H&R Block does not do half of all the tax returns in the country, not even close. In their own 10-K they claimed to have prepared 14.3% of tax returns filed with the IRS by April 30, 2002. Did you read it?
As far as the immense potential to get into all aspects of financial planning goes these guys, in my opinion, are predatory bottom fishers. For starters 30% of their customers are in such dire straights that they pay triple digit annual interest rates to get a short term loan against their tax refund less fees. (yup, they can�t even pay their tax preparation fees without an advance). I�d wager that well over half of the rest have and will ever have few if any financial assets. If they have any net worth it is in their homes and H&R Block�s sub prime mortgage operation wants to get that out of them with cash out refinancing equity loans.
From my observation, this isn�t much of a potential for financial planning.
If you don�t believe me I�ll give you an exercise: H&R Block paid $850 million dollars to acquire Olde in 1999. They integrated this into H&R Block Financial Advisors (�investment services�) and started to include it in their earnings effective Dec. 1, 1999. Now go back and add up the quarterly results thru 7/31/02 (10/31/02 won�t be out until the end of this month). Guess what you�ll get? A net loss�