Microsoft and H&R Block Help Consumers Tackle Tax Time

REDMOND, Wash., and KANSAS CITY, Mo. Jan. 21, 2003 For the fourth consecutive year, Microsoft Corp. and H & R Block Inc. have joined forces to provide consumers with the MSN® Tax Center, a useful collection of financial resources for tax preparation and filing. With the hundreds of recent tax law changes affecting nearly all taxpayers, the MSN Tax Center, available at, combines insightful commentary, analysis and powerful tools and services from CNBC on MSN Money together with the expertise of online tax preparation and filing from H & R Block, the worlds leader in tax preparation.

To gain a better understanding of their tax situation, consumers can visit the MSN Tax Center for a comprehensive selection of convenient, easy-to-use tools that assist with a variety of tax-related issues, from finding current forms and identifying deductions to estimating tax refunds and understanding current tax laws. With the Internal Revenue Service expecting about 54 million people to file electronically in 2003, consumers can save time and get refunds more efficiently through the MSN Tax Center by utilizing H & R Blocks online tax programs to easily prepare and file their taxes.

“H & R Block is committed to providing a tax solution for all consumers whether they prepare and file in our office, on their desktop or on the Web,”
said David Byers, chief marketing officer for H & R Block.
“By continuing this successful alliance with one of the most respected personal finance portals, were able to provide our wide range of filing solutions in a place where consumers already are managing their complete financial picture.”

The MSN Tax Center offers the following resources:

  • Prepare and file state and federal returns. Consumers can quickly prepare and file both state and federal taxes online through H & R Block, and those who register to do so can receive 12 free months of bill pay from MSN.*

  • Learn about the latest tax law changes. Hundreds of recent tax law changes affect nearly all taxpayers, and CNBC on MSN Money helps filers make sense of how these laws affect their tax situation.

  • Estimate and maximize tax returns. The Tax Estimator gives consumers an early read on expected refunds or payments, and the Deduction Finder helps maximize returns.

  • Work online with an H & R Block tax professional. For consumers who want additional assistance, CNBC on MSN Money provides access to an H & R Block professional who offers guidance to assist with online preparation and filing.

  • Gain expert insight and analysis. MSN Money experts and columnists provide further commentary and perspective on this years tax season. On the Community Page, consumers can ask tax questions of Jeff Schnepper, MSN Money tax expert, renowned tax attorney and author of the best-selling book,
    “How to Pay Zero Taxes.”

For consumers who prefer the offline power of software programs to prepare tax returns, Microsoft and H & R Block offer valuable tax solutions to meet their needs. Consumers can receive a free** copy of Microsoft® Money 2003 Standard after mail-in rebate when they acquire TaxCut® from H & R Block. Microsoft Money 2003 integrates with TaxCut and other tax software programs to automatically import relevant financial data and make organizing, preparing and filing tax returns easier than ever.

“With numerous tax-law changes going into effect this year, consumers are looking for a resource to help them make sense of the changes and simplify the tax preparation and filing process,”
said Chris Jolley, director of product management for the Financial Products Group at Microsoft.
“Together, H & R Block and MSN Money offer a virtual tax toolbox, containing the essential equipment consumers need to assess their tax situations and construct an optimal return.”

About H & R Block

H & R Block Inc. ( ) is a diversified company with subsidiaries that deliver tax services and financial advice, investment and mortgage products and services, and business accounting and consulting services. As the worlds largest tax services company, H & R Block served nearly 23 million clients during fiscal year 2002. Clients were served at the approximately 10,400 H & R Block retail offices worldwide and through the companys award-winning software, TaxCut, and its online tax services. H & R Block is the only major tax and financial services company that focuses primarily on helping middle-income taxpayers achieve their financial goals. Investment services and securities products are offered through H & R Block Financial Advisors Inc., member NYSE, SIPC. H & R Block Inc. is not a registered broker-dealer. H & R Block Mortgage Corp. offers retail mortgage products. Option One Mortgage Corp. offers wholesale mortgage products and a wide range of mortgage services. RSM McGladrey Inc. serves mid-sized businesses with accounting, tax and consulting services.

About CNBC on MSN Money

CNBC on MSN Money, located exclusively on MSN, is a complete online personal finance service that combines award-winning finance tools and content from Microsoft, the worldwide leader in software, with exclusive investment news and analysis from CNBC, the worlds most popular financial cable news network. CNBC on MSN Money offers consumers the ability to easily complete a wide range of everyday financial tasks, such as paying bills, viewing account balances, tracking investments, planning for retirement and staying informed with the latest financial news, in one convenient place online any time, any place.

CNBC on MSN Money enables people at all levels of experience to take control of and feel comfortable with their finances, helping them make smart financial decisions. Leading industry publications, including Barrons, Forbes Magazine, Money Magazine, PC Magazine and PC World Magazine, consistently applaud the sophisticated personal finance tools and information from Microsoft. The service is available at or , or by visiting MSN at .

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.

* Complete details on the rules and restrictions can be found at .

** Certain rebate offer restrictions apply. See packaging for offer details.

Microsoft and MSN 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 on Microsofts corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsofts Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at .

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