Parkersburg native Jeff Jones leads H&R Block

Still wondering how the new federal tax law will affect you?

Parkersburg native Jeff Jones, president and chief executive officer of H&R Block Inc., said this about the tax law signed by President Donald Trump on Dec. 22: “In general, it is good news for Americans.”

The tax legislation will result in a lower tax rate and bigger tax refund for Americans, Jones told me this week. He noted the new tax law is a complicated topic.

The tax changes won’t go into effect until next year’s tax-filing season, Jones said.

Jones, 50, a 1985 graduate of Parkersburg Catholic High School, began his leadership of the global consumer tax services provider company on Oct. 9, 2017.

H&R Block, founded in 1955, has 80,000 tax professionals working out of 12,000 offices worldwide, including two offices in Parkersburg and 93 others in West Virginia.

H&R Block’s job is to help millions of people interpret and figure out their tax returns, Jones said. The company, the largest tax preparation business in the world, is looking to serve even more clients, he said.

In fiscal 2017, H&R Block had annual revenues of over $3 billion with 23 million tax returns prepared worldwide, the company said.

Jones said he loves his new job and is excited about company announcements this tax season.

This year, H&R Block launched three new products: a Refund Advance of up to $3,000, as a no-interest loan, to clients; a Tax Pro Review, in which a client’s refund is reviewed for credits and deductions, and Tax Pro Go, in which tax returns are prepared and filed with the IRS based on information provided online.

In other new developments, Jones also mentioned that H&R Block desktop tax software is now sold at Wal-Mart and a refund bonus is offered in collaboration with Amazon.

Jones said he is spending a considerable amount of time on the road, getting to know H&R Block tax professionals and checking on operations at the offices.

Jones was commencement speaker at Parkersburg Catholic High School’s graduation ceremony last May. He had an opportunity to tour his alma mater and enjoyed talking to the students.

Jones said he told the Parkersburg students about the five words that have guided him as a leader: listen, provoke, love, simplify and believe.

Jones called himself an average student at Parkersburg Catholic High School and unsure of what he wanted to do in life after high school. He was a good baseball player at Catholic and also played football.

After graduating from Parkersburg Catholic, Jones spent a year at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, where, he said, he learned the importance of discipline and being a good student. Fork Union “set me up for success,” Jones said.

He graduated from the University of Dayton in 1990 with a degree in communications.

Jones’ impressive resume includes being president of Ride Sharing at Uber before joining H&R Block, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Target Corp. from 2012 to 2016, executive and leadership roles for The Gap, The Coca-Cola Company and Leo Burnett advertising agency, where he served General Motors, MilllerCoors and Procter & Gamble, and founded Burnett’s subsidiary company, LB Works.

“One of our core corporate values is ‘We Do the Right Thing.’ There are few people who embody this more than Jeff. He is a transformational leader, one who deeply understands today’s consumer and knows how to drive results in large-scale operations,” said Robert A. Gerard, chairman of the H&R Block Board, in announcing Jones was joining the company.

“Given his proven record of success in innovation and change management, the board is confident Jeff is the right person to evolve and grow our business in the years ahead,” Gerard said.

Jones lives in Kansas City, Mo., headquarters of H&R Block.

He is the son of Jeff and Sue Jones of Columbus, formerly of Parkersburg.

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After I had written last week’s column about Tampa Catholic High School basketball coach and athletic director Don Dziagwa and his son Thomas, I learned Don had just received another award. Don was named 2016-17 Florida Coach of the Year for Boys Basketball. Don is a 1973 graduate of Parkersburg Catholic High School and was an assistant boys basketball coach at his alma mater for two years in the 1970s. He has been head basketball coach at Tampa Catholic for 27 years, winning one state championship and his team was state runner-up last season. “I have been blessed to have some great players and assistant coaches that have made this possible,” Don said.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com

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