When you think of the poster children for seasonality, you might drum up regional amusement-park operators like Cedar Fair (NYSE:FUN) and Six Flags (NYSE:PKS) or such retailers as Gap (NYSE:GPS) and Limited (NYSE:LTD) with their holiday booms. But surely you would lump in tax mavens H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) as well.

The company even ends its fiscal year in April, assuring investors who slept through the first three quarters a robust kick into the close as tax filers pile in before the April 15 deadline. Sure, it has tried to be an all-season player. Remember when the H&R Block owned the CompuServe online service?

So when a company that has posted a modest loss in every recent July quarter reports a profit -- as Block did last night -- now, that's a Blockbuster. But before you start thinking we've become a country of procrastinators opting for filing extensions, rest easy. The explanation hits a lot closer to home.

Of the company's $494.8 million first-quarter revenue, $302.9 million came from the mortgage business. Originating new home loans has proven to be a fantastic business in this low-rate environment. Between the demand for mortgages and higher home prices, the company saw a 57% increase in new loans.

While a profit of $0.06 a share isn't overwhelming in itself, the fact that Block is in the black is significant. The quarter has the company kicking off the fiscal year with a healthy head start over previous years. Block is now looking to grow earnings by 13% to 18% this year.

So while our own vibrant Tax Center suffers through seasonal withdrawal, Block continues to make headway in shaking that seasonal tag. Will quarterly losses be a thing of the past for the company during these non-peak quarters? Finicky and cyclical a beast as real estate can be, we wouldn't bet the house on it.

Are you thinking about taxes even though we're in the dog days of August? Are you sure that you've made all the right tax moves here in 2003? Is a Chia pet tax-deductible? All this and more -- in the Tax Strategies discussion board. Only on Fool.com.

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