Spring Is Loaded With Tension as the Tax Collector Draws Near

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 9, 2001 — It’s official. With the tax collector looming, Americans’ anxiety level is intensifying. According to a recent survey conducted by Yankelovich* on behalf of Microsoft® Money 2001, one in four Americans who prepare their own taxes designated tax season as the most hectic time of the year. In fact, the survey showed that a majority of these Americans like preparing tax returns about as much as they like sitting in the dentist’s chair. However, even with this apparent apprehension, Americans are more proactive with their taxes than one might think. Survey findings indicate only 19 percent of adults wait until the last minute and file on April 15.

Keeping track of receipts and documents throughout the year is the most unpopular activity among Americans who prepare their own taxes. This chore was followed closely by filling out forms, finding the time to do the job and being caught off guard by tax-related surprises, such as owing money and dealing with new tax laws.

To help ease consumers’ tax anxiety this year, two leading brands — Microsoft Money 2001 and Kiplinger TaxCut from H & R Block — when combined offer consumers an integrated tax preparation and personal finance management package. The software products make it easy to organize financial information throughout the year and anticipate tax situations well in advance. The joint offering not only helps consumers save hours and dollars at tax time, it also allows them to maximize those savings year-round with the customizable budgeting, investing and planning tools of Money 2001.

“Our customers have told us that tracking tax-related transactions throughout the year is one of the most important benefits that Money offers, and one in three people who use personal finance management software also uses tax-preparation software,”
said Todd Ortega, group product manager for Microsoft Money.
“The integration between Money and TaxCut provides these consumers with first-rate performance in this critical area of their financial situation. The product combination makes tax filing effortless, easing the anxiety so many Americans experience during this time of year.”

According to the Internal Revenue Service, Americans on average spend 11 hours gathering tax-related records and preparing their Form 1040. Comparatively, two out of three TaxCut customers finish their taxes in less than two hours, and three out of four finish in less than three hours, according to H & R Block.

About Microsoft Money 2001

Microsoft Money 2001 is a comprehensive personal finance management software program that helps consumers quickly and effectively manage their day-to-day personal finances and achieve short- and long-term financial goals. Money 2001 is integrated with the MSN® MoneyCentral™
online personal finance service, allowing consumers to access superior investment tools and manage their investments and finances at any time, from any place. Money 2001 Deluxe is available for the estimated retail price** of $64.95; Money Standard, for an estimated retail price of $34.95.** Customers who acquire Money 2001 and Kiplinger TaxCut at the same time may be eligible for a mail-in rebate totaling up to $34.95.***

About Kiplinger TaxCut from H & R Block

Kiplinger TaxCut from H & R Block provides easy-to-use, accurate tax-preparation tools, including the latest tax laws, money-saving advice and a tax return audit to find mistakes and flag entries that might trigger an IRS audit. TaxCut, which may be launched from Money’s Tax Center, automatically reads tax-related data from Money 2001, allowing consumers to review or update the information for more complete tax return preparation. Once the individual’s tax return is complete, a copy is saved and may be viewed from within Money’s Tax Center for reference throughout the year. TaxCut is available at the estimated retail price** of $9.95, and a Deluxe version for the Windows® operating system or Macintosh is available for $19.95.**

About H & R Block

H & R Block Inc. (NYSE
) is a diversified company with subsidiaries providing a wide range of financial products and services. This year, H & R Block served 19.2 million taxpayers — more than any tax or accounting firm — through its more than 10,000 offices located primarily in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. H & R Block served another 1.8 million tax clients through its award-winning software program, TaxCut, and through its new online tax preparation services. H & R Block Financial Advisors, member NYSE, SIPC, offers investment services and securities products. H & R Block Mortgage Corp. and Option One Mortgage Corp. offer a full range of home mortgage products. RSM McGladrey Inc. is a national accounting, tax and consulting firm with 100 offices nationwide, as well as an affiliation with 550 offices in 75 countries as the U.S. member of RSM International. Quarterly results and other information are available on the company’s Web site at http://www.hrblock.com/ .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

* Yankelovich study conducted Jan. 23, 2001, 1,022 adult Americans contacted via national random digit dial (RDD), +/- 3.1 percent margin of error.

** Actual reseller prices may vary.

*** Details are available at http://www.microsoft.com/money/hrblock/coupon.htm or from a local reseller. This offer allows one rebate of up to $34.95 (U.S.) per coupon. The offer is good in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia only. The offer is not valid in U.S. territories, including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands or Guam. The offer is void where prohibited, taxed or restricted by law. The offer expires April 30, 2001. All qualifying coupons must be received by May 31, 2001. The rebate is not valid if the product was acquired directly from Microsoft and the amount of the rebate was deducted at the time of purchase; in conjunction with other Microsoft offers or rebates (including the $10 or $20 rebates in the Money box); or for upgrades from or on Academic Edition products, not-for-resale products or Microsoft products preinstalled or supplied by a manufacturer OEM; or where TaxCut and Money products are prepackaged together. Only TaxCut (UPC 735290100702), TaxCut Deluxe (UPC 735290100689), Money Standard, and Money Deluxe are eligible as part of this offer. Cash redemption value is 1/100 of 1 cent. Limit one rebate per address.

Microsoft, MSN, MoneyCentral and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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