Friday, February 13, 2015

E-File.com vs TurboTax vs H&R Block: Online Tax Filing Services Reviewed and Compared

Michael Wyatt for Knoji writes: E-file is the best choice for those looking to save the most amount of money for online filing. This is because it has the lowest prices as well as the FairValue feature that automatically puts you in the lowest price bracket. TurboTax is ideal for those who don’t mind paying extra for filing in order to get the lowest deductions possible. H&R Block is better for those who like access to more traditional solutions as well as the online ones.
Covered in this report
E-File.com — Best Features
Automatic fair value pricing means that if you could file for cheaper you get the cheaper price automatically.
File multiple state returns without paying extra.
Best for: Those in a hurry who don't want to worry about manually finding the lowest price.
TurboTax — Best Features
Search through over 350 possible deductions automatically.
Double-check for mistakes and potentially missed forms.
Best for: Those who don't mind paying a little extra to get the fullest rebate possible.
H&R Block — Best Features
Import forms from other services like TurboTax.
In-person audit support from tax professionals if you get audited.
Best for: Those who prefer optional in-person support in addition to the online variety.
Best deal: 20% off of onine filing - [activate coupon]
Review
Filing taxes can be a real hassle in terms of keeping track of everything, especially if you file as a self-employed individual. Fortunately, there are services you can use to aid you in filing taxes which can all be done online. Here are a few examples of online tax services in terms of their strengths against one another.

E-File


E-file is on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of price and services. They are a good choice for the economically minded.
Features
  • Quick Response to Questions-There’s a box right in the corner for E-file where you can input your email address and questions and get a response through email instantly.
  • Free Federal Filing-E-file allows you to file your federal taxes for free as long as your single with no children and no mortgage and as long as you are filing the standard 1040EZ form.
  • Multiple State Returns for Same Price-The Deluxe version of the E-file service lets you file multiple state returns without having to pay extra for it.
  • Automatic FairValue Pricing-E-file makes it so that even if you select a higher priced service like Deluxe or Premium, if you would qualify for the free, then you don’t pay anything.  Anything you add or subtract from your filing will automatically add or subtract from your price based n which form you need.

TurboTax


Turbotax by Intuit is easily one of the more famous tax services online. It’s especially useful for those who need to file as self-employed or with a self-run business since it has products related directly to that called the “Home & Business” line. Turbotax also can save your filing information from year to year to make it easier for you to file the next time.
Features
  • W2 Importing-You can upload your W2 and have Turbotax immediately scan it and use the information to fill out as many forms as possible.
  • Absolute Zero Free Tax Filing-This feature makes it so that you can claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, Affordable Act (ObamaCare) forms, find government benefits and get audit support all for free.
  • Free State Return-While other services offer simple federal state returns for free, Turbotax is now offering a simple state return for free as well.
  • Phone, Chat, Community and Expert Support Features-You can connect right to a live chat support tech instantly, or else call for help, look around the extensive Turbotax community, or else ask your question in more of a form and email kind of way.
  • Double-Check Your Tax Return-Once you fill everything out with Turbotax, the system will actually check every form that you entered and bring matters to your attention that you haven’t filled out, or that look problematic.
  • Over 350 Deductions-The system will search through hundreds of deductions in order to find those that might apply to you based on how you fill out the forms.

H&R Block Online


H&R Block Online is an extension of the in-person service. As a result, it’s often useful for those who prefer to have the option to go in-person if they want since there are over 11,000 locations throughout the country so there’s probably one near you.
Features
  • Over 60 Years of Experience-When you go with H&R Block one big advantage is that they’ve  been at this for 60 years, so you get a little security in knowing they have a basic understanding of what they’re doing.
  • In-Person Audit Support-The service will actually help you prepare for an audit and represent you in person if it becomes necessary with certain levels of the online software and service.
  • 24/7 Instant Chat-During tax season, you can find a tax representative online day and night, 7 days a week.
  • Tax Storage-You can store your tax return for up to 6 years on the H&R Block servers.
  • Import Forms Including from Other Services-You can import forms like W-2, 1099 not just from H&R Block, but also from TurboTax  or TaxAct.
  • Get Reimbursed for IRS Penalties-This only counts if the online tax preparation or any of the tax software makes a mathematical error that leads to you receiving penalties from the IRS.

Price
E-file allows you to file the standard 1040EZ for free, with the option to add State for $10. The Deluxe version which allows you to file form 1040A as well as add extra stuff like children, a mortgage and income from retirement all for $25. The state return here is $20. If you want to file self-employed, you need Premium which is $35 or so for extra stuff like itemized deductions.
Turbotax costs $35 for the Deluxe version. The Premier version is $55, and the Home & Business is $80. These are all for federal filing. If you want state filing, it will be an additional price of $37. So Turbotax is considerably pricier for everything, but it also has more features.
H&R Block Online also offers free federal tax filing services, but only for those who are filing for the first time. State filing is $10 or so. The Basic plan is $20 for federal. The Deluxe plan is $30 for federal and the Premium plan is $50 for federal. State filing is a little under $40. This means that H&R Block is essentially middle of the road in terms of pricing.
Features
E-file lets you ask questions through a tax support request form. It uses Trust Guard for security, and it’s officially an IRS authorized company. One of their biggest features is the FairValue feature which ensures that you automatically pay the lowest price based on what you add to your tax return.
Turbotax definitely has one of the better support feature offerings around. This includes phone, live chat, forum and community forum support. This is significantly better than what E-file offers, for example.
H&R Block has a lot of unique features such as the IRS penalty reimbursement and the fact that they will represent you in-person if you go with their online service. They also have solid support features like live chat access 24 hours a day during tax season.
Overall, Turbotax seems to have the best automatic features, with H&R Block having better traditional features such as the in-person audit.

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