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Turbo tax vs HR block=bigger refund?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if there is a difference between the amount of refund you get back based on what tax service you use. My friends always get so much more than us it's crazy. I know a big part of it is they get EIC while we don't but Im also wondering if it's because they use H.R Block while we just do it ourselves with turbo tax. I'm talking a huge difference in our refunds for not that much difference in our income. Is it worth it to try a place like H.R. block? Has anyone else noticed an increase or decrease with one place or another?
post #2 of 29
are they willing to let you look at it so you can see what they write off that you don't? or maybe they will tell you?

I know it's generally not polite to ask, but you seem to know how much they make, so maybe it's ok.
post #3 of 29
I don't know about the diff in software, but could your friends be withholding more on their paycheck? I know we withhold the bare minimum, so we don't get all that much back. But our friends have a lot withheld, and get a much bigger refund.
post #4 of 29
H&R all the way!! If you get a good agent that is the best possible scenerio. They know every single way to find money for you and thats their job. Some might not be so great (comparable to turbo tax where it's up to you to figure it out, never being trained in doing taxes) while others are excellent. Dh and I have benifited soooooo much from having a wonderful h&r person. It helps that she is a family friend of course (and we only get chaarged $20 since we're on her family and friends list). When dh had himself incorporated in addition to working for a company his self employment pay had no taxes taken out so we had to get really clever with deductions and couldn't have come out in the green on our own using any programs. We ended up being able to write off the oddest things with the help of out h&r person and came out quite a bit ahead.

this year we made out like bandits!
post #5 of 29
In short, no the amount of the refund your receive shoul NOT depend on the preparation method. Whether you do it yourself with the booklet and paper forms, use tax prep software, go to H&R Block, or have a CPA prepare your return, if it is done correctly, the taxes should come out the same way regardless of how it was computed. I believe that most of the software programs out there have prompts to help you determine whether or not you should be getting additional credits or deductions.

While it is possible that you might be missing some sort of credit or deduction, I think the more likely scenario is that your friends are having too much withheld during the year and getting a large refund because they're getting their money paid back to them.
post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by annethcz View Post
In short, no the amount of the refund your receive shoul NOT depend on the preparation method. Whether you do it yourself with the booklet and paper forms, use tax prep software, go to H&R Block, or have a CPA prepare your return, if it is done correctly, the taxes should come out the same way regardless of how it was computed. I believe that most of the software programs out there have prompts to help you determine whether or not you should be getting additional credits or deductions.

While it is possible that you might be missing some sort of credit or deduction, I think the more likely scenario is that your friends are having too much withheld during the year and getting a large refund because they're getting their money paid back to them.
:

You don't *want* a big refund. You want to not loan Uncle Sam any more money than you have to.

-Angela
post #7 of 29
I used Turbo Tax Home & Business and was very impressed. It cost me $73 though. I got more than I was expecting because I owed taxes on my home business and I forgot all about the child tax credit. It also walked me through any and all deductions for my home office, vehicle mileage deduction, etc. It was GREAT. I used basic Turbo Tax last year (free) and was also very impressed. I love doing my own taxes, though I'm sure if I made more money and had a more complicated financial scenario I would gladly pay someone to help me.
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by annethcz View Post
In short, no the amount of the refund your receive shoul NOT depend on the preparation method. Whether you do it yourself with the booklet and paper forms, use tax prep software, go to H&R Block, or have a CPA prepare your return, if it is done correctly, the taxes should come out the same way regardless of how it was computed. I believe that most of the software programs out there have prompts to help you determine whether or not you should be getting additional credits or deductions.

While it is possible that you might be missing some sort of credit or deduction, I think the more likely scenario is that your friends are having too much withheld during the year and getting a large refund because they're getting their money paid back to them.
This.

I hate thinking about how many people believe that the tax software determines the refund. Or how many people are losing money on their taxes becuse they don't know how the system works or how to find all their credits.
post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 
I know for a fact that one friend's DH claims all of them as exemptions.I know that's not the case with at least one. The other maybe but I really really doubt it. I seem to remember her complaining earlier this year that they take out so little taxes from them and she was worried about her refund at the end of the year.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by alegna View Post
:

You don't *want* a big refund. You want to not loan Uncle Sam any more money than you have to.

-Angela
Exactly. A refund is money you have LOANED the federal government INTEREST FREE. You could have been spending that money or investing it in an interest bearing account.

They're probably withholding too much money from their checks.

Suze Orman, my guru, says you should aim to owe zero and get zero back at the end of the year.
post #11 of 29
We love Turbo Tax, especially for the price. I've heard horrible things about H&R, but haven't used them in probably 10 years and can't remember what our experience was like.

We find Turbo Tax to be very thourough. It takes you through step by step and finds all kinds of deductions. It's hard for me to imagine that an H&R Block person would find something different than what's on TT because they seem to cover it all, but I really don't know. That's just our experience.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeca View Post
I was wondering if there is a difference between the amount of refund you get back based on what tax service you use. My friends always get so much more than us it's crazy. I know a big part of it is they get EIC while we don't but Im also wondering if it's because they use H.R Block while we just do it ourselves with turbo tax. I'm talking a huge difference in our refunds for not that much difference in our income. Is it worth it to try a place like H.R. block? Has anyone else noticed an increase or decrease with one place or another?
H&R block "tax preparers" use the exact same software you can buy in a store. We are actually using their brand (tax cut) this year.

If you have a similar income to them, and are getting less, it's due to either the EIC or child tax credit or over-withholding or their deductions.

It has nothing to do with the type of filing they do (paper, electronic, etc)
post #13 of 29
If you do your taxes correctly it shouldn't matter if it's done by H&R block, software, or good old fashioned paper forms. The amount should not depend on the method of filing used.
post #14 of 29
We have used Turbo Tax for the last 5 years or so and find it very user friendly.
Ditto the it doesnt matter who you use in relation to how big your refund is. If you know or are prompted to take any and all the deductons you can it will end up the same no matter where or with whom your taxes are figured.
post #15 of 29
We've also used Turbo Tax for several years. It's thorough and very user-friendly.

I used H&R Block many years ago.....one time. They charged me an arm and a leg. I always did my taxes by myself after that. I don't have to itemize, so it makes sense just to do it myself.
post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 
I'll stick to turbo-tax then. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't cheating my family by being cheap and doing it myself.
post #17 of 29
If they are getting EIC and you are not, then that is going to make a HUGE difference.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by llamalluv View Post
H&R block "tax preparers" use the exact same software you can buy in a store. We are actually using their brand (tax cut) this year.

If you have a similar income to them, and are getting less, it's due to either the EIC or child tax credit or over-withholding or their deductions.

It has nothing to do with the type of filing they do (paper, electronic, etc)
the software they use is not the same as the software from the store. It may be the same brand but it isn't the same. And what matters is who is filling in the blanks (and FINDING blanks that aren't on standard forms). Someone experienced in doing taxes is going to know every little way to save. Someone who does their own, once a year, is going to simply fill in what is asked and be unaware of other savings to be found elsewhere. Much of it is more in depth that your standard consumer software maker is going to incorporate. In addition, many people do their taxes incorrectly. If there is an error or something missed that decreases the rebate, the gov isn't going to give you a call and say, "oh, you missed something. We owe you more money". If you find a someone employed to do taxes, who truely cares about helping others they WILL say, "hey, you missed something".
post #19 of 29
We had a horrible experience using H&R Block's Tax Cut software a few years ago. We will never ever use them again. They messed up our refund and automatically put it on a visa card when we wanted it direct deposited. I was on hold with them for OVER 4 HOURS (and it was not in April, it was the end of Jan) just for them to tell me that I had agreed to putting it on the visa card which I most certainly had not. Low and behold a week goes by and an article comes out in one of the paper's about how H&R messed up and was putting everyone's refund on visa cards instead of doing the direct deposit they wanted. So we call again and this time they admit to it but say there's nothing they can do. Oh and I had to wait over 5 hours for that phone call. They were just awful.

I used to use Tax Slayer and they were ok but I really feel Turbo Tax is the most user friendly.

And EIC makes a huge difference. Also, do they have more kids than you? That can be huge too.
post #20 of 29
Oh and I forgot to say that my best friend is working for H&R Block this year doing people's taxes. She's was going to school to be an accountant but dropped out a few years ago with a few classes left. She never took any specific classes on taxes and she just took a short 4 hour training course with H&R Block.
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