What is Liberty Tax Service like and why is Tax Preparation a great industry to start a business in today?
Liberty Tax is the fastest-growing retail tax preparation company in the industry's history, specializing in individual tax preparation in over 3800 brick-and-mortar locations. Each office provides computerized income tax preparation and electronic filing options. Other services include audit representation, a money back guarantee, and free tax return checking. Liberty Tax provides an online filing preparation option for do-it-yourselfers through its eSmart Tax platform.
An income tax franchise is a business to start today because taxes are a certainty of life. There's a ready market of taxpayers. This year over 60% of taxpayers will outsource the tax preparation task to paid professionals, up from 51% in 1994.
How has your industry changed in the last 10 years? 20 years?
Paying taxes remains a certainly of life, but filing methods, tax changes and evolving regulations are constantly affecting the tax industry. In the past 20 years, e-filing revolutionized the tax industry. It's now the norm and most popular method of tax filing due to its efficiency and speed. The IRS reported nearly 101 million e-filed returns during the latest tax season, and almost one billion total returns have been filed since 1990.
In the last ten years, do-it-yourselfers have embraced online tax preparation methods, creating the latest tax revolution. The tax industry is undergoing more imposed regulation of tax preparers by the IRS with new certification procedures.
What trends do you see in the tax preparation industry over the next 5 years? Next 10 years?
More IRS regulations of tax preparation firms and tax preparers, more banking regulation, and more online and filing options.
What is the biggest concern about the Tax Prep industry that a franchise candidate should be aware of and investigate?
One of the biggest concerns is the increasing IRS regulation of tax preparers and how the tax companies are phasing this into their operations.
Why do you think Liberty Tax stands out in the industry?
In the last 14 years, Liberty Tax Franchise has emerged from a start-up company to the fastest growing tax company in the industry's history. As Liberty's brand recognition increased, our company gained accolades for our affordable franchise opportunity, commitment to customer service and unique culture. Factors of our continued success include:
Low start-up costs and the resourceful Liberty Tax Team: There's ongoing and continuous training and support in operations, marketing, and in the tax and technical areas of running a Liberty franchise. The headquarters and management staffs have over 600 years in the tax industry.
Most Experienced Tax Industry CEO: Liberty Tax CEO John Hewitt has 42 years of tax industry experience, the most of any CEO in the tax preparation business. .Accounting Today has named Hewitt one of the Top 100 most influential persons in the tax industry ten times. The International Franchise Association honored John Hewitt as Entrepreneur of the Year.
Liberty Tax Service is the only top three tax company to demonstrate overall system growth during the challenging economic climate of 2011. Throughout this decade, Liberty Tax Service has demonstrated solid gains in an industry formerly dominated by tax giant H&R Block and, for eight straight years, has grown by more returns than both Jackson Hewitt and H&R Block combined.
In its summer 2011 issue, Small Business Opportunities magazine ranked Liberty Tax one of the "75 Hot Franchises to Get into Now."
In June, G.I. Jobs named Liberty Tax Service on its elite list of "Military Friendly" franchises.
In May 2011, Entrepreneur magazine ranked Liberty Tax Service the "Best of the Best" franchise in the tax industry.
In January 2011, Entrepreneur magazine ranked Liberty Tax Service #1 of the tax franchises on the Entrepreneur "Franchise 500."
Liberty Tax Service is the only tax franchise on the Forbes "Top 20 Franchises to Start."
What makes Liberty Tax Service more attractive than your competitor's?
Affordable start-up costs for a top-rated franchise. Financing may be available for approved prospective franchisees. The continued ability to offer franchising as an option for those seeking self-employment, and a range of available territories in the United States and Canada.
Liberty Tax also offers franchise incentives through its membership in the International Franchise Association's VetFran and MinorityFran programs.
Describe your ideal candidate. Do you think your requirements are any different than your competitor's?
We are looking for highly-motivated franchisees who share our vision and determination to be #1 in this great industry. It helps that we don't require a tax background, but are seeking franchisees with strong management skills and a commitment to delivering excellent customer service. We are all looking for the best candidates. Liberty Tax is determined to bring the best on board by keeping the opportunity affordable and attainable.
What's the strongest skill you require in a candidate?
Strong managerial skills and the willingness to follow and believe in our proven system as a guide to success.
Describe the working environment of your franchisees.
Most Liberty Tax offices are storefront locations. Some are located within large retail establishments, and we do have some mobile buildings.
Why has Liberty Tax Service been successful?
Proven leadership by industry leader, John Hewitt and the vision to navigate the constant changes of the tax industry. Liberty Tax started with an already successful entrepreneur ready to take the risk again in the tax industry. Our business model features a fresh approach to tax preparation with a winning combination of superlative customer service and cutting-edge technology.
Our company and the Liberty Tax team stand ready to weather industry changes. With a tax preparer certification process in place since 2007, Liberty Tax Service is poised for stricter standards for tax preparers that are being phased now in by the IRS. Liberty Tax took a proactive approach toward professional standardization by creating its own innovation three-tier skill examination for its preparers. With the acquisition of eSmart Tax in 2007, Liberty Tax has been providing an Internet solution for individual tax preparation that is user-friendly, well-supported and affordable. The eSmartTax acquisition expands Liberty Tax Service's existing product offering by allowing customers to prepare and file individual tax returns on the Internet.
Liberty's strategy is to utilize low-cost aggressive guerrilla marketing to build a brand in record time. Our costumed Lady Liberty characters are helping to build a brand name recognized for "setting the standard, improving each day, and having some fun!"
What advice would you give someone interested in buying a Tax Prep franchise?
Thoroughly research the opportunity to see if it's a good fit for you. Do diligence by studying the franchise disclosure document, and talking to franchisees and members of the management and headquarters teams. The tax industry is an intense seasonal business, and not for everyone.
How much experience in tax prep should a franchise candidate have should they consider buying a franchise in your industry?
While tax preparation and tax industry experience certainly are assets, no previous tax experience is required to become a Liberty Tax Service franchisee.