Jackson Hewitt was founded in 1982 by a group of investors who bought Mel Jackson’s Tax Service and renamed it Jackson Hewitt.
The investors began selling franchises in 1986 and by the next year they had 22 offices.
Montgomery Ward contacted Jackson Hewitt in 1989 about opening offices in their 169 stores across the country. Their competitor, Sears, had been working with H&R Block for years in their stores.
In 1994 Mongomery Ward went public but no stock was issued; the investors’ private shares simply converted into public shares. The same year, the company entered into a trial period with offices in Sam’s Club stores. The trial was a success and Jackson Hewitt made plans to open offices in 18 Wal-Mart stores.
In 1997 Jackson Hewitt was bought by HFS Inc. for $480 million. HFS then changed its name to Cendant Corporation. The company subsequently opened 1,000 new offices.
In 2004, Jackson Hewitt was spun off as a separate company.
At its peak, the company handled 3.4 million tax returns per year, mostly for middle and low income customers through over 5,000 franchise offices.
Today Jackson Hewitt is the third largest service for the preparation of tax returns.