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Online tax software roundup: H&R Block, TaxAct, and TurboTax compared

IDG News Service Staff | March 16, 2016
Here we go again. The glorious comeback of the tax return. Our yearly reminder that your first financial overlords await your annual offering.

That said, unlike the other two, H&R Block offers free audit representation and lets you transfer your return from the online app to a local H&R Block office if you want a more personal experience than the Web can offer.

As was the case with TurboTax, H&R Block offers no options for importing data from a prior year’s tax return, whether that return is in PDF or H&R Block’s desktop app format. You’ll be entering all your basic data by hand if you’re using this app for the first time.

While there’s no difference in the questions you’re asked in any of these apps, H&R Block offers an interface that I think is the best of the three. The text is clear, the color scheme is easy on the eyes, and everything is sized in such a way that your eyes aren’t searching edge-to-edge in the browser window and you aren’t continuously scrolling up and down to find what you need.

Bottom line

I mentioned at the beginning of this review that I was bowled over by TaxAct: it offers the most options for filing taxes, including corporation taxes. That fact alone marks it as a standout, because the only way to file corporate taxes using a Mac is to purchase the Windows version of TurboTax for business and run it in a virtual machine or Bootcamp. There isn’t another offering on the Web for filing your business taxes, period.

When it comes to filing personal taxes, in terms of questions asked and the ease and confidence with which you’re able to file them, there is no substantial difference between any of these apps. They will all walk you though the process with aplomb. But, TaxAct will do it with the least damage to your bottom line and the least manual data entry.


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