Business owner believes success takes sacrifice and is worth the work


Para la versión en español, oprima aquí.

Carmen Montes and Carlos Barcenas contributed to this story.

Running a business is more than a job for Alberto Castillo; it’s a way of life.

As a child, he helped his parents in their grocery store, and as an adult he ran a sports-related business for 13 years, as well as a restaurant. It only made sense to him that he’d stay focused on his entrepreneurial ambitions when he moved from California to South Sioux City, Nebraska.

Not long after settling in Nebraska in 2006, Alberto had an unpleasant experience getting his taxes prepared. He decided to learn how to prepare his own taxes to avoid the same issues in the future.

“I remember getting my taxes done incorrectly and I could not believe that I had paid so much money for that service,” he said. “So, I decided to learn about taxes and ended up working for a tax preparation company. I worked there for many years, and eventually I felt comfortable and thought I could do it on my own and help others.”

Alberto kept studying to stay up to date on accounting and tax practices. One way he stayed sharp was by taking classes from the Center for Rural Affairs.

“Ever since I came to Nebraska I was aware of the Center,” he said. “I remember they used to give classes at the library. I took a business workshop and a computer class through them. I feel they have had a lot of presence in the area that I live. They are well known here.”

Alberto opened Castillo’s Tax Service in May 2009, and the business became so successful he needed more space. He turned to the Center for financial assistance, and staff guided him through the loan process. He got a loan from the Center in April 2021 to buy the building his business calls home.

“The loan process was very easy and practical,” Alberto said. “Staff were excellent, and the interest rate was affordable, so I was lucky to have the Center help me with the building purchase.”

Luis Franco, senior loan specialist with the Center, stays in touch with Alberto and offers him any further assistance he may need.

“Alberto is a very organized and disciplined client,” said Luis, “He grew his business so quickly he had to acquire a building to accommodate it. He is a person with an impressive entrepreneurial spirit, and prides himself on involving his family in all his business endeavors.”

In addition to four part-time and two full-time employees, Alberto’s daughter, Alondra, works with him as a tax preparer. She is working on a degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. When she graduates in December 2024, Alberto hopes to be able to offer more bookkeeping and accounting services.

“I'm very proud of my dad, and excited for him, just seeing how much he's been able to grow this business and seeing that all the time and effort he has put into it has paid off,” Alondra said.

Alberto offers notary and translation services and helps clients with other documents. During tax season, the business takes care of everything tax-related for its clients. Alberto and his staff also help those who don’t have Social Security numbers prepare their taxes using an ITIN number and completing the necessary paperwork that goes with it.

“We always try to give extra customer service,” said Alberto. “Our work doesn't end when tax season is done; when our clients have a question we're always available, even if we are closed. We transfer calls from the office to our cell phones and we are able to answer questions during the weekend. If they don't know how to pull money out of their 401(k) and they're not sure how taxes work we always try to give them the answers. That type of support helps people trust us and support our work.”

Alberto says he greatly benefited from having a mentor to help him become the business owner he is today, and he recommends the same for anyone looking to open their own business.

“It’s very important to have a mentor that knows how to guide you in the business you're starting,” he said. “Being prepared and planning and creating a business plan is a good way to have a vision of what you're going to do.”

For Alberto, being a business owner is a bit of a double-edged sword because he has to split time between family and work responsibilities, but he wouldn’t trade it for anything.

“To be satisfied with what I have accomplished and to have my family share the same feeling makes me proud,” Alberto said. “It took sacrifice, and to know that we have grown a lot from the moment we opened until now is very rewarding.”

Are you in need of financing for your business? Contact your regional loan specialist. Find yours at

At a glance

Castillo’s Tax Service, inc.
Alberto Castillo
301 W. 29th St.
South Sioux City, Nebraska
Hours: Tax season: Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m, Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Off-season: Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.