From the Wall Street Journal:
H&R Block said it will cut 400 jobs and has shut 400 underperforming tax offices as part of a restructuring which the tax preparer said will save up to $150 million a year.
The move comes after another disappointing season for the industry’s leader on the retail side of tax preparation. H&R Block said last month it prepared 4.9% fewer tax returns this tax season than a year earlier despite increases in users of its online filing services.
Improvement in March wasn’t enough to offset the steep declines seen through the end of February. That led H&R Block to say in March it would likely miss its fiscal-year profit goal as the recession and high unemployment lead more people to do their taxes themselves.
The streamlining affects about 3.6% of H&R Block’s retail offices.
President and Chief Executive Russ Smyth said in a competitive environment, it “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.”
H&R Block expects a $28 million pretax charge from severance related costs, which will be reported in the fiscal first quarter, which ends July 31. Fourth-quarter results are due June 24.