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Shares of tax preparer H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) fell yesterday as it weathered weak Q4 earnings and a downgrade from Oppenheimer.

Fast forward to today and H&R Block is really getting creamed. Shares are down 18% or $3.50 to $16.23 a share.

Bloomberg: Same-office tax returns prepared in retail operations fell 5.6 percent through Feb. 15 compared with the same period a year earlier, the Kansas City, Missouri-based company said today in a statement. Total tax returns prepared declined 6.3 percent.

Chief Executive Officer Russ Smyth said in the statement:

We believe industry filings are down significantly due to the recession and sustained, high levels of unemployment. The weak economic conditions have also contributed to a greater shift to do-it-yourself tax preparation methods.

Welcome to the TurboTax generation, folks.

HRB Feb24


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Source: H&R Block Shares Plunge 18% as Unemployment Hits Tax Prep Business