Hewitt re-enters tax prep space

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Serial tax prep entrepreneur and executive John Hewitt has re-entered the space once again after leaving in 2017.

Hewitt’s Loyalty Brands, an umbrella franchise company of business brokerage, small-business accounting, tax prep and added services, networking and bartering, has joined with ATAX Franchise to expand in the Latino market.

ATAX has been a franchisor of tax prep and accounting for over 12 years. Founder and CEO Rafael Alvarez will lead the venture, along with president and chief operating officer Arthur Garcia.

“Together we will create the largest Latino franchise company with thousands of locations throughout the country,” Alvarez said in a statement. The company expects to grow to more than 400 locations by the end of 2021.

“We see the need in our communities for high-quality services,” Alvarez stated. “We do not want to build ‘another tax chain;’ rather we see an opportunity to create a place where our customers can get access to a number of services by trusted advisors and in the language they feel comfortable speaking.”

Hewitt brings significant experience in tax prep and franchising to the combination. He founded Liberty Tax Service in 1998 after co-founding Jackson Hewitt in 1988, which was sold in 1997 for $483 million to Cendant. Before co-founding Jackson Hewitt, he was a regional director at H&R Block.

In 2017, Hewitt stepped down as Liberty’s CEO after the chain was forced to close down dozens of offices due to tax fraud and set up a compliance group to more closely scrutinize its franchisees. He formed Loyalty Brands in 2018.

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