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Archive for Tuesday, March 24, 2009

H&R Block sees fewer tax returns

Company says more people using online software to file

March 24, 2009

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— With less than a month to go before the April 15 tax filing deadline, H&R Block Inc. says tax preparation numbers are down from a year ago.

But the Kansas City-based company said Monday that overall tax preparation revenues continued to remain above the year-ago levels thanks to higher average fees and more complex returns.

Company shares fell $1.75, or 9.2 percent, to $17.38 in trading Monday.

H&R Block, the nation’s largest tax preparer, said that it had prepared 15.2 million tax returns through March 15, or 3.2 percent fewer than at the same point in 2008.

Returns filed in H&R Block’s retail offices were down 6.2 percent from 11.5 million to 10.8 million. The decline was offset somewhat as returns filed with the company’s software or online products were up 5.1 percent from 4.1 million to 4.4 million.

The retail numbers for 2008 don’t include 94,000 returns filed last year by people who typically didn’t need to file a return but did so to qualify for an economic stimulus payment.

H&R Block said it believed the retail decline reflected economic pressures forcing more people, especially the low- and middle-income taxpayers who make up the bulk of the company’s customer base, to do their own taxes to save money.

The company said it has generated $1.98 billion in revenue through March 15, or 1.1 percent ahead of last year, as average fees and tax return complexity have increased.

In announcing H&R Block’s third-quarter earnings earlier this month, company executives said the final month of the tax season typically becomes a make-or-break situation and expressed some optimism that a large wave of customers was waiting until the last minute.

Chief Executive Russ Smyth said the company was increasing marketing during the final month and was targeting wealthier taxpayers whose tax returns are usually more complex and generate higher fees.

Comments

Larry_The_Moocher 5 years ago

I used to use tax services like these... but I found I did not want a part time (Seasonal employee with next to zero formal training) doing my taxes. I found that a full time CPA costs the same or less, and actually knows what they are doing. I saved money paying a full time professional as what I would have missed in the tax code, usually, more than covered the costs of someone that knows what they are doing.

How many times have you tried to save a nickel and would up spending a buck?

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Confrontation 5 years ago

H&R Block offered free federal filing this year (with the option to purchase a better package for $29.95). I took the free offer and filed my state taxes for free on the access kansas site (anyone can file for free in Kansas). Total cost= $0 No membership fees. For those people who makes less than $56,000 per year, they can file their federal taxes for free through a special IRS program (http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/0,,id=118986,00.html)

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craigers 5 years ago

I would love to do stuff on the side for people and would charge less. They charge some crazy fees that is for sure. Especially when $10 a year will get you access to taxslayer.com and free e-file for the Fed and 1 State.

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Chris Ogle 5 years ago

Wonder if ol Tim ( you know him, the guy who is responsible for IRS oversight) went to H&R Block? If so, wonder if they charged for the amended return.

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beawolf 5 years ago

I payed $110 and it included Federal and state. No charge for e-file.

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spammer89 5 years ago

Go figure what is is like $80 bucks on the high end software which most people do not need so more around $40, and I think last time I used H&R it was over $200 and and they charged me for e-file but they never e-filed my returns which came back to haunt me.

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