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Taxforward simplifies the world of self assessment

29th Nov 2017
Commercial Production Editor
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The founders of Taxforward, a new online self assessment tax filing tool launched earlier this year, are planning to disrupt the world of tax by making tax returns as easy as possible for entrepreneurs and the self-employed.

Set up by brother and sister Richard and Connie Cha in 2017, Taxforward is a web app designed to make self assessment taxes easy for non-tax experts. In particular, the software is especially targeted at sole traders, freelancers, landlords and company directors.

“Primarily, our user base is self-employed individuals. It’s usually the people who are new to self-employment who are happy to interact with a completely digital self-employment platform,” explained Connie Cha, founder of Taxforward.

“My personal history is intertwined with self assessment. I went to a school of music and drama and I worked as an actress, so shortly after I finished school had to file my first tax return. I had never approached anything as complex in my life. At the beginning, I thought about doing it on my own but it sounded like an incredibly confusing process.

“Four years later, after I had done three years at Deloitte at their consumer office audit team and I took a year out to continue my MBA in Oxford. It was there that we had the idea of Taxforward. We thought about creating an online do-it-yourself portal where an individual would be able to work through their tax return in a very simple manner.”

Taxforward’s software uses a conversational interaction with the user to compile the information it needs for the tax assessment. The app asks its users simple questions about their lives to find out key information about their tax situation. The answers tell the software which allowable expenses and reliefs to look for, and which questions to ask next.

The information that the user gives will then be used to run a series of calculations behind the scenes and transform it into data that populates boxes, automatically creating the tax return.  

“In a regular tax return, you have to cross-check whether each piece of information is relevant to you or whether you need to fill in a particular box. In that kind of information overload you can miss really important details,” Cha explained.

“We ask really simple questions such as ‘are you married?’, ‘do you have children?’ or ‘do you make any contributions to a pension?’ and then we fill in the tax return in the back end."

Penalty payments

The viability of the model proposed by Cha is based on the users’ trust in the software and the accuracy of its calculations so in order to encourage this confidence, Taxforward promises to pay if there is a penalty issued by HMRC because of a calculation error.

Similarly, to increase security all versions of the software offer 256-bit SSL data encryption (the same technology banks use to protect data) for all the user information stored in their servers as well as while transit to HMRC.

Commenting on the future of the app Cha mentioned that artificial intelligence will be one of the main tools that will help them to further develop it.

In the future, we would like to offer even more artificially intelligent solutions, such as different types of information gathering. We would like to gather all the receipts, expenditure and invoices of the user, and we are looking at artificial intelligence to help us do that,” concluded Cha.

Replies (6)

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By carnmores
30th Nov 2017 13:04

look forward to seeing a trial of this , prices from £45 to where?

Thanks (1)
Replying to carnmores:
By Taxforward
04th Dec 2017 13:53

Hello there!
Great to hear from you. Prices range from £45 to £120 - find out more here...
Top package includes our Audit Support Guarantee and an expert review before you file.
Get in touch with [email protected] if you have more questions!
Thanks again.

Thanks (0)
By Trethi Teg
30th Nov 2017 14:39

Will obviously have to wait to see how this works in practice and if it does that's fantastic - BUT

I suspect that this will work only for those who have fairly straightforward matters to deal with and those who do not want (or are to tight to pay for) advice.

It would not apply to 70% of my clients due to the complexity of their affairs and to 99% of my clinets who actually want advice not only on filling in their tax return but also a whole host of other matters relating to their current and future tax liabilities.

I can't say that I am concerned about losing any clients to this sort of development.

Thanks (1)
Replying to Trethi Teg:
By Taxforward
04th Dec 2017 14:00

Hey Trethi

Thank you for taking the time to comment.

You're absolutely right and we are beginning with self-employed individuals who have relatively simple tax affairs - but let's face it, the majority do have simple tax affairs - its just that tax is double Dutch to all but accountants like yourself and our founder!! The Taxforward mission is all about making the process straightforward.

Would be great to talk with you about how your practice is using automation to better serve your clients and provide those much needed and valuable advisory services... We hope someday Taxforward will have application for the B2C and B2B sectors so would be great to talk further.

Kind regards,
The Taxforward team

Thanks (0)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
30th Nov 2017 16:29

So you ask the questions the tax return asks in slightly different language?

Whoopy doo.

Sounds almost exactly like tax calc's "simple step" which has been going for years and is really good for clients with simple affairs who are too small for an accountant.


Thanks (1)
Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
By Taxforward
04th Dec 2017 14:04

Hi there

Loved reading this comment! Whoopdee do indeed!

We're passionate about making tax straightforward and think we have a novel way of doing it that'll appeal to self-employed individuals and landlords who may not want to download applications like TaxCalc but instead access their data anywhere, from any device with Taxforward.

Would be great to get your thoughts on our application, you can create an account and get started for FREE here...!

Thanks for your comments : )

The Taxforward team

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