H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

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The529guy
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H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by The529guy » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:42 pm

I have been a hardcore TurboTax user my entire adult life, but made the switch to H&R Block Premium this year out of frustration with TurboTax's little games which are often discussed here.

In my situation, I've found that H&R Block's software is terrible. Never before have I had to delve into so many forms and update info that wasn't accurately updated by its "import tool." Yes, please do read that with sarcastic air quotes. I buy tax software to avoid this. Alignment between the "Rentals and Royalties" interview and the underlying forms is a disaster.

Have any other TT users tried and failed to live with H&R Block's product?

I'm sorry to say the lower price for H&R Block wasn't worth it for me.

renter
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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by renter » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:47 pm

Yes, I tried making the switch to save a few bucks and absolutely hated HR Block. A few places seemed buggy and I lost confidence. I then went to download TT and completed my return.

Reubin
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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by Reubin » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:57 pm

The529guy wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:42 pm
I have been a hardcore TurboTax user my entire adult life, but made the switch to H&R Block Premium this year out of frustration with TurboTax's little games which are often discussed here.

In my situation, I've found that H&R Block's software is terrible. Never before have I had to delve into so many forms and update info that wasn't accurately updated by its "import tool." Yes, please do read that with sarcastic air quotes. I buy tax software to avoid this. Alignment between the "Rentals and Royalties" interview and the underlying forms is a disaster.

Have any other TT users tried and failed to live with H&R Block's product?

I'm sorry to say the lower price for H&R Block wasn't worth it for me.
What little games? I used TT for the first time and it went fairly well.

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GerryL
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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by GerryL » Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:03 pm

A few years ago I got frustrated by TT because it would not let me enter some information I had and knew on which form it belonged so I switched to H&RB. The following year I switched back to TT, but when they started playing games with the pricing and which forms you could access, I switched to H&RB and used it for the next couple of years, quite happily.

This year I decided that since my income is currently almost non-existent (awaiting SS and no Roth conversions) I would try one of the free s/w options. One that was available through United Way turned out to be based on H&RB, so I figured it would be simple to use. Ha. Even though my previous year's taxes were on the H&RB website, it messed up the import. Then (shades of TT) it would not let me enter some info that was needed for my state taxes. Gave up. Used OLT (On-Line Taxes) instead.

BTW, I have found that the state programs (H&RB, TT and OLT) are nothing but interactive forms that auto-fill from the fed forms and let you fill in numbers. But they offer no guidance whatsoever and unless you carefully peruse the publication from the state taxing authority you could miss out on all sorts of credits and debits -- and other kinds of adjustments. And those state programs are not cheap.

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The529guy
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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by The529guy » Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:20 pm

Reubin wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:57 pm
What little games? I used TT for the first time and it went fairly well.
There seem to be plenty of gripes regarding pricing and capability changes from year-to-year.

In my case, I did my kid's taxes last year with the free online version; this year, it was still "free," but there was a price if I wanted to carryover last year's info, i.e. it was free to use if I didn't mind re-typing all the info they collected last year.

In terms of functionality, I love TT.

StealthRabbit
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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by StealthRabbit » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:31 pm

I find H&R to better meet my needs than TT.

I don't import.
Have 6 LLC's, farm, and 12 income properties and 14 brokerage accts.+ a few contract (1099's) and wage gigs / yr + international wage and investment income. (60 - 75 page return)

Not fun, but I really hated TT 'interview' based input. (which seemed to miss a lot of important questions!)

I would be all over a system that would allow me to fill out the forms without the cheesy step-by-step drawn out preparation and double checking.
Treat us like idiots... we act / respond as if we knew little. But such is the usual 'user friendly' (?) canned software packages. Obviously written by people who never had to do their own taxes. (or use their own software).

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by cheesepep » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:42 pm

I also did the same. TT user than tried to save money and buy HRB. I found the interface to be mostly the same but a bit less intuitive. Ended up going back. Not to say HRB is bad but not for my needs.

However, TT needs an interface update. Much of it looks like 90s software. The window can’t be resized for one.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by mhadden1 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:57 am

I used TurboTax for 10+ years. It handled my relatively simple needs just fine but got pricier and pricier with discounts harder for me to find. Last year I used TaxAct to try and save some dough - and ended up omitting some income from the state return. Not sure how that happened and I should have caught it while reviewing forms but I didn't. The state adjusted it and sent my reduced refund so no big harm done. Did not produce a lot of confidence though. From reading on this forum, people's mileage really varies.
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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by dodecahedron » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:38 am

I switched from TT to HRB for tax year 2014 because TT was giving me an intractable problem with its paternalistic but suboptimal "optimizer" for education benefits. (I had multiple part-time students in the family and it wouldn't allow me to choose the optimal combination of tuition deduction and lifetime learning credit.)

I have happily used HRB since then. It imported what I needed in the years when I needed it (a bunch of TLH transactions on a 1099-B that would have been a pain to enter by hand.)

I use the downloaded version of HRB Deluxe. Compared to TT, I like the way it allows me to switch between forms view and interview mode. It is inexpensive if strategically purchased. (I wait until BH or Camel Camel Camel alerts me that it's on sale and usually snag it for under $25. That includes a state. Because I am a NYS resident, they give me the state efile for free.)

My long term hope/goal is to simplify my financial life sufficiently so that by the time I am doing QCDs in 2024, I (and eventually anyone managing my financial affairs in the event of my incapacity) can just do a relatively simple fill-in-the-PDF return by hand.

I have seen adult children struggling with filing tax returns for their elderly parents' needlessly complicated finances while dealing with many other burdens of arranging for their end-of-life issues. It is not pretty.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by SpringMan » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:05 am

Speaking of playing little games, TurboTax is guilty of that too in my opinion. I got fooled a few years ago. Here is what to watch out for with the TT Deluxe package. When filing the state using efile, don't let them pay for the efile with money from your refund. There is an extra fee for this on top of the normal efile fee that would occur when you just provide a credit card. Either print out the state form and snail mail it which is the cheapest way or provide a credit card upon efiling the state.
Best Wishes, SpringMan

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by jebmke » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:38 am

I have been using HRB Deluxe (Desktop version) for a few years without any issues. There are a couple of quirks that I have to remember but my history is using a forms based software product for many years with TaxAide. I find interview mode slow and imprecise so I prefer the forms.

For example, as far as I know, there is no tax software that I have used that gets form 1116 correct without manual intervention.

I don't use importing of tax data. When my financial life gets to the point where I can't punch in a few numbers I have probably allowed it to get too complicated.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by TwstdSista » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:45 am

I've used the HRB software for years and haven't had a problem. But I don't import any numbers. I manually input all data. And I do my taxes by hand in advance, so I have a pretty god idea of the final number. What can I say, I'm a control freak. (I'm also self-employed, and this helps me determine my estimated taxes).

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by Kenkat » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:54 am

I have used both TT and TaxAct in prior years but tried H&R Block for the first time this year. I was not very impressed and will probably look elsewhere next year. I don’t think it offered much guidance in the software for more complicated tax issues and i ended up having to resort to web searches to figure out how to make the software work for a particular situation.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by dcabler » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:58 am

Been using HRB since 2012 with no issues. I do import and the only issue I've ever had is that I worked for a company once who used didn't use one of the standard companies for payroll, so I couldn't import my W2. I had to enter it my self. Oh, the horror! :D

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by jebmke » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:58 am

One of the quirks that I am surprised they have not addressed in the interview mode is designating non-cash donations as 30% donations. By default, the non-cash donations seem to get treated as 50% donations so when you do a donation of appreciated securities to a Donor Advised Fund you have to remember to go into one of the forms and flip a switch from 50% to 30%; otherwise you may eventually get a nice letter from the IRS if you blow past the 30% limit.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by dodecahedron » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:59 am

SpringMan wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:05 am
Speaking of playing little games, TurboTax is guilty of that too in my opinion. I got fooled a few years ago. Here is what to watch out for with the TT Deluxe package. When filing the state using efile, don't let them pay for the efile with money from your refund. There is an extra fee for this on top of the normal efile fee that would occur when you just provide a credit card. Either print out the state form and snail mail it which is the cheapest way or provide a credit card upon efiling the state.
Or move to NYS, where software vendors are not allowed to charge anything extra for efiling your state return! :twisted:

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dodecahedron
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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by dodecahedron » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:10 am

jebmke wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:58 am
One of the quirks that I am surprised they have not addressed in the interview mode is designating non-cash donations as 30% donations. By default, the non-cash donations seem to get treated as 50% donations so when you do a donation of appreciated securities to a Donor Advised Fund you have to remember to go into one of the forms and flip a switch from 50% to 30%; otherwise you may eventually get a nice letter from the IRS if you blow past the 30% limit.
Interesting quirk. I just looked at my archival paper copy of my HRB-generated 1040 for last year and I can't see any paper evidence of that quirk. I donated appreciated securities to my DAF but those donations didn't exceed 30% of my AGI so I didn't pay much attention to the issue. I will look out for it in future years. Yet another reason to go with QCDs when I become eligible for them.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by F150HD » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:20 am

dodecahedron wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:38 am
HRB...It is inexpensive if strategically purchased. (I wait until BH or Camel Camel Camel alerts me that it's on sale and usually snag it for under $25. That includes a state. Because I am a NYS resident, they give me the state efile for free.)
+1

If one waits until Jan/Feb to buy it, price goes up significantly and fewer discounts seem to be available. Buy in mid/late November or December and one is surely to find a deal or discount on it. I bought it around 12/1/17 for under $20 (Deluxe)

I recall the Schedule C-F TurboTax issue years ago.....who knows when they'll pull that stunt again.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by jebmke » Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:20 am

dodecahedron wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:10 am
Interesting quirk. I just looked at my archival paper copy of my HRB-generated 1040 for last year and I can't see any paper evidence of that quirk. I donated appreciated securities to my DAF but those donations didn't exceed 30% of my AGI so I didn't pay much attention to the issue. I will look out for it in future years. Yet another reason to go with QCDs when I become eligible for them.
Yes; if you open up the form for Non-Cash donations, down on line 9 is a drop down box for specifying property type.

I too may have no more need for DAF donations. in 5 years we start SS and RMDs so most donations will probably go via QCDs. The only exception might be if we need to offload a large equity holding and don't have the destinations chosen.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by bogglizer » Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:24 am

I had a couple of unsolvable problems with TT this year, so I called the help number, got an agent very quickly, and she solved my problems right away by directly entering numbers on the forms. So, the complaint that TT won't let you do things seems to be bogus in general. If you couldn't get something done and didn't call in for help, then you only have yourself to blame for it.

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dodecahedron
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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by dodecahedron » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:30 pm

bogglizer wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:24 am
I had a couple of unsolvable problems with TT this year, so I called the help number, got an agent very quickly, and she solved my problems right away by directly entering numbers on the forms. So, the complaint that TT won't let you do things seems to be bogus in general. If you couldn't get something done and didn't call in for help, then you only have yourself to blame for it.
I assume you are using the online (cloud) version of TT. Your suggestion does not work for those of us who prefer (for a number of good reasons) to use the downloaded non-cloud version of tax software.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by criticalmass » Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:50 pm

F150HD wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 10:20 am
dodecahedron wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:38 am
HRB...It is inexpensive if strategically purchased. (I wait until BH or Camel Camel Camel alerts me that it's on sale and usually snag it for under $25. That includes a state. Because I am a NYS resident, they give me the state efile for free.)
+1

If one waits until Jan/Feb to buy it, price goes up significantly and fewer discounts seem to be available. Buy in mid/late November or December and one is surely to find a deal or discount on it. I bought it around 12/1/17 for under $20 (Deluxe)

The price right now is $17.99 at Amazon for H&R Block Tax Software Deluxe + State 2017 with 5% Refund Bonus Offer [PC Download]. Camelcamelcamel also reports this is the lowest price they've seen. So if you purchased in November or December, you paid a higher price than you can purchase it for right now.

I switched from Turbotax to H&R Block/Taxcut and haven't looked back. H&R works much better for me, and is cheaper. Many years I calculate by hand too so I can compare.

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F150HD
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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by F150HD » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:17 pm

criticalmass wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:50 pm
The price right now is $17.99 at Amazon for H&R Block Tax Software Deluxe + State 2017 with 5% Refund Bonus Offer [PC Download]. Camelcamelcamel also reports this is the lowest price they've seen. So if you purchased in November or December, you paid a higher price than you can purchase it for right now.

I switched from Turbotax to H&R Block/Taxcut and haven't looked back. H&R works much better for me, and is cheaper. Many years I calculate by hand too so I can compare.
mine was super cheap.

For that 5%: When Deluxe Tax Software is purchased and used for preparation and filing, and the consumer opts to put their refund on an Amazon gift card, they will receive a 5% Bonus. See Amazon.com for offer details.

I have no desire to get an Amazon gift card & get locked into spending my refund at Amazon.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by michaeljc70 » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:44 pm

I've used both. I don't consider one particularly that great compared to the other. I am using H&R Block this year. They keep pushing through updates. That makes me wonder, when will the software calculate my taxes properly so I can file my return? Or are these updates things like keeping the program from crashing (which I have not experienced)?

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by talzara » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:52 pm

michaeljc70 wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:44 pm
I've used both. I don't consider one particularly that great compared to the other. I am using H&R Block this year. They keep pushing through updates. That makes me wonder, when will the software calculate my taxes properly so I can file my return? Or are these updates things like keeping the program from crashing (which I have not experienced)?
Updates fix both program crashes and tax errors. You never know when the software will calculate your taxes properly. The software will still have bugs on the filing date.

The last update from H&R Block last year was in April.

The last update from TurboTax last year was in September.

Some Bogleheads wait until October 15 to file their taxes. That's when the software has the fewest bugs. You also have another 6 months to get corrected forms.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by annielouise » Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:05 pm

I think H&RB is less annoying then TT if you have a good grasp of the tax code, while TT is better if you need more guidance.

We switched many years ago because TT software at the time was handling HSAs incorrectly.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by dodecahedron » Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:27 pm

annielouise wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:05 pm
I think H&RB is less annoying then TT if you have a good grasp of the tax code, while TT is better if you need more guidance.
I agree with this assessment. I do not need guidance. I need a program that will correctly fill in and efile all the appropriate federal and state forms to cross all the t's and dot all the i's to arrive at an answer I have already figured out.

My kids call me the "tax goddess," recognizing my supernatural (??) grasp of the tax code. As a tax goddess, I prefer HRB to TT, but neither program is supernatural. :twisted: I always cross-check the bottom line very carefully before efiling.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by bogglizer » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:07 am

dodecahedron wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:30 pm
bogglizer wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:24 am
I had a couple of unsolvable problems with TT this year, so I called the help number, got an agent very quickly, and she solved my problems right away by directly entering numbers on the forms. So, the complaint that TT won't let you do things seems to be bogus in general. If you couldn't get something done and didn't call in for help, then you only have yourself to blame for it.
I assume you are using the online (cloud) version of TT. Your suggestion does not work for those of us who prefer (for a number of good reasons) to use the downloaded non-cloud version of tax software.
Bought the disk at Costco.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by criticalmass » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:48 am

F150HD wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:17 pm
criticalmass wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:50 pm
The price right now is $17.99 at Amazon for H&R Block Tax Software Deluxe + State 2017 with 5% Refund Bonus Offer [PC Download]. Camelcamelcamel also reports this is the lowest price they've seen. So if you purchased in November or December, you paid a higher price than you can purchase it for right now.

I switched from Turbotax to H&R Block/Taxcut and haven't looked back. H&R works much better for me, and is cheaper. Many years I calculate by hand too so I can compare.
mine was super cheap.

For that 5%: When Deluxe Tax Software is purchased and used for preparation and filing, and the consumer opts to put their refund on an Amazon gift card, they will receive a 5% Bonus. See Amazon.com for offer details.

I have no desire to get an Amazon gift card & get locked into spending my refund at Amazon.
That is completely optional. I never take advantage of that offer, but then again if I receive a refund, I did something wrong.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by MrJones » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:40 am

dodecahedron wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 8:38 am
It is inexpensive if strategically purchased. (I wait until BH or Camel Camel Camel alerts me that it's on sale and usually snag it for under $25. That includes a state. Because I am a NYS resident, they give me the state efile for free.)
Very good point. HRB can usually be purchased for about $10 or less each year including state. Sites like slickdeals post the deals.

Another great option is the free 1040 Excel files that this one person does. It's very well done, and has always been very smooth for me. He accepts donations (I have no association except for having used his awesome software):

https://sites.google.com/site/excel1040/

It is it in the interests of HRB and the like to keep our tax code as complex as possible, and thus they lobby against tax code simplification. So I hate to contribute to their business.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by chw » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:30 am

I used HRB for many years until about 8 years ago, when decided to try TT. Didn't see a big difference at first, except they began allowing imports of several 1099s and W-2s, which imported accurately, and was a huge timesaver. I've also been able to get their phone support on the phone reasonably easily, and found them to be well versed in the topics I needed to discuss- most recently the 1099-k from PayPal.
Last edited by chw on Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dodecahedron
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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by dodecahedron » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:44 am

bogglizer wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:07 am
dodecahedron wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 2:30 pm
bogglizer wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:24 am
I had a couple of unsolvable problems with TT this year, so I called the help number, got an agent very quickly, and she solved my problems right away by directly entering numbers on the forms. So, the complaint that TT won't let you do things seems to be bogus in general. If you couldn't get something done and didn't call in for help, then you only have yourself to blame for it.
I assume you are using the online (cloud) version of TT. Your suggestion does not work for those of us who prefer (for a number of good reasons) to use the downloaded non-cloud version of tax software.
Bought the disk at Costco.
If you were using a program locally installed on your home computer how was she able to directly enter numbers on the forms? Or did you mean to write that she told you what numbers to enter?

Back when I was using TT, I frequently entered numbers in the forms myself rather than using the step-by-step. The problem was their "optimizer" (designed to choose which of the multiple legally available education tax benefits for the two students in the household was the optimal combination) kept overriding a choice that I knew dominated the TT optimizer's choice. I am not sure if a phone call would have enabled me to do anything I hadn't already tried. The paternalistic yet suboptimal optimizer was annoying.

In any case, I am happier with a program that costs me less and where I have been able to do everything I need to do for the past four years without having to call anyone on the phone to ask them how to do it.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by JEC » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:06 am

StealthRabbit wrote:
Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:31 pm
...14 brokerage accts....
:?

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by SGM » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:25 am

I have been using H&R Block for a long time. I quit TurboTax for good one year when they demanded too much personal information. This year I have been working on 6 different tax returns with no program issues. Often enough I override and I never E-file.

I do have a friendship with a CPA who reviews my entries and refuses all payments. He will come back for a second visit to review an issue of divided ownership that changed to full ownership in 2017.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by carolinaman » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:41 am

I am a long time TT user and very satisfied with the product. I think the price is well worth it for me. If I had a really simple return, I would probably use one of the free products. I tried Taxact one time based upon comments from this forum. I did not like it and gladly went back to TT.

I have never tried HRB but would expect it to be a decent product. If I had been using HRB for years and tried TT for first time, I would probably be unhappy because of the learning curve, different presentation, etc.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by masteraleph » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:14 am

As others have noted- either one will likely work for most scenarios, each one will probably mess up a couple of scenarios, and TT seems to have slightly more in the way of guidance, but can be more of a pain about filling in forms. We switched from TT to HRB back when TT tried to force everyone with investments to Premier. The net result for us is saving a little bit of money; HRB is typically available for $15-20 including state, and since we live in NY, there are no state e-filing charges. I do find that I have to pay a little bit more attention to HRB's instructions/questions, but not that much. I also understand the taxes pretty well, though, so I can usually tell if I've messed something up pretty quickly.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by THY4373 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:27 am

I switched to HRB about 10 years ago. No problems at all. I have a pretty simple return basically W2 and investment income.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by sailfish2 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:31 pm

DO NOT use HRB for online filing.

When online filing, they did not give me the option to deduct sales tax! :oops: If I had not caught this I would have missed out on $500 of refund :moneybag

Yikes !

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by alfaspider » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:43 pm

sailfish2 wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:31 pm
DO NOT use HRB for online filing.

When online filing, they did not give me the option to deduct sales tax! :oops: If I had not caught this I would have missed out on $500 of refund :moneybag

Yikes !
It always had when I've used it. But it's always a good idea to verify on the actual form no matter what program you use.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by dodecahedron » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:58 pm

sailfish2 wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:31 pm
DO NOT use HRB for online filing.

When online filing, they did not give me the option to deduct sales tax! :oops: If I had not caught this I would have missed out on $500 of refund :moneybag

Yikes !
I am not sure what you mean by online filing.

I have used the downloaded version of HRB for four years and I efiled the resulting return online. My efiles included a Schedule A and allowed me to opt for deducting state sales tax, which I did.

I dislike cloud-based online versions of tax software in general and refuse to use them for any product, but efiling online from a downloaded product has been fine.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:01 am

F150HD wrote:
Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:17 pm
I have no desire to get an Amazon gift card & get locked into spending my refund at Amazon.
I haven't looked at this year, but in the past Amazon was only one of the choices for gift cards. Naturally that's the one that was advertised on Amazon.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:03 am

criticalmass wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:48 am
That is completely optional. I never take advantage of that offer, but then again if I receive a refund, I did something wrong.
You can force a refund by filing an extension with payment, then your return soon after.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by mhadden1 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:46 am

I helped a friend file this year, who could use HRB via the IRS free-filing page. She was able to itemize for 2016, but had a giant interest savings from an excellent mortgage refi for all of 2017. While totting up deductions HRB faithfully compared her state income tax to state sales tax , in the end correctly concluding that she should take the standard deduction.
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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by aj76er » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:51 am

dodecahedron wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:58 pm
I dislike cloud-based online versions of tax software in general and refuse to use them for any product, but efiling online from a downloaded product has been fine.
Why do you dislike cloud-based versions?

I used HRB this year and it was the first time I self-prepared and filed in many, many years. I only chose HRB because it was $24 on sale. I did have to wrestle with it on a few issues and went back-and-forth between the forms and the interview mode (I also delved into the IRS schedule's instructions in some instances).

Next year, I'm considering cloud-based options like FreeTaxUSA or TT online. But curious what the pros/cons are over downloaded SW
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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by dodecahedron » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:30 am

aj76er wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:51 am
dodecahedron wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:58 pm
I dislike cloud-based online versions of tax software in general and refuse to use them for any product, but efiling online from a downloaded product has been fine.
Why do you dislike cloud-based versions?
1) Cloud-based versions that I have seen do not allow easy switching between forms-based entry and interview entry. I like to be able to easily navigate between those two views.

2) Cloud-based versions means my tax records (including names, SSNs, DOBs, bank account numbers) are permanently stored on a server that is accessible to anyone who manages to hack my log-in credentials. (Downloaded software allows me to keep my tax records on a thumb drive or backup disk not permanently connected to the internet.)

3) Cloud-based versions have pricing tiers that can force me to buy a higher level version of the product in the cloud version than I could manage with in the downloaded version.

4) Cloud-based versions can have congestion issues during peak times when lots of taxpayers are trying to file at the same time.

5) Downloaded version allows me to lock in a known price at the time I purchase the software. I can take my time about preparing and filing. Cloud-based software may advertise one price at the time you start filing but if you take your time and wind up finishing the return at a peak time, the price may be much higher than you thought it would be.

6) Downloaded version allows me to create and print multiple scenarios, e.g., for tax planning or research purposes. The purchase of one downloaded software package allows me to prepare and efile returns for up to five family members and to print out returns for an unlimited number of scenarios.

My biggest complaint about cloud-based software is that you can't really see what it is doing behind the scenes. It is a black-box approach to tax preparation, where it asks you questions with giving you a way to understand what it is doing with the answers to those questions. I have tried to help do-it-yourself taxpayers who are trying to use online versions of software and gotten really annoyed because it is so hard to troubleshoot where they went wrong.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by criticalmass » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:06 am

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:03 am
criticalmass wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:48 am
That is completely optional. I never take advantage of that offer, but then again if I receive a refund, I did something wrong.
You can force a refund by filing an extension with payment, then your return soon after.
How would this be helpful or simplify tax time (the reason for using tax filing automation software in the first place)?

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by aj76er » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:40 am

dodecahedron wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:30 am
aj76er wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:51 am
dodecahedron wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:58 pm
I dislike cloud-based online versions of tax software in general and refuse to use them for any product, but efiling online from a downloaded product has been fine.
Why do you dislike cloud-based versions?
1) Cloud-based versions that I have seen do not allow easy switching between forms-based entry and interview entry. I like to be able to easily navigate between those two views.

2) Cloud-based versions means my tax records (including names, SSNs, DOBs, bank account numbers) are permanently stored on a server that is accessible to anyone who manages to hack my log-in credentials. (Downloaded software allows me to keep my tax records on a thumb drive or backup disk not permanently connected to the internet.)

3) Cloud-based versions have pricing tiers that can force me to buy a higher level version of the product in the cloud version than I could manage with in the downloaded version.

4) Cloud-based versions can have congestion issues during peak times when lots of taxpayers are trying to file at the same time.

5) Downloaded version allows me to lock in a known price at the time I purchase the software. I can take my time about preparing and filing. Cloud-based software may advertise one price at the time you start filing but if you take your time and wind up finishing the return at a peak time, the price may be much higher than you thought it would be.

6) Downloaded version allows me to create and print multiple scenarios, e.g., for tax planning or research purposes. The purchase of one downloaded software package allows me to prepare and efile returns for up to five family members and to print out returns for an unlimited number of scenarios.

My biggest complaint about cloud-based software is that you can't really see what it is doing behind the scenes. It is a black-box approach to tax preparation, where it asks you questions with giving you a way to understand what it is doing with the answers to those questions. I have tried to help do-it-yourself taxpayers who are trying to use online versions of software and gotten really annoyed because it is so hard to troubleshoot where they went wrong.
Thank you! I was not aware that one couldn't easily switch between the actual forms in the online programs. This alone is a deal breaker, as it makes debugging nearly impossible. The rest of your points are great too (some of which I hadn't considered, like peak congestion)
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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:50 am

criticalmass wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:06 am
Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:03 am
criticalmass wrote:
Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:48 am
That is completely optional. I never take advantage of that offer, but then again if I receive a refund, I did something wrong.
You can force a refund by filing an extension with payment, then your return soon after.
How would this be helpful or simplify tax time (the reason for using tax filing automation software in the first place)?
It would be helpful to get the refund bonus. It's a 5% return on your money over a few weeks.

It does add some complexity, but not much. Many don't want to have a refund because of "free loan to the gubmint" so in this case it minimizes the time.
This week's fortune cookie: "Your financial life will be secure and beneficial." So I got that going for me, which is nice.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by talzara » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:09 pm

dodecahedron wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:30 am
1) Cloud-based versions that I have seen do not allow easy switching between forms-based entry and interview entry. I like to be able to easily navigate between those two views.
Cloud-based software usually charges you when you file. If they allowed you to see the form, then you could file on paper without paying them. Most of them will allow you to see the form if you pay first.

I agree with everything else you said about the downsides of cloud tax software.

Taxes aren't like email, which I read on my desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone. I only use one computer to prepare my taxes. Tax software running on my own computer is better, faster, cheaper, and more secure than the cloud version.

However, I don't know how much longer we'll have this choice. 10 years maybe? TurboTax and TaxAct have already stopped advertising the downloaded version on their home pages. They push everyone to the cloud version. You have to go into the menu or the footer to find the downloaded version.

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Re: H&R Block vs TurboTax (spoiler: HRB is awful)

Post by dodecahedron » Tue Mar 13, 2018 2:26 pm

talzara wrote:
Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:09 pm
However, I don't know how much longer we'll have this choice. 10 years maybe? TurboTax and TaxAct have already stopped advertising the downloaded version on their home pages. They push everyone to the cloud version. You have to go into the menu or the footer to find the downloaded version.
You could be right. All the more motivation for me to simplify my finances to the point where I can stop relying on software and just fill in a simple PDF.

I am working towards a goal of massively simpler taxes by 2024 when RMDs kick in.

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