Kansas City, Mo. (May 28, 2003) -- H&R Block is losing another Big Four auditor as PricewaterhouseCoopers has declined to stand for re-election as the company's independent auditor for Block's 2004 fiscal year.

Block switched auditors from Deloitte & Touche LLP to PwC in 1998 after reviewing proposals from the then-Big Five firms, confirmed Block spokeswoman Linda McDougall. She declined to discuss why PwC chose to step down.

“All I can say is that they notified us they would not stand for re-election, and that it was a private business decision not related to our accounting principals, practices, or our management,” McDougall said.

Block's audit committee will select a new accounting firm for 2004, subject to approval in September by the company's shareholders and board. McDougall said the audit committee is “actively working on the issue” and “may make a selection shortly.”

She added that Block could continue to work with PwC on future projects that don't involve audit work.

PwC officials declined to comment on the decision as the firm “does not comment on client matters.”

For Block's 2002 fiscal year, PwC charged the tax preparation company $639,577 for audit work and $1.7 million for non-audit work, according to Block's proxy statement from last year.

-- Seth Fineberg

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