Luisa Rollenhagen is a writer and editor who lives in Berlin.
Tax season is coming up, which means that many of us are scrambling to fill out the right forms, digging out receipts from the bottom of the drawer, and looking for professional help. For many people, that means heading over to their local H&R Block, a household name when it comes to tax prep. Here’s the lowdown on H&R Block’s services and fees.
What is H&R Block?
H&R Block is a tax preparation company found in the United States, Canada, and Australia. The company was founded in 1955 by the brothers Henry and Richard Bloch and continues to be based out of Kansas City, Missouri. The company now operates more than 12,000 retail offices worldwide, and is armed with a staff of 80,000 tax professionals. It’s also expanded to online software options, so that customers can file their taxes from the comfort of their own home instead of going to a branch.
What services does H&R Block provide?
If you choose to use H&R Block’s in-person services, then you can make an appointment with a tax professional to look over your taxes and prepare them for filing. In keeping with the times, H&R Block offers you the option of uploading all of your documents and having a professional prepare and file them virtually, or going into an office and doing it the old-fashioned way. You also have the option of simply dropping off your files at a branch. Once you’ve gathered everything you need, the professional assigned to you will prepare your return. If additional documents are required, you’ll be notified.
In addition to these very straightforward services, H&R Block also offers tax resources for U.S. citizens living outside of the U.S. You also have the option of purchasing audit protection, which means H&R Block will review any official tax-related correspondence you receive and represent you in case you get audited.
While you have the option of having your taxes reviewed and your return prepared online by a professional, H&R Block also offers you the option to file your taxes yourself online, thanks to their filing software.
This service can cost as little as $0, provided that your taxes are relatively straightforward. Autofill features help guide the process along. And you can easily upload any necessary documents and forms into the software system.
Depending on your financial situation and need for support, you can choose between pricing tiers that offer options to maximize credits and deductions, optiimize your taxes for investments and rental income, get more access to human support, and manage your taxes if you’re self-employed.
You can also add audit protection and get an additional expert to review your return.
What is the H&R Block fee structure?
If you’re using H&R Block’s service to file with a professional, whether that’s with their drop-off service or online, then you’re looking at a couple of different payment options, including just allowing H&R Block to deduct its fee from your refund. H&R Block’s fees comply with those stipulated by the government: 15% on the first $300 and 5% on the rest.
In addition to filing options, H&R Block also offers a prepaid debit card called the Advantage Prepaid Mastercard. You can use this card as a destination for your tax refund, and then use the card like you would any other debit card. You can also reload it with further funds if or once your refund runs out. Note: Withdrawals are free at DCBank ATMs.
Can I file my taxes for free with H&R Block?
You can technically file your taxes for free with H&R Block, using their free online tax filing service. However, the free service offers limited features and is probably best suited for those with straightforward tax situations.
If you choose to file for free with H&R Block, you’ll be able to upload relevant documents from your employer, as well as deduct student tuition, payments, and loan interests. You’ll also benefit from the company’s highest-return guarantee and always have the option of adding more features, such as more expansive human support.
However, there are many other companies that offer a wide variety of tax services, for free. Wealthsimple Tax, for example, is always free (although you have the option to donate a chosen amount). In addition to offering you human support and the seamless integration of any retirement accounts you may have, there’s also the option to make readjustments to your return after you file, in case you’ve made a mistake.
Ultimately, what tax preparation company you choose will depend on what level of service and assistance your financial situation requires. Keeping an eye out for flexibility, access to professionals, and refund optimization guarantees will save you plenty of headaches and potential fees down the line.
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