H&R Block to discontinue EXPRESSTAX brand

Markets Reuters

(Reuters) - H&R Block Inc <HRB.N> said it would discontinue service under its EXPRESSTAX brand, as it focuses on its core tax-preparing brand and services.

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The top U.S. tax preparer, which bought the brand nearly 6 years ago, will record a related pretax charge of 2-3 cents in the second quarter, it said in a statement.

"After a thorough review of the EXPRESSTAX business model and its recent performance, we concluded it was no longer a growth driver and therefore not a good fit for our company," CEO Bill Cobb said in a statement.

Kansas City, Missouri-based H&R Block, which sold off its consulting unit RSM McGladrey last month, will invite many of the 269 EXPRESSTAX franchisees to join the H&R Block brand.

EXPRESSTAX attracted early-season filers who tended to opt for financial products like tax-refund loans.

In April, H&R Block lost some clients due to its inability to offer tax-refund loans following a government clampdown on the highly-profitable refund anticipation loans (RALs) that are funded by various banks and are repaid by the borrowers annual tax refund.

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Shares of the tax preparer were up 4 percent at $14.03 in pre-market trade. They closed at $13.51 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Jochelle Mendonca in Bangalore; Editing by Sayantani Ghosh)