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H&R Block tax refund advance review

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H&R Block tax refund advances

Our verdict

Advances are temporarily available every year — but it doesn't go to your bank account.

H&R Block has one of the better tax refund advance deals out there. It comes with a 0% APR and the deadline to apply isn't until the very end of February. And you can now set up a virtual appointment with a tax pro, instead of visiting an office.

But look for another provider if you want your advance in cash. It only issues funds through its mobile banking app or on a prepaid debit card, which comes with a fee every time you withdraw money from an ATM.

And while many competitors increased their tax advance refund amounts back when covid hit, H&R Block did not. You should find another tax refund advance if you need to borrow more than $3,500.

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Bottom line: H&R Block is great if you expect a large refund and don't want to pay interest. You'll have to have your taxes prepared at H&R Block, and basic services can be as little as $69. But funds are only issued on a prepaid debit card — and one with an ATM withdrawal fee, at that.

How H&R Block’s tax refund advance works

You’ll pay no interest on your refund advance, and funds are placed onto an Emerald Prepaid Mastercard. Apply at an H&R Block branch for a limited time every year — typically, from the beginning of January to the end of February every year — to receive your refund early. For 2024, the deadline is February 29.

There are five loan amounts available — $250, $500, $750, $1,250 and $3,500 — and you’ll repay it by check, direct deposit or with your prepaid debit card when you receive your tax refund from the IRS.

Hu0026amp;R Block’s maximum refund guarantee

H&R Block also has a maximum refund guarantee. If you get an offer from another tax refund provider for a larger amount, H&R Block will prepare your tax return for free.

But this offer might not be as helpful as it seems. You must work with an H&R tax pro to qualify for a refund advance. And if you need an advance over $3,500, consider applying for another tax refund advance instead.

How much does the tax refund advance cost?

You’ll pay zero interest or fees on your refund advance loan — the APR is 0%. But there will be a tax preparation fee to file your taxes with an H&R Block tax pro. Fees for tax prep services start at $69 for federal income taxes, plus an additional fee for state taxes.

It also only issues funds on H&R Block’s Emerald Prepaid Mastercard, which comes with a $3 fee each time you withdraw money from an ATM. Any other fees you may owe aren’t stated on its website, so be sure to discuss them with your H&R Block tax adviser before agreeing to a loan.

How to qualify

You must meet the following requirements to get a tax refund through H&R Block:

  • File your tax return through an H&R block office
  • Expect a $250 advance or more
  • Possess valid state-issued ID

H&R Block partners with Pathward to offer its tax refund advance, so you must meet the bank’s underwriting requirements as well. It doesn’t disclose what these requirements are, but it runs a soft credit check when you apply.

How will applying for the tax refund advance affect my credit?

Pathward relies on a soft credit check when you apply for the advance, which won’t affect your credit score.

Find alternatives to tax refund advances if none of these services hit what you’re looking for.

H&R Block reviews and complaints

BBB accredited No
BBB rating F
BBB customer reviews 1.1 out of 5 stars, based on 526 customer reviews
Trustpilot Score 1.2 out of 5 stars, based on 970 customer reviews.
Customer reviews verified as of 21 November 2022

H&R Block gets mostly negative online reviews. Some customers complain about staff submitting the wrong information on their taxes.

Several also report being unable to get through to customer service. And a few mention the high debit card fees.

Compare tax refund advances like H&R Block’s

See how H&R Block stacks up against the competition.

1 – 2 of 2
Name Product Refund advance amount APR Fee structure: Application deadline Online application
Intuit TurboTax tax refund advances
$250 – $4,000
$0 to $120 (DIY); $50 to $359+ (tax expert files)
February 15, 2024
Yes, by selecting “Refund Advance” as the refund option
Jackson Hewitt No Fee Refund Advance
$250 – $6,500
Not disclosed
February 11, 2024

How do I apply?

Apply for the advance refund online. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Set up an appointment with a tax pro on H&R Block’s website.
  2. File your taxes by meeting in person or remotely.
  3. Request a tax refund advance loan when you file your taxes.
  4. Submit an application to Pathward, the lender.
  5. Wait for an approval notification through text or email.

You may receive an approval decision and funding on the same day you apply. If approved, you’ll have two options to access the funds:

  • H&R Block Emerald Card, a prepaid debt card.
  • The Spruce mobile app, which comes with a spend account, savings account and debit card.

What documents do I need to apply?

H&R Block doesn’t list any specific documents you should bring with you when you apply for a tax refund advance. However, it does state you will need to bring appropriate identification — call ahead to see what types of identification qualify.

Expecting more than $3,500? Read our guide to tax refund advances to compare other options out there.

Frequently asked questions

Answers to common questions about H&R Block’s tax refund advance.

What finance charges or loan fees can I expect?

H&R Block won’t charge you any fees for borrowing a refund advance loan. However, you’ll have to pay a tax preparation fee to file your taxes through H&R Block.

How can I get a refund before I file my taxes?

You first must file your tax return with H&R Block — and pay for the tax preparation fee — to submit an application for an advance tax refund.

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