H&R Block nearly succeeded in its effort to halt a slide in the number of tax returns it handles by posting only a modest decline in the tax season that ended April 18.
The Kansas City-based tax preparation company said it handled 19.384 million returns, compared with 19.548 million a year earlier. The decline equaled 0.8 of one percent following a 4.6 percent drop a year ago.
CEO Bill Cobb hailed the recent season’s results as evidence that H&R Block gained a greater share of the tax preparation market. Its decline in efiled returns was less than the total decline in efiled returns reported by the Internal Revenue Service.
“Despite an overall industry decline, I am delighted to report that we improved the client trajectory for the tax season and achieved overall market share gains,” Cobb said in the announcement.
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A year ago, the company’s 4.6 percent decline included a 2.6 percent drop in its digital business. Block also had announced 250 layoffs as part of a “significant cost reduction effort.” There were no general layoff announcements this year.
Cobb later credited the year-ago season’s setback to heavy promotions by rival Intuit, maker of TurboTax. He vowed that H&R Block did not intend to be “outplayed again.”
He did not suggest whether Block’s market share gains this year came against Intuit.
H&R Block software and online services handled 3.5 percent more returns in the just-completed tax season. It handled 6.956 returns this way, compared with 6.724 million a year ago. The recent total represented a small increase from the 6.906 million digital returns handled two years ago.
The company’s assisted tax return business continued to decline with a 2.5 percent drop in the number handled when compared with a year ago. Block prepared 11.844 million returns this way in the recent tax season, down from 12.150 million a year earlier.
H&R Block did not release financial results for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year, which ended April 30. It will do that on June 13.