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Shares of tax preparation companies edged higher in midday trade Tuesday, despite the Internal Revenue Service's announcement that it would pay refunds as scheduled during the partial government shutdown. H&R Block Inc.'s stock tacked on 0.1% and TurboTax parent Intuit Inc. shares gained 0.7%. The IRS confirmed late Monday that it will start processing tax returns on Jan. 28 and provide refunds as scheduled. BMO Capital analyst Jeffrey Silber said that is a relatively late start to tax season compared with prior years, it is one day earlier than last year's start. Silber said this was good news for H&R's Block shares, "as fears of delays due to the partial government shutdown and changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) appear to be unwarranted." He said the tax season's start date could pull some expected fiscal fourth-quarter revenue that ends April quarter into the third-quarter ending January. H&R Block's stock has rallied 5.8% since the government shut down, while the S&P 500 has advanced 5.9%. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.