Local H&R Block office not affected by recent cuts

Thursday, May 20, 2010

H&R Block Inc. officials said the company's local office will remain open following an announcement Wednesday that it plans to trim 400 jobs and shut down 400 underperforming locations nationwide in an effort to reduce costs.

A spokeswoman for the tax services provider told The Tribune Wednesday morning that the Fort Scott office, 515 S. National Ave., "will not be affected" by these recent measures.

The company expects the cuts in its field and corporate support organization will cut annual operating costs by $140 million to $150 million by the end of 2012. H&R Block will book a pretax charge of about $28 million, primarily in its fiscal quarter ending in July, to cover severance costs. It employs about 133,700 workers overall, an Associated Press story said.

"We operate in a challenging and competitive environment, and to be successful we must find new ways to provide better value to our clients," H&R Block President and CEO Russ Smyth said in a company news release. "This requires that we narrow our focus and invest in a few key initiatives that will have the greatest impact on attracting and retaining clients in our retail and digital channels, while eliminating other activities and their related costs."

Last month, the company reported that during tax season its tax preparation fees in its retail operations slid 5.5 percent to $2.61 billion. Same-office tax returns prepared in retail operations fell 4 percent while total tax returns prepared were down 4.9 percent over the prior year.

The company, based in Kansas City, Mo., operates about 11,000 stores nationwide and about 1,400 abroad. In 2009, the company reported annual reveneues of $4.1 billion and prepared more than 24 million tax returns worldwide.