H&R; Block (NYSE: HRB) is a tax preparation and personal finance management company founded by brothers Henry W. and Richard Bloch in Kansas City in 1955 (they changed the name of the company to prevent mispronunciation). The Blochs founded the company in response to the Internal Revenue Service no longer completing tax returns for free. H&R; Block has over 12,000 locations worldwide and serves over 20 million clients annually. The company services about 21 million clients in 21 countries. Their main office occupies an entire block at Main and 44th Streets in Kansas City.
H&R; Block, followed by Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Tax Service, is the largest provider and marketer of Refund Anticipation Loans, a controversial business. H&R; Block has changed some of its lending practices to conform with fair practice standards urged by ACORN and other consumer groups.
In 1980, H&R; Block acquired CompuServe as a source of revenue in the time after tax season. CompuServe was sold in 1997 in a three-way transaction between AOL and Worldcom. AOL currently owns CompuServe. H&R; Block services include a full service brokerage, electronic filing, tax preparer school, mortgage lending, and banking services.