TurboTax vs H&R Block: Tax Prep Cost Comparison

Tax filing season is upon us and investors need to start thinking about filing their returns.  In addition to all the standard tax issues, investors must also consider the cost basis of their investments, short term versus long term capital gains, and much more.  Great software can make this process easy, while poor software can make the process nearly impossible.  NerdWallet investigated the online and software options offered by two of the largest online tax preparers.  The conclusion?  H&R Block is significantly less expensive for investors while TurboTax is a more pleasant user experience.  

 

Product Format Price 1st State Return Total Cost Guidance for your Investments Tracks & calculates cost basis Average Customer Review Designed For
Free Online 0.00 $27.95 27.95 4.5 stars Beginners
Basic Online 19.95 $19.95 39.90 4.2 stars Simple Tax Situations
Deluxe Software 44.95 FREE 44.95 Yes 4.0 stars Homeowners or Basic Investors
Deluxe Online 29.95 $19.95 49.90 Yes 4.1 stars Homeowners or Basic Investors
Basic Software 19.95 $39.95 59.90 4.0 stars Simple Tax Situations
Premium Software 64.95 FREE 64.95 Yes Yes 4.0 stars Self-Employed/Rental Properties
Premium Online 49.95 $19.95 69.90 Yes Yes 3.9 stars Self-Employed/Rental Properties
Premium & Business Software 79.95 FREE 79.95 Yes Yes 2.8 stars Owners of S or C corps or partnerships

Best Product for Investors:  Premium

Cost for 1 Federal & 1 State Return:

  • Online: $69.90
  • Software: $64.95 (can be downloaded)
Customer Comments on H&R Block:
  • “Easy to use, maximizes refund, and price was GREAT!!!”
  • “It was difficult to navigate and locate any errors.”
  • “It was nice to import our information so I didn’t have to re-enter everything in.”
  • “Took me all of about a couple of hours to fill out my tax return…in the past it usually took me around 5 hours…so much easier!”
  • “The online support via the live chat was fantastic.”
  • “It takes you through all the steps, checks for errors and shows you where the corrections should be made.”
  • “Very impressed by the intuitive user interface.”
Interested in using H&R Block?  Click here for 15% off!

 

Product Format Price 1st State Return Total Cost Guidance for your Investments Tracks & calculates cost basis Average Customer Review Designed For
Free Online 0.00 $27.99 27.99 5.0 stars Beginners
Basic Online 19.99 $36.99 56.98 4.5 stars Simple Tax Situations
Deluxe Software 59.99 FREE 59.99 4.6 stars Homeowners & others with deductions
Deluxe Online 29.99 $36.99 66.98 4.8 stars Homeowners & others with deductions
Basic Software 29.99 $36.99 69.98 4.6 stars Simple Tax Situations
Premier Online 49.99 36.99 86.98 Yes Yes 4.8 stars Investors & Rental Property Owners
Premier Software 89.99 FREE 89.99 Yes Yes 4.4 stars Investors & Rental Property Owners
Home & Business Software 99.99 FREE 99.99 Yes Yes 4.4 stars Self-Employed
Home & Business Online 74.99 36.99 111.98 Yes Yes 4.8 stars Self-Employed
Business Software 149.99 49.99 199.98 Yes Yes 5.0 stars Owners of S or C corps or partnerships

Best Product for Investors:  Premier

Cost for 1 Federal & 1 State Return:

  • Online: $86.98
  • Software: $89.99 (can be downloaded)
Customer Comments on TurboTax:
  • “The wizard guides you through everything and it is nearly impossible to forget anything.”
  • “I will always use this; have been using for over 10 years and the refunds have been quick and easy.”
  • “It is lacking in some very critical areas for people like me who own several properties.”
  • “Trying to print and save or just print difficult and confusing.”
  • “Very easy because information from last year’s returns transferred automatically.”
  • “Used a different lower cost program last year. Never again.”
  • “We’ve had several “life-changes” and TT makes them all easy to navigate.”
  • “Turbo Tax works great with 1 state but not 2 state”
  • “This is the 6th year I’ve used it to do my taxes and I won’t use anything else.”

Conclusions:

  • Investors should choose TurboTax’s Premier or H&R Block’s Premium Product
  • H&R Block costs approximately $20 less than TurboTax for a single federal & state filing; additional states widen the gap further; H&R Block is also currently offering a 15% off discount on top of their already low prices
  • TurboTax is more highly rated by its user than H&R Block; Users rate TurboTax Premier an average of 4.4 to 4.8 stars while H&R Block’s Premium is rated 3.9 to 4.0 stars out of 5.

 

Photo credit:  Tax Form 1040 from Shutterstock

  • http://www.securitygem.com/ SecurityGem

    Thanks for putting this together. I’ve been using H&R Block for years and every year I run into a problem and think about switching. I might just try TurboTax since it has a higher rating.

  • DaisyMae

    I’ve always used Turbo Tax but I purchased H&R software for the first time to try it out due to the price. My advice, Pay the extra and use Turbo Tax. It is so much user friendly and easier to navigate than H&R.
    I would rate H&R a possible 3. Stinks because I’m out more $$ because i tried to to be Frugal.

    • AMRJ Shoe Designs

      Daisy – I think I read that HR Block has a disclaimer. If you find that your refund is greater or tax liability is less with another online program, they will refund your purchase. Not sure of all the details but check it out, you can’t recoup the time spent doing your taxes twice, but might be able to at least recoup the purchase cost of H&R.

  • Roger Wilco

    TurboTax is good. Have used them for 6 years. Always get a good refund. They do not however offer email customer support, which is very upsetting and frustrating. They make you either call, use their chat box, or read comments on their website. It’s never really mattered to me much before in the past, buy this year I had many 401K questions and there was no email address to email them about my questions. Not sure why they decide to do this, but I might be switching over to H&R block if they don’t change this by next year.

    • liz

      the reason they probably dont do email is because these are direct and personal questions that need to be asked or answered over the phone or right away in chat while your there and not somebody else ;)

    • Tax Procrastinator

      Emails can be convoluted and lengthy. Why should they spend all of their time trying to understand what the email-er is asking without being able to clarify within seconds? Picking up the phone or chatting in real time just makes sense. Email is not secure either.

  • bob

    I used turbo Tax once and only once and I ended up with a return that was more than HR block. I was so excited until I found out Turbo Tax fudged my taxes and lied costing me $800 to the IRS. I will never use them again. HR Block has always been reliable and has free audit support. Turbo Tax left me high and dry when there was a problem that was casued by them!