– H&R Block is once again coming out as a really strong contender
for tax software in 2020, so if you’re looking to
file your 2019 taxes, you may be considering H&R Block. Its free version covers a
variety of what we consider normal filing situations, so
if you want to get a sneak peek of the H&R Block software for 2020, stick around, we have a complete review. (dramatic music) Hey, guys, welcome back
to The College Investor, Investing & Personal
Finance for Millennials. We’re going to be jumping
into H&R Block today, and it definitely rivals TurboTax in a lot of different
areas, but the thing is, H&R Block definitely
undercuts TurboTax on price, so if you are wavering between the two, you may consider H&R
Block if you want to save a couple of bucks. In fact, let’s go ahead
and jump into the website and I’ll show you the
different pricing plans. Okay, so right off the bat, you can see there are four different
options, similar to TurboTax, you’re gonna have a free option, deluxe, premium, and self-employed. So if you wanna stick
with the free version, then you can do a W-2 import, which can save you a ton of time. If you qualify for the
earned income tax credit, childcare expenses, even
student loan interest and social security income is considered part of the free version,
so I really like that, because a ton of people
normally have that student loan interest, so that’s really nice. Otherwise, you may consider
the deluxe and the premium. Note that if you choose
to do any of these, or if you’re self-employed,
that you will have to pay additional for your state
return, so it’s $36.99 per state return, on top
of these other benefits that you might get. So with the deluxe edition, if you have a health savings
account, or mortgage interest, you’ll wanna stick with this plan, otherwise the premium option also helps with things like rental property income, freelance contracting income
with expenses less than $5000, which may be a good fit for some folks, and then there is the
self-employed online plan. So H&R Block’s pricing tiers
are about 15 to 20 bucks cheaper than what you
would find on TurboTax, and also, something
interesting that I noticed while I was walking through the website is that they really are pushing people to go in to a physical
location and to work with a tax specialist
at an H&R Block office. So keep in mind that you
may see prompts for that as you’re walking through their website or even starting to
file your taxes online. Speaking of which, let’s go ahead and jump inside of the tax software. I’ll do a complete walkthrough
with some dummy information to show you how easy it
is to file your tax return with H&R Block. Okay, we are going to get started with the free online version of H&R Block, and it says right here, more
forms for free than TurboTax, so I love that. Zero filing for federal and
zero dollars for filing state, so let’s go ahead and
click to get started. You’ll need to create an account and sign up with your email,
username, and password. One thing to note, they do
have two-step verification, which is really nice,
you’ll wanna set that up for extra protection. Okay, upon entering the dashboard,
it looks like you can do some personalization, and
there are a couple of different ways to share your tax return
details, so I’ll go ahead and click through and get the
legal stuff out of the way, I like that. And then answer their questionnaire. Off the bat, their
dashboard looks really nice. I like the simplicity of
it, we’ve got a left-hand navigation menu here, to
show you where you’re at, and the questions I think are going to be really straightforward. Okay, this is really nice, and of course you’re going to expect this from one of the leading
competitors in tax software, you can upload your
last year’s tax return, which can save you a lot of time from manually entering in the information. So it looks like you
can just drag and drop last year’s tax return
into their dashboard and get started that way. I’ll go ahead and skip the import, but this looks like a really
handy feature to save you time. All right, so from the
next step it looks like we’re inside of the
federal return process, so starting with your personal information and then going into income,
deductions, other credits, and then doing a kind of
a wrap-up of your taxes, and then it looks like
there is a state tab, so they’ll use your
federal return and transfer all of those details
into your state return, which is really nice. And if we click over here to overview, we can see exactly where we leave off if we ever need to come
back into the taxes, which I’m sure you’ll do multiple times. So let’s go ahead and continue
with our federal return. We’ll start from the beginning. Right, and I’ll go ahead and
just put in dummy information to show you exactly what this looks like. Okay, this is really cool. So far, with your personal
information anyways, you can just kind of skate
through the questions and if you ever need to
go back to something, it looks like you can
go back to that section, so that’s really nice. So far, this is a really
simple, easy navigation to go through. And then we’ll go into income, and we’ll start on our W-2. I really like this feature too. It looks like you can
do this a couple of ways to import your W-2, you
can either upload a PDF, take a picture, which is awesome, or enter it in manually. I’ll go ahead and enter it in manually, since this is dummy information, but this is something that I haven’t seen in some of the other competitors, so this is a really handy feature. Okay, once we’ve added
our W-2, it looks like we can just verify a couple of things. So this is interesting,
I know that there may be some of you who have been
involved with cryptocurrency, and it’s interesting
because you can see here, they have this little help menu that helps you see, if
you’ve had virtual currency, whether or not you need to report it. So this is really nice, it’s
interesting that they ask about this up front, so if that’s you, just know that there
are some options for you if you bought, sold, invested
in any, Bitcoin for example. And once you’re done with your income, you’ll move on to the deductions portion. Because I had contributions
to a health savings account, they’ve already pulled that information from my W-2, so they’ll
go ahead and add it into the deductions. I’m assuming I’ll probably
have to review that, so I’ll go ahead and click Next, and then let’s say you did
have student loan interest, I’ll go ahead and check that box. That one’s pretty common for a lot of us filing our returns online. And it looks like you can
upload that file as well. That’s really, really
nice, such a time-saver. I’ll enter it manually for now, but the fact that you
can upload files is just, it’s so easy, it makes
things really, really simple. And this is awesome, once
you complete a section, you’ll see these refund reveal screens, and then you’ll see if you’ll get a potential federal refund. You can also see that number here on the left-hand menu as
well, that’s really nice. All right, if you need to
ever revisit any of the forms, it looks like you can
just click on Revisit and then go back to that section. It looks like this form,
the 8889, is not ready yet. Once it is, typically
these forms are released in early- to mid-January,
and then you can go back in and fill in that information. Also, something that I just noticed here is the deductions. So the standard deduction is $12,200, and then once you get over that, it looks like you’ll be into the itemized, where it would make more
sense for you to itemize versus taking the standard. That’s really cool, I hadn’t seen that in any of the other tax
software for this year, so this definitely sets H&R Block apart. And then it looks like they will recommend the standard deduction in this case, which I will go ahead and take, since that’s higher than
the itemized deduction. Click Next, and then take
a look at the summary. If you’re ever confused,
just hit these question-mark bubbles, and then you’ll see
this really easy description of what you can claim and deduct, and I feel like these little help boxes aren’t super text-heavy either. They make it really easy, dumb it down into layman’s terms, which
is helpful for somebody who doesn’t have an
accounting or tax background. This makes filing a cinch with H&R Block. And then if you have any
of these tax credits, you can also add them here. Oh, and it looks like you
can add other credits later. I’ll go ahead and click Next. And then they’ve broken it
down into different sections. It looks like these dropdown
arrows will help you determine whether or not you would qualify for any of these credits. And then click Yes. And then we’ll do a wrap-up
of our federal taxes. If you ever need to go back to a section, you can click on these
little menu icons to go back and either add things, change things, and then go back to the wrap-up. Okay, so they just did
the accuracy review. It looks like I still need that one form that the IRS hasn’t released yet, but once it’s released, we can
go back and fix that issue. And then they’ll try to upsell us here with the H&R Block Plus
or the free version, and it says that they can store
your return up to six years, do an import, all of that for just $11, but I don’t think I need to do that, because I could simply
just store that information on an external hard drive. So I’m gonna go ahead
and click No for now. Okay, then if you have a
head start on your returns, your state returns won’t be available until sometime in January,
and then they’ll notify you once that’s ready, so
that you can go ahead and file your state return. Okay, so since the state
return isn’t ready just yet, that’s okay, you can just
go back in in January and then all of your federal
information will be copied over to your state return. So I don’t anticipate really
doing a whole lot more inside of H&R Block, other
than reviewing the information and then submitting both the
federal and the state return at the same time. So if you ever need to
go back, you can click on this Overview tab
and it’ll take you back to this screen to show you
exactly where you last left off. So really easy to use, and simple to file your tax return with H&R Block. If you are considering H&R Block online, to file your 2019 taxes in 2020, this definitely has to
be on your shortlist. I mean, it’s one of the big players in the tax software industry. The interface and the navigation
is really easy to use, and you’ll be able to walk
through self-guided navigation fairly quickly. Also, if you have some of those
options I mentioned earlier, with a W-2, student loan interest, you could potentially file
your federal and state returns for free, so that’s amazing. For more information on tax reviews, be sure to visit thecollegeinvestor.com.

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