WAXAHACHIE

The first number James Bell points to is $5.6 billion.

It is a figure that Bell, the owner of Texas Business Incentive Services, stated Amazon netted last year but "didn’t pay any taxes because of incentives to help a business grow and hire more employees.”

With his new business, Bell strives to find ways for small business owners to save and make money — like Amazon. The second aspect of his job, Texas College Planning Advisors, aims to help families with potential and current college students get the most bang for their buck.

The service Bell provides helps simplify incentives, rebates and tax benefits small businesses qualify for. Bell would present a list of 12 questions to a client, and if they answer at least two of them, they qualify.

“There are 7,000 different state, federal and local incentive programs to help companies hire and grow more employees,” Bell elaborated.

He is working with a company based out of California that overviews the past three years of taxes for a business owner and calculates what incentives, refunds, rebates, and credits are available plus interest.

The ideal business owner to request these services needs a commercial component, so no retail or restaurants. Those who typically qualify are in the medical, automotive, textiles, agriculture, chiropractors, consulting, telecommunications, website development fields, among others.

“There are work opportunity tax credits that are available. And, that’s what I’m trying to help educate employers about,” Bell explained. “Well, you’ve got a class of people who qualify for training credits for employers to hire these people. Usually, these are SSI [supplemental security income], food stamps, those collecting unemployment, veterans, you have felons. All of these fall under the work opportunity tax credit.”

Bell said training costs for covering these employees are covered by federal and state incentive programs. The tax credit is $2,500 per employee and $10,000 for four employees per year.

Bell also sits on the board of the Ellis County Homeless Coalition and teaches weekly classes at the prison in Venus. So, his passion for helping others is in his nature. He mentioned there would be a job fair May 3 in Venus where companies that hire felons can advertise.

FUNDING EDUCATION

Under Texas Business Incentive Services is the Texas College Planning Advisors, which focuses on families with children with a future in higher education.

“The second largest purchase a family makes besides their house is a college education for their children,” Bell informed. “And counselors at schools are very good at preparing them for college but have no idea how to pay for it. We [the nation] have a $1.5 trillion college loan debt because of that.”

In most cases, he positions a family’s income and assets without robbing them of their retirement and strives to obtain the most financial aid for the student. Bell informs his clients on how to create their own bank account with the finances they already have, instead of taking out loans.

“We save them a tremendous amount of money because they have no idea about the tax advantages,” Bell shared.

Bell also connects the potential college student with tools through College Planning Network. He mentioned how these services are mainly accessible on the west and east coast but not so much in the Metroplex. The program works with students providing a monthly roadmap, keeping a student on track and also includes ACT and SAT practice tests.

Bell focuses on counselors helping the student identify a career path early and coordinate volunteering opportunities to benefit the student in the long run. He also will provide service aiding a student with writing college resumes and essays.

He also works with his college clients every year through college and helps prepare resumes and job applications upon graduation.

Bell also mentioned how he writes appeal letters, negotiating the cost of tuition for a student.

“You don’t have to accept what the college gives you. We write appeal letters; we average $4,800 per year. That’s additional aid for the student,” Bell emphasized.

“We can’t help everyone, but for those we do, we make a tremendous impact. But more than anything we help the student and we work with them every year while they are in college,” Bell elaborated.

Bell is hosting a college-planning seminar from 10 — 11 a.m. at Nicholas P. Sims Library on Saturday, April 28.

For more information on his services, Bell can be reached at the office at 214-903-8059. Texas Business Incentive Services is located at 613 Ferris Ave. in Waxahachie. His email address is jamesgb347@gmail.com.

Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450