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VOL. 124 | NO. 210 | Monday, October 26, 2009

Company Makes Tax Credit Process Easy for Businesses

By Tom Wilemon

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TAXING BUSINESS:  Roy Brown, standing, president of Tax Credit Services LLC, talks about new federal incentives to hire target groups with Jared Oakley, left, the company’s vice president of sales, and Chris Bradley, its chief information officer. -- PHOTO BY TOM WILEMON

Tax Credit Services LLC helps companies navigate the whirlwind of regulations and swirl of papers related to government incentives.

The Memphis-based firm, which has satellite offices at other locations throughout the United States, has consultants on the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, federal empowerment zones, state enterprise zones, sales tax reduction, point-of-hire credits, job training credits, affordable housing credits, green energy supply credits and other programs.

Roy Brown, president of Tax Credit Services, along with other business partners, acquired the company last year.

“We’ve increased the business probably 100-fold,” he said.

Market potential

“We’ve got customers that hire one to five people, and we’ve got customers who hire several thousand a year. There’s not a limitation. We are willing to work with anyone.”
– Roy Brown
Owner, Tax Credit Services LLC

Tax Credit Services employs about 20 people at the company’s new headquarters at 5860 Ridgeway Center Parkway, three in Atlanta, one in Virginia, 20 to 30 contract workers at a call center in Tacoma, Wash., and 20 independent sales agents at locations throughout the country.

Brown sees a market that is largely untapped, especially with the potential for new programs intended to revive the economy. The “Hire America Act,” which is moving through Congress, would extend the incentives of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit beyond target groups. Additional incentives still would be available with the target groups, Brown said.

“If you’re on the front line of this thing, you can screen the employees through a company like ours,” he said. “If that is rolled out, we’re already screening those individuals so those tax credits would already be available. In a lot of cases, the government will go back and say, ‘We want to go back,’ and it might be for the whole year.”

Even if this legislation does not make it through Congress, Brown said there are enough tax credits out there to keep his staff busy. Two new incentives are for disconnected youths and unemployed veterans.

“There’s a huge opportunity,” he said. “There are a lot of uneducated customers, companies, so to speak. There are literally hundreds, possibly tax credits, available when you hire an employee for the employer.”

Easing the headaches

Some of the older credits, such as one to encourage displaced workers from Hurricane Katrina, allow employers to go back as far as three open tax years, Brown said.

“We’ve got three new sales people in just the Louisiana area and are trying to get some folks into Florida and Mississippi because it’s still an opportunity for someone to go and look at their taxes this year,” he said. “Say if a company hired 100 people and if those folks worked the right amount of hours, it is $2,400 per individual. You hire a couple hundred people and it’s pretty significant.”

Many companies don’t pursue the tax credits because of the paperwork and deadlines involved. Tax Credit Services takes over those tasks.

“It’s a headache,” Brown said. “It’s not as easy as filing a tax return and saying that you hired these people for this amount of time. You literally have to fill out government forms. There’s an 8850 document that has to be completed by every employee. What we have done is created our own questionnaire that helps identify for that tax credit. If they do, then we’ve got some back-end work we’ve got to do that employers don’t want to do. You’ve to got create two more forms to go along with that. It then has to be mailed to that state. There are state agencies that approve these tax credits. They provide the actual certification.”

Customers of Tax Credit Services include retailers, restaurant franchises, manufacturers and smaller operations.

“We’ve got customers that hire one to five people, and we’ve got customers who hire several thousand a year,” Brown said. “There’s not a limitation. We are willing to work with anyone.”

There’s no upfront fee.

“We’re 100 percent contingency-based,” he said. “It doesn’t cost a company anything to work with us unless we obviously find the tax credits, and they pay a percentage of that. It kind of makes it hard for them to say no.”

PROPERTY SALES 68 162 2,781
MORTGAGES 60 97 1,880
BUILDING PERMITS 148 769 6,470
BANKRUPTCIES 61 172 1,149