VIRGINIA BEACH, VA -- (Marketwired) -- 02/05/16 --
Liberty Tax, Inc. (NASDAQ: TAX)
Liberty Tax, Inc. (NASDAQ: TAX) announced today its response to announcements by the Comptroller of Maryland over the last several days that the state has suspended accepting electronically filed Maryland state returns from a limited number of Liberty Tax offices, pending a review of returns by the state. A total of 23 offices are affected by the suspension. Liberty Tax has 102 active offices in the state, almost all of which are operated by independent franchisees.
Maryland has advised Liberty Tax that the suspended offices may continue to file state tax returns on paper, which will be reviewed by the state before processing. The suspension does not affect federal return filing in the offices.
"Liberty Tax has a robust compliance program, and we expect our franchisees to make sure that their offices comply with all federal and state tax requirements," noted Jim Wheaton, who is Liberty Tax's Chief Compliance Officer. "Since we learned of Maryland's concerns late last week, we have cooperated with the state, and immediately began significant efforts to look at the offices identified by the state. We are in the midst of our own investigation of the offices involved, and will continue to conduct that investigation aggressively, and support the state's review, until all questions are resolved," said Wheaton.
John T. Hewitt, President, CEO and Founder of Liberty Tax, observed that, "There is no place in the Liberty Tax system for franchisees or preparers who commit fraud or who take other shortcuts. We created a separate compliance group, and named a Chief Compliance Officer last year, in order to be able to respond quickly to compliance concerns. I have asked that group to determine whether Maryland's concerns about a handful of offices are justified, and to determine what additional actions we may need to take, irrespective of the state's review." Mr. Hewitt commented that franchisees have been reminded of the importance of maintaining the integrity of the Liberty Tax brand, and of consequences, including franchise termination and reporting to tax authorities, that the company will exercise against franchisees that commit or permit the commission of inappropriate behavior.
About Liberty Tax, Inc.
Founded in 1997 by CEO John T. Hewitt, Liberty Tax, Inc. (NASDAQ: TAX) is the parent company of Liberty Tax Service. Liberty Tax is one of the fastest-growing tax preparation franchises and has prepared almost 20 million individual income tax returns in more than 4,300 offices and online. Liberty Tax's online services are available through eSmart Tax, Liberty Online and DIY Tax, and are all backed by the tax professionals at Liberty Tax locations and its nationwide network of approximately 35,000 seasonal tax preparers. Liberty Tax also supports local communities with fundraising endeavors and contributes as a national sponsor for many charitable causes. For a more in-depth look, visit Liberty Tax Service and interact with Liberty Tax on Twitter and Facebook.
General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Vice President, Legal and Governmental Affairs
Liberty Tax Service
Source: Liberty Tax, Inc.