Kansas City (Sept. 13, 2004) -- In a strike against competitors Liberty Tax Service and Jackson Hewitt, tax-prep giant H&R Block plans to open 600 offices in “under-served areas,” and an additional 400 new tax service kiosk outlets in retailer Wal-Mart for the 2005 filing season.

Block chairman and chief executive Mark Ernst told attendees at the company’s annual shareholders meeting that the “increase in the number of competitors offering services similar to [H&R Block’s] has created a short-term competitive issue.” Ernst said that tax-prep customers would take their business elsewhere “if there is too long a wait at one of Block’s offices.”

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