H&R Block Deluxe 2022 review (tax year 2021): A refined tax preparation experience

H&R Block Deluxe 2022 provides a solid tax prep service with reasonably priced add-on help

H&R Block Deluxe 2021 review
Editor's Choice
(Image: © H&R Block)

Tom's Guide Verdict

A welcoming visual interface and lower-priced tax expert help keeps H&R Block highly competitive.


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    Elegant, visual design

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    Clear language and copious support

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    Online Assist and tax expert review nearly half the price of last year


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    Choosing a tax pro to virtually do your taxes is not fully integrated into the online product

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H&R Block Deluxe 2022 remains one of our top picks for best tax software. Its interface is the best of any of the players, and reflects thoughtful, efficient design. Plus, the service integrates cogent explanations that break down tax lingo in a digestible way, and greatly reduces the cost of expert help — including having a tax pro to review and file your taxes for you.

The service has revamped its income hub to reflect societal changes since the start of the pandemic. The tweaks bring trends like more self-employed, multiple W-2 forms and cryptocurrency investment gains to the forefront, so you can consider them earlier and more naturally in the process. Together with other interface tweaks, H&R Block offers the cleanest and most friendly user experience we’ve seen. 

For this H&R Block Deluxe 2022 review, we started out using the first paid tier of H&R Block’s online tax prep product, and noted the upgrade paths and differentiators. Read the rest of our review to find out if this is the best tax software for you.

H&R Block Deluxe 2022 review: Pricing

H&R Block's federal online tax software encompasses four tiers (opens in new tab), each with a stacking list of added features and form support. Regardless of level, screen share and on-demand chat and video assistance are an add-on option.

The free tier includes unemployment income, an uncommon feature for this tier among its competitors. Deluxe Online ($49.99) adds real estate taxes and self-employed income; Premium Online ($69.99) adds support for investments, including cryptocurrency; and Self-Employed Online ($84.99) adds Schedule C deductions and asset depreciation. At this writing, those prices were reduced by $20 ($25 for Self-Employed). The company has a $145 small business product under its Block Advisors banner that integrates with other small business services, and includes tax pro assistance at a lower price than if you buy the Self-Employed product and add it on later. A separate product for expat U.S. citizens starts at $99.95.

If you prefer to keep your data locally and out of the cloud, H&R Block has four Mac/PC downloads (opens in new tab) as well, starting at $29.95 for the Basic version and scaling up to $79.95 for Premium & Business (appropriate for small business owners). 

H&R Block Deluxe 2022 review: State filing

Except for H&R Block's Free version, which includes a state tax return at no cost, other H&R Block online versions require an additional $36.99 per state. State e-filing is included in all online versions. As always, you move onto the state return only after completing a federal return; the service will auto-populate relevant information accordingly.

The Deluxe+State, Premium, and Premium & Business download versions all include the software for one state form, but bizarrely charge $19.95 to e-file (except in N.Y.). Additional state programs cost $39.95 each. For Basic, it costs $39.95 for the state return.

H&R Block Deluxe 2022 review: Features

H&R Block's Free online (and Basic download) versions are meant only for simple federal tax returns. As soon as you have a deduction to declare (beyond the Child Tax Credit or student loan interest), you'll need to step up to a higher version with more features that let you deduct things like donations, real estate taxes and mortgage interest. The free version does handle unemployment income, a nice addition compared to the competition. 

(Image credit: H&R Block)

Self-employed with no expense deductions can use the Deluxe tier. At the Premium online level, you gain support for rental income and deductions, Health Savings Accounts tracking, and investment and cryptocurrency transactions. The Self-Employed online version offers more complete support for independents and freelancers, full Schedule C business expense deductions and support for filing for home-office deductions, depreciation and vehicle expenses.

H&R Block Deluxe 2022 review: Available help

Tax expert help has gotten significantly less costly. Online Assist connects you with a tax pro over video, phone, screen share or chat (hours available are 7 a.m. to 11p.m. CT weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT weekends). Online Assist is now just $40, way down from last tax year’s $109.99 (these prices refer to base pricing, not “specials”). If you didn’t choose expert help at the outset, you can add it anytime from the nav bar, or from the pop-ads that occasionally appear reminding you of this upsell. 

Tax Pro Review costs half of what it did last year: Now it’s a $59.99 upgrade, and includes both Online Assist and a tax expert who’ll review and file your taxes for you. (Prices may vary depending upon which version you’re using, jumping to $60 and $89.99 for Premium, for example).

H&R Block continues to beef up its help content, both with original writing and videos. As you move through your online return, you get context-sensitive help at the ready, always visible in a right-hand pane that can be accessed by the question-mark icon on the top navigation bar, or by clicking on a link in the main interface.

(Image credit: H&R Block)

The help pane conveniently auto-populates to show relevant deeper explanations of terms. It is efficiently designed and saves you from fumbling around the interface — a real pleasure and a time saver. Help includes answers to common questions, a help search bar and related additional information.

(Image credit: H&R Block)

As a baseline, all H&R Block products include the online help pane and text-chat technical support offering free, 24/7 guidance on using the product.

Unlike TurboTax’s Live Full Service option, H&R Block’s do-it-all virtual tax pro service is still marketed outside of the do-it-yourself online services reviewed here. This more hybrid approach can have all-virtual communication, or you can go into a local H&R Block office and see a live tax pro. Unfortunately, to set this up online, you have to enter your zip code and choose a local tax pro online to start the process, extra steps the fully virtual TurboTax Live Full Service on-boarding lacks. H&R Block says they use your zip code to match you with a tax pro with expertise on your state’s taxes, but that still doesn’t account for why we had to pick a tax pro from a local office before we could move forward.

H&R Block Deluxe 2022 review: Ease of use

A series of on-boarding questions, much like what TurboTax offers, guided us to which package was most appropriate. But if you start with a lower tier, the service still prompts you to upgrade to the appropriate product. For example, we started our review with H&R Block Deluxe, the first step up from the company's free tier. Once we had entered that we had 1099-Misc forms and were self-employed with expenses, the service directed us to upgrade to that version to have access to the correct tax forms. Same thing happened when we informed the software we had cryptocurrency.

(Image credit: H&R Block)

Once inside, it was clear that H&R Block had lightened its interface, literally and figuratively. Gone is the black navigation pane at the left, replaced by a lighter color that’s a few shades different from the main data entry pane and larger, easier-to-understand menu icons. The responsive design works on mobile web as well as laptop. Plus, H&R Block has a mobile app.

(Image credit: H&R Block)

Overall, the H&R Block online interface continues to reflect a unified, cohesive experience with bold, clear fonts and friendly language. The look is the most visually engaging of any of the online tax software makers, and remains ahead of TurboTax. As you move through the service, a help pane slides out at right and guides you through the impact of the tax code changes.

Beside the aforementioned help pane, the main window is surrounded by the updated left navigation pane and three stacked top navigation bars. The static upper nav bar houses the help button and return cost preview. Beneath that are options for selecting the main screen’s content — Overview, Federal, State and File — and beneath those are circular icons - Your Info, Income, Deductions, Credits, Taxes, Wrap-Up) for moving through the federal and state returns and starting the e-filing process. As you make your way through the options, the topics populate beneath the icons, so you can easily navigate among sections after you’ve entered data. Of note: The overview gives quick links to a summary of tax forms, as well as the ability to amend a return.

(Image credit: H&R Block)

We started out entering our personal information, social security number and address. Next were a series of simple onboarding questions, asking about citizenship, student status, if you have any dependents. By selecting yes, we could see the first details of how the software deals with the new 2021 Child Tax Credit. The supplemental information explaining the Child Tax Credit was helpful and clearly presented. As with TurboTax, H&R Block’s approach to tax prep guides you through a series of questions, and then they do the magic of filling in the actual tax forms in the background. (Before filing, you can see the actual forms that make up your return.)

The income hub has been visually updated to make it easier to add W-2 information, either directly or using a PDF or picture snapped on your mobile. You can also add the info manually, and add more than one W-2. The program did a good job prompting us to add information as we moved through questionnaires in the different sections.

(Image credit: H&R Block)

After the W-2 entry, for example, it asked for our main occupation, and gave check boxes for secondary occupation and military service. Another screen asked whether we acquired, sold, sent, or traded cryptocurrency, the clearest wording — and help — we’ve seen of this question. It also asked whether we earned money in another state.

(Image credit: H&R Block)

After this intake, the software walked us through entering data for the income topics we acknowledged. Beyond the realm of the W-2, simply press the Add income button beneath the tiled cards to find and select other income types. The presentation is neat and easily perused, and more expeditious than if the system kept questioning do you have X income? As you add an income type, you further build out the income hub with the new tile-style visuals for grouping together relevant topics.

(Image credit: H&R Block)

For entering cryptocurrency, at the time of our review data could only be added manually, but H&R Block said it would be adding CoinTracker to import transactions (this was not available during our review, but will be in March). The site also simplifies looking up cost basis via a partnership with NetWorth Services. On the whole, we found entering data more streamlined than in many competitors (for example, what you need to do to enter charitable deductions). Even entering self-employed and small business information is improved, with a central hub design and a smoother flow of prompts to tell their businesses’ financial story.

H&R Block Deluxe 2022 review: Verdict

H&R Block Deluxe 2022’s cohesive design and helpful guidance, combined with more affordable tax pro help pricing, makes it one of the best tax software programs to use when it's time to file your taxes.

For those seeking a full-service digital experience, TurboTax Deluxe is the better option as it has more extensive tax pro assistance — even if you have to pay more for the service. For everyone else, H&R Block Deluxe is easier to navigate and more refined at all levels.

Melissa Perenson is a freelance writer. She has reviewed the best tax software for Tom's Guide for several years, and has also tested out fax software, among other things. She spent more than a decade at PC World and TechHive, and she has freelanced for numerous publications including Computer Shopper, TechRadar and Consumers Digest.