Can a community get a tax return? In a roundabout way, yes. Here’s the story of how KC-based H&R Block grew from a Midtown shop on Main Street to a global enterprise — and ultimately used its success to give back to the community.
Building H&R Block
The year was 1955 when the IRS discontinued its local tax preparation services. Bookkeeping brothers Henry + Richard Bloch put an ad in the Star for tax services, and the response ultimately tripled their yearly revenue.
The brothers went on to set up franchise offices in places like New York City. By the turn of the century, H&R Block had grown to the sixth-largest accounting firm in the US.
What happens on Main Street stays on Main Street
At the time, downtown Kansas City was a blighted eye-sore. Today, it’s the go-to destination for the biggest entertainment acts in the metro. How did that happen?
In the early 2000s, local leaders spearheaded a multi-billion private/public initiative to remake downtown. Ahead of projects like the Sprint Center and Power & Light came the new 17-story H&R Block headquarters.
“It was important to H&R Block to stay on Main Street and to take a leadership role in partnering with the community,” 2016 H&R Block CEO and President Bill Cobb said.
By 2006, the new tower — at Main Street + 13th Street — had literally reshaped KC’s skyline. Today, its elliptical shape “sheathed in green glass” is a stand-out design along the streetcar line.
H&R Block today
As for taxes, you can check out its online services (hopefully before Tax Day on Tuesday, April 18).