Jackson Hewitt Announces Partnership with Major Tax Resolution Firm

Jackson Hewitt Announces Partnership with Major Tax Resolution Firm
What This Means to the Solo and Small Firm Practitioner
Important Info for You to Know!

At our Tax Resolution Marketing and Technology Conference held in Orlando, FL on Jan. 7-9, we told you this was going to happen.

As a pioneer in the tax resolution industry, I see this news as a sign that our industry is starting to “grow-up”. Prior to 1998 there really wasn’t an industry at all. Sure, practitioners we’re helping people with IRS problems but there were no formalized procedures on how to do this work. It was like the wild, wild, west of tax problem resolution. On 7/22/1998, then President Clinton signed into law the IRS Tax Restructuring and Reform Act (TRRA), also known as “The Taxpayers Bill of Rights III, which gave American Taxpayers “rights” they never before could exercise. Taxpayer’s were now afforded the ability to appeal all sorts of collection enforcement actions by the IRS and settle their tax debts for (much) less than what they actually owed through the IRS’s Offer in Compromise Program.

We weathered the storm of the less than scrupulous firms that advertised on late night TV, from the early 2000’s through 2011, hawking “pennies on the dollar” IRS settlements. These firms did not distinguish if you were even eligible for IRS tax relief. They made promises they couldn’t keep, took taxpayer’s money and never performed the work. Consumers complained and filed lawsuits. Not a winning formula. All of these firms, American Tax Relief (ATR), TaxMasters, JK Harris and Roni Lynn Deutch were eventually shut down by the FTC (or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) or state’s attorney general.

Then in 2010, as a result of the above, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wanted to ban upfront fees clients paid us to represent them. This would have hurt many of us and put some of us out of business altogether. We have the credit repair guys to thank for this. But we weathered this storm as well. I was the driving force in hiring a D.C. lobbyist and lawyer and setting up a national coalition of tax resolution companies to fight this. And we won!

Now comes this- A major national tax Preparation Company, getting into the tax resolution business by partnering with one of the largest, if not the largest tax resolution firm in the country. Jackson Hewitt realized that they are in a commoditized business, charging on average $300+ for a return and seeing their tax preparation customer base stagnate or in decline due to the proliferation of on-line “do-it-yourself” tax preparation firms that charge $19.95 to file your income tax return. When you are in the business of selling a product or providing a service that is considered a commodity, price is generally the only thing you can compete on. Not a pretty place to be. Warning: If you are only doing tax preparation and accounting work you need to wake up before it’s too late. You should be aggressively ramping up your tax problem resolution marketing machines now, not later.

What does all of this mean to you, the solo and small firm practitioner that’s doing tax problem resolution work? We should be thankful for this news. Why?

First of all it will bring national attention to your potential clients that the IRS is willing to “deal” if you owe them money and can’t pay them back in full. Your potential client will be more aware that help even exists. This is a good thing. Nearly 12 million people are receiving threatening collection letters from the IRS and this figure has steadily increased and is projected to do the same next year and beyond. About 70% of those have unfiled income tax returns. Most consumers want someone LOCAL that they know, that they like and that they trust vs. some large impersonal firm, to handle their tax problems. Local solo and small firm CPAs, attorneys and enrolled agents are uniquely positioned to take advantage of this opportunity, but only if they take action fast.

Now is the time to plan and implement your grass roots and gorilla marketing campaigns and strategies to have these prospects hire you vs. them. These strategies include: lead generation and direct response marketing and advertising campaigns that, magnetically attract, rather than hunt, people with IRS tax problems.

Today’s tax resolution practitioners will not only survive this latest threat but will thrive—but only if they realize that everything around them is changing. The economy has and is changing right before our eyes. Peoples’ buying habits are changing. The way business is conducted is changing. It is expected that in the next 2.5 years more than 3 billion people will come on-line, flipping internet capacity on its head going from where it is today at 25% to more than 75%. This will be the biggest event in how business is conducted since the industrial revolution of the 1800’s. We will not experience anything like this again in our lifetime. We need to embrace this change and implement new bold strategies to ensure our sustained success and to thrive. We need to get our websites re-built or created now. We need to have a social media presence today. We need to be online where our future prospects can find us! We are all doing a disservice to our clients and potential clients if we sit back and allow change to “happen” to us. We must take charge and change how we do things!

Looking back, in a couple of years from now it will be those of us who got out of our “comfort zones” who’ll be thriving helping others resolve their IRS problems!