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TurboTax vs. H&R Block 2024

TurboTax is popular, but it isn't the clear choice for all. Our opinion: Take a hard look at H&R Block before deciding how to file.
Tina Orem
Sabrina Parys
By Sabrina Parys and  Tina Orem 
Updated
Edited by Chris Hutchison

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Competition is fierce among the biggest tax-prep software providers. TurboTax is considered by many to be king, but it may not be the clear choice for everyone. Here’s our point-by-point comparison to help sort out which is better for you.

TurboTax vs. H&R Block: Cost

FREE TIERS

$0 + $0 per state filed.

It allows you to file a 1040 for free, but you can’t itemize or file Schedules 2 or 3.

Roughly 37% of taxpayers are eligible. TurboTax Free Edition supports Form 1040 and limited tax credits only.

$0 + $0 per state filed.

Allows you to file a 1040 plus limited Schedules 1, 2 and 3, which makes it usable by a lot more people than most other free software packages.

PAID PACKAGES

Live Assisted Basic $99 + $54 per state.

Free edition, plus access to a tax pro, advice and a final review.

TurboTax Live Assisted Basic supports Form 1040 and limited tax credits only; roughly 37% of taxpayers qualify.

Deluxe $69 + $59 per state.

Itemize and claim several tax deductions and credits. Works well for business income but no expenses.

Premium $129 + $59 per state.

Investment reporting and rental income (Schedules D and E, and K-1s), plus business income, expenses on a Schedule C, home office deductions and features for freelancers.

Access to tax pro support requires upgrading to TurboTax's Live Assisted packages, which range from $99 to $219, plus state fees.

Promotion: NerdWallet users can save up to an additional 10% on TurboTax.

Deluxe $55 + $49 per state.

Itemize and claim several tax deductions and credits. Works well for business income but no expenses.

Premium $85 + $49 per state.

For investors or rental property owners (Schedules D and E, and K-1s).

Self-Employed $115 + $49 per state.

For small-business owners, freelancers and independent contractors.

All paid packages come with access to Tax Pro Chat and AI Tax Assist.


One note about prices: Providers frequently change them and may offer discounted services and packages toward the beginning of tax filing season. These markdowns tend to get replaced with surge pricing the closer we get to the tax filing deadline. We base our reviews on the list prices and not the discounts to reflect this. You can verify the latest price by clicking through to the provider's website.


TurboTax vs. H&R Block: Features and ease of use

Only one entity determines how the math works on a tax return, and that’s the IRS. So unless there’s a programming error, you should get the same numerical “answer” no matter which tax software you use. But you still have to feed the software all of your information, and there are a million ways to do that. This is why we look at features and ease of use — we want to know which offerings are least likely to make you want to lose your cool.

H&R Block

H&R Block’s interface is visually simple, straightforward and easy to use, and it steps up to explain concepts as you go. Skipping around to specific spots can be a little tricky, but a banner across the top keeps track of where you are in the filing process.

Embedded "learn more" links provide more information without having to wander around, the help menu is visible from all pages, and you can click to access the chat support portal throughout.

TurboTax

TurboTax’s interface is like a chat with a tax preparer, and you can skip around if you need to. A banner running along the side keeps track of where you stand in the process and flags areas you still need to complete.

Embedded links throughout the process offer tips, explainers and other resources. And help buttons can connect you to the searchable knowledge base, on-screen help and more.

Both H&R Block and TurboTax allow you to switch from a different software provider and import tax documents. And both have a mobile app, as well as tools to help you calculate the deduction value of donated items.

TurboTax vs. H&R Block: Support

H&R Block and TurboTax each offer inline help and searchable knowledge bases, and tech support is available as well.

H&R Block

If you use one of H&R Block’s paid packages, you get access to the company’s AI Tax Assist tool as well as unlimited chat or screen-sharing sessions with a human tax pro at any point while preparing your return. The tax pro will not review, sign or e-file your return for you, though.

H&R Block’s Tax Pro Review offers a one-on-one review of your completed return with a human tax pro who will go over your documents and check for accuracy and possible missed deductions or credits; if you want, the tax pro will also sign and e-file your return for you. The cost generally runs from $55 to $95, and the review usually happens within three days

H&R Block also has another option: an enormous band of human tax preparers at the company’s 9,000 or so offices around the world. Full-service help is available both virtually and at brick-and-mortar stores. It isn’t free, of course (in-office and virtual appointments start at $89), but it helps to know you can go there if you get confused or stuck.

TurboTax

TurboTax Live Assisted offers unlimited on-demand screen sharing, phone and chat access to tax pros, as well as a one-on-one review with a tax pro before you file. You can talk on the fly to a tax pro via one-way video (you see them, but they don’t see you; they just see your screen).

TurboTax also offers Live Full Service, which does away with tax software altogether. Instead, you upload your tax documents and a human puts together your tax return. You’ll be matched with a tax preparer, meet on a video call before they begin working, and then you’ll meet again when your return is ready for review. The preparer files the return for you.

Live Full Service starts at $129, but per the company, the final price may vary based on your actual tax situation and the forms used or included with your return. State returns are additional.

New this season, TurboTax will give some Full Service filers the option to work with a local tax pro in person. The local pro is vetted by Intuit per the company, but be aware that you’ll be venturing outside the TurboTax world. This means the pro may have different work hours, and the services they offer may be different than those advertised by TurboTax.

Refunds, audits and other considerations

H&R Block and TurboTax each let you receive a federal refund via direct deposit to a bank account. Other options include getting an old-fashioned paper check, applying the refund to next year’s taxes or directing the IRS to buy U.S. Savings Bonds with your refund. Both providers let you use your refund to pay for your tax-prep fees (but there is a separate fee for that).

If you're audited, it’s important to know what kind of support you’re getting from your tax software. First, be sure you know the difference between “support” and “defense.” With most providers, audit support (or “assistance”) typically means guidance about what to expect and how to prepare — that’s it. Audit defense, on the other hand, gets you full representation before the IRS from a tax professional.

H&R Block offers free audit support, but you also can buy a product called Worry-Free Audit Support. This gets you in contact with an enrolled agent to guide you through an audit. It includes IRS correspondence management, audit preparation and in-person audit representation from an enrolled agent; it costs $19.99. You could also add Tax Identity Shield for another $19.99, which provides personal assistance if it turns out criminals used your personal information to file a fake tax return.

TurboTax gives customers free audit support from a tax pro to help you understand what’s going on if you get that dreaded letter about a 2023, 2022 or 2021 tax return you filed through the program; if TurboTax can’t connect you with a pro, you’ll get a refund or $30 if you used the Free Edition. If you want someone to represent you in front of the IRS, you’ll need TurboTax’s audit defense product, called MAX. It runs an extra $49 and includes features such as identity theft monitoring, loss insurance and restoration help.

TurboTax vs. H&R Block: Which one is right for you?

Despite its dominant market share in DIY tax prep, TurboTax may not be the clear choice for everyone. Thanks to the expanded capabilities of its free version, filers with simple returns who don’t need support from a tax pro might be able to get the job done for less with H&R Block.

While both providers offer robust human support options, the level of help you get varies by cost and package type.

H&R Block doesn’t charge extra for tax pro support if you’re using one of its paid packages this year — a big bonus, as most tax software charge additional fees for this type of help. However, this support doesn’t come with a free final review, and the pro won’t sign and file for you. For that, you’ll need to upgrade to Tax Pro Review at an additional cost.

Filers looking for unlimited tax pro support, including a final review and generous customer support hours, may lean toward TurboTax Live Assisted, which offers all of these features in one neat package despite a higher price.

» Want all the details? Read our reviews of H&R Block and TurboTax

How do TurboTax and H&R Block compare with other providers?

  • Federal: $49.99 to $99.99. Free version available for simple tax returns only.

  • State: $39.99 to $59.99 per state.

  • Add Xpert Assist for $39.99.

Promotion: NerdWallet users get 25% off federal and state filing costs.

  • Federal: $55 to $115. Free version available for simple tax returns only.

  • State: $0 to $49 per state.

  • Unlimited tax pro help included in paid packages.

  • Federal: $69 to $129. Free version available for Form 1040 and limited credits only. Roughly 37% of filers qualify.

  • State: $0 to $59 per state.

  • Tax pro help available by upgrading to Live Assisted.

Promotion: NerdWallet users can save up to an additional 10% on TurboTax.

  • Federal: $37.95 to $67.95. Free version available for simple tax returns only.

  • State: $0 to $44.95 per state.

  • On-demand tax help at Premium and Self-Employed tiers.

Promotion: NerdWallet users get 25% off federal filing costs.

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