When your name is synonymous with the April 15 tax-filing deadline, you certainly don't expect to be too busy on Oct. 15. But H&R Block(NYSE: HRB) is thinking outside of the 1040 box, and the move is starting to pay off. While the company posted an expected loss for its October quarter, it also registered a 26% spike in revenue on the strength of its mortgage business.

Yes, Block helped originate $3.9 billion in mortgage loans during its fiscal second quarter. Lower rates have meant stacks of new home loan applications and a healthy tug to refinance. H&R Block is along for the ride, joined by lending institutions such as Countrywide Credit(NYSE: CCR) and that bank down the street.

But Block's bread-and-butter business has proven hearty in the off-season, too. It reported a 21% rise in stateside tax operations, and enrollment at the chain's tax preparation schools clocked in 9% higher than last year. With the expanding retirement and college savings options out there, taxes have become taxing. Block welcomes the opportunity to guide, educate, and hold hands.

Sure, folks are always welcome to take the free route and check out our Tax Center or pick up our Tax Guide, but Block's also an option. Things are going so well for the company that it's expecting fiscal year earnings to come in between $2.90 and $3.10 a share. That's at least a 26% improvement from fiscal 2002's bottom line. It also just happens to match tlooks to he lowest and the highest Wall Street projections.

While the stock has been a bear market success story, more than doubling over the past two years, it certainly offers a compelling value at just 13 times this year's profit target. If the low valuation plays out and the fundamentals hold up, Block wouldn't mind another taxing matter for its shareholders to ponder -- unrealized capital gains.