Tax returns can be a boring, administrative nightmare. They either require a trip to the accountant’s office or a horror session trying to navigate the ATO’s website.
But clever little Sydney-based startup Pocketbook now has an app for that.
Released on Thursday, Pocketbook’s tax return app is designed to get your return done in 10 minutes.
Company co-founder Bosco Tan told Business Insider the team developed the app as a stand alone feature from its original expense tracking platform when one of the managers couldn’t find a service to get on top of his tax return.
“Tax has always been a key component of what our users have used Pocketbook for,” he said.
“During the 2014 tax season, we’d heard first hand a whole lot of demand for an app that allows users to lodge their tax returns. Certainly, nothing was available on the market in Australia. Given 1) phones today being a great platform (sizes are bigger, cameras are clearer) and 2) our track record of delivering a good experience – we decided to built it ourselves.”
The app, Tax Returns by Pocketbook, took months of development work, including many all-nighters to ensure it was in the App Store on July 1.
“We have been thinking about it for a long-time and so had some idea of what we wanted before we wrote the first line of code,” Tan said, adding the biggest development challenge was getting the user experience right.
“We (the team) had so many frustrations with eTax and other online tax tools. We wanted it to be simpler, with a more logical and user friendly workflow,” he said.
While the app is designed to get your tax return lodged quickly and with minimal effort, you can also stop and start anywhere in the process. It also has the ability to pace through the questionnaire end-to-end in 10 minutes, with the ability to attach key documents via the camera in each section.
And if you don’t feel comfortable doing your own tax return, the app has in-built accountant support. Meaning, you can message a registered accountant within the app at any time, and the return is fully reviewed so refunds can be maximised.
Tan said it’s a user experience the ATO should be providing.
“It’s really the sort of experience we want eTax to have – simple to use, guided by a professional accountant,” he said.
“You get notifications when there is a new message from the accountant or when there is a status update on your tax return so you are now always in the loop as to where things are at with your return.”
It’s also got a tax calculator which collates the tax office’s PAYG tables and yearly tax brackets.
The new products are a good indicator as to where the fintech startup is headed. It costs $39 to lodge a basic return, a price point which generally undercuts a good portion of accountants who charge upwards of $100.
But even if your tax affairs are a little more complicated, say you own shares or receive income from dividends, the service will cost you an extra $10. Users can either opt to have the payment taken out of their tax return or pay upfront.
On its first day 30 tax returns had been filed using the app, generating at least $1,100 in the first 24 hours.