Liberty Tax Manager Clint Tagtow stands outside of Albert Lea's newest tax agency in the company's signature roadside waver attire. Liberty Tax opened to the public during the week of Jan. 7 and is located next to Papa Murphy's on Bridge Avenue. -- Colleen Thompson/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

2nd largest tax chain comes to Albert Lea

Published 11:15am Monday, January 14, 2013

By Colleen Thompson

The tax season may be a little brighter for Albert Lea taxpayers with new-to-town Liberty Tax Service, dedicated to customer service.

“We’re about treating our customers with the respect they deserve,” said Clint Tagtow, owner and manager of the local franchise. “Lots of people can file taxes, but we really treat our customers right.”

Liberty Tax is most known for its roadside wavers that often hold signs advertising the business. Roadside wavers usually wear a Statue of Liberty costume with a red sash and white print reading “Liberty Tax” or Uncle Sam attire, the business’s signature way of guerilla marketing.

Even though it’s a well-known chain with locations all over the country, 90 percent of its customers know of Liberty Tax from word of mouth. Liberty Tax doesn’t purchase a lot of newspaper or radio ads. It relies mainly on word of mouth and has a heavy reliance on costumed employees holding signs alongside the road.

Liberty Tax has broadened its horizons since first appearing in the United States 15 years ago. It was first started by John T. Hewitt in Canada in 1997, but he moved it to the United States a year later and started selling franchises. It is now the second largest tax business in the country, after H&R Block, and has 4,000 offices in the U.S. and Canada.

“We hope to be the largest tax business in the country by 2020,” Tagtow said.

The chain strives to expand its locations even more and prides itself in being open year-round.

“You have a problem during the off-season? We’re here,” Tagtow said.

As for the daunting task of paying taxes, Tagtow is well aware of the stress that people go through in the first four months of the new year. He advises that people tackle their taxes sooner rather than later.

“It’s inevitable, and there’s not a lot you can do about it,” Tagtow said. “But it’s best to dwell on the things you can control, not the things you can’t.”

Liberty Tax Service has a 100 percent guarantee with all services. Its mission is to set the standard, improve each day and have some fun in the process.

For more information, contact Liberty Tax Service’s office phone at 507-373-4829. It is located next to Papa Murphy’s at 152 Bridge Ave. Business hours from now until April 15 are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

Shayne