Usually, Block loses money in the first quarter. But with business shifting because of the extension the company reported net income of $91.3 million for the most recently ended period, compared to a loss of $150.2 million a year earlier. Block reported first-quarter revenue of slightly more than $601 million, up sharply from $150.4 million in last year’s corresponding period.
More than once CEO Jeff Jones told analysts on this week’s earnings webcast that digital tax preparation is not equivalent to do-it-yourself, although it is often discussed that way. Digital means things like I can upload my docs while someone does the work or I can drop them off at an office but approve online and pay online,” Jones said.
That is part of a shift in the definition of an assisted return. He said while tax professionals may sign a return, it does not mean the client visited an office.
Certainly, that change has been shown by the TurboTax Live program that has been successful for Intuit, in which customers can seek help from a paid preparer by use of a one-way video link. Block offers on-demand chat and the ability to share screens with experts.
Blucora tested its first year of hybrid-assisted program or TaxAct with Blucora CEO Chris Walters reporting the test was expanded to 70-percent more than originally plan. He also said the company is developing. “We believe we have now learned what is needed to scale and plan to launch it next year as part of our core offering,” Walters said during his company’s conference call for earnings for the second quarter ended June 30.