Jackson Hewitt to pay some $187K for misleading ads

A Jackson Hewitt location
The Justice Department sued to shut 125 franchises of No. 2 U.S. tax preparer Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. as the IRS accused the outlets of submitting thousands of fraudulent returns that cost the government more than $70 million. This office of Jackson Hewitt Tax Service in Shreveport, Louisiana, on April 4, is not known to be involved in the federal law suit. Mario Villafuerte/Bloomberg News

Tax preparation franchiser Jackson Hewitt Tax Service will pay more than $187,000 to resolve allegations that it violated Massachusetts consumer protection laws with “misleading and deceptive advertisements,” according to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

Hewitt agreed to provide more than $93,000 in refunds to Massachusetts residents who purchased tax prep services from locations in the state and agreed to a payment of more than $93,000 to the state itself.

The AG’s Office alleged that from December 2016 through April 2017, certain consumers who used Hewitt’s prep services received discounts that “amounted to less than the consumers believed they were entitled to based on advertisements they may have viewed.”

The tax prep chain must also notify affected Massachusetts customers before the end of this month.

Jackson Hewitt said in a statement that it “cooperated fully” with the Massachusetts Attorney General to “resolve any perceived concerns the office had regarding advertising practices. Our goal has and will always be to communicate transparently with clients and provide them the best possible service. Signing the assurance of discontinuance allows us to focus on meeting our clients’ needs this tax season,” the statement added.

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