Hawkins & Hawkins, based in Lake Forest, is a tax preparation service that specializes in helping people who owe back taxes. We sat down with co-owners Ronnie and Shala Hawkins to celebrate their business's new status as an EmployABILITY Champion and learn what that means to them.
How did you start your business?
We used to work together at a different tax place. During COVID, we started working from home, and we realized we could open our own company. So, we started learning all we could about getting leads and setting up a business. We’ve really put our heart and soul into growing the business, and now, we’re at a place where we need to hire people. We can’t do everything ourselves anymore; we need help, which is a great problem to have! This grant is really going to help us find and train the employees we need to help us grow our business and help even more people who are weighed down by worry about their back taxes.
What is your mission as an organization?
To sum it up in a few words, our mission is to help people with back tax returns. But our real mission is to help people have hope again. So many people who owe back taxes live in fear of what will happen to them – will they get their homes taken away or will they have the means to pay the IRS? They think getting help working with the IRS is difficult. We’ve worked with a lot of people who are paralyzed with worry and can’t find a way forward. Our mission is to be there for our community, helping people, letting them know that we are on their side and we understand their needs.
How are you using the EmployABILITY Business Grant funds to grow your business?
We plan to hire and train people with disabilities to fill several positions in the company – working in the call center, in sales, and learning tax preparation. We’ll use some of the funds for accessible office equipment and training materials. We have also moved into a bigger and more accessible office space. It’s a great place that will be accessible to our employees and our clients, and the bigger space means we’ll be able to keep growing our business there.
What does it mean to you to be a recipient of this grant, an EmployABILITY Champion?
We are overjoyed to be an EmployABILITY Champion! Getting the EmployABILITY Business Grant is an honor and a lot of respect. It’s like a stamp of approval for us, and it means a lot. Now, we can grow our business and continue to be a beacon of hope for those who are worried that the IRS will take their homes. We can help them find solutions!
For more information about Hawkins & Hawkins, Inc., visit hawkinshawkinstaxservices.com.