H&R Block to dismiss 23 percent of staff on grounds of redundancy

By Margarita Snegireva. The largest U.S. tax preparer H&R Block Inc reported that it will cut about 325 filled and 180 open positions, representing about 23 percent of its corporate support staffing, by April 30.

None of the positions affected are involved in field tax services or business services, H&R Block said in a statement.

H&R Block is the leading tax preparation company in the United States, and claims more than 22 million customers worldwide, with offices in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. The Kansas City, Mo.-based company also offers banking, personal finance and business consulting services.

Founded in 1955 by brothers Henry W. and Richard Bloch in Kansas City, Block today operates 12,500 retail tax offices in the U.S., plus another 1,400 abroad. Block also has operations in 1,500 shared locations at Wal-Mart, Sears and other stores.

The Bloch brothers, who started the current USD 4 billion annual business from one newspaper ad, chose the spelling “Block” for their company name to avoid mispronunciations. The company's headquarters occupies an entire block at Main and 13th Streets in Kansas City.

In fiscal year 2007, Block reported revenue of USD 4 billion and net income of US$374.3 million. The company was ranked 467 in the Forbes 500 list of top U.S. companies in 2006. In mid-2007, Block had market capitalization of $6.45 billion.

Besides its walk-in tax preparation offices, Block provides its own consumer tax software called TaxCut, as well as online tax preparation and electronic filing from the H&R Block web site. The site also offers tax tips and calculators.

In addition, Block offers public tax preparation courses for basic and advanced students.

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