Friday, February 14, 2014

TurboTax vs H&R Block At Home vs TaxACT: Compare Guarantees

Shelley Emblad for writes:  I've compared a number of guarantees provided by TurboTaxH&R Block At Home and TaxACTtax software, with an explanation of each type of guarantee and which software offers the best deal.

1. Price Lock Guarantee

Price Lock Guarantee
Best Value: TaxACT
When you buy Windows or Mac desktop tax software, you pay the price up front before you use the software. With online tax software, the price advertised when you start your online return could change by the time you e-file it, especially if you take a few weeks to complete your taxes. This is the can happen with both H&R Block At Home Online and TurboTax Online, but TaxACT Online has a Price Lock Guarantee: the price advertised at the time you start your return is the price you pay when you finish it. If you prefer online tax software and chances are good that you won't finish your taxes until March or April, this price lock guarantee is something to consider.

2. Accuracy Guarantee

Bullseye target accuracy.
Best Value: TaxACT and TurboTax
Unless you have a very simple return, wait until mid-February to file to ensure that the IRS has issued all forms that apply to your return. The tax software will automatically check for updates (online software will be updated before you log in) each time it's used and right before you file or print out your return.
TurboTax, TaxACT and H&R Block At Home all have excellent error checking features and you will be guided through correcting errors if any are found. Tax for updates are automatically downloaded at each use and right before the final return is printed or electronically filed. To ensure you have all form updates for your return, wait until mid-February to file.
If your return is found to be inaccurate, H&R Block At Home will reimburse you for penalties and taxes up to $10,000. Both TaxACT and TurboTax reimburse for penalties and taxes and don't state a maximum amount.

3. Maximum Refund Guarantee

Best Value: Three way tie
The Maximum Refund Guarantee states that if you prepare your return with any other tax software and this results in a higher tax refund or a lower tax owed, the software will refund the cost of the software. Granted, this cost is low compared to the time put into preparing the same return in two different tax software, but that's what is offered by TaxACT, TurboTax and H&R Block At Home.

4. Audit Support

Tax audit support.
Best Value: H&R Block At Home
The chances of being audited when you use tax software are less than if you complete taxes on your own. This is because of the tax education, explanation, guidance and links to additional resources available in the software that you just can't replicate when doing taxes on your own. That said, TurboTax, H&R Block At Home and TaxACT all have different Audit Support Guarantees.
TaxACT audit support consists only of information and explanations provided about audits in the software help area. There is no human support.
TurboTax audit support consists of a tax pro who is available to answer questions and explain how to handle an audit all year round, but there is no in-person representation. TurboTax offers the Audit Defense service for an additional fee, which handles everything for you for both federal and state audits from start to finish. The cost is usually between $60 and $75.
H&R Block At Home provides the Worry Free Audit Supportguarantee with the cost of all tax software. This guarantee provides a tax professional to manage an audit by helping you to prepare for an audit and to attending audit hearings with you.

5. Money Back Guarantees

30 day money back guarantee.
Best Value: H&R Block At Home, TurboTax
If you buy desktop versions of TurboTax, H&R Block At Home or TaxACT and you decide you hate it, you can get a refund. Money back guarantees do not apply to online tax software since you don't pay before you use it, only when you file your return. When sending the software back to the company, be sure to get tracking on the package and include proof of purchase and any other information specified in the software refund links below.
TurboTax will refund your money if you make the request within 60 days of purchase.
TaxACT will refund your money within 30 days of purchase. Online instructions advise providing written notice to TaxACT and sending the software back to the company.
H&R Block At Home refunds the cost of the desktop tax software within 60 days from date of purchase if you're unhappy with it.