- WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock
- Tax Day is here – the deadline to file your tax return is April 17 this year.
- Scrambling to meet the filing deadline? Both H&R Block and TurboTax provide free tax preparation services.
- Business Insider compared the two services to find out which one was easier to use.
Filing taxes isn’t exactly my idea of a good time.
But tax season is here, which means I, along with the rest of America, now have until April 17 to file.
The good news is that some of us have the option of using free online tax services to file our 2017 taxes. If your income was less than $66,000 in 2017, many online tax services offer the option to file for your federal taxes – and sometimes state taxes – for free. You can check your options using the IRS Free File Lookup tool.
I took the liberty of testing out the free tax services of both H&R Block and TurboTax – two of the most well-known online destinations for filing taxes. H&R Block primarily deals in tax preparation, but also offers consulting services. TurboTax is an offshoot of tech company Intuit.
Keep in mind, I went through all the steps of filing my taxes with both services, but I didn’t actually submit my tax return for this experiment. When our Insider Picks team tried out both services last year to see which one came up with better tax refunds, TurboTax ended up the victor in most cases.
While clicking through both interfaces, I took note of which one felt more user-friendly to me.
With that in mind, I’d declare H&R Block the winner.
For me, the competition was a toss-up in many ways. Both services offered a free file option, which is great. Both offered intuitive and easy-to-use interfaces. As you click through both TurboTax and H&R Block, the software actually takes the time to answer a lot of your questions and keep things moving. That’s especially helpful if you’re like me, and essentially have no idea what you’re doing.
The services also had a similar affect, too. Both sort of lulled me into feeling pretty calm and good about the filing process.
So what set H&R Block apart?
It simply felt a bit more intuitive and seamless. H&R Block also spent less time trying to push me to upgrade. I mean, I get it, but TurboTax always felt a bit insistent in that respect.
But this all comes with one major caveat, because I’m probably not going to use H&R Block to file my taxes this year.
Last year, I used TurboTax to file my taxes. But first, I tried using H&R Block – and ended up quitting it in a rage. For whatever reason, I found it made it extremely difficult for me to file both my Business Insider income and income from my random side hustle. Meanwhile, TurboTax handled the extra income source with ease.
This year, I don’t have to worry about my side hustle. But, even though I’ll agree that H&R Block has the better service for me this year, I’ll probably continue to use TurboTax because it already has all my information and I’ve already established an account.
All that being said, you probably won’t go wrong with either free service.
Read more before filing your tax return this year:
- The last day to submit your tax return is Tuesday – here’s what to expect if you waited until the last minute to file
- Here’s when your tax refund will hit your bank account, according to the IRS
- How to figure out if you should do your own taxes or hire a pro
- I tried 11 websites that let you file your taxes online for free – and there’s something for everybody
- How to use H&R Block to file your taxes for free in 2018
- How to use TurboTax to file your taxes for free in 2018
Protect yourself against tax scams:
- The IRS isn’t calling you – it’s a scam, and here’s what to do if it happens to you
- Identity thieves are running the same scams this tax season – with a new twist
- Last year my tax refund was stolen – here’s what you should do so it doesn’t happen to you
See how you compare to other taxpayers:
- What Americans pay in state income taxes, ranked from highest to lowest
- The size of your tax refund depends on where you live – here’s how much the average person gets back in every state
- I filed my own taxes for the first time ever using TurboTax – and got the biggest refund I’ve ever received
- Getting a huge tax refund can be a costly mistake – here’s why a financial planner would rather get a bill