Both TurboTax and H&R Block At Home offer options for software support and to get answers to tax questions. Both have plenty of help for completing your taxes and using the software available directly from the tax interview, but as I noted in the tax interview analysis, it's easier to find help in TurboTax.
H&R Block At Home does not have a link directly to tax help, tech support or customer service on each page of the tax return, where TurboTax does. TurboTax Live Community can be accessed by anyone online for browsing for answers or asking questions. H&R Block At Home only has a very abbreviated form of online help available outside of the software, and offers Your Tax Questions Answered for getting free answers to tax questions.
TurboTax and H&R Block At Home both offer options for software support:
- Free software support via chat.
- Tax topic videos in the software.
- Searchable support web sites.
Support accessed from within the software is nicely organized with easy-to-find help options. The support web site is very easy to navigate, with six support topics and well-organized subtopics for using TurboTax and for income tax preparation. There is a search box at the top of the TurboTax Support page, and every search I tried brought up relevant answers. TurboTax customers can also get answers to questions from other users and forum moderators in TurboTax Live Community. Clicking on Contact Us gives the options to get help via chat or phone, after offering help via online resources. Sometimes finding the Contact Us button requires several clicks. There's also a link for contacting a tax expert here.
H&R Block At Home Support
If you need help with this tax software, you won't find much on the support web page, but the Personal Answer Center, accessed from within the software, is neatly designed and easy to get around in. I did not see a link to the personal answer center as I went through my return and could only access it after I entered my question or a tax term in the search box, which is found on each page. A Contact Us link was located on the page that popped up with potential answers after I performed a search. Click on Contact Us for links to Support chat and a phone number, and to get tax advice from a professional (fees may apply). The links to be able to actually contact H&R Block help are not buried quite as far down as those for TurboTax are.
Income Tax Questions
This year, TurboTax is offering free tax advice by phone or chat through April 30. 2012. This service is available for all versions of the software, and is easy to access. It's safe to assume that communicating via chat or phone means that you will get an immediate answer to tax questions unless the question requires some research.
H&R Block At Home Premium offers one free tax question asked of a tax professional, and the link to get tax help in the online software says there may be fees for additional questions but does not specify what that fee is. Last year, this fee was $19.95 per question after the free question.
H&R Block also offers a service called Best of Both, which combines using At Home Premium Online software with a tax professional who will review, certify and file your return. Unlimited tax advice from a tax professional is included, and the cost is a real value at $79.95.