St. Louis -- Citing better cost controls in its tax business, tax-prep giant H&R Block Inc. posted second-quarter profits of $10.4 million for the period ended Oct. 31, 2003, compared with a loss of $37.3 million for the same period a year earlier.

H&R Block said that it was the first second-quarter profit in the company’s history.

It also posted a profit during its first quarter in 2003, which was its first-ever quarterly profit for the first period. Due to the timing of tax-filing season, the company had heretofore reported losses during the first three quarters of the year.

Meanwhile, second-quarter systemwide revenues jumped by roughly 23 percent, to about $580 million, versus one year ago.

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