Turbotax vs H&R Block and How I found an Extra 1,000

H&R Block

Since I’ve been working, I filed with the tax experts H&R block.  Starting out, I was more worried about having an office to walk into at any given time, and get my business handled if need be… They are wonderful with answering my questions, and very thorough in business dealings.

Good thing I did. Ironically, my very first time filing my taxes I was audited. The IRS cleared me, but I didn’t receive my refund until June.

I am in no way a tax expert. By reading this you acknowledge that I am only sharing my experience and am in no way attempting to advise you. Nor am I guaranteeing that you will see similar results, even in a similar situation. Your results are your own.

For my particular situation, when filing my W-4 I always claimed 0 because I’m single, have no children and wanted to be sure I received my full refund to spend when income tax time came.

During College I always worked 2 jobs and I’d be sure to file those reports, also my 1098-T detailing my qualified expenses for college.

Major Pros of H&R Block

  • They have you covered for several years if you’re audited by the IRS (If they filed your taxes and the IRS says there is a problem, ‘The Block’ will move into action)
  • Professional Expertise Guaranteed (Bring a notepad to remember questions you may have)
  •  Brick and mortar business you can walk into at any given time if need be

Major Cons of H&R Block

  • High price tag to file ‘federal’ and ‘state’ (Yes you pay to file them separately; at H&R Block I pay no less than $100)
  • Not too many that I can list, other than what I’ve paid.

This is where TurboTax it gets interesting…

I had asked H&R Block specifically, if there were any ways to receive a refund for paying out of pocket for college. I was told based on the amount I received in grants etc that I would not be compensated in my annual tax refund.

I have never received any type of deduction due to the amount of my refund/ EFC etc-per H&R Block. Ask any college student, and they will tell you grants/scholarships don’t always grant you enough to cover it all.

My estimated cost of school devoured every cent of my school grant, even with full Pell Grant.

However, I still have to pay for transportation, books,  ‘hidden’ fees, etc out of pocket after my grants were applied.

Turbo Tax

This year was my first year filing with them. I wanted to try something new to avoid the high price tag of H&R Block. I was confident I knew what I was doing. Wrong.

I went to retailmenot and found a coupon for $20 off and in I dove.

What I appreciated most was the easy to understand layout; and the ‘?’ buttons were abundant. By clicking them, Turbotax answered my questions directly, and in plain enough English to comprehend.

Major Con

Though I believed I was familiar with every term to know. I made an error by choosing an amount to pay back, of my ‘over-payment,’ which was the amount of my State tax refund. This would mean that I would not have received my State refund.

I did correct the error by selecting not to pay any of this amount back, which meant I would receive all my money: Federal and State.

I never had this issue with H&R Block, but I readily admit it could have been a misunderstanding on my part. So I’m saying watch out for that word. Be better than me.

Major Pro

Turbo Tax, by honestly answering the questions they asked like: “how much did you pay out of pocket for books,” etc, and by submitting my 1098-T, I still qualified for 3 different deductions.

However, they will only allow one to apply to you. I believe that by using Turbo Tax I ‘found’ an extra 1,000 that would have been lost to me.

Again, NO I AM NOT an expert, these are merely my findings based on my situation.

To better understand different types of allowances

I will sum them here:

Claiming one allowance (ideal for single people with only one job)

  • You are a single person with one occupation. Claiming ‘one’ allowance will more than likely lead to a refund at the end of the year.

Claiming two allowances

  • You are a single person. Claiming ‘2’ allowances will get you closer to your tax liability, beware as it could result in tax due, when filing your taxes.
  • You are single and work more than one job. Claim ‘1’ allowance at each job or two allowances at one job zero at the other.
  • You are married.

The aforementioned information is described to the best of my understanding. Please double check with a professional.

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