H&R Block is gearing up for next year’s tax season when the Affordable Care Act will hit many Americans’ returns.
“We believe we’ve committed more resources to this initiative than anyone in the tax industry,” chief executive Bill Cobb said Wednesday.
Block experts have digested the early versions of tax forms needed under the health care law. Tax preparers are getting training. Computer systems are getting updates.
The tax preparation company is weighing the potential impact the change could have on its business, which recently has relied more on price changes than new customers for its revenue growth.
Cobb, who spoke during a conference with investment analysts, said the new forms are complex, consumers will need help filling them out and some filers may need more than one form.
Still, he called the additional resources an investment in possible future business.
“This is a long-term play,” he said.
H&R Block hasn’t factored the Affordable Care Act into its outlook for the number of filers it expects for the coming tax season. It sees normal growth of 1 or 2 percent.
Analyst Michael Millman questioned the forecast, given decent employment growth and the potential for helping with the new health care reform filings.
Chief financial officer Greg Macfarlane said Block “didn’t take a position” on the Affordable Care Act’s impact.
Millman, of Millman Research Associates, then asked whether the new forms and unfamiliarity with the act’s effect on returns would lead to delays of tax refunds.
“I don’t know. It’s a good question,” Cobb replied.
H&R Block also announced its first quarter financial results Wednesday. Its revenues rose 5 percent, and losses increased slightly in the traditionally slow quarter.
Revenues totaled $133.6 million, up from $127.2 million a year earlier.
Block said it lost $116.2 million in May, June and July, which mark the first three months following the end of its busy tax season. A year earlier, losses had been $115.2 million.
The increase in revenues owed much to a five-day extension of Canada’s tax filing season, H&R Block said. Normally, Canada’s tax season ends April 30, which is the end of Block’s fiscal year. Canadian officials extended the date to May 5.
Block job fairs
The tax preparation company is gearing up for its annual seasonal hiring surge with job fairs next week in the Kansas City area. H&R Block will begin its annual seasonal hiring with eight job fairs scheduled for the Kansas City area next week.
The company’s headquarters and 62 area offices expect to hire more than 2,500 seasonal workers, including office managers, customer service representatives, payroll coordinators, technical support, tax professionals and researchers. Bilingual candidates are encouraged to attend.
Resumes will be accepted and interviews conducted from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at H&R Block’s headquarters, 13th and Main streets, in downtown Kansas City.
From 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, applications will be accepted and interviews held at seven area locations: 3613 S. Noland Road, Independence; 5941 Antioch Road, Gladstone; 7642 State Ave., Kansas City, Kan.; 13041 Kansas Ave., Bonner Springs; 13221 W. Shawnee Mission Parkway, Shawnee; 1317 E. Santa Fe, Olathe; and 12034 W. 95th St., Overland Park.
More information is at www.hrblock.com/corporate/career-opportunities/.