H&R BLOCK, INC.
The role of the Audit Committee is to assist the Board of Directors in fulfilling its oversight responsibilities with respect to (1) the integrity of the Company's financial statements, (2) the Company's compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, (3) the independent auditor's qualifications and independence, and (4) the performance of the Company's internal audit function and independent auditor. The role of the Audit Committee also includes encouragement of strong, positive working relationships and free and open communication among the directors, the independent auditor, the internal auditors, counsel and the Company's management. References to "Company" in this Charter shall refer to the Company and all of its subsidiaries.
The Audit Committee shall consist of at least three directors, all of whom shall meet the independence and experience requirements of the New York Stock Exchange, Section 10A(m)(3) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act") and the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "Commission"). At least one member of the Audit Committee shall be an "audit committee financial expert" as defined by the Commission. Audit Committee members shall not simultaneously serve on the audit committees of more than two other public companies unless the Board of Directors shall specifically determine that such simultaneous service shall not impair such member's ability to effectively serve on the Audit Committee and the Company discloses such determination pursuant to New York Stock Exchange listing requirements or other applicable requirements.
The Board of Directors shall make determinations of independence with respect to possible appointees and shall appoint the members of the Audit Committee and its Chairman on the recommendation of the Governance and Nominating Committee. The Board shall apply the rules and restrictions of the New York Stock Exchange relating to independence and consider employment, officer, business, family, charitable and other relationships in making such determinations and appointments.
The Audit Committee shall cause to be filed with the New York Stock Exchange annually after the Board of Directors appoints the Audit Committee, and at any time when the composition of the Audit Committee changes, a Written Affirmation in the form required by the Listed Company Manual of the New York Stock Exchange.
AUDIT COMMITTEE MEETINGS
The Audit Committee shall hold at least four regular meetings annually, and shall meet more frequently as deemed necessary to fulfill the responsibilities prescribed in this Charter or by the Board of Directors. Special meetings of the Committee may be called by the Chairman of the Audit Committee.
The Committee shall periodically and at least quarterly meet with the independent auditor, the Director of Internal Audit (or person with similar responsibilities) and management of the Company in separate executive sessions to discuss any matters that the Committee or each such group or person believes should be discussed privately.
The Committee shall request members of management, counsel, the Internal Audit Department and the Company's independent auditor, as applicable, to participate in Committee meetings, as deemed appropriate by the Committee. Periodically and at least quarterly the Committee shall meet in private session with only Committee members.
The Audit Committee may form and delegate authority to subcommittees consisting of one or more members when appropriate.
The Committee shall periodically report on its meetings and other activities to the Board of Directors, shall keep accurate minutes of its meetings and shall present such minutes to the Board of Directors for its approval.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES
The Audit Committee Charter and any revisions thereto shall be approved by the Board of Directors.
The Audit Committee shall review and reassess the adequacy of the Audit Committee Charter on an annual basis, or more frequently as needs dictate, and recommend to the Governance and Nominating Committee and/or the Board of Directors any revisions considered appropriate.
The Audit Committee Charter shall be included as an appendix to the Company's proxy statement in accordance with the rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission under the Exchange Act, as such rules and regulations may be modified or supplemented from time to time ("SEC Rules").
The Committee shall prepare and publish in the Company's proxy statement an Audit Committee Report as and when required by SEC Rules.
INDEPENDENT AUDITOR AND OTHER INDEPENDENT ACCOUNTANTS AND
The independent auditor for the Company is ultimately accountable to the Board of Directors and the Audit Committee of the Company and shall report directly to the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee shall:
Have sole authority over the appointment, retention, discharge or replacement of the independent auditor.
Be directly responsible for the compensation and oversight of the work of the independent auditor (including resolution of disagreements between management and the independent auditor regarding financial reporting) for the purpose of preparing or issuing an audit report or related work, with the Company providing appropriate funding, as determined by the Audit Committee, for payment of such compensation.
Pre-approve all auditing services and permitted non-auditing services (including the fees and terms thereof) to be performed for the Company by its independent auditor as required and permitted by Section 10A(i)(1) of the Exchange Act. Such pre-approvals may be made pursuant to policies and procedures established by the Audit Committee in accordance with the SEC Rules.
Receive and discuss with management and the independent auditor the letter from the independent auditor regarding the auditor's independence required by the Independence Standards Board No. 1 (Independence Discussions with Audit Committees), as such Standard may be modified or supplemented from time to time.
Obtain and review a report from the independent auditor at least annually regarding (a) the independent auditor's internal quality-control procedures, (b) any material issues raised by the most recent internal quality-control review, or peer review, of the firm, or by any inquiry or investigation by governmental or professional authorities within the preceding five years respecting one or more independent audits carried out by the firm, (c) any steps taken to deal with any such issues, and (d) all relationships between the independent auditor and the Company.
Periodically and at least annually review, evaluate and discuss with the independent auditor such auditor's independence, effectiveness and performance, including the lead partner of the independent auditor team and any disclosed relationships or services that may impact the objectivity and independence of the independent auditor.
Ensure the rotation of the audit partners as required by the SEC Rules. Consider whether, in order to assure continuing auditor independence, it is appropriate to adopt a policy of rotating the independent auditing firm on a regular basis.
Present its conclusions regarding its evaluation of the independent auditor to the Board of Directors and recommend to the Board any appropriate action to satisfy the Committee and/or the Board of the qualifications, performance and independence of the independent auditor.
Approve the audit plan and the scope of the audit on an annual basis or as otherwise necessary, and approve any modifications thereto.
Review the extent to which independent public accountants other than the principal independent auditor are used by the Company and the rationale for such use.
Recommend to the Board policies for the Company's hiring of employees or former employees of the independent auditor who were engaged on the Company's account consistent with the SEC Rules.
The Audit Committee shall:
Review and approve the appointment, replacement, reassignment or dismissal of the Director of Internal Audit (or person with similar responsibilities) and periodically and at least annually review the performance of the Director of Internal Audit.
At least annually review and approve the internal audit plan, and periodically ensure adequate resources are available to execute the plan.
Review the results of completed internal audits with the Director of Internal Audit and monitor corrective actions taken by management, as deemed appropriate.
Review with the independent auditor its assessment of Internal Audit Department practices and objectivity.
FINANCIAL REPORTING AND RISK CONTROL
The Audit Committee shall:
Review the coordination of audit efforts of the Internal Audit Department and the independent auditor to assure completeness of coverage, reduction of redundant efforts, and the effective use of audit resources.
Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the audited financial statements and quarterly financial statements of the Company, including the Company's disclosures under "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations."
Review and discuss with management and the independent auditor the Company's quarterly financial statements prior to the filing of its Form 10-Q, including the results of the independent auditor's reviews of the quarterly financial statements.
Review with the independent auditor the independent auditor's evaluation of the Company's financial, accounting and internal audit personnel, and the cooperation received by the independent auditor during the course of the audit.
Review any significant disagreement between management and either the independent auditor or the Internal Audit Department in connection with the preparation of the financial statements.
Discuss with management and the independent auditor the matters required to be discussed by Statement on Auditing Standards No. 61 relating to the audit, including any difficulties encountered in the course of the audit work, any restrictions on the scope of activities or access to requested information, and any significant disagreements with management.
Review and discuss reports from the independent auditors on (a) all critical accounting policies and practices to be used, (b) all alternative treatments of financial information within generally accepted accounting principles that have been discussed with management, ramifications of the use of such alternative disclosures and treatments, and the treatment preferred by the independent auditor, and (c) other material written communications between the independent auditor and management, such as any management letter or schedule of unadjusted differences.
Discuss with the independent auditor and management (a) the significant financial reporting issues and judgments made in connection with the preparation of the Company's financial statements, including any significant changes in the Company's selection or application of accounting principles and (b) the effect of regulatory and accounting initiatives as well as off-balance sheet structures on the Company's financial statements.
Make recommendations to the Board of Directors as to whether the audited financial statements should be included in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the last fiscal year for the filing with the Commission.
Receive from management and the independent auditor timely analysis of significant current financial reporting issues.
Review with management, the Internal Audit Department and the independent auditor the Company's major financial risk exposures and the steps management has taken to monitor and control such exposures (including the Company's risk assessment and risk management policies), any major issues as to the adequacy of the Company's internal controls, and any special audit steps adopted in light of any material control deficiencies.
Discuss with management the Company's earnings press releases, including the use of "pro forma" or other "non-GAAP financial measures," as well as financial information and earnings guidance provided to analysts and rating agencies.
Obtain from the independent auditor assurance that Section 10A(b) of the Exchange Act has not been implicated.
Review disclosures made to the Audit Committee by the Company's CEO and CFO during their certification process for the Form 10-K and Form 10-Q about any significant deficiencies in the design or operation of internal controls or material weaknesses therein and any fraud involving management or other employees who have a significant role in the Company's internal controls.
ETHICAL AND LEGAL COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES
The Audit Committee shall:
Establish, review and update (or cause management to update) periodically the H&R Block, Inc. Code of Ethics & Conduct (the "Code") and assure that management has established a system to enforce the Code.
Review and approve the appointment, replacement, reassignment or dismissal of the Ethics Program Director under the Code and periodically review his or her performance.
Review reports concerning compliance of the Company's directors, management, associates and others to whom the Code applies.
Review the results of the Internal Audit Department's annual audit of corporate officer expenses and perquisites.
Review with the Company's General Counsel and, when appropriate, outside counsel legal compliance matters and any legal matter that could have a significant impact on the Company's financial statements.
Conduct or authorize investigations into any matters within the scope of the Committee's responsibilities.
As appropriate, obtain advice and assistance from outside legal, accounting or other advisors, with the Company providing for appropriate funding, as determined by the Audit Committee, for payment of compensation to such advisors.
Establish procedures for the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received by the Company regarding accounting, internal accounting controls or auditing matters, and the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters.
Annually evaluate its own performance.
LIMITATION OF AUDIT COMMITTEE'S ROLE
While the Audit Committee has the responsibilities and powers set forth in this Charter, it is not the duty of the Audit Committee to plan or conduct audits or to determine that the Company's financial statements are complete and accurate and are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. This is the responsibility of management and the independent auditor.