Best Tax Software 2016: TurboTax vs H&R Block

In the TurboTax vs H&R Block contest, the best tax software isn’t necessarily TurboTax. TurboTax is smoother than H&R Block. That said, the best tax software depends heavily on who’s using it.

This article compares TurboTax vs H&R Block and TaxACT to find the best tax software available. Our picks are based on features and price. We also match the best tax software to each specific tax need.

Overall for 2015 and 2016, the TurboTax vs H&R Block matchup puts H&R Block on top. TaxACT brings up the rear. The tables below show side by side comparisons of all rates and features for the different tax software options.

H&R Block offers more features at lower prices than TurboTax. TaxACT brings the lowest price, though users sacrifice features and ease-of-use. If money were no object, most people would choose TurboTax since it’s easiest and fastest.

TurboTax vs H&R Block vs TaxACT

Based on price and features, the best tax software for 2016 is H&R Block. In the TurboTax vs H&R Block comparison, it’s important to realize both are excellent products. For all around ease of use, TurboTax wins. That said, taxpayers who want the best tax software at the lowest price ranges should go with H&R Block. TurboTax’s pricing scheme makes it look like the TurboTax vs H&R Block prices are identical, but that’s not the case at all.

TurboTax vs H&R Block: Why H&R Block is the best tax software 2015/2016:
TurboTax vs H&R Block: Why H&R Block is the best tax software 2015/2016:H&R Block has the more features for less money than any other tax software.
TurboTax vs H&R Block prices.H&R Block prices are $0 to $87 with more features in the lower range than TurboTax.
TurboTax vs H&R Block, live help.H&R Block has live help at ALL prices. TurboTax live help is limited to upper price ranges. Also Block has in-person support in case of audit.
TurboTax vs TaxAct: More expensive but better product.H&R Block is more expensive than TaxACT but with smoother tax software and much better support.

Also see: The Women’s Tax: Women Charged More for Same Products!

Best Tax Software 2016: Who Are You?

Different people have different needs. The best tax software for a business owner isn’t the same as the best for a single mom, a college student or a doctor. The table below shows the best software option depending on different criteria. TurboTax wins for ease of use, while H&R Block gives the best bang for the buck. TaxACT wins on price. Overall in the TurboTax vs H&R Block contest, Block takes the crown.

TurboTax vs H&R Block: Best Tax Software
CriteriaTurboTax vs H&R Block vs TaxACTReason
Best tax softwareH&R BlockTurboTax vs H&R Block, Block is best all around. Most features for the least money. Live help at all price levels.
Best tax software for priceTaxACTTurboTax vs H&R Block vs TaxACT, TaxACT wins on price. $35 for the Deluxe Edition. Rock bottom.
Worst tax software for priceTurboTaxTurboTax vs H&R Block, TurboTax loses. $117 for their Home & Business online version. Other versions are expensive too.
Best tax software for ease of useTurboTaxTurboTax vs H&R Block, TurboTax wins on ease of use. Very easy and intuitive interface is frustration free.
Best tax software for live helpH&R BlockTurboTax vs H&R Block for live help, Block wins. Live phone tax help available for all levels. In-person audit support is a huge bonus.
Best tax software for price+featuresH&R BlockTurboTax vs H&R Block for prices+features, Block wins. More expensive than TaxACT but less than TurboTax. Far more features and help than either.
Best tax software for multiple statesTurboTaxTurboTax vs H&R Block for multiple states, TurboTax wins. Free state taxes for multiple states with deluxe and premium download versions.
Best tax software for small business ownersH&R BlockTurboTax vs H&R Block for small business, Block wins. $72 Deluxe online version gets IRS schedules A, C, D, E plus unlimited phone tax help.
Best tax software for people on a budgetTaxACTTurboTax vs H&R Block vs TaxACT on price alone, TaxACT wins. Free state and federal taxes. The software is still cheap if you find you need to upgrade.

Also see: 6 Reasons to Get an IRS PIN Right Now

Best Tax Software for Ease of Use: TurboTax

TurboTax is the best tax software for ease of use. For taxpayers who want tax time to be easy and fast and don’t care about spending $20 to $40 extra, TurboTax is the best choice. The lower priced options cut a lot more features than Block’s software. It’s also a lot more expensive than TaxACT. Overall though, it’s a fast, simple tax solution that’ll get the job done right.

TurboTax Prices vs Features

TurboTax vs H&R Block vs TaxACT: TurboTax Prices and Features (See below for Block and TaxACT)
FreeDeluxePremierHome & BusinessBasic
TurboTax Price (Federal + 1 State)$0$72$92$117$70 to $100
Ease of use#1#1#1#1#1
Deductions Covered:
Schedule A (itemized deductions)YYYY
Schedule C (Self employment and small business)YY
Schedule D (investment income)YYY
Schedule E (Rental property income)YYY
All IRS schedules & FormsYY
Added Features:
Phone tax adviceSomeSomeYPay more for better phone tax support
Save info for next yearYYYY
In person audit support
Bonus gift card
Price per extra state$37$37$37$37$0 to $40

Also see: How Not To Lose Money on Tax Return Amazon Gift Cards

TurboTax Prices: Don’t Be Fooled

TurboTax is a great piece of software. Having said that, it could benefit from publishing its prices and features a lot more clearly. It appears cheaper than H&R Block. It’s got a truly free option and many cheaper options than Block. But TurboTax cuts a lot out of its cheaper price levels. Look at the list below of online prices:

TurboTax vs H&R Block vs TaxACT: Prices
TurboTaxH&R BlockTaxACT
Best tax software price for simple taxes:$0$28$0
Best tax software price for small business owners:$117$72$35
Best tax software price for rental property or investment income:$92$72$35
Best tax software price for very complex taxes:$117$87$35

Also see: What Should I Do if I Made A Mistake on My Taxes?

H&R Block: All Around Best Tax Software

H&R Block’s tax software covers more features, more IRS schedules and forms for less money than TurboTax. That makes it our best tax software pick for 2016. Additional perks include live phone tax help for every price level (not so with TurboTax) and in-person audit support. It’s more expensive than TaxAct but for anyone whose main concern isn’t price alone, Block is the clear winner.

TurboTax vs H&R Block vs TaxACT: Block Prices and Features
H&R BlockOnlineDownload
H&R Block Price (Federal + 1 State)$28$62$72$87$60 to $80
Ease of use#2#2#2#2#2
Deductions Covered:
Schedule A (itemized deductions)YYYDepends on price paid above
Schedule C (Self employment and small business)YYDepends on price paid above
Schedule D (investment income)YYDepends on price paid above
Schedule E (Rental property income)YYDepends on price paid above
All IRS schedules & FormsYDepends on price paid above
Added Features:
Phone tax adviceYYYYY
Save info for next yearYYYY
In person audit supportYYYYY
Bonus gift card5%5%10%10%5% to 10%
Price per extra state$28$37$37$37$40

Also see: 4 Tips to Save Big Money on Taxes

Best Tax Software for Price: TaxACT

TaxACT is by far the best tax software for price. It’s not as slick and smooth as either H&R Block or TurboTax, but it’s not bad. It’s also got the easiest pricing scheme to understand. For $35, anyone shopping solely on price should pick TaxACT hands down.

TurboTax vs H&R Block vs TaxACT: TaxACT Prices and Features
TaxACT Price (Federal + 1 State)$0$30$35
Ease of use#3#3#3
Deductions Covered:
Schedule A (itemized deductions)YY
Schedule C (Self employment and small business)Y
Schedule D (investment income)YY
Schedule E (Rental property income)YY
All IRS schedules & FormsY
Added Features:
Phone tax adviceYYY
Save info for next yearY
In person audit support
Bonus gift card
Price per extra state$15$15

Also see: 12 Common Tax Mistakes That Make You an IRS Target

Downloaded Versions Are Cheaper

Best Tax Software 2016 H&R BlockThe TurboTax vs H&R Block debate wouldn’t be complete without a nod to their download versions.

Simply put, the download versions offer more features for the money.

Download Differences:
  • TurboTax download users pay $70 to cover all IRS tax situations, forms and schedules. They pay up to $100 for phone tax support to match.
  • H&R Block download users pay $60 to $80 for varying levels of tax complexity and phone tax support.

5% to 10% Extra: H&R Block’s Deal Sweetener

For 2015 and 2016, H&R Block is offering 5% to 10% extra depending on the package.

Taxpayers who choose Block’s Free or Basic versions get a 5% bonus on a gift card for Target, Amazon or other retailers. Deluxe and premium users get 10%. With the average federal tax return at $3,000, that could be a welcome $300 shopping spree come tax time. Check out our article here on whether that’s worth the trouble.

TurboTax had a tax return gift card deal last tax season. There’s no sign yet that they’re offering it again this year.