It’s time to meet TaxTim, a new web based digital tax assistant that is easy, fast and dare I say, fun. Aimed at young professionals, TaxTim today celebrated helping its 1, 000th taxpayer.
This is how it works: Once you have completed the registration process, TaxTim asks you simple questions and from the answers automatically completes your tax return for you, so that you can immediately send it to SARS, via e-filing, in person or through your tax practitioner. TaxTim requires a once-off fee of R199 and you can see results in as little as 10 minutes. If you tell your friends about TaxTim on Facebook or Twitter, you only pay R169.
TaxTim also offers Employee Assist, a service allowing employers to help employees become tax compliant. Employees receive prepaid coupons for use of the the TaxTim service, year-round email/SMS notifications to ensure compliance and timely filing, a financial welfare programme, a vehicle log book mobi-site for recording work trips plus a TaxTim introduction seminar.
Sound’s great right? Well, this is how it all began…
TaxTim, named after its founders Googled the most likeable and trustworthy name (true story!), is the brainchild of South African entrepreneurs Marc Sevitz and Evan Robinson who after being selected to join the national Google Umbono programme in 2011 launched the site.
TaxTim was conceptualised when earlier in that year Evan asked Marc to assist him with completing his tax returns and found it frustrating that despite having a master’s degree he couldn’t easily complete the process. “I thought about taking Marc’s brain, digitizing it and putting it online behind a friendly face using simple plain language,” reveals Evan. When Marc agreed to the possibility they ran with it and entered the Google Umbono startups incubator.
The month before Umbono, they started work on TaxTim, launching the first prototype in time for the end of November 2011 tax season. “We understand the hassle and grief that comes with completing your tax returns, as well as the necessity and cost too,” says Marc. “Doing taxes is now as easy as having a conversation.”
Marc and Evan’s friendship goes back four years and each has a distinct role in the company they created. While Evan is the creative mind behind TaxTim, developer and designer, Marc, a qualified CA and tax specialist takes the role of strategist and oversees the implementation of the tax laws onto the system. Their partnership is ideal, as each has knowledge of crucial aspects of the business that the other does not and all decisions are made together.
As with setting up a business as young entrepreneurs in SA, there were a number of challenges that they overcame. Some of these included finding the right mentors and second round funders, having to filter through all the ideas and suggestions presented to them and establishing themselves in the local market.
“I think any entrepreneur will face this, but it’s all part of the fun and experience,” says Marc. “Without a doubt, the biggest test we face is making the limited funds available go as far as possible. But, we’ve also been able to take advantage of the attention being paid to entrepreneurs especially in Cape Town as the entrepreneurial environment is slowly turning into a competitive force within emerging markets.”
As for the future of TaxTim, these young entrepreneurs aim to create the fastest, easiest way for users to submit their tax returns in South Africa and in emerging markets beyond SA’s borders with more immediate goals of setting up a mobisite and portal on Mxit.
“With TaxTim helping you every step of the way, regardless of your income level, we want people to understand their taxes and not have that feeling of dread come tax season,” says Evan.
Have you tried TaxTim? Let us know about the experience in the comments section below.