Vancouver’s Office Ally to relocate HQ to Texas

No current local workers will lose jobs, CEO says

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

Published:

Updated: October 18, 2011, 5:50 PM

 

Office Ally, which provides electronic medical services, will relocate its Vancouver headquarters to San Antonio, Texas, the company announced Tuesday.

No one in Vancouver will lose their job under the deal, CEO Brian O’Neill said. Out of the 136 workers the company employs at its headquarters and technical training and call centers in Vancouver, five who work at the headquarters site will move to San Antonio, while the remaining 131 will stay in their current positions.

In moving its headquarters to San Antonio, Office Ally also will carry its plans to grow there: O’Neill said he will add 250 jobs in six months as the company opens a new call center and training facility in its new location. He said he expects to complete the move in late November.

O’Neill, a self-described “huge anti-tax person,” blasted Washington state’s business and occupation tax — a tax on gross receipts — saying it’s the reason for his decision to relocate Office Ally’s headquarters.

“The state of Texas won 250 jobs instead of the state of Washington,” he said.

Growing fast

O’Neill, a former IBM software engineer, founded Office Ally in 2000. The company, which now generates between $20 million and $30 million in revenues annually, offers health care providers a variety of computerized medical services, including electronic health records and billing for doctors.

Under the company’s corporate relocation plans, it will move out of its 10,000-square-foot headquarters in Vancouver and into a 17,000-square-foot facility in San Antonio. The company began in Irvine, Calif., where it still operates training and call center facilities.

Office Ally is growing fast, O’Neill said, and the new Texas facilities will accommodate that growth.

O’Neill said he moved the company from California to Vancouver in 2009 to escape California’s income tax. Washington, like Texas, has no state income tax. However, he said, he should have consulted a certified public accountant at that time and learned about the state’s B&O tax.

“I never would have come there in the first place,” O’Neill said.

Washington state’s B&O tax is levied against a company’s gross receipts, which means there are no deductions for costs of doing business such as labor, materials and taxes.

O’Neill said Texas has a version of the B&O tax, but it’s half the cost and it’s levied “after all my bills are paid.”

Moving to Texas, he said, where Office Ally also will get a lower-cost leasing deal, will save the company $280,000 to $300,000 annually. “An eighth-grader can do the math,” he said.

O’Neill said he started researching places, including Texas and Nevada, to relocate his company after Initiative 1098 made it onto Washington’s ballot in 2010. The measure, which would have introduced a state income tax on those making more than $200,000 per year to pay for education and health care programs, failed with about 65 percent of voters opposed and 35 percent in favor.