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Smart Tax expanding in N.J. by recruiting experienced tax preparers, accountants

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The tax preparation franchise Smart Tax is expanding in New Jersey by recruiting experienced tax preparers or accountants looking for the marketing support and operations expertise of an established brand.

Smart Tax Chief Executive Nick Rizzi launched the company 2010 and now has 41 locations in eight states, including seven in New Jersey. He said he is looking to add five or six more franchisees in New Jersey this year.

Rizzi said since launching the company, he has revised his business model and no longer charges a franchise fee.  By doing this, Smart Tax has been able to raise its profile among well-qualified potential franchisees.

Franchisees can only join Smart Tax if they are existing accountants or tax preparers. The company receives a royalty of 15 percent of the revenue that the franchisees generate and depending on the location, a franchisee may have revenue of as much as $700,000, Rizzi said.

“We decided it was better if we just took experienced people, so that customers would know that if you went to Smart Tax you would get someone with a significant amount of experience,” he said.

At the beginning of this year, Smart Tax acquired Philadelphia-based Eagle Tax and rebranded its offices as Smart Tax. Rizzi said five of the seven New Jersey locations are former Eagle Tax offices.

Smart Tax provides franchisees with free software, marketing and a back office to answer clients’ questions.  Smart Tax franchisees do not have to keep their offices open during the slow season, since they can rely on the company to answer the phone and respond to client requests.

Rizzi said 60 percent of people use a tax preparer and “that figure has not changed since the 1960s.  Sometimes people do their own taxes and everything is fine. Other times we find they left money on the table because there were deductions or credits they were not aware of.”

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Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald

Beth Fitzgerald reports on health care, small business and higher education. She joined NJBIZ in 2008 after a 34-year career at the Star-Ledger and has been reporting on business in New Jersey since 1978. Her email is beth@njbiz.com and she is @bethfitzgerald8 on Twitter.

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