H&R Block Review

(Editor Rating)

Ranking

8.7/10

H&R Block is a long-standing, credible name and a great choice for filing your taxes. The flexibility, accessibility, and affordability combined with superior customer support options make H&R Block one of our top choices for online tax preparation software in Canada. Overall, H&R Block is a trusted brand and an excellent option if you want to file your taxes online.

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Affordability

9/10

Usability

8/10

Comprehensiveness

9/10

Customer support

9/10



Best for:

 

  • Families, students and individual returns
  • New Canadians & first-time online tax filing
  • Expert help
  • Maximum refund guarantee
  • Fast refunds
  • Audit assistance

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There are many other online tax preparation software programs you can use besides H&R Block. Other options include paying a professional accountant, filing your return manually on paper, or using one of the free community volunteer income tax programs offered by the CRA, some of these are even offered virtually this year.

About H&R Block

H&R Canada is a tax preparer that has been doing business in Canada for over 55 years. H&R Block initially offered their services through traditional retail locations (in fact, you might recognize their logo from a location in your city). However, over the years, they have migrated their services online and now offer tax preparing software on desktop and mobile devices.

Their online software offers the same perks and benefits as their in-person filing service, including flexible pricing depending on your situation, good customer service, and integration with the Canada Revenue Agency’s NETFILE tool.

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H&R Block Price Plans

Like most online tax software programs, you only pay for what you need for 2020 taxes with H&R Block. With this online tax software, there are three tiers of pricing:

Free Version

  • Cost: $0 per return
  • Best for: Simple individual tax returns
  • Features: automatically optimizes your return, step-by-step guidance to do it yourself with confidence, an online help center, integration with the CRA to autofill your return, and a SmartSearch tool that lets you search through hundreds of tax forms and add them to your return

Assistance Version

  • Cost: $19.99 per return
  • Best for: Families, students, and individuals
  • Features: All features of the free version, plus customized tax tips to optimize your return, unlimited technical support, carrying forward data from previous years like RRSP contributions, and a detailed calculation summary before you file

Protection Version

  • Cost: $29.99 per return
  • Best for: Complicated returns, families, small businesses
  • Features: All free and assistance features, unlimited priority support via a toll-free phone number, audit assistance, and digital return storage for seven years

H&R Block is very close to other top online tax software programs in terms of cost. Their Protection pricing tier, which is ideal for small businesses or families with more complicated income tax returns, is slightly less expensive than other online tax software.

If you’d prefer to file your taxes in person, H&R Block still offers those options. However, with COVID-19, they’ve implemented new features to make the process as safe as possible, including dropping off your documents or uploading them remotely to be filed by a tax expert. In these cases, a tax expert will contact you with a quote on a price after reviewing your documents.

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Key Features 

  • Affordable, flexible pricing options: H&R Block is not a one-size-fits-all online tax software. If your return is simple, you can use the free version. For more complicated cases, you can choose a more sophisticated version with a maximum price of $29.99.

  • NETFILE Integration: NETFILE lets H&R Block file your income tax return on your behalf. When you NETFILE with H&R Block, you’ll get an Express Notice of Assessment immediately.

  • Auto-Importing from CRA: If you’ve contributed to your RRSP or worked a job in 2020, H&R Block can import these tax slips directly from the CRA, simplifying your tax process.

  • SmartSearch: Add what you need to your income tax return, and avoid sifting through hundreds of available forms using the SmartSearch features. H&R Block will ask you several interview questions to narrow down this process.

  • Maximum Refund Guarantee: H&R Block will automatically scan for missed credits and deductions that you may have missed, maximizing your return and minimizing your amount owing.

  • Expert Review: Book a session with a tax expert for as little as $29.99 to ensure your return is 100% correct.

  • Fast Refunds: Canadians who use H&R Block’s in-person service receive their refund instantly. Those who file online receive their income tax refund in as little as eight days.

  • Last Will & Testament: If you don’t have a will, H&R Block has you covered. This optional add-on allows you to complete your plan online to help protect your family and assets.

  • Audit Assistance: If you are audited, an H&R Block tax expert will walk you through the process step-by-step.

  • Trustworthy: H&R Block has 55 years of tax filing experience.

  • Year-Round Operations: Some tax accountants are only available during tax season, but with H&R Block, you’ll have access to tax filing software and tax experts year-round.

Support Options

H&R Block started out as a solely brick-and-mortar tax preparation company, and that origin story is actually a huge strength in my opinion. Their tax software is just as streamlined and straightforward as many of their competitors, and it comes with all of the bells and whistles you’d expect from premium online tax software. But where they really excel is in their customer service.

Many online tax software programs have limited customer support, customer support only for premium users, or even no support for their customers. If you have a question, you’re left to comb through the endless help centre to find an answer. H&R Block, on the other hand, has excellent access to customer support, you can even hire an expert to review your taxes before you file. Here’s how to get in touch with H&R Block:

  • Phone Support – All general client inquiries can be directed to their phone support line, 1-800-HRBLOCK, from Monday to Friday, 10:00 am – 7:00 pm EST.
  • Online Help Centre – For help using the H&R Block software, you can peruse the online help center.
  • Chat support – If you have questions while filing online, the online chat feature helps you get answers quickly. This feature is only available for Assistance and Protection plan members.
  • In-Person – If you absolutely can’t find the answers to your questions, consider visiting a branch in person for advice or guidance.

Pros and Cons

There are some definite pros to using H&R Block. When I used the H&R Block software, I found the software itself to be on par with other competing online tax preparation software. It had everything you come to expect, like a streamlined interface, NETFILE certification, and return optimization.

Where the software excelled was in the customer support offered, its affordability (even the premium versions are less expensive than competing brands) and the customer service. Getting in touch with H&R Block was far easier than with other software programs, and, when I wasn’t sure if my return was completed correctly, I was able to easily upgrade and have an expert review my return before I filed.

The downside? It doesn’t offer as many options for complex tax situations. If you’ve got rental property income or you’re self-employed, you may find H&R Block’s online tax software a bit limited.

Pros

  • Easy to use — Software is straightforward for standard tax returns.
  • NETFILE certified — Import your tax information with a few clicks and file your income tax return directly to the CRA. Receive a Notice of Assessment immediately and your refund in as little as eight days.
  • Good level of support — Support is available via phone, online chat, and extensive help center.
  • Affordable — H&R Block costs slightly less than other premium online tax software in Canada.

Cons

  • Not suitable for complex tax situations — For complex tax situations, the online program isn’t the best, but an in-person appointment will handle your needs.

How Does It Compare?

H&R Block is not alone in the online tax preparation marketplace. Here’s how it stands up to  several competitors:

 H&R BlockTurboTaxWealthsimple Tax
Pricing$0 - $29.99$0 - $44.99$0
PromoGet 15% off any H&R Block package!Exclusive promo: Young & Thrifty readers save up to 15% on TurboTax!None
NETFILE CertifiedYesYesYes
EncryptionYesYes, TLSYes
FeaturesAuto-fill my return from CRA, SmartSearch, importing return from previous years, express NOA, eight-day refund,

audit assistance, maximum refund guarantee
Auto-fill my return from CRA, express NOA, importing return from previous years, RRSP optimization, pension splitting, handles non-resident returns, refiling, mobile app for iOS and AndroidSmartSearch, Auto-fill my return from CRA, refund optimizing, express  NOA, refiling
SupportPhone support, in-person support at branches, online help center, chat supportCommunity help available in free version; phone and one-way video support available in paid DIY productsOnline FAQ section, email support
Optional add-onsExpert review, audit protection, last will and testament, digital return storageAudit protection, ID monitoring, expert review, have an expert file your return from start to finish No
More InfoVisit SiteVisit SiteVisit Site

User Experience

When you sign into H&R Block or log in for the first time, you’ll be prompted to start your 2020 return or file returns for different years.

H&R Block reviewOnce you click “Start Your 2020 Return,”  you’ll see a brand-new screen that outlines the changes to Canadian taxes in 2020. Since the federal and provincial governments offered so many incentives and benefits in 2020, it might be confusing to know which ones you’ll claim on your taxes and how those claims will impact your overall tax situation. H&R Block breaks it down nicely.

H&R Block reviewOnce you’ve reviewed the information about the recent tax changes, it’s time to get started with your return. H&R Block lays out the process very clearly on the next screen and lays out the process in five easy steps.

H&R Block review 3After entering some necessary information about your family, your residency, and your personal information, H&R Block will give you the option to choose which software package is right for you. You’ll make your selection and add your payment details. Once you complete this section, you’ll start entering your tax information.

H&R Block review 4

FAQs

H&R Block offers three different pricing tiers ranging in cost from $0 - $29.99 per return. You can add extra features like having your return reviewed by a tax expert for an additional fee of $29.99.
If you use H&R Block’s in-person filing service, you can immediately receive your refund, less the cost of paying your tax expert. If you file online, you’ll receive your refund from the CRA in eight business days.
Yes! H&R Block is one of Canada’s leading tax filing companies with 55 years of experience and is an excellent choice whether you are planning to file your taxes online or in-person.
When you file your income tax return using the H&R Block software, you are only charged a flat fee up to a maximum of $29.99 depending on the tier of software that you use, and if you have direct deposit configured, you’ll receive your refund in eight days. If you file your taxes at an H&R Block branch in Canada, and opt for an instant refund, you are charged a percentage fee of 15% on the first $400 and 5% on the remaining refund.

The Verdict

I’m confident in putting H&R Block in the category of best online tax software in Canada. It has stand-out features that you’d expect from a premium tax product, including integration with the CRA to enable NETFILE and auto-population, return tracking from year to year, and expert help and customer support. These features make filing your income tax return a breeze, all for an affordable maximum price of $29.99.

H&R Block’s online tax filing software is ideal for most tax situations: from students to small business or income-property owners. The software itself is easy to use and transparent, and if you get stuck, their customer service availability is excellent. So if you are considering filing your taxes online for the first time in 2021, I wouldn’t hesitate to endorse H&R Block as an easy and safe option.

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