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H&R Block is the easiest way to file your tax return for free


woman smile happy
I
received my state tax refund in less than a
week.


Egor
Slizyak/Strelka Institute/Flickr



  • Tax Day falls on April 17 this
    year, but you can
    file your taxes
    as soon as you have the correct forms from
    your employer.

  • H&R Block
    and
    TurboTax
    both offer free tax filing if you made less than
    $66,000 in 2017.
  • I used H&R Block to file my taxes for the first
    time and it was easier than expected.

It’s mid-February — a full two months before tax
day
— and I’ve already filed my taxes using
H&R Block
.

It feels great to have checked that daunting task off my to-do
list, especially since I’ve already received my
state tax refund
via direct deposit and should be getting my

federal tax refund
any day now.

Up to now, I had been using my parents’ accountant to file my
taxes and he opted for the traditional pen and paper method
rather than filing electronically. Last year, I was waiting for
my tax refund to come in the mail for about two months before I
realized it must have been stolen. It was, unfortunately, and I
had to file a claim with the IRS.

This year, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I used

H&R Block’s free tax filing service
to file
electronically — the method recommended by the IRS if you want to
get your refund sooner.

My financial situation isn’t complicated: The only documents I
needed were my 2017 W-2, 2016 tax return, and 1099-INT
(the document you download from your bank to report any interest
income from a savings account).

A few days before I created an H&R Block account, I used the
site’s
free tax calculator
to estimate my tax refund. Knowing I
would soon get a nice boost to my savings account pushed me to
file as soon as possible.

The actual process to file your tax return consists of answering
a bunch of questions and uploading your W-2, or manually imputing
the few numbers they ask for.

H&R Block made the entire process easy to navigate and even
had helpful explainers positioned along the way, plus some mental
status check-ins.


HR block file taxes
H&R Block checked in with me throughout the
process.

H&R
Block


I was answering questions I already knew the answers to — Do you
have dependents? Did you pay health insurance last year? Do you
own property? — so it didn’t require too much mental energy.

To be clear, I only have income from one job and earned a small
amount of interest from a high-yield savings account. I don’t
have freelance work or any other earned income sources, so my
experience was as straightforward as it gets.

It took me exactly one hour to complete the process. I submitted
both my state and federal returns feeling super accomplished.

But a few hours later I got a text from the IRS saying my federal
return was “rejected” and wouldn’t be processed until I fixed the
error. That’s pretty intimidating language — and I was at happy
hour, no less. Alas, the error wasn’t that severe.

I misreported by 2016 adjusted gross income (or AGI) by a hair (I
was looking at the wrong box on the form) and only needed to
enter the correct number and resubmit, which took all of five
extra minutes.

I also forgot to electronically sign my California state return
and that was sent back to me too. I resigned it and resubmitted —
again, a quick fix — and six days later my state refund hit my
bank account.

One of the cool things about
requesting your refund via direct deposit
is you can choose
up to three accounts and decide how much goes to each. I set up
my state refund to go to my checking account to cover some basic
necessities. My federal refund, which is bigger, will be
deposited into one of my savings accounts that doubles as a
travel fund.

In total, I spent about an hour and 15 minutes filing my taxes,
and I didn’t have to spend a dime doing it. In turn, I’ll be
rewarded with a refund that’s equal to about one paycheck. That’s
a satisfying trade off, if you ask me.


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