Co-founded by Josh and Nicola Taylor in 2011, Tax Traders is launching its new integrated income tax payment management module this quarter.
This latest offering adds to the company’s growing suite of automation tools, engineered to save accountants and advisers time, increase accuracy and improve taxpayer outcomes.
Tax Traders has recently completed its pilot program, which included having its processes reviewed by Inland Revenue, and will now launch the offering nationwide.
As accountants and advisers look to a future state of work, which is becoming increasingly automated, tools such as these will be essential for those wanting to remain an integral part of the compliance process and maintain profitability.
Simplifying provisional tax workflow
Far from being an overnight success, Tax Traders has spent the past three years developing tools to automate tasks.
In 2015, Tax Traders launched payPlanner, which allows accountants and taxpayers to create monthly instalment plans online. In 2017, the company introduced online swaps so that accountants and taxpayers could instantly move payments between provisional tax dates. The following year, the Residual Income Tax (RIT) tool and Uplift Scenario Calculator were launched, codifying the 2018 provisional tax changes and allowing agents to quickly and easily calculate how much tax was due and when. In 2019, Tax Traders added flexible payment options to all its calculators and, this year, created “smart” income tax notices with automated pre-prepared finance quotes so that taxpayers could confirm a payment arrangement simply by paying the finance fee.
For many accountants and advisers, connecting these tools to Inland Revenue data has been the missing piece to provide them and their clients with a fully automated and customisable income tax payment function. This missing piece is now available.
Tax Traders director and co-founder Josh Taylor says the expansion into broader tax-technology offerings three years ago was a watershed moment.
“The development of our RIT tool, an online calculator that codified Inland Revenue’s 2018 year changes to the provisional regime, was a deliberate move,” he says. “It was aimed purely at simplifying accountants’ workflow. To achieve this, Tax Traders invested heavily in hiring world-class developers who had a passion for solving complex problems and the drive, creativity and expertise to see this take shape.”
Enhanced data connectivity
Tax Traders’ new client-facing data-enhanced tools allow accountants to access a single-source-of-truth report that shows a running balance of the Inland Revenue assessment, matched to both payments to and from Inland Revenue and Tax Traders. Critically, this means that accountants and advisers can quickly reconcile whether their client has tax amounts outstanding.
This report is available in real time and means that accountants and advisers will no longer have to log in to multiple websites to check whether client payments have
been made. They won’t have to scribble down numbers and enter them into a spreadsheet in order to see a complete picture of what is going on.
“We’ve been able to launch these enhanced tools this quarter because of where our imagination led us three years ago,” explains Taylor. “It’s taken a lot of time and many hours, thinking and rethinking, working through complex privacy and client-consent issues and working with Inland Revenue to ensure our data connectivity did not breach any of the provisions required for permitted disclosures.”
Taylor reports that feedback from accountants and advisers indicates that Tax Traders’ tools reduce workload by more than 45 minutes per client when it comes to tax year finalisation, compared to a standard tax pooling offering.
“This is incredibly satisfying for us, as we know it frees up accountants to focus on creating value for their clients in a more meaningful way,” he says.
“We’ve changed the shape of the provisional tax workflow, but that change is firmly rooted in the belief that tax shouldn’t be complicated. Through the application of technology, it’s possible to provide better solutions for all taxpayers and their agents.
“We’ve changed the shape of the provisional tax workflow, but that change is firmly rooted in the belief that tax shouldn’t be complicated.”
“At Tax Traders, we believe that true innovation is not just tinkering around the edges or introducing something like an app, which sounds great but does not make a meaningful difference to people’s work practices and outcomes. In our view, innovation is about completely reimagining the possibilities.
“We’re not moving away from the basics of tax pooling. Rather, we are making the benefits of tax pooling – in terms of cost savings and flexibility of tax payments – available to more taxpayers through simplifying workflow for agents,” explains Taylor.
“Flexibility around the timing of tax payments is critical to our offering and we know that this makes a real difference to businesses everywhere, particularly in a COVID-19 environment where uncertainty is, in many ways, the new normal.”
Integrity may not be perceived as a key driver of software development, but Taylor says that at Tax Traders, nothing could be further from the truth.
“We hire developers with high standards of integrity, generosity and a strong belief in serving people,” he says. “This means the way we develop solutions is as important
as the solutions themselves.”
Like many companies, Tax Traders experienced a stage during this year’s March and April lockdown where it looked like they might need to adjust to a new normal. But Taylor says that they didn’t deviate from their product development roadmap and, happily, are seeing the transaction volumes in some parts of the business increase by as much as 600% on the same period last year.
Something is clearly resonating with Tax Traders’ clients at this time.