H&R Block co-founder, Henry Bloch, dies at 96

Henry Bloch, the co-founder of consumer tax services provider H&R Block, passed away at the age of 96, the company said on Tuesday.

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“With strong personal values and a commitment to clients, Bloch helped guide the growth of the small family business from a single storefront on Main Street in Kansas City, Mo., to become a global consumer tax services provider,” the company said in a press release. “Bloch died peacefully today surrounded by his family.”

Bloch founded the tax company in 1955 with his brother Richard, after the IRS stopped providing free income tax returns service.

He retired as CEO in 1992 and from the board of directors – where he served as chair – in 2000.  He previously served as the company’s president from 1962 until 1988, becoming CEO as well in 1974.

Bloch was also a philanthropist who started a foundation with his wife, Marion, which supported numerous charitable causes, including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

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He joined the Army Air Corps after the U.S. entered World War II, where he served in the Eighth Air Force as a navigator on B-17 bombers. Through the Army Air Corps, Bloch attended Harvard Business School.

H&R Block has 12,000 retail tax offices across the globe. In fiscal 2018, the company prepared returns for more than 23 million taxpayers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.