updated 2/25/2004 9:16:45 AM ET 2004-02-25T14:16:45

Tax preparation company H&R Block says its profits fell 19 percent in the last quarter, coming in at 59 cents per share. At the same time a year ago, H&R Block reported earnings of 73 cents.

The company reported revenues of 977 million dollars, compared with revenues of more than 958 million during the same quarter last year.

The results beat the estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call. They were expecting a profit of 45 cents a share.

But H&R Block says it's expecting a good — but not great — tax season. Chief executive Mark Ernst says the unemployment rate translates into fewer people filing income tax returns.

Shares in H&R Block moved lower in after-hours trading Tuesday.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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