Pros / It's thorough in identifying exemptions and deductions, such as those that apply to homeowners and educators.

Cons / You cannot directly edit tax return forms but, instead, must follow the interview-style guided interface.

 Verdict / H&R Block guides you through the tax-filing process in an easy-to-follow format that should provide few headaches for those wanting a straightforward experience.

H&R Block offers a robust online tax preparation solution that features a sleek interface and straightforward filing process, earning it the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award. We found it to be an ideal solution for those seeking a quick and easy online tax filing program for non-complicated returns.

While it doesn't specialize in advanced tax-filing options, it's thorough in its process of identifying exemptions, deductions and credits. Its guidance features keep you in the know with tax jargon; however, we found that it's not always transparent with its behind-the-scenes processes and calculations.

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Ease of Use & Support

The H&R Block tax preparation interface is like an interview. The program takes you step by step through your tax form, asking you to fill out simple yes or no questions and checklists. It automatically populates the official form with your answers. We found this format straightforward and easy to grasp. We found it was easy to find and edit errors. The interface looks clean, and it's easy to navigate to different parts of the filing.

The program does a good job of guiding you through complicated parts of your return, with frequently asked questions hyperlinked to pop-up answer boxes. The free version of this software includes ads to upsell you on additional features, but they're not overly annoying.

While completing your tax form is simple, this tax software does little in the way of giving you an in-depth look at your filing. The program auto calculates the amounts on your form, but it doesn't offer a clear explanation of how it comes to those conclusions. You also can't fill out information directly onto the form; rather, it must be done through their interview process.

Beyond the built-in support guides, H&R Block also provides telephone support to answer questions about the software. For an extra fee, in the event that you are audited, this company provides you with support and even representation when dealing with the IRS.

Tax Preparation Options

H&R Block online tax software is available in a variety of formats. It's accessible through web browsers, allowing you to use it from any computer connected to the internet. A traditional software format can be purchased in-store or downloaded online. This option allows you use the software offline.

There's also a mobile app that can be downloaded to either iOS or Android devices. With the mobile app, you can take a picture of your W-2 forms to input into your filing, although we had trouble during our attempt, and it wasn't able to read our form. You can also check the status of your return from your phone. If you prefer, you can also visit one of H&R Block's 12,000 locations around the U.S. and meet with a professional tax preparer to handle your filing.

Disbursement Options

There are two free options to receive your tax refund: either through direct deposit to your bank or a prepaid card that's mailed to you. There's an additional fee if you request your refund in the form of a check. If you're not eligible for free filing, H&R Block allows you to pay the filing fee with your return. H&R Block also offers an advance on your refund of up to $1,250 if you need it immediately.

Time & Money Savers

Several other features help you save time and money when filing with H&R Block. This online tax preparation program allows you to file your state taxes, supporting all state forms. You can import W-2 forms via PDF scanning, instead of manually entering them, and you can even import previous tax returns to prefill several fields in your current return. A section of the filing process goes through several tax deduction opportunities you may have, trying to save you more money on your return. Lastly, the software calculates your refund as you complete your return, so you know how much to expect as soon as you file.

Summary

H&R Block impressed us with its simple, yet thorough interface, allowing us to complete our test returns quickly and with ease. We found that it gave us the right amount of guidance to complete our filings without overburdening us with jargon and complicated processes with its Q&A style interface. For those who prefer a more traditional tax-filing style, this program doesn't feature an avenue to make direct changes to your official return.

Contributing Reviewer: Andreas Rivera

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