H&R Block 2015 Deluxe Review


Have you started filing your taxes yet?

Let’s face it: Tax season is not really a time that most of us look forward to. But if you want to get over it fast, using a DIY tax preparation software program, such as H&R Block Deluxe can make a huge difference.

One of the most recognized online tax prep tools, H&R Block is ideal for a wide array of tax scenarios and aimed at people who itemize but do not own complex businesses or investments. While its navigation and interface aren’t too user-friendly, the program may just be the best weapon of choice for budget-minded tax filers who already have basic familiarity with tax filing  in general.

FEATURES

H&R Block Deluxe comes with a handful of noteworthy functions and features for all customers, plus added support for filers with retirement and investment income.

Free Live Chat Support

Apart from in-person assistance, chat and email support for tax-related concerns is available to paid customers. With this feature you can schedule an appointment online a ask guidance from tax professionals as often as you need to ensure that you complete your filing successfully.

Real-Time Updates of Tax Refund

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Photo from PC Mag

As you enter new piece of information into your account, the federal refund displayed on the left sidebar changes. The real time update is coupled with comprehensive explanations as to why the numbers changed. It is a useful feature, especially to those beginning tax filers who are still learning about how taxes work.

Prepare Tax Returns prior to Creating an Account

Most online tax prep tools require users to create an account beforehand. What’s great about H&R Block is that you can dive right into preparing your tax return prior to creating an actual account and when you’re ready to file and pay or save and exit, that’s the time when you’ll be prompted to create one.

Human Support for Audit Risk Identification

As with any H&R Block plan, in-person audit support is available in the Deluxe plan to all tax filers. This feature includes reviewing notices, gathering documents, interpreting audit findings, and advising filers how to respond and appeal.

Use Tax Refunds to Pay Fees

With H&R Block you’ll be able to pay for your tax preparation services using your state or federal refunds. However, to do so, you have to pay a processing fee of $34.99 for federal filing fees and $13 for state filing fees. Also, note that you can’t pay state filing fees with your federal refund and vise versa.

Refund as a Prepaid Debit Card

H&R Block partners with MarterCard to allow you to receive your federal and state refunds as a prepaid debit card. The card is reloadable and can be used to pay expenses just as a regular MasterCard payment card. While the Emerald Prepaid MasterCard doesn’t have a monthly maintenance fee, ATM withdrawal fees, reloading fees, and other bank activity fees may apply.

Health Insurance Partnership

photo from PC Mag

Photo from PC Mag

Since GoHealth is one of its partners, H&R Block can help you find private health insurance policies. This is a convenient feature that lets you find policies on federal or state insurance exchanges even if you do not file your taxes using H&R Block.

Special Deluxe Features

H&R Block Deluxe gives users the option to upload documents into the cloud for later use. Apart from that, the plan comes with the following added features:

Schedule D Support: Schedule D is required if you incurred capital losses and gains from the sale of assets, such as real estate properties and securities. So if you’re an investor or owner of a property, you’ll likely need to file for schedule D and H&R Block offers guidance to help you file it.

Refund Bonus: With the Deluxe package, the tax refund bonus increases to 10 percent. It’s a good deal considering some tax prep applications do not offer bonuses at all.

Guidance for Tax Filers with Charitable Contributions: H&R Block Deluxe provides support and guidance for people who made charitable donations in excess of $500, regardless of whether it’s a cash or non-cash contribution.

PROS

  • Has a standalone office in many cities and small towns in the country
  • Offers refund bonuses
  • Physical branches are available for in-person tax guidance
  • Adequate help files index
  • Seamless mobile-version experience
  • Reliable cloud storage

CONS

  • Hefty price tag
  • Limited or inflexible navigation
  • Doesn’t import information as efficiently as other software applications
  • Not all forms and schedules are supported
  • Complex final error check functionality
  • No free state e-file option for those filing for 1040EZ

THE VERDICT

H&R Block Deluxe provides plenty of functions and features, including free audit support. It has a user-friendly site that lets you pick up where you left off regardless of the device you are on. In addition, the tax preparation program can check and catch errors towards the end of the process. This feature has been the application’s weakest point, but the new version improved since last year.

It also does a good job of exploring tax-related topics, making sure that taxpayers understand how taxes work and do not miss any credits, deductions, or income.

Streamlined and capable of generating accurate returns, H&R Block Deluxe proves to be a software worthy of our attention.

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