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Greg Macfarlane, H&R Block H&R Block has spent about $12 million in acquisitions that primarily include independent tax preparation firms during fiscal 2015. That is in addition to the $100 million spent to acquire 351 franchised Block locations as part of a plan to pick up 650 offices sold to franchisees in the last few years. The numbers were outlined during a recent webcast for financial results for the third quarter ended January 31.

There were no other details announced about the purchase of tax firms. The company said it December it was looking for high-quality businesses that prepare at least 100 returns annually. Block is  buying franchised stores primarily in urban areas.

"Going forward, we will continue to evaluate potential franchise buybacks and independent targets." CFO Greg Macfarlane said in prepared remarks. "However, we do not expect the overall mix of company-run versus franchise locations to change materially."

This year's results include 10 days in which the Internal Revenue Service was accepting returns during this year's tax season as opposed to only one day in the year earlier quarter when the start of tax season was delayed. The company lost slightly less than $37 million in the most recently ended quarter, a sharp improvement from a loss of $214.7 million a year earlier. Third-quarter revenue was slight higher than $509 million, more than double the $199.8 million a year ago.

Block and its stores had prepared 4.5 percent fewer returns in the tax season through February 28, compared to the same period through February 27 in last year's tax season. However, it says is bringing in more revenue and attributes part of the fall off to its decision not to offer free Form 1040EZs during the current tax season

Bob Scott
Bob Scott has provided information to the tax and accounting community since 1991, first as technology editor of Accounting Today, and from 1997 through 2009 as editor of its sister publication, Accounting Technology. He is known throughout the industry for his depth of knowledge and for his high journalistic standards.  Scott has made frequent appearances as a speaker, moderator and panelist and events serving tax and accounting professionals. He  has a strong background in computer journalism as an editor with two former trade publications, Computer+Software News and MIS Week and spent several years with weekly and daily newspapers in Morris County New Jersey prior to that.  A graduate of Indiana University with a degree in journalism, Bob is a native of Madison, Ind
Last modified on Monday, 09 March 2015
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