Julio Gonzalez is the founder and CEO of Engineered Tax Services. It is the country’s largest tax engineering firm which specializes in the preservation of wealth and U.S. job creation through IRS engineered-based services. In a sense, he helps many small businesses navigate their way through the complex U.S. tax code to find tax savings and credits based on how their business operates.
Engineered Tax Services has headquarters in West Palm Beach, Florida and has more than 100 employees working from offices in 22 states. However, they do work in every state in the country.
Julio Gonzalez was born in Miami, graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and worked his first job as a teenager flipping hamburgers at McDonald’s for three dollars an hour. But that taught him the skills of time management, as he juggled the responsibilities of both school and a job.
He got into tax work right out of college, first working for a big corporation that did tax work for Fortune 500 companies. Ultimately, he thought that all people, not just Fortune 500 companies, should have access to the the kind of tax credits for large companies that helped create jobs, promote wealth, and help the economy here in the United States.
“My goal when I started the company was: let’s take this tax benefit that’s available to the Fortune 500 companies and let’s bring it to Main Street USA,” he said.
Julio started Engineered Tax Services by himself in 2001. While there are now more than 100 employees, he remains the only Shareholder. Engineered Tax Services works with CPA firms, real estate firms, and manufacturing firms across the country that require engineers and scientists. “It’s a real niche service – that’s why most CPA firms didn’t have access to that type of staff. They didn’t have engineers. They didn’t have scientists that they could hire to do these tax credits. Our goal was to be that solution to CPA firms countrywide.”
“We generate about $2 billion a month in credits,” said Gonzalez. “I hope that through those efforts we create a lot of new jobs, keep jobs here in the United States, and help the economy grow.”
Julio also started a nonprofit organization called Entrepreneur Frontier. He funds it himself and brings in successful businesspeople to help emerging entrepreneurs. “I didn’t learn how to be an entrepreneur in college,” he said. During the over twenty years of experience he has had since starting his company, he has learned a lot of things “good and bad on the road to success,” he said.
“I started Entrepreneur Frontier to really help people who are starting their companies – and to get my friends and peers together – and to help them understand what to do better to get to success and what to expect in terms of roadblocks and how to avoid those roadblocks. A lot of entrepreneurs out there have a great idea and have early success but then there’s a lot of challenges along the way. We try to help them predict what those challenges are; try to help them map it out so that they mitigate some of those things to have better success, quicker.”
Locally, Julio also helps Roosevelt Elementary School in West Palm Beach. His support for them started after seeing the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut back in 2012. After his team reached out to the school officials in Connecticut, they said the best way to help prevent these kinds of school shootings is to help a local school. So, that’s when he reached out to Roosevelt elementary school. This school’s population has a 98% poverty rate and they told Julio and his team that the biggest need the children had were supplies like underwear and socks.
“That was our first task and then we made it our mission to get out there and read to them monthly and adopt second graders,” said Gonzalez. “It started out as a few of us and now we are over 50 people who go out there on a monthly basis. It’s an amazing experience.”
They also donated a few murals that are painted on the outside of the school walls that inspire the children for innovation and entrepreneurship. “A lot of these kids don’t know their families; they don’t know their parents,” he said. Julio encourages everyone to help schools in their local area. He reached out to this particular school after being referred by the county. They have also found authors to donate children’s books and companies that donate computers for the students.
In addition to his philanthropic work, Julio also founded the Gonzalez Family Office, his family firm that manages his family’s capital. They invest in their own company, Engineered Tax Services, but also in real estate, venture capital, and private equity. “On the venture capital side, we are looking for investing in cancer startups, and things that can help save lives,” he said. “There’s a community of families out there. We’re sharing ideas, concepts, things that we can invest in that have social impact but also have a return.”
Julio is a model of someone who has been a successful entrepreneur, but also engaged in philanthropic projects and other civic duties. “We have such a great country. Our goal really is to do what we do through our foundation, our companies, and through our working efforts in DC to make this country better every day.”
In 2017, he was asked by the Trump administration to be part of a private tax advisory group to work with Congress to get tax reform passed. This was the first time in over 30 years for such major reform of the U.S. tax code.
“The big thing was: how do we get our corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% and what do we have to do to impact other changes, basically model it so we would generate more money to Treasury,” he said. That kind of change poses many challenges and a huge goal: “How do you get people to agree to it and get people to vote on it and get it passed?” After much work, he was part of a team that got it passed. “We got the corporate rate down to 21%, we got the individual rates down slightly.” He believes the tax reform package has helped the U.S. economy overall. Employment is high, unemployment is down, and the U.S. dollar is strong.
While advising our government leaders on tax reform took much of his time away from his business and personal life, the unintended consequences for him was being able to meet amazing people who became friends and clients. “It opened the door for us to have relationships with people we wouldn’t have had relationships with,” he said. This goes to show that sometimes goodwill creates good business and friendships.
Julio advised other emerging entrepreneurs to “Enjoy the risk.” He said, “People are afraid to take that first step. Once you take that first step and invest in yourself, because that’s what it really is about, it will be an amazing ride and you’ll learn a lot about yourself and a lot about other people. There’s no better ride than the ride that you create on your own. Take that risk and take that chance.”
He also suggested that entrepreneurs build up some savings. “Give yourself a cushion. The difficult part is that first year of just lasting. Once you get past that lasting period, you have a real opportunity for success.”
To listen to our full interview with Julio Gonzalez, tune in to the Agents of Innovation podcast which can be heard on Apple podcasts, Stitcher, SoundCloud, or wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also follow the podcast on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. We welcome your comments below and encourage you to write a review on Apple podcasts!