TurboTax vs. H&R Block: Which Is the Better Choice for Your Taxes?

Turbotax Vs. H&r Block: Which Is The Better Choice For Your Taxes?

Ready to file a tax return but not sure which do-it-yourself tax preparation software to use? If it’s a question of TurboTax vs. H&R Block, both offer an easy way to file your taxes online by yourself—and call in some help from a tax pro if needed.

Here’s our take on H&R Block vs. TurboTax, to help you find the best tax software for you.

A Quick Look at TurboTax

TurboTax, a product of the financial, accounting and tax software provider Intuit, is practically synonymous with DIY tax preparation, partly because it’s been around for nearly 40 years.

TurboTax has been the most popular do-it-yourself tax software option for decades thanks to the company’s focus on design and user experience. Back when other tax software options were asking the same series of questions to all users regardless of their tax situation, TurboTax pioneered a “click here if this applies to you” format. Users can select topics relevant to them—such as moving, marriage, a new job or selling stock—and skip sections of the software that don’t apply to their situation.

It’s an approach that TurboTax competitors, including H&R Block, have tried to emulate.

In 2017, TurboTax Live was launched, allowing customers to reach out for help from a credentialed tax expert if they get stuck or have questions while preparing their returns. And in 2020, the company introduced TurboTax Live Full Service, which lets customers hand off their tax filing to an expert.

A Quick Look at H&R Block

H&R Block’s history dates back earlier than TurboTax, although DIY tax filing hasn’t always been a part of the business. H&R Block was founded in 1955 when brothers Henry and Richard Bloch decided to franchise their tax preparation business.

For decades, the company was known primarily for its retail tax-preparation storefronts, where customers could make an appointment or drop in to have their taxes handled by a trained tax preparer. In the early 2000s, H&R Block released tax software that allowed customers to do their own taxes from home.

In 2018, the company launched H&R Block Tax Pro Go, which allows customers to upload documents and answer questions about their tax situations online, then have a tax professional prepare and file returns on their behalf.

Turbo Tax vs. H&R Block: Prices

H&R Block and TurboTax both offer full-service tax-filing services, but we’ll focus on the prices for do-it-yourself options.

H&R Block has slightly lower prices than TurboTax for most paid versions of its online tax-filing platforms. Keep in mind, however, that both companies may offer special pricing for people who file early during tax season.

TurboTax vs. H&R Block: Features

TurboTax and H&R Block each offer a variety of features designed to make tax filing convenient and stress-free. Here are some common features offered by both companies:

  • Import of tax documents. If your employer participates, you can automatically import your W-2 into either TurboTax or H&R Block’s software to save you time versus entering the information manually. You can also take a picture of your W-2 and other tax documents with your smartphone and import them with a mobile app.
  • Accuracy guarantee. Both TurboTax and H&R Block offer a 100% accuracy guarantee. If their software makes an error, the companies will reimburse you for the resulting penalties and interest. H&R Block’s reimbursement is limited to $10,000, while TurboTax doesn’t have a cap. The guarantees apply only to calculation errors on forms prepared by the software—neither company will reimburse you if you fail to enter all required data accurately or intentionally leave information off your tax return.
  • Fees payable from your tax refund. Both H&R Block and TurboTax offer the ability to pay your tax-prep fees out of your tax refund. Both also charge a $39 fee for the convenience.
  • Live support. If you get stuck while preparing your return or have a tax question, both TurboTax and H&R Block allow you to pay an additional fee to get live help from a tax professional. H&R Block’s Online Assist service starts at $69.99 for help with a federal return, and TurboTax Live starts at $79. Assistance with a state return costs an additional fee.

TurboTax Pros and Cons

Now that we’ve laid out how H&R Block and TurboTax are similar, let’s look at some positives and negatives of using TurboTax.


  • Deduction maximizer. Available with the TurboTax Deluxe version and higher, TurboTax’s deduction maximizer searches more than 350 tax deductions and credits to help you claim every tax break available to you and maximize your refund (or minimize the amount you owe).
  • Donation calculator. The TurboTax “ItsDeductible” app helps you calculate the value of items donated to charity.
  • Ease of use. TurboTax makes tax filing easy by walking you through the process with interview-style questions and lots of plain-language definitions and explanations.


  • Lack of pricing transparency. If you’re unfamiliar with all of the tax forms, deductions, and credits that apply to your tax situation, it can be tough to know which version of TurboTax you need. You could go through the entire tax-prep process, only to find you don’t qualify for the free or lower-price version of the software and must pay a hefty fee to file. This can mean wasted time if you decide you want to find a cheaper alternative.
  • Lots of upselling. When using TurboTax software, be prepared for near-constant offers to upgrade to a more expensive version, get help from a TurboTax Live expert, or add other features for additional fees.

H&R Block Pros and Cons

Now let’s look at the pluses and minuses of using H&R Block to file your return.


  • ‘No Surprise Guarantee.’ H&R Block tries to avoid surprise fees with its “No Surprise Guarantee.” If the company doesn’t deliver upfront transparent pricing and explain any price changes during the process, you receive a coupon for 20% off next year’s tax preparation from H&R Block.
  • Option for in-person help. If you get stuck preparing your tax return or decide you want to turn it over to a professional, you aren’t limited to working with someone online. You can work with a tax pro virtually, through an appointment at an H&R Block office, or by dropping off your tax documents at one of the offices. Fees for filing with an H&R Block tax pro start at $80 (plus an additional fee for a state tax return).


  • Can be pricey. While H&R Block is cheaper than TurboTax, it’s more expensive than other DIY tax-filing options, such as TaxSlayer and TaxAct, if you don’t qualify for the free option. Paying $44.99 per state can add up quickly if you need to file a return in more than one state, and add-ons like online assistance or wanting your fees paid directly from your refund can drive the cost higher.

TurboTax vs. H&R Block: Which Is Right for You?

Both TurboTax and H&R Block are solid, user-friendly options for DIY tax filers who want to try filing on their own but like the idea of being able to call in professional help when needed.

Just keep in mind that additional levels of service will come at a higher price point. If you’re interested in unlimited, on-demand tax help, you might be better off upgrading to TurboTax Live Full Service, getting help at a local H&R Block office, or working with a certified public accountant or an enrolled agent credentialed by the IRS.

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