you get started, here’s what to know about H&R Block and how it compares to others.
H&R Block snapshot
|Cost||Federal: $0 or $49.99 – $109.99
State: additional $36.99 per state
|Does it offer a free version?||Yes|
|Standout features||Has more than 9,000 in-person offices nationwide
Free version covers 39 tax forms
Can import last year’s return, W-2 forms, and several 1099 forms from different brokerages
You might like filing with H&R Block if you:
- Have a simple return and qualify for the free version.
- Have a more complex return and want extra guidance.
- Want the ability to choose from several filing options.
- Want live support from a tax pro online or in person.
Not recommended for
You might not like H&R Block if you:
- Don’t need much guidance when filing taxes.
How much does H&R Block’s tax service cost?
H&R Block offers a free online tax-filing program that includes simple federal and state tax returns. If you need to upgrade based on your tax situation, you’ll pay $49.99 to $109.99 to complete a federal return, and $36.99 for each state tax return.
At the time of publishing, the company is offering a temporary discount. Filing a federal return costs just $29.99 to $84.99 during the promotion, which brings the pricing more in line with TaxSlayer, the lowest-cost provider we reviewed.
H&R Block also offers in-person tax filing starting at $69 per federal return plus an additional fee for state returns. Its desktop software, which downloads to your computer, ranges from $29.95 to $89.95 for federal returns, and $19.95 for each state return. The in-person and downloadable software options aren’t included in our review.
Products offered by H&R Block
H&R Block offers four online tax-filing options: Free Online, Deluxe, Premium and Self-Employed.
- Free Online: Like other major tax-filing services, H&R Block’s Free Online ($0) version allows you to file a basic Form 1040 and take several common tax breaks such as the standard deduction, earned income tax credit, education credits and additional child tax credit. But H&R Block’s free version is better than most because it can also handle unemployment income, bank interest and dividends income, student loan interest, and schedules 1 and 3 — for a total of 39 tax forms in all.
- Deluxe: You may need to upgrade to the Deluxe ($49.99) version if you want to itemize deductions on Schedule A, you contributed to a health savings account in 2021, or you had child and dependent care expenses.
- Premium: The Premium ($69.99) version — which includes everything in Deluxe — is a good choice for investors and landlords who need to file a Schedule D or E or have K-1s.
- Self-Employed: Freelancers and gig workers can report self-employment income on Schedule C using the Deluxe or Premium editions. However, small-business owners will need to upgrade to the Self-Employed ($109.99) version if they want to claim business expenses and report all business deductions and asset depreciation.
If you need extra guidance with any of these editions, you can pay an additional fee to get Online Assist. Pricing ranges from $69.99 to $194.99 (plus extra for state returns) and includes screen sharing, video calling and support from mobile apps. Users who add Online Assist receive unlimited, personalized help from a tax expert, enrolled agent or CPA.
You can import a prior year’s tax return (even from another provider), W-2 forms and several 1099 forms such as the 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, 1099-B and 1099-R. If you need to take a break from preparing taxes, you can save your work and sign out, then pick back up using any device. The mobile app — H&R Block Tax Prep and File App — is available on iOS and Android devices and receives an average rating of 4.65/5 stars. You can take a picture of your forms and even prepare and e-file your taxes all in the app.
Who should use H&R Block’s tax service
H&R Block offers an easy-to-navigate interface with clear, jargon-free guidance and many ways to access extra help. It’s a premium product with a price tag to match, so it’s best for people who want extensive help options and those who qualify to use the free version.
If you have a complicated tax situation, then TurboTax might lead you through the process better — though prices are slightly higher. TaxSlayer could be a good program for confident filers who don’t need tax guidance and want the lowest-cost option.
About H&R Block tax service
Founded in 1955, H&R Block has grown to become one of the largest retail tax firms in the U.S. and has completed more than 800 million tax returns in its existence. The company employs more than 60,000 tax professionals who must take at least 60 hours of training and pass a rigorous certification program. The typical H&R Block tax pro has about 10 years of experience and can help customers either online or at one of the company’s retail locations in all 50 states and U.S. territories, and on U.S. military bases around the world. For no-contact help, you can drop off your tax information at one of its offices without making an appointment.
Taxpayers can also prepare returns by logging in online or downloading tax-prep software. Each of the four online-filing programs walk you through a simple interview-style interface, where you answer questions about your tax situation. The program enters your information on the appropriate tax forms accordingly.