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I've used H&R Block's tax software every year since 2004. Some annoyances, but most of it is excellent.

The 2011 version is much like 2010.

You can save money by waiting for price dips (see below).

Unlimited number of tax returns: (family members, what-if copies of your return, etc.) 5 Federal e-Files included. Nice!

Unlimited paper filings for one state ($ 19.95 extra per state e-file). So, I just file state returns on paper.

I would say it delivers huge bang for the buck.

- - - Price Dips - - -

The amazon price swings mostly between 25 and 40 (see Note 2). Amazon has almost always had the best price. There's an "Online Price Alert" that will email you whenever this or any amazon product dips below your target price. Google it. It's nicely done.

- - - Typical minor annoyances - - -

These are all carry-overs from 2010

- Upgrade pitches: They weave it into the interview and make it sound as if "an upgrade to Premium is advised for your situation" even when it makes little or no sense for your situation. Sleazy.

- Unclear wording in a few places, although most wording is very clear and accurate.

- Privacy Policy: Hard to view. Hard to read. Has reassuring tone, but doesn't hold much water.

- Copy...Paste from Interview screens: That would be very handy at times. No can do. Can't print them either. Only way I found is ALT + PrintScreen, then paste the graphic into Word or a paint program.

- - - Alternatives - - -

TurboTax is the head-on competitor. Both products have their fans and haters. Both can import previous year's data from the competing product, but most people become married to one or the other. TurboTax fomented a huge rebellion in 2008 when it introduced fee-per-tax-return pricing. They backed down on that, but they do usually charge 15-66% more than H&R Block.

H&R Block's Basic and Premium editions: See H&R Block's helpful comparison table. There are also Basic and Deluxe editions without a state download included.

Free File Tax Software - multiple IRS sponsored tax softwares to choose from if your last year's AGI was 58,000 or less. Available after January 17 via the IRS site. Free File Fillable Forms are available to all income levels -- No tax help, and no state forms are bundled in.

TaxAct has a free version, but it does not import previous year's data, and does not include state. Their better versions are almost as expensive as H&R Block at low tide, and not as good.

- - - Download Version - - -

Downloading via Amazon is pretty smooth and painless. You can easily download it again later, even to a different computer if need be. Your authorization is stored in your account at amazon. You need to first install Amazon's special Downloader software -- also fairly painless. (Download version)

- - - Notes - - -

Note 1: Early Versions: Before the mid-January update, it may not reflect all tax law changes, but I was able to punch in all my numbers and do some valuable "what-if" scenarios before year end (Federal only. No state modules were available as of January 1.) You can easily flag your estimated numbers as "Tentative" so they won't get accidentally included on your final return.

Note 2: Price History: If history is a guide, you can get this on amazon for about 25 bucks sometime in January. (Price dropped to $20 for 1 day on January 7, 2012). I plotted last year's price history as a pic and uploaded it, but amazon removed it on Dec 22.
2020 comments|369 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 12, 2012
I am highly disappointed in the HR Block software this year. Last year I efiled with no issues encountered. This year - same return, I get an error about not being able to efile because my rental property is in a foreign country. When I went to find help, the online help disconnected 4 different times. The only answer to this issue that I got was "we're sorry, it doesn't do it this year." When I tried to point out that this is a loss of feature functionality and that it's a potential bug. I got the same exact answer. When I asked how do I escalate this? I got "we're sorry, thank you" click - hung up on. I used to recommend your software to people but I guess I can't anymore. And I totallly cannot recommend your online support group as they were no help at all.
33 comments|25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 15, 2012
Since I've been using H&R Block's software for several years I ordered the new version as soon as it became available in late 2011. Now that 2012 is here I finally loaded it up and started entering tax info for 2011.

This software always seems to work okay. But, every year they stuff more advertising into it. From time to time it will almost insist that you upgrade to a more expensive version of the software. The default button on the screen usually equates to the user saying "of course I'd love to spend more money to do a relatively simple tax return." Somewhere on these screens you can find a place to click to go on without getting or paying for the upgrade. But, it always seems to be in fine print.

Not having used the competing product, TurboTax, for quite some time I don't know if they do the same thing. I wouldn't be surprised if all of the tax software publishers do this.
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on February 10, 2012
My complaint is poor technical support for state tax forms. On our Montana state return, the software would not allow me to enter some spouse income (Additions to Income, federal tax refund). When I tried, the program would switch to 'filing status: single,' and the spouse boxes would gray out and accept no input.

A software bug, and probably easily fixable by a programmer familiar with the program. But there is no way to send an e-mail to describe a technical problem. The HR Block home and customer service pages have no e-mail link at all. Instead, you must call and you get funneled to a general customer service rep. After 15 agonizing minutes with the rep and her supervisor, it was clear neither had any knowledge of the Montana state software or tax law, and did not even understand the problem, let alone know the answer. Then I was put on hold and disconnected. With no e-mail link, I would have had to call back and start from scratch again with a service rep that didn't know the program. Instead, I opted to run off hard copy (most of the return was correct), make the necessary final calculations by hand, and fill out a return by hand with corrected entries. In other words, I had to do the work that I paid Block to do.

Addendum: to print the hard copy, I inserted some dummy numbers toward the end, just to get to the 'print forms' button. When I got there, the automatic error-check gave me a cheerful: "No errors found!" This was though the return understated income by several hundred dollars and was in conflict with the federal data. Not reassuring.

Next year, TurboTax.
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on February 4, 2012
I just got my copy of HR Block Deluxe + State and started doing our taxes today. Well I got as far as our stock options and that's as far as I can go. Seems they did NOT account for the new IRS Form 3921 that is being sent out this year and they have NO plans to include it. How do I know . . . I called and talked to them this afternoon. So for anyone that got a "Exercise of an Incentive Stock Option" Form 3921 you are out of luck if you bought this program. You know what they told me . . . I will have to PAPER FILE!!!! Paper file I said, you mean that you all made no plans to incorporate this form into your program??? Of course they said no, they have no updates planned. What a waste of money and of course she said I didn't waste my money! I have been using HR Block since the 90's when it was Taxcut, but this is inexcusable. I just hope I saved someone some money. Oh and I did some research and TurboTax Premier has the forms I need so off to order that! At least someone thought ahead . . .
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on February 16, 2012
Do not buy this software. I'll join in with other bad reviews because of a HUGE bug. I installed and updated the program, started the federal return, saved, closed, worked on it more, saved, closed,then finished the federal. The program asks that you choose your state then installs and asks you to update. Once I continued with the state (Massachusetts) return, I soon realized that ALL OF MY DATA was gone!. There is no other saved copy anywhere on my computer. The Block support is via online chat. Here is their response: "Timothy H.: Okay. Unfortunately we do not have any way to recover the data that may have been lost. All we can say is to re-enter the information and save it again, and make sure when you save that it does not overwrite any previously saved entries. We apologize for this issue, and value you as our customer."

So how do I make sure it does not overwrite saved entries? Am I a Block programmer? It's almost comical, except that I spent hours entering data.

By the way, the chat asks for some info as you enter the session, including your product and tax year. Here it is Feb 16 and there is no option to choose tax year 2011.

Sloppy, makes you wonder how many more errors are within the calculations. I can no longer trust the company. I have used this software for years (before Tax Cut became H&R Block) and am saddened that the quality control has gone downhill.
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on February 15, 2012
I give 1 to this product. Here is why:

I used 2010 version before. This time I used 2011 H&R Block Home Deluxe+State running on Windows 7. When I run MA state tax return I found the tax return was surprising lower. So I printed out MA FORM-1 and found the line 13 'Number of dependents ... under 12' was blank that missed $3600 deduction. The state program pull dependent information from Fed program. It should not miscalculate it. I went back to check the information in Fed tax return and couldn't find any problem. I checked the Update status all programs were up to date. I called H&R Block support and was told there was no known issue with MA program. I saved the data and closed the program and restarted it and then checked the dependent information again. there was ! displayed on each dependent line which I saw it when I started Fed program and I had removed it by editing the lines. I edited each dependent line and 'removed' the ! again. after that I noticed the MA tax return changed. I went to state program and saw the line 13 had the number as it should be there.

Apparently it is a 'unknown' and unforgivable bug. it almost caused big loss to me. I am not sure if I should manually check the tax return result next time using the program. Note: I am a very experienced software engineer.
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on January 3, 2012
I have used this software many times over the years. It does what it should. The only complaint I have is with Deduction Pro. A couple of years ago it was included on the disc, now you have to go to their website to use it. I am uncomfortable with this and it is more difficult.
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on February 9, 2012
I've used this product for about ten years now, and with one exception one year, it's been super easy for us to submit our joint return. That one year there was "tinkering" at the factory (the software developers) and some of their questions were simply non-sensical and gave us some doubt as to whether the information we input was going to give us an accurate tax return. It did, and we've been very happy with the ease, and the price, of this product. If you'll look on some of the price tracking web sites, you can decide if you want to wait for the price to drop, or just go ahead and buy it now and get your return filed. The price I paid on Amazon was about half of what it is today (Feb 9, 2012) simply because I grabbed it on one day when the price dipped. Of the two major tax preparation products, this one is by far the best for several reasons: it leads you through your return by simply asking questions; it's got many ways you can stop and seek "help," all of which were quite supportive in my view; the price is usually about $10-$15 less than the other product; it quickly imports data (your name, SSAN, mutual funds, expected employers' data, etc, so you don't have to type this repetitive information into your 1040 every year. Yes, I'm sure they both do about the same thing, but why pay more for the other product?
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on March 19, 2012
I am a long time user of H&R Block. I am a CPA and also a CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor). This is the worst year's experience I have ever had with this software.

Pros: Generally works correctly. Has most needed forms.

Cons: the Jump to input feature dead ends often. This is incorrect and was poorly programmed. The way it is supposed to work is, certain fields are meant to be greyed out so as to force input from a worksheet or supporting schedule. so you right click the cell and Jump to the source. There you do the input, and the program carries the result to the form being filed. OK when it works. But many times, too many times a greyed out field says that there is no source input. Very frustrating. Minus 2 stars for that.
Worse, this year I had the unpleasant experience of finding a field whose source is an incorrect link. Minus one star for that.
I attempted to report it thru the free customer support chat. The one answering the phone was not competent to assist. Worse, when I asked for a supervisor, she claimed to be a supervisor. It took a long time to get her to the point where she acknowledged she was out of her depth and put on a supervisor. Who said I would be called back within 48 hours. I was, but the person responding said I would have to be called back by software development, again in not more than another 48 hours. Another star off for staffing customer support with non-competent staffers. A cynic could suspect that the software is designed to drive business to the H&R Block offices.
Follow up: When "Software Development" returned my call it was to tell me they couldn't fix it this year, they would fix it next year!!! They also had no record of other problems except the mis-link, that I spent additional time discussing with them. Another 2 stars off. I told the developer his company's response was inadequate and that I would be switching to Turbo Tax next year. I will probably switch this year. TT has only 20% 1 & 2 star reviews, this has 25% bad reviews.

Another problem: the help system is very un-user friendly. It should recognize the cell you are working on and take you to the help for that specific topic. instead it brings you to the general screen telling you how to use the help overall. Minus another star, especially in a long developed product like this one.
The help does not have enough topics or ways of getting to the topic you need. you have to word it exactly as in the help index or it gets you nothing. OK for 1999, ,unsatisfactory for 2012. another star off for that. OOPs, no stars left.

For NY schedule C filers: no IT-202S, the simple version of the UBT form. Only the long form. minus another star. Negative stars!

I am sad to write this review as I used to like this product. The Customer support person said they did not want to lose me as a customer, but that is probably just talk. If they want to keep me, they should specifically address each point I have raised here with a proper remediation. fOLLOW UP:See my follow up above. Poor customer service responses cause me to want to give them NEGATIVE stars. I would give them minus 3.
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