H and R Block Review – no-frills tax accounting

It doesn’t have to be tax time to start thinking about tax preparation. While a shoebox full of receipts and a DIY return may have got you by in the past, it might be worth thinking about getting a tax professional like H and R Block to do it this year, so you know you’re getting it right.

The Good

  • Knowledgeable and experienced staff
  • Good customer reviews for accuracy and timeliness of returns
  • Lots of branches Australia-wide
  • Phone and virtual appointments if needed
  • They offer a range of tax return services, from basic to complex, so they can expand their services as your share, property and/ or business grows
  • They offer financial planning, accounting and bookkeeping services if you have a growing business
  • They offer a fee from refund service, so if you are owed a tax refund, you don’t have to pay the fee upfront
  • Cheaper tax refunds for students

The Bad

  • It may not be worth paying $99 for a basic return
  • The initial price is variable, depending on what services they provide
  • Customer review feedback on “hidden fees”

Verdict: H and R Block offer plenty of resources, many locations and good value for money for your tax needs

CaptainFI is not a financial advisor and this article is not financial advice. This website is reader-supported, which means we may be paid when you visit links to partner or featured sites, or by advertising on the site. For more information please read my Privacy PolicyTerms of Use, and Financial Disclaimer.

Introduction

H and R Block is a publicly listed company, specialising in tax returns. The company was founded in America in 1946 by brothers Henry and Richard Bloch. When they registered the company, they deliberately changed the name to Block, so it wouldn’t be mispronounced.

In the 1960’s, H and R Block developed a franchise model and was listed on the stock exchange. Since then, H and R Block has expanded out of America into Canada and Australia.

In 1971 H and R Block opened its first office in Australia. This review is on the Australian branch of H and R Block.

h and r block

What is H and R Block?

H and R Block is a company that specialises in tax preparation for both businesses and individuals. Along with tax returns, H and R Block can be a one-stop shop for all your tax needs. H and R Block offers a range of services, information, training and online tools, to help you prepare for tax time, all year round.

How many H and R Block locations are there?

Throughout the world, H and R Block has about 12 000 tax offices. This is a combination of franchises and offices owned by the company.

H and R Block’s Australian head office is in Sydney. In Australia, there are over 400 offices nationwide, with over 2500 tax consultants.

H and R Block also has an online presence through its website and has software products for those that like to do their own tax.

Tax Return & Tax Accountants in Australia | H&R Block Australia (hrblock.com.au)

How much should a simple tax return cost in Australia?

In Australia, lodging your tax return can be free if you do it yourself. You can lodge your own tax return with myTax by linking your myGov account to the ATO online services.

If you hire a tax professional to do it for you, you can expect to pay between $100 – $280 for the tax agent to fill in and lodge it on your behalf.

Don’t forget, that expenses incurred due to managing tax affairs can be a tax deduction. So while it may cost you upfront to get the return done, you should get it back as a tax refund.

Alternately, you may be able to have them deduct the fee from your return, meaning no upfront payment. Create your myGov account and link it to the ATO | Australian Taxation Office.

It’s almost tax time. Do you need to see an accountant or could you do it yourself? – ABC Everyday

 How much do H & R Block charge to do tax returns?

 H and R Block have a scale of fees, depending on the complexity of your return. You can also opt to do it yourself for FREE through their website, with the use of their Online Tax Express.

·        Streamline – $99* – for basic income and deductions

·        Standard – $154* – for multiple incomes and deductions

·        Complex – $229* – for shares and complex deductions

·        Business or Rental – $299* – for investment property owners and Sole Traders

Please note, the * is to flag that pricing is variable and dependent on the exact service you need, and any additional work that may be required.

Online Tax Agent Advice | H&R Block Australia (hrblock.com.au)

h and r block
You can compare services and prices on the H and R Block website HERE.

What other services do H & R Block provide?

H and R Block Australia has come a long way since its two brother’s bookkeeping days back in the 1940’s. Today, H and R Block provides a suite of services catering to personal and business tax needs, including:

·        Individual tax returns

·        Tax returns for property investors

·        Sole Trader and Partnerships

·        Company and trusts

·        Bookkeeping

·        Accounting services

·        Financial services

·        Self Managed Super Funds

H and R Block also run a Tax Training School, to future-proof the business and ensure a steady supply of tax professionals for the business.

About Us | H&R Block Australia (hrblock.com.au)

What online resources do H & R Block provide?

H and R Block has a range of online tools and resources on their website and phone app.

H and R Block’s Money Hub gives you a bird’s eye view of your finances. It can give you an idea of your credit score and based on your score, direct you to better finance deals. Money Hub also gives you access to Spend Tracker.

Spend Tracker links to your bank so you can budget, tag deductible expenses as you make them, and be well and truly ready for tax time, without the traditional shoebox full of receipts.

MoneyHub: Control Your Finances Online | H&R Block Australia (hrblock.com.au)

H and R Block’s Tax Calculator lets you get a ballpark figure for your tax refund. It’s simple and easy to use. For more complex tax affairs the result may be a bit misleading. However, if you’re a standard wage earner, with minimal deductions, it’s a good shortcut for working out whether you’ll get a tax return, and how much it might be. Then again, the ATO tax calculator gives you an estimate that may be a bit more accurate, as it asks for more information.

Simple tax calculator | Australian Taxation Office

H and R Block also has Tax Deduction Checklists for 39 occupations in Australia. This is a great way to prepare yourself for tax time if you plan to DIY your return. It can also help you get your paperwork in order if you plan to get a tax agent to prepare and lodge it for you.

h and r block

Tax Deductions Checklist for Taxpayers | H&R Block Australia (hrblock.com.au)

There is also the News, Insights and Advice Page with helpful articles, tips and advice surrounding money, saving and taxes.

h and r block
The News, Insights and Advice Page with helpful articles, tips and advice surrounding money, saving and taxes.

Why are H and R Block so popular?

Each year, H and R Block does about 700 000 tax returns in Australia. Online customer reviews rate H and R Block at 4.8 out of 5, which is a pretty good endorsement. Customers describe them as providing great service, that’s accurate and highly efficient.

So what’s their winning formula? They’re accessible, affordable, efficient and help give customers money from the taxman – so what’s not to like? Even if it was your money to start with!

For the FIRE community, a company like H and R Block can grow with your assets, offering a no frills tax return, as well as being able to do more complex returns such as for investment properties and side hustle businesses.

“He said that there was death and taxes, and taxes was worse, because at least death didn’t happen to you every year”

Terry Pratchett, reaper man

Advantages of using H and R Block

  • Knowledgeable and experienced staff
  • Good customer reviews for accuracy and timeliness of returns
  • Lots of branches Australia-wide
  • Phone and virtual appointments if needed
  • They offer a range of tax return services, from basic to complex, so they can expand their services as your share, property and/ or business grows
  • They offer financial planning, accounting and bookkeeping services if you have a growing business
  • They offer a fee from refund service, so if you are owed a tax refund, you don’t have to pay the fee upfront
  • Cheaper tax refunds for students

Disadvantages of using H and R Block

  • It may not be worth paying $99 for a basic return
  • The initial price is variable, depending on what services they provide
  • Customer review feedback on “hidden fees” seems to be from the US branch, so get confirmation from you tax agent on the likely fee upfront H&R Block Reviews – 145 Reviews of Hrblock.com | Sitejabber

FAQs about H and R Block:

Do H and R Block offer phone appointments?

With H and R Block you can book a F2F appointment. The website has a link that helps you find your local office.

H and R Block also do phone and virtual appointments.

Lodge Tax Returns | H&R Block Australia (hrblock.com.au)

What are the opening hours of H and R Block?

H and R Block offices have individual trading hours, depending on the office you are attending.

Some offices may open 8am to 4pm, others are 9am to 5pm. Some may open 9am to 1pm on a Friday and close on a Tuesday, while others may open by appointment on Saturdays.

It may be worth making your own enquiries at your nearest office to find out their trading hours.

Do you have to pay H and R Block upfront?

H and R Block offers a fee from refund service. This means if you are due a tax refund, H and R Block can deduct their fee from the refund, rather than you pay it upfront.

If the ATO calculates you are not due a refund or owe money, H&R Block will get in contact with you to do a standard payment.

Is it worth it to go to H and R Block?

If you are a straightforward wage earner with minimal deductions, then I don’t think it’s worth paying $99 to have someone do the data entry for you, even if the fee is a deduction. But then again, some people may not have a head for numbers, and would rather have a tax agent do it for them.

For more complex returns that include investment properties or shares, then $299 seems like a good deal. Then again, it’s a starting price, and you won’t really know what the final bill is until the return is compiled. Some people may prefer to do their own return, while others would rather handball it to a tax professional to get it right.

Whichever way you’re inclined, keeping your records all year round will make the process of doing your tax return far less painful, no matter who does it.

“I hate paying taxes. But I love the civilization they give me”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Conclusion

H and R Block is a company specialising in tax returns for both businesses and individuals. H and R Block also offers a wide range of services, such as financial planning, accounting and bookkeeping. For those people treading a path to FIRE, H and R Block can do basic to complex returns and can grow with your asset accumulation, such as property investment, shares and side hustle businesses.

H and R Block also has a range of money management calculators or online tools and resources to assist you with record-keeping and tax preparation. While it’s tempting to only think about tax at tax time, H and R Block can help maximise your return and prepare you for tax time, all year round.

Don’t forget, Sharesight can make tax time SO much easier – you can sign up for FREE and it can provide a simplified report of all your investments, meaning you just hand over the report to your tax accountant. Check out my review of Sharesight HERE.

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