Compare TurboTax vs. H&R Block. See pros and cons of TurboTax vs. H&R Block and easily decide which accounting software is right for you.
Filing your taxes can be quite a complex and time-consuming task. Fortunately, we live in a world where technology manages to offer up solutions for almost everything. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when you find out that there are software programs that can help you file your taxes as well.
Casually, they are referred to as DIY tax filing programs and needless to say, they are a boon for most people. However, like it is with all software programs, you have a few options to choose from. In this blog, we’re going to look at two very popular ones – TurboTax and H&R Block.
So, let’s begin our TurboTax vs. H&R Block battle.
TurboTax Vs. H&R Block Accounting Software Comparison
When it comes to pricing, TurboTax and H&R Block aren’t too different. However, that doesn’t mean they’re identical. There are a handful of differences between the two. The fully-loaded version of TurboTax costs around $100 while H&R Block’s top version costs about $75.
H&R Block also has an expanded version that works with Schedule A and 1040, which was launched in 2017. Earlier, it was just the 1040A and the 1040EZ. This could make a huge difference for certain filers.
TurboTax offers a discount for members of the military. However, the discount changes based on rank and doesn’t really make much of a difference.
Like a lot of other DIY tax applications, TurboTax and H&R Block offer various paid packages. The pricing for each plan increases with the level of complexity each version handles. If you’re an Itemizer, the Deluxe packages are a great choice.
The Premium or Premier versions are designed to meet the needs of investors and filers who earn an income from rental properties. There are additional charges for state returns in these versions.
For self-employed individuals, H&R Block’s Premium package can do some serious work. But, if your business is really small with minimal expenses, the Deluxe version is more than capable. It can file Schedule C-EZ.
TurboTax needs a separate upgrade for self-employed individuals.
Here’s a small breakdown of both programs with regard to pricing and capabilities.
|Federal Forms: 104EZ, 1040A||Federal Forms: 104EZ, 1040A, 1040, Schedule A for Itemizing|
|Deluxe: $54.99, Premier: $79.99, Self-Employed: $114.99||Deluxe: $54.99, Premium (includes Self-Employed): $79.99|
|State Return Preparation: $29.99 on the free version and $39.99 on the paid versions||State Return Preparation: $29.99 on the free version and $39.99 on the paid versions|
Both programs also allow e-filing for an extra fee. As for sending your returns to the IRS, it is free on both programs.
Deciding a winner on this round of TurboTax vs. H&R Block is tough considering that they are very similar.
However, H&R Block seems to have a slight edge because it covers more federal forms and comes with the capabilities for Self-Employed filers included into its Premium package. TurboTax offers that as a completely separate package and charges a very high price.
So, for those reasons alone, we’d have to choose H&R Block as the winner of this round.
Features and Usage
The thing about tax returns is that the calculations need to match that of the IRS’s. After all, it’s the IRS that determines how much tax you pay and how much you can claim as returns. They are the final authority. So, it doesn’t matter what your program says or even what program you use; if it doesn’t match the IRS’s calculations, you’re obviously going wrong or there’s an error with the program.
But, things do go wrong and this is mainly due to the fact that users end up feeding the wrong data. However, this is where a tax filing program’s prowess comes into play. Is it allowing you to input the right data? Is it confusing? Is it designed to make you go wrong?
These are some of the aspects we’ll be looking at in this round of TurboTax vs. H&R Block.
TurboTax is believed to be the most user-friendly tax filing program out there. It comes with a Q&A interface that uses an interview-like approach. The language is plain English, which means most users can decipher what’s actually being said, or in this case, asked. You can even skip the “interview” and head on straight to form filling if you already know what to do.
Does that mean H&R Block has a complex interface? Well, no. It’s just as easy to use and pretty straightforward. You also have a lot of support available to help you out with the preparation process. For instance, you have terms that are hyperlinked in case you have no clue about what they mean or stand for. A searchable knowledge base is made available for new users. There’s even a notification area on the top that looks like a banner and keeps you updated on your position with regard to the process.
Both programs allow import options for 1099 and W-2s, which can hasten your work.
TurboTax offers a feature called “ItsDeductible” on all three of its packages. This feature is basically an app that lets you know the deduction value for donations and other items. The Self-Employed package even scans your expenditure on linked bank accounts to let you know what can be deducted as a business expense.
So, what’s the verdict for this round?
We think it’s TurboTax because it does offer a lot more than H&R Block. Though H&R Block is just as robust and effective, TurboTax manages to win by a tiny margin due to more features being present.
When it comes to customer support, H&R Block wins this round of TurboTax vs. H&R Block due to the simple fact that it has a network of 12,000 brick & mortar support centers. However, it isn’t accessible to everybody. You need to purchase an add-on called the “Best of Both” for $40. This add-on allows you to access in-person support as well as the standard chat support.
TurboTax, on the other hand, offers only online support in the form of chats and an extensive knowledge base that is linked to a user community as well. However, there is an additional paid feature that allows you to talk to an expert via video calling. It’s called “SmartLook”.
Anyway, we decided to go ahead with H&R Block as the winner because a brick and mortal support center is quite convenient, all said and done.
So, there’s not much to say here. H&R Block has managed to win 2 of the 3 TurboTax vs. H&R Block battle rounds. It is definitely the clear winner and we stand by that because of two key aspects: the brick and mortar support centers and the fact that it offers capabilities for Self-Employed files in a single and cheaper package.
However, that doesn’t mean TurboTax isn’t capable. The program is brilliant and on par with H&R Block when it comes to the final purpose, which is filing taxes.