Penny pinchers: Firm analyzes companies for waste, untapped tax credits

At a time when Michigan's economy is sagging, one finance company is dedicated to helping other business owners reduce tax burdens and operating costs.

Launched in 2007, Back in the Black provides practical, long-term solutions to slash a company's tax burden and reduce costs for regularly purchased goods and services without sacrificing quality or eliminating employees, according to owner Jeff Lindsay.

"Our target market is small to medium-sized companies," explained Lindsay, a Boyne City native who worked in the insurance business in Grand Rapids before returning to his hometown in 1999. "Our ideal client is a manufacturing company with a payroll of $1 million or more that owns its own building. Manufacturing and commercial is our main focus, but we are able to help other types of companies, too."

Working directly with a client's financial team and company leaders, Back in the Black identifies and capitalizes on cost savings opportunities. The company uses a national team of experts to locate savings in more than 20 cost centers, including workers compensation, tax credits, IT systems, maintenance, leasing costs and much more.

For example, a Grand Rapids area funeral home was able to save roughly $174,000 in taxes after utilizing tax credits discovered by Back in the Black tax experts.

"That's the type of savings that we're able to get for our clients," said Lindsay. "If they are paying a lot of property tax, say $40,000 or more, we will do a property tax appeal for them."

Another client, a Traverse City restaurant chain, was able to save some $80,000 on purchasing after Lindsay's company analyzed their operation.

Utilizing a national network of experts, Back in the Black provides its services with no up-front charges. Its fee is based on a percentage of the savings generated for the client, generally 10 to 30 percent.

"We're compensated by sharing in the savings our client achieves," said Lindsay. "Therefore, we're highly motivated to generate solid, long-term savings for each of our clients. We build relationships with our clients. We're constantly adding services that will help our clients realize real savings."

Another client, a manufacturing automotive prototype company, saw its payroll rise from $2 million in 2003 to $5 million in 2006. Back in the Black was able to find it a $200,000 tax credit because it was involved in manufacturing research and development.

"With all the constant changes in business and tax situations, most manufacturers just don't know there are billions and billions of dollars out there for them," he said.

The company also recently added solid waste recycling management analysis.

"We will monitor a company's recycling bills and make sure the client gets the proper payment for their recyclable," he explained. "If a company does a lot of recycling, there's a 90 percent chance that we can get them a refund. Many of our clients just aren't aware of this. There are a lot of variables here that go unmonitored."

For more information on Back in the Black, call (231) 459-4012 or go go or email Lindsay at