SOURCE: H & R Block

H & R Block

March 23, 2010 06:00 ET

H&R Block Announces Improvement in Tax Season Results Through March 15

KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwire - March 23, 2010) - H&R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB) today announced preliminary tax season results for the interim period through March 15, 2010. Same-office tax returns prepared in retail operations for the March 1 - 15 period grew 7.0 percent compared to the prior-year, while total tax returns prepared increased 4.3 percent. Total retail returns prepared grew 4.4 percent and the net average retail fee per tax return increased 2.1 percent.

Tax season-to-date through March 15, same-office tax returns prepared in retail operations fell 5.1 percent compared to the prior-year. Total tax returns prepared were down 6.3 percent. Total retail returns prepared tax season-to-date fell 7.6 percent, while the net average retail fee per tax return increased 2.3 percent. Digital returns(1) prepared by H&R Block were down 3.4 percent, although online returns grew 2.6 percent. The aggregate number of digital returns including the Free File Alliance fell 2.9 percent. Software-based returns declined by 10.2 percent due to the company's decision to exit two unprofitable distribution channels.

"We believe our improved results in March are a combination of an increase in overall return filing trends, a deceleration of assisted returns shifting to digital, a more favorable reporting period and a reduction of market share loss in both our Retail and Digital businesses. While we reported positive growth for the first half of March, we are still disappointed in our tax season-to-date results," said Russ Smyth, H&R Block's president and chief executive officer. "We will continue to aggressively explore ways to grow new clients for the rest of the tax season, as well as continue to improve client satisfaction in order to enhance retention levels for FY2011," added Smyth.

H&R Block plans to release interim results through April 15 for its U.S. tax operations on April 21, 2010 before the NYSE market open.

(1) "Digital returns" consist of online and desktop software products, excluding Free File Alliance returns.

About H&R Block

H&R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is the world's preeminent tax services provider, having prepared more than 500 million tax returns since 1955. In fiscal 2009, H&R Block had annual revenues of $4.1 billion and prepared more than 24 million tax returns worldwide, utilizing more than 100,000 highly trained tax professionals. The Company provides tax return preparation services in person, through H&R Block At Home™ online and desktop software products, and through other channels. The Company is also one of the leading providers of business services through RSM McGladrey. For more information visit our Online Press Center at www.hrblock.com.

Forward Looking Statements

This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, which are any statements that are not historical facts. These forward-looking statements, as well as the Company's guidance, are based upon the Company's current expectations and there can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Because forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and speak only as of the date on which they are made, the Company's actual results could differ materially from these statements. These risks and uncertainties relate to, among other things, uncertainties regarding the Company's ability to attract and retain clients; meet its prepared returns targets; uncertainties and potential contingent liabilities arising from our former mortgage loan origination and servicing business; uncertainties in the residential mortgage market and its impact on loan loss provisions; uncertainties pertaining to the commercial debt market; competitive factors; the Company's effective income tax rate; litigation; uncertainties regarding the level of share repurchases; and changes in market, economic, political or regulatory conditions. Information concerning these risks and uncertainties is contained in Item 1A of the Company's 2009 annual report on Form 10-K and in other filings by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company does not undertake any duty to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.



H&R BLOCK
Preliminary U.S. Tax Operating Data
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
(in thousands, except net average fee)


                  March     March
                  1-15,     1-15,      %        YTD         YTD       %
                  2010      2009    change    3/15/10     3/15/09   change
                --------  --------  ------   ----------  ---------- ------
Net tax
 preparation
 fees -
 retail: (2)
  Company-owned
   operations   $177,212  $167,544     5.8%  $1,238,192  $1,326,988   -6.7%
  Franchise
   operations     80,982    74,474     8.7%     635,890     655,013   -2.9%
                --------  --------  ------   ----------  ---------- ------
                $258,194  $242,018     6.7%  $1,874,082  $1,982,001   -5.4%
                ========  ========  ======   ==========  ========== ======

Total returns
 prepared: (1)
  Company-owned
   operations        930       909     2.3%       6,310       6,904   -8.6%
  Franchise
   operations        483       444     8.8%       3,669       3,899   -5.9%
                --------  --------  ------   ----------  ---------- ------
    Total retail
     operations    1,413     1,353     4.4%       9,979      10,803   -7.6%
                --------  --------  ------   ----------  ---------- ------

  Digital
   software          197       187     5.3%       1,561       1,739  -10.2%
  Digital
   online            244       236     3.4%       2,030       1,979    2.6%
                --------  --------  ------   ----------  ---------- ------
    Sub-total        441       423     4.3%       3,591       3,718   -3.4%
                --------  --------  ------   ----------  ---------- ------

  Digital Free
   File
   Alliance           68        67     1.5%         569         568    0.2%
                --------  --------  ------   ----------  ---------- ------
    Total
     digital tax
     solutions       509       490     3.9%       4,160       4,286   -2.9%
                --------  --------  ------   ----------  ---------- ------
                   1,922     1,843     4.3%      14,139      15,089   -6.3%
                ========  ========  ======   ==========  ========== ======

Net average fee
 - retail: (1,3)
  Company-owned
   operations   $ 190.47  $ 184.49     3.2%  $   196.22  $   192.40    2.0%
  Franchise
   operations     167.84    167.73     0.1%      173.34      168.04    3.1%
                --------  --------  ------   ----------  ---------- ------
                $ 182.74  $ 178.98     2.1%  $   187.81  $   183.60    2.3%
                ========  ========  ======   ==========  ========== ======

Same-Office net
 tax preparation
 fees: (1,4)
  Company-owned
   operations   $175,282  $162,995     7.5%  $1,223,719  $1,269,142   -3.6%
  Franchise
   operations     77,271    72,109     7.2%     608,923     623,448   -2.3%
                --------  --------  ------   ----------  ---------- ------
    Total
     retail
     operations $252,553  $235,104     7.4%  $1,832,643  $1,892,590   -3.2%
                ========  ========  ------   ==========  ========== ------
Same-Office
 returns
 prepared:(1,4)
  Company-owned
   operations        921       867     6.2%       6,227       6,559   -5.1%
  Franchise
   operations        463       426     8.6%       3,518       3,704   -5.0%
                --------  --------  ------   ----------  ---------- ------
    Total
     retail
     operations    1,384     1,293     7.0%       9,745      10,263   -5.1%
                ========  ========  ======   ==========  ========== ======


(1) Prior year numbers have been reclassified between company-owned and
    franchise operations for offices which were refranchised during either
    year.

(2) Amounts include gross tax preparation fees less coupons and discounts.

(3) Amounts are calculated as net retail tax preparation fees divided by
    retail tax returns.

(4) Same-office returns represent returns prepared at 6,978 company and
    3,871 franchise H&R Block-branded offices open in both fiscal year 2010
    and fiscal year 2009.

Contact Information

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