In all, returns are up more than 2 percent.
These are interesting numbers. Since they only go through February 15th, the customer population
is much more likely to consist of clients that are getting refunds. People do their taxes early when they expect a refund. They wait when the believe that they will be paying. There are many reasons why a filer can have a refund. They could have refundable tax credits, perhaps due to green energy incentives. They could have withheld too much.
All of these people were candidates for a refund anticipation loan. What is so interesting is that Block didn't have RALs this year. Jackson Hewitt and Liberty did, and while they haven't given an update on their early season results, it stands to reason that Block has poached some of their business.
It underscores the fact that there is a place for basic tax preparation, sans the high-cost consumer loans.