NFB and H&R Block Announce Agreement Assuring Accessibility

Americas, March 26 2014

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and H&R Block, which prepares approximately one in seven tax returns in America, announced that they have reached an agreement to make H&R Block’s Web site, online tax preparation products, and mobile applications fully accessible to taxpayers who are blind.

People who are blind access computers, web sites, and mobile applications through screen access software that converts what is on the screen into spoken words or Braille, but improperly coded Web sites and applications can prevent this software from working properly, denying user who are blind equal access.  The agreement is contained in a consent decree ending litigation involving NFB, two of H&R Block’s subsidiaries, two blind Massachusetts residents, and the United States Department of Justice.  The consent decree outlines steps that H&R Block will take to assure that its Web site, including the utility for preparing income tax returns, is accessible by January of 2015 and that its mobile applications are accessible by January of 2016.  The agreement also contains measures to ensure that accessibility is maintained and that blind users and others with disabilities can provide feedback and receive assistance with accessibility issues.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement, which will make the online services of one of America’s largest and most popular tax preparers available to blind taxpayers.  People with vision disabilities will soon be able to file their tax returns privately and independently if they wish, rather than seeking assistance in doing so.  We commend H&R Block for its commitment to making its services accessible to all taxpayers, including those who are blind.” said  Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind.

 “H&R Block is pleased to have reached an agreement with the National Federation of the Blind that insures the accessibility of our online resources for individuals who use assistive technologies and will work with the organization on further refinements to our online resources.  We are committed to providing superior customer service to all Americans, including those with disabilities.  As part of that commitment we want to serve all clients how they prefer to be reached — in a retail office, online, using software or a combination of methods.” said Jason Houseworth, President of Global Digital Tax Solutions and Product Management at H&R Block.

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