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Downloading Notes:

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. That's also fairly painless.

Product Review:

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

Price Dips: Below 25 buckss. Sometimes below 20. It went to 22.49 on Jan 12, 2011, for example. Amazon has 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.

Unlimited number of tax returns: (family members, what-if copies of your return, etc.) I think TurboTax also lets you do this now, but in the past TurboTax pulled some real nasty tricks with licensing/copy protection, and they continue to charge 18-45% more than H&R Block.

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

"Free" tax softwares like TaxAct might be the thing if your return is very simple, but their better versions are almost as expensive as H&R Block at low tide, and not as good.

The 2010 version is just like 2009. (I did a side-by-side run-through.)

Typical minor annoyances: (all carry-overs from 2009)

- 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 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.
66 comments| 131 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on January 26, 2011
I have been using H&R block for last 2 years. Installs easily, gets the data from previous year return easily, rest is all easy to fill.

I have deducted one star for not having efile facility for state return. As you can see the title says that "deluxe federal state efile" but when you try to efile state, it will ask you 20 bucks for efile. I feel cheated when I saw that. I just printed the state return, manually filled info on state tax website, and "efiled". They should clarify that efile for state is not free.

Update 4/4/11
I efiled my return on 1/25/11, which was accepted by IRS on 2/16/11. However, I accidently deleted my saved T10 file, so I put in the same numbers again in the software to make a copy for next year. HERE comes the surprise. My original return put business deduction in itemized deduction instead of 2106 EZ, so I paid 268 dollars extra.
I had to compare page by page myself, H&Rblock helpdesk was useless. After wasting 2 hours over phone, they gave me a "free" code for ATA(Ask a tax question), who told me to file 1040x.
I called IRS helpline, and they were most helpful without asking any money.
I will never trust H&R block again.
Stay away from them.
44 comments| 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on February 13, 2011
I'm surprised by the number of negative comments. After reading many of them, it appears that most are about downloading or importing additional information from other software. I haven't experienced any of those problems.

First, the download from Amazon was simple and easy. You do have to be careful and pay attention to where Amazon says it is putting it on your computer. I actually thought the download hadn't worked the first time, but when I went back, I found the program exactly where Amazon said it would be -- it just wasn't where I thought it would be in the first place. Nevertheless, the download itself was simple and Amazon's software library is great because if you lose the file or need to reinstall it, Amazon will allow you to do so from your personalized software library. A great "peace-of-mind" aspect to their service.

Second, we have a small home-based business, so we need to file a Schedule C (and several other documents). I've used the deluxe version of this program for the last 10 years and have found it to be wonderful. I've had a professional tax consultant review the results a few times and he has been impressed with the detail that is included in the program. The questions are simple and easy to understand. It does take a while, but if your files are in order, you can be finished in one evening. The program did try to get us to upgrade once, but it was only once, and I can't fault them for doing so. They are a business and trying to sell a product, why wouldn't they advertise other options available to consumers? It was certainly not annoying, and a single click to tell them "no thank you" gets you on your way to the next part of the interview. We also have an older computer, but this year's version loaded just fine.

Third, my only gripe with this is the customer support from H&R Block. (and this is the reason why I gave it 4/5) I downloaded the state program (again, a simple process). However, when it was completed, I had a question about one of the deductions allowed for my state. At the time, it didn't appear that the program was putting in the correct number. I called Customer Support, and they had no easy answer and the person I spoke with had trouble calling up my state form. I find this ridiculous. All I wanted to know was how a particular line on my state form was calculated, and she couldn't tell me. It's not that she thought I needed to talk to a tax consultant and was refusing to answer, she just didn't know the answer to what I thought was a rather simple question. After being on the phone for 48 minutes, I happened to stumble across something from my state's tax website, which gave me the answer. You can be sure that I alerted the CS representative and made sure she knew to tell her supervisor that I was not pleased that they didn't have the answer.

So, overall -- it's a great product for simple and more complicated tax returns. I've been pleased with the product for the last ten years, and Amazon's download price was 40 percent off Walmart's best price locally, so that was an added plus. The product is easy to interact with. I was just sorely disappointed with the lack of knowledge from the customer support team.

Happy tax season!
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on April 15, 2011
I used H&R block last year too, and can't say I liked it completely. However I went with it again this year, for two reasons: it is much lower priced compared to turbo-tax, and I wanted to import as much as possible from last year's software (i.e. I didnt want to enter all those personal information, addresses, last years key numbers, etc).

It has improved a bit from last years, especially in investment accounts import (it didn't have direct import from scottrade last year, it has, this year along with a bunch of others). But the import is still limited, as it cant match your buys and sells (you have to do the matching. It can be painful if you have too many trades, which luckily I didnt have this year.

The other annoyance is, it wont allow you state e-file if you have more than 13 short-term stock trades. I have no idea why, and as far as I know TurboTax has no such restrictions. One more thing about e-file: you have to pay $19.95 per state (though 5 federal e-files are included free).

Overall, it is OK. It works. But if your tax situation is very simple go for TaxAct online: it is free for federal e-file and cheap for state e-file. And from my experience 2 years ago, and from what I hear from some of my friends, it is very good.
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on February 2, 2011
We have used H&R Block's tax software for years and are continually pleased with their program. It is very easy to use, and goes step by step through the return. I also like the fact that it shows at a glance in the upper right hand corner whether you're getting a refund or how much you owe - for federal AND state returns (after you download your state).

One tip previously mentioned is to use an "online price alert" to get the lowest price on the software. I actually purchased it cheaper this year than last by using the alert.

Also, be sure to download updates for the program once you get it installed. I see from some of the reviews that this has been an issue for some people, but it is very easy to check for updates and download them. Usually major updates are released before the end of January, and yes, sometimes there are multiple updates needed. This is true with ANY software you use.

We used TurboTax ONCE and will never use it again. The H&R Block software is far superior, IMHO.

If you have trouble understanding a tax return in general, or have an extremely complicated return, then seeing a tax professional is probably the best idea for you. However, for those of us who have a very simple return (I have even used it with our business records and had no problem), this is the way to go!
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on February 6, 2011
I don't have the time to write an extensive review but I want to reassure any person who is worried about purchasing this download based on prior reviews that you don't need to be worried. I have used the Taxcut software for years (seven or eight years). It is always a little less expensive than turbotax and I find the software to be very easy to follow and I feel that I always get my maximum refund. I was cautious since the softward has changed from Taxcut to H & R Block At Home but it is identical to what I was used to.
Key Highlights
*Amazon's software downloader was problem-free, fast, and easy
*Software imported my 2009 data from my computer - saved me lots of time
*DeductionPro is now online - interview takes you to it and it is easier than the 2009 version of DeductionPro
*Efile is still easy, free, and fast
*State software was downloaded when I prompted - fast, quick, easy.
*Software warned me that it may take longer to get refund since IRS is not accepting returns with itemized deductions until mid-Feb. I was happy to be warned of this possibility since otherwise I would have been angry that my refund wasn't processing like in years past.

The only reason why I give this software 4 out of 5 stars is because I still think that tax software is not 100% reliable as speaking with a CPA or real live person who does your taxes. I do have a couple of questions and although the software does answer it to the best of its ability, I sometimes worry that I'm making a mistake or not doing my return correctly. It is always a risk I take and so far I have not had any problems with the IRS or any personal tax liability issues so I believe I'm doing my taxes correctly. It is just nice I had the option of a person reviewing my return just to make 100% sure.
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on February 24, 2011
The download process at Amazon works well. I'm not thrilled about the latest version of this H&R Block at Home 2010 Deluxe. The Deduction Pro is online. Deduction Pro is painful for charitable contributions. You also can't edit it once you've completed an entry if it has more than 50 items in it. I had to go back and edit it because I had the wrong year on a contribution (the calender doesn't default to 2010). It won't allow you to edit the date or any items if there are more that 50 items in it. That's rediculous. I had to delete the entry and create a new one. Finding the donated items in their drop down lists is slow and painful. Reentering over 50 items is a giant waste of my time. Once completed, you then tell the H&R program where the downloaded 'deduction pro' file is. I have yet to find the web link (again) in the program to get to the Deduction Pro website.
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on April 17, 2011
I was very happy with the HR Block At Home Software last year and used it again this year. The federal side functioned well but the California side had several frustrating issues that may or may not impact you.

I found that it did not import all of the information from last year's California return to this year's. So when I went to e-file, I had to look up and enter my California AGI rather than have it entered from last year's data package. That may not seem like a big deal, but regardless of the fact that I did enter it correctly, the State rejected the e-file twice and I ended up mailing it in.

It also did not list the Use tax rate for each county as it did in 2009. This is a little used field for self-reporting out-of-state purchases (such as those made on Amazon) and paying Use tax on them. I went to the Board of Equalization website to find the rate for my county but found that the rates are not broken down into sales and use. Since the tax rate hasn't changed since last year, I opened the 2009 return, found the rate and then manually entered it.

It also absolutely would not fill out form 3801. Despite following the instructions exactly as listed and attempting to manually enter what should have been imported from the Federal return, it would not take my entries. The instructions told me to print out a corresponding Federal form, look up the instructions for that form, fill out the worksheets accordingly, and then import them into the California worksheet. Are you kidding me?!?!? Isnt' this what the software is supposed to do?

Nonetheless, I did all of that only to discover that it would under no circumstances take my entries.

If you have a simple California return with nothing but W2 wages and standard itemized deductions then this software may work just fine for you. But if it is a little more complex, I'd just go to the Block offices and have them done there. They are competent and speedy and it will save you a lot of hassle.
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on February 3, 2011
This is the second year in a row I've used the H&R Block software, and continue to be pleased by the straight-forward navigation and ease of use.

The price point is good, especially compared with taking receipts to an accountant. That said, I don't find it incredibly intuitive for any sort of real complicated tax issues.

If you need live advice, it's available for an extra $20 fee. At some point, it becomes a better value to take it into a professional. But if you can swing it on your own without additional asssistance, this is the way to go.

Note that this does not include any state e-filing fees (only federal). This version includes federal e-filing for up to five federal returns. The next step up (premium) only include federal filing for one return, but it does include one of those $20 advice calls and some extra features. So be sure to compare the features before deciding which version is best for you.
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on April 19, 2011
I was pleased with the ease of H&R Block At Home 2010 this year. However, I had some complications come up that I wasn't able to solve in the program. I had a special issue that I wanted to approach differently, but I couldn't alter the form to make the changes I wanted to make. I also had some supporting documents that I wanted to include so that I could file my return online, but I was unable to do this. My sibling, with the same issue, had an accountant do his return and the accountant's software was able to allow him to make the non-default entries on the special form and to include a letter of explanation in my brother's return and still file it online. I won't have this issue again in the future, I hope, but the additional flexiblity would be nice. I suppose, though, that it would void any sort of warranties that come with the software.
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