Tax Day was on April 17 and most people are happy that it’s now out of the way. However, if you’re filing late or want to prepare for next year, you may want to know what options are available to you.
Many people choose TurboTax for their tax preparation needs. And while TurboTax and other software programs are robust enough to meet the needs of most people, your tax situation may be more complicated. Or maybe you’re just old school and feel more comfortable having your taxes done in person by a professional who knows the tax laws. After all, it can be scary to have to rely on a computer program for such an important task.
If you do decide to do your taxes in person at a retail location, there are two very good options to consider: Liberty Tax and H&R Block. Both have been around for quite some time and have decent reputations.
Both Liberty Tax and H&R Block offer a wide variety of tax-related services. If you prefer to do your taxes in person, they can help you file your taxes quickly and easily.
Liberty Tax vs. H&R Block: which should you choose? The final decision is up to you, but here is some information about both companies and what they offer so you can make the right choice. Here’s what you need to know about Liberty Tax and H&R Block.
Which is Cheaper?
When choosing a tax preparation service, cost is key. However, you shouldn’t base your experience solely on cost. You also want to choose a service that is convenient to you and provides you with the quality of service you desire. More importantly, you need someone who is knowledgeable. Tax codes and laws can be quite complicated, so you don’t want a novice working on your return if you own a business or have rental income.
Overall, H&R Block is the more affordable choice. The average cost for tax preparation is $147, while Liberty Tax Services charges an average of $191 per return. So if you plan to use a retail tax service for your taxes, expect to pay around $200, depending on the complexity of your tax situation.
Too much for you to pay? Then you can try the alternative and seek out these companies’ budget-friendly software versions. You’ll be getting professional tax help from the comfort of your own home. H&R Block starts as low as $19.99, but goes up from there depending in your tax situation. Liberty Tax is just $19.95, but it is fairly basic and may not work for more complex tax situations.
One thing you want to consider when choosing a tax preparation service is level of experience. At H&R Block, the tax professionals must complete rigorous training. They are required to complete a 14-level certification program. On top of that, they must complete 15 units of continuing education each year.
Liberty uses qualified tax professionals to do your taxes and prides itself on its quality tax preparation. Liberty also hosts a tax school that allows anyone to learn more about tax laws and become certified.
H&R Block – Services Offered
H&R Block was founded by two brothers in 1955. More than 60 years later, the tax tradition continues. H&R Block has become synonymous with taxes. Almost every taxpayer has heard of the company.
The company has 12,000 offices across the United States, with locations in all 50 states. You can easily find a site near you by visiting their website. H&R Block has prepared more than 600 million tax returns.
H&R Block offers a whole suite of services. In-office appointments start at just $55. It’s an additional $48 for every state filed. You can file online or in office. You can do your taxes at home with help from a professional. You can also do your taxes online all on your own. The choice is yours.
H&R Block offers many other services. You can check the status of your refund. You can use the handy tax calculator or research tax topics. You can send in your W-2 ahead of time with W-2 Early Access. You can choose from various refund and payment options. You can also use the convenient drop-off service.
Other services include Second Look, which allows a professional to double-check a past return. There is also IRS Support, with audit support and representation. Tax Identity Shield can protect you from identity theft.
H&R Block also does bookkeeping and payroll services, so if you have a business and need help with the administrative stuff, count on their professionals to get everything organized and under control. They can also help you apply for an ITIN Tax ID if you need to file taxes but do not have a Social Security Number.
H&R Block tax professionals have a wealth of expertise, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not your taxes are done right. The average professional has 10 years of experience and 100 hours of training under their belts. They can help you find money that others have overlooked.
Liberty – Services Offered
Liberty offers many services. Besides tax preparation for individuals and businesses, Liberty can also provide free advice. If you prepared your return last year, but think you might be entitled to a bigger refund or not owe as much money, bring it in to your local Liberty office. A tax professional can look it over for free.
Another service that Liberty offers is audit protection. If any of their customers are audited by the the IRS, a Liberty tax professional will be present at the audit free of charge. If Liberty makes an error while preparing your tax return, and that error results in interest or other penalty, Liberty will cover the additional fees.
Liberty offers e-file and free direct deposit for refunds directly sent to the customer’s bank account. Liberty appreciates referrals. Refer a friend and receive $50. Hispanic services can also be found at many locations. Spanish-speaking tax professionals are available at more than 100 locations to assist customers who do not speak English.
Liberty also offers a handy office locator. Simply type in your ZIP code and see all the locations in your area. There are 4,000 locations across the United States. With offices in every state, you’re sure to find an office near you.
The Liberty Tax promise is to be friendly and accurate. Liberty professionals stand by this promise and offer an accuracy guarantee.
Which is Better: Liberty Tax or H&R Block?
Most people use online tax software programs to do their taxes because they don’t trust others to do their taxes right or they want to save money and do it themselves. Of those who use a brick and mortar location to do their taxes, many prefer H&R Block. Others hate them. Many prefer Liberty Tax and many hate them as well.
What are some common complaints? Many users claim that their taxes were done wrong. They were audited by the IRS and the company failed to represent them. They denied any involvement, leaving customers to pay the penalties on their own.
Others claim that they didn’t receive their refunds timely. They didn’t receive them until the summer. Another common complaint is that the service was too costly. Many of those who work at Liberty Tax and H&R Block are not true tax professionals. They might not have much more knowledge than you do, and it’s not uncommon for them to make mistakes. Paying $200 for a novice to do your taxes isn’t worth it to many people.
It’s really hard to say which one is better. Everyone has different experiences, which could vary based on the complexity of your taxes or the knowledge of the tax professionals at your location.
Get Your Taxes Done Right
As people are becoming more and more computer savvy, online tax filing has become the top way to file taxes. Even though Liberty Tax and H&R Block have online software available now, they are best known for their brick and mortar locations.
Liberty Tax and H&R Block each have their pros and cons. They make mistakes and don’t always live up to their promises, which frustrates customers who pay several hundred dollars for tax preparation services.
Using a brick and mortar location may be good if your taxes are complicated or if you’re a high earner. However, if your taxes are fairly straightforward, you can easily use software and get your taxes done for much cheaper. After all, it’s always good to maximize your refund (or reduce your amount owed, depending on your situation).
Tax Day 2018 has already passed, but it’s never too early to plan for 2019. Get your deductions and tax write-offs in place for next year and decide how you will file your taxes ahead of time so you’re not rushing around at the last minute. Because remember, the only certainties in life are death and taxes.