Please Note: Blog posts are not selected, edited or screened by Seeking Alpha editors.

As TurboTax continues to prosper, brick and mortar tax prep firms such as Jackson Hewitt suffer

|Includes: HRB, INTU, Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. (JHTXQ)

Short sellers are jumping into the JTX trade.  After trending down, the number of shares borrowed began to increase in early January this year.  Short interest is a high 25% of float as of the end of February.  The number of shares borrowed has held steady over the past few weeks but as some institutional investors sell shares and reduce supply, borrowing costs quickly escalate up to 1800 bps fee to borrow.

HR Block has a relatively high degree of shorting at 10% of float at the end of February, but is not showing high borrowing costs in Short Side. 

Both companies have suffered as revenue from Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) have diminished significantly.  In HRB's case, HSBC refused to provide the credit for RALs this year.  That being said, RALs only accounted for $146 million of HRB's $4 bn in revenue in 2010.  HRB is making a push to increase the popularity of its online product, but so far it's not working out too well.  In 2010, roughly 25% of the returns prepared by HRB were done on its online platform versus in-store.

The chart below is JTX's shares borrowed and borrowing costs over the prior 15 months.