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Economy

The Country's Largest Tax Preparer Shrinks

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kcur/local-kcur-902925.mp3

Kansas City, Mo. – Low-income working people tend to qualify for tax refunds, to get their taxes done early and to buy lucrative "refund anticipation loans". Until recently, H&R Block expanded aggressively to grab that business.

But Block's tax preparation work dove 5 percent this year. CEO Russ Smyth says the mounting popularity of tax preparation software cuts into their business, but that double digit unemployment among the working poor cuts deeper.

"We're being particularly affected by these unemployment levels because with fewer W2s there are fewer people filing taxes", said Smyth.

Block itself is slashing 400 management jobs. 165 from Block's headquarters downtown. Smyth won't say how many of its 100,000 or so tax preparers are joining its former customers in unemployment.

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