Tax-preparation firm Jackson Hewitt (NYSE:JTX) just closed out the slow part of its fiscal year. Come January, tax season will be in full swing once again. Regardless of its seasonal fluctuations, this is a stock to keep an eye on.

Jackson Hewitt usually operates at a loss during its fiscal first and second quarters, and this year was no exception. For the second quarter, revenue was only $6.2 million, $2.8 million lower than usual, as management shifted certain financial product revenue recognition to tax season. The reported diluted earnings loss came in at $0.46 per share, but according to management, it would have been $0.38 when adjusting for the above revenue shift and a $0.03-per-share benefit from share repurchases.

The earnings conference call did offer some useful insight in an otherwise uneventful quarter. For the year, management expects to grow its location count by more than 10%, consistent with the 10%-12% growth it has targeted over the past few years. That implies 600 to 650 new locations, with a total location count greater than 6,600 by year end. Of those outlets, it expects that 90% of the branches will be franchised, with the remainder company-owned. This is also consistent with the current office count makeup, since franchising is the primary focus for expansion.

Under Jackson Hewitt's franchise agreements, the company sells a 10-year right for an individual or entity to open as many offices as it would like in a certain territory. Management detailed that a third of the U.S. remains to be parceled and sold off to franchisees, so there is quite a bit of room left for territories to be sold. Related revenue from such arrangements traditionally arrives in the first and second fiscal quarters. That leads to future royalty payments, which account for about 25% of total annual revenue, as well as new sources of tax-preparation and related-service sales.

So far, Jackson Hewitt has assembled a solid track record of growth since it was spun off from Cendant (NYSE:CD) in June 2004. Archrival H&R Block (NYSE:HRB) is much larger, but that means growth is easier for Jackson Hewitt to come by, since it has yet to fully blanket the domestic market. Rival Intuit (NASDAQ:INTU) dominates the online tax-preparation business, but all firms in the space generate impressive levels of cash flow. Read here for more details regarding Jackson Hewitt's investment merits and the appeal of the industry overall.

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Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann has no financial interest in any company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.