Russ SmythKANSAS CITY, Mo. – H&R Block saw a 6.3 percent drop in the number of tax returns prepared through February as total returns prepared year-to-date fell 8.2 percent and average retail fee per tax return prepared increased by 1.8 percent. Meanwhile, returns prepared online or via Block's desktop software dropped by 1.8 percent from the prior year.

Although the number of returns prepared online grew by 3.1 percent, the number prepared via its H&R Block At Home software (formerly called TaxCut), fell by 7.6 percent. The results seem to give credence to Intuit's statements that its increase in sales of TurboTax came at Block's expense.

Block CEO Russ Smyth, without referring to the competition, said the weak economy has led to a shift in do-it-yourself preparation. He also said the filings in general are down because of economic conditions.

The tax services change is in the middle of major shifts, having taken on new management in the last year, renamed the software product line and decided to franchise many company stores along with promising to make retail locations more welcoming to clients.

Last modified on Sunday, 02 June 2013
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