TurboTax vs. H&R Block: Which Is Better in 2019?
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(Original link: thestreet.com)

Should you use TurboTax? Should you take your taxes in to H&R Block?
Should you just skip the whole thing altogether, bury your money in Zihuatanejo and hope the IRS won't notice? (Nope. Nope. Definitely not that last one. It's a felony.)
There are few simple answers when it comes to complicated money issues. Fortunately, this is one of the few exceptions. If you are among the 92% of taxpayers expected to claim the standard deduction this year you should use H&R Block ( HRB ) online. Both they and Intuit's ( INTU ) TurboTax offer free filing options for taxpayers who don't itemize their taxes, but only H&R Block's software incorporates the full 1040 form.
What's more, on each premium tier H&R Block is noticeably cheaper while offering a substantially similar product. No matter what your filing situation, in 2019 it's likely that H&R Block is the better choice.
What You Need to Know About Tax Preparation? Americans spend about $12 billion on tax preparation each year and a staggering 9 billion collective hours of labor. This is expected to increase significantly this year as Americans adapt to the changes made in the 2017 tax cuts.
Two important reasons drive this. The first is complexity. The U.S. tax code contains thousands of deductions, credits and other carve-outs that can save a savvy taxpayer money. However, most people simply don't understand everything they're entitled to, so making the most of your taxes takes expertise.
The second reason is time. It takes hours, sometimes days, to do your taxes right. Not many people can stomach the amount of paperwork necessary to avoid an IRS recalculation notice.
Instead, we let accountants and, increasingly, software do it for us. And for most taxpayers, that means a trip to either H&R Block or TurboTax.
A Note on the 1040 As of 2019 the IRS has dramatically reduced the length on the 1040 to simplify it. In reality, all of the information formerly requested on the Form 1040 has simply been moved to a new set of forms, Schedules One through Six.
While the 1040 is, in fact, much smaller than before, your taxes have not grown less complicated. The paperwork was simply manipulated to make it appear that way.
How TurboTax Works TurboTax is all software. Most users will go to the company's web portal and file their taxes directly through there, although you can also purchase a standalone copy. Unless you operate a business, however, it is very unlikely that you will need the standalone copy of TurboTax. This article will discuss the company's online product, which is its most popular option and can fill the needs of almost all individual taxpayers.
Here's what you need to know about filing with TurboTax.
Free Option TurboTax allows you to file one state and one federal return electronically for free, although only if you use a simple 1040 using the standard deduction.
Pricing • TurboTax Deluxe - $60 base price, plus $40 per state return
• TurboTax Premier - $100base price, plus $40 per state return
• TurboTax Business/Self-Employed - $120 base price, plus $40 per state return
• TurboTax Live - approximately $70 - $80 more per level
TurboTax Features TurboTax breaks its features up according to which additional paperwork you have to file. Each version includes all the features of the version before it.
TurboTax Free The free version fills out a simple 1040 with the standard deduction and a few above-the-line tax credits such as the Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax Credit. This version can handle basic W-2 earnings and some limited investment income and will e-file your federal tax return and one state return.
This is a limited option, even though most filers can still use it. TurboTax's free version does not include the new Schedules One through Six, which means that common above the line deductions such as student loan interest now require you to pay for TurboTax Deluxe. However, if used the 1040 EZ in previous years this will probably be the right option for you.
TurboTax Deluxe Turbo Tax Deluxe can handle line-item deductions (Schedule A) and all above-the-line deductions such as student loan interest and health savings accounts. It can also handle some situations of freelance income (Schedule C-EZ).
This is the right option for most W-2 taxpayers whose qualifying deductions add up to more than the standard deduction. If you have an expensive home, made substantial charitable contributions or suffered a significant property loss during the year, Deluxe might be right for you.
This might also be the right option for you if you made a relatively small amount of money as a contractor with comparatively few expenses, such as driving for Uber or renting out an Airbnb.
TurboTax Premier The Premier version can handle income and deductions related to investments, rental property or the sale of major property and associated depreciation (Schedule D).
In all likelihood this is the most niche TurboTax product given that few Americans have active investment portfolios b...