H&R Block Announces Fiscal 2015 Third Quarter Results
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB), the world’s largest consumer tax services provider, today released its financial results for the fiscal 2015 third quarter ended January 31, 2015 and U.S tax volume through February 28.
As a result of an earlier opening of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) e-file system this tax season, the company reported a $309 million1 increase in revenues, to $509 million for the fiscal third quarter. This resulted in an improvement in its fiscal third quarter seasonal net loss from continuing operations to $0.13 per share.2 A majority of the company’s revenues and all of its fiscal 2015 earnings will occur during its fiscal fourth quarter, and thus fiscal third quarter results are not indicative of expected performance for the full year.
The company continued its focus on driving revenue growth through improved monetization and product attach rates and believes it is on pace to achieve these goals in fiscal 2015. As of February 28, 2015, total U.S. tax returns prepared by and through H&R Block declined 4.2% as compared to the prior fiscal year. Changing tax filer timing, Affordable Care Act (ACA) form delays and errors, the carryover impact of eliminating certain promotions last tax season, competitor pricing actions and continued industry-wide fraud issues have resulted in a decline in lower-value returns.
“Despite being disappointed by the decline in early season volume, we are pleased with our monetization, overall return mix, and Tax Plus product attach rates through both our assisted channel and digital do-it-yourself products,” said Bill Cobb, H&R Block’s president and chief executive officer. “I’m also proud of how our organization has handled the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which is the most significant change to the tax code in decades. Though it’s too early to determine the impact of the ACA on this tax season, we are well positioned to deliver exceptional value to our clients as this plays out over the next several years.”
Tax Industry Fraud
As the industry leader, H&R Block remains focused on addressing the growing industry-wide issue of tax fraud. Tax fraud is not new to the tax preparation industry and recent media coverage of fraud related to do-it-yourself tax software shows how aggressive those perpetrating fraud are becoming. The problem is growing rapidly, with the IRS estimating the total impact of tax identity fraud at greater than $5 billion in 2013. Similarly, the U.S. Treasury Department has estimated that improper payments related to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) amount to $16 to $19 billion annually, up from estimates of $13 to $15 billion last year.
H&R Block will continue to advocate for change that benefits consumers by strengthening anti-fraud measures. The company’s efforts are having an impact, as evidenced by Congress’s direction last year to the U.S. Treasury Department to implement consistent requirements across all tax preparation methods for those applying for the EITC. H&R Block continues to advocate for a clear implementation plan from the Treasury Department that puts these new standards in place in time for the 2016 tax season. The company is also continuing to advocate for minimum federal standards for all paid tax preparers. Without minimum standards, taxpayers will continue to be victimized by individuals who are insufficiently trained or worse, knowingly commit fraud.
“We have led the conversation regarding tax return fraud and the need for reform for years, while our competitors in the tax preparation industry have just recently joined the discussion,” said Cobb. “We urge the Treasury Department to implement Congress’s direction in time for tax season 2016. We need all players in the industry – the IRS, Treasury, Congress, professional tax preparers, tax preparation software makers, and taxpayers – to join together to help create solutions. These issues are taking tens of billions of dollars out of taxpayers’ pockets.”
Fiscal 2015 Third Quarter Highlights
- Total revenues increased $309 million to $509 million primarily due to an earlier opening of the IRS’s e-file system
- Seasonal net loss from continuing operations improved to $35 million, or $0.13 per share
- Non-GAAP adjusted loss per share3 from continuing operations is $0.13
Business Segment Financial Results and Highlights
- Revenues increased 159.3% to $503 million, driven mainly by the earlier opening of the IRS’s e-file system. In fiscal 2014, the IRS opened e-file on January 30, which resulted in a significant shift of revenue from the fiscal third quarter to the fiscal fourth quarter of that year.
- Total operating expenses increased 12.3% to $571 million, driven by the variable costs associated with tax return preparation and increased training costs.
- Adjusted non-GAAP pretax loss decreased 77.1% to $74 million, primarily due to the timing shift in revenues mentioned above.
- Pretax loss decreased by $10 million to $15 million, primarily as a result of lower interest expense due to the repayment of a $400 million note in October 2014 and reduced legal and consulting fees.
- Sand Canyon Corporation (SCC), a separate legal entity from H&R Block, Inc., continued to engage in constructive settlement discussions with counterparties that have made and are expected to assert a significant majority of previously denied and possible future representation and warranty claims.
- During the third quarter, SCC entered into a settlement agreement to resolve certain of these claims. The settlement amount was fully covered by prior accruals and was paid in the fiscal third quarter.
- SCC’s accrual for contingent losses related to representation and warranty claims was $144 million at January 31.
As just announced, a quarterly cash dividend of 20 cents per share is payable on April 1, 2015 to shareholders of record as of March 16, 2015. The April 1 dividend payment will be H&R Block’s 210th consecutive quarterly dividend since the company went public in 1962.
Fiscal Third Quarter Conference Call
In conjunction with the fiscal third quarter results, the company will host a conference call at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time on March 4, 2015 for analysts, institutional investors, and shareholders to discuss the fiscal 2015 third quarter results, future outlook and a general business update. To access the call, please dial the number below approximately 10 minutes prior to the scheduled starting time:
U.S./Canada (866) 872-0323 or International (443) 842-7595
Conference ID: 72336180
The call will also be webcast in a listen-only format for the media and public. The link to the webcast can be accessed directly at http://investors.hrblock.com.
A replay of the call will be available beginning at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time on March 4, 2015, and continuing until April 4, 2015, by dialing (855) 859-2056 (U.S./Canada) or (404) 537-3406 (International). The conference ID is 72336180. The webcast will be available for replay March 5, 2015 at http://investors.hrblock.com.
1 All amounts in this release are unaudited. Unless otherwise noted, all comparisons refer to the current period compared to the corresponding prior year period.
2 All per share amounts are based on fully diluted shares.
3 The company reports adjusted financial performance, which it believes is a better indication of the company’s recurring operations. The company also reports EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), a non-GAAP financial measure, which the company finds relevant when measuring its performance. See “About Non-GAAP Financial Information” below for more information regarding financial measures not prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).
About H&R Block
H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is the world’s largest consumer tax services provider. More than 650 million tax returns have been prepared worldwide by and through H&R Block since 1955. In fiscal 2014, H&R Block had annual revenues over $3.0 billion with 24.2 million tax returns prepared worldwide. Tax return preparation services are provided by professional tax preparers in approximately 12,000 company-owned and franchise retail tax offices worldwide, and through H&R Block tax software products. H&R Block Bank provides affordable banking products and services. For more information, visit the H&R Block Newsroom at http://newsroom.hrblock.com/.
About Non-GAAP Financial Information
This press release and the accompanying tables include non-GAAP financial information. For a description of these non-GAAP financial measures, including the reasons management uses each measure, and reconciliations of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable financial measures prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, please see the section of the accompanying tables titled “Non-GAAP Financial Information.”
This press release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the securities laws. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts. They often include words or variation of words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “projects,” “forecasts,” “targets,” “would,” “will,” “should,” “could” or “may” or other similar expressions. Forward-looking statements provide management’s current expectations or predictions of future conditions, events or results. All statements that address operating performance, events or developments that we expect or anticipate will occur in the future are forward-looking statements. They may include estimates of revenues, income, earnings per share, capital expenditures, dividends, liquidity, capital structure or other financial items, descriptions of management’s plans or objectives for future operations, products or services, or descriptions of assumptions underlying any of the above. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made and reflect the company’s good faith beliefs, assumptions and expectations, but they are not guarantees of future performance or events. Furthermore, the company disclaims any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement to reflect changes in underlying assumptions, factors, or expectations, new information, data or methods, future events or other changes, except as required by law. By their nature, forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements. Factors that might cause such differences include, but are not limited to, a variety of economic, competitive and regulatory factors, many of which are beyond the company’s control and which are described in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended April 30, 2014 in the section entitled “Risk Factors,” as well as additional factors we may describe from time to time in other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should understand that it is not possible to predict or identify all such factors and, consequently, you should not consider any such list to be a complete set of all potential risks or uncertainties.