The Business of E-Tax Filing
ClearTax was initially founded with a goal of making tax filings easy for individuals, SMBs and large corporations. However, currently, with a million end users and 20,000 CAs and employees using its service, it is now introducing a slew of B2B and B2C products such as helping users maximise tax savings and aiding startups in filing for incorporation at ease.
In 2011, Archit Gupta had a simple goal for his maiden venture, Cleartax; to build a navigable, easy-to-understand tax filing platform for working professionals who were still learning the ropes on pay slips, PAN cards, Form 16S, ITR 4S and the like.
What began as a DIY platform for tax filing, grew into a silo of allied products when Chartered Accountants, SMBs, NRIs and the like took to the platform, and the number of filings began to double every year. The startup introduced a slew of B2B and B2C products and features such as a self-filing platform for business returns, determining next steps when a customer receives a demand notice from the Government, ClearSave, a robot advisory platform which helps users maximize their tax savings and ClearTDS, which helps SMB’s/CA’s generate Form 16s and prepare and file TDS Returns.
The most recent and first-of-its-kind among its launches is the ClearTax Startup, a program that equips entrepreneurs with the required tools to manage their business. In other words, for a flat fee of under Rs. 20,000, the company gives entrepreneurs access to a web interface with a step-by-step guide for company registration, financing, IP, government incentives, organization structure and the like.
The External Factor
Although competing neck-to-neck with competitors such as Tax Mantra and MakeYourTax, Gupta is clear that its goal for ClearTax lies in creating a viable alternate for the tax department’s excel/ Java-based software. “We want to focus on simplicity and design of our software and user experience, and encourage users to file their own returns instead of relying on chartered accountants or other offline channels,” he says.
With a million end users and 20,000 CAs and employees using its service, ClearTax is generating revenues by offering paid and assisted plans to businesses and NRIs, and charging SMBs and corporations for using its products for TDS and Form-16 generation.
In fact, with the recent demonetization move by the Central Government, and the likely introduction of the GST bill, the founder notes that more customers have resorted to declaring their revenues and filing taxes more meticulously. “The demonetization move has pushed more people into the mainstream and that’s driving higher customer influx for us. With GST, we hope to capture at least 18 to 20 per cent of the market,” Gupta notes.
From the current 1.2 million tax filings (between April and August 2016), Gupta hopes that the lesson he learnt at Y-Combinator; of creating something people want; will lead him to record five million tax filings in roughly the next three years. “Of course, with the right team and products, we’re sure we’ll fulfill our goals as planned,” he states on a concluding note.
Concept: An online platform for individuals, businesses and NRIs to file their taxes
Investors: Y Combinator, Max Levchin, the PayPal co-founder, Neeraj Arora, business head of Whatsapp, Navan Ravikant, AngelList’s founder, Founders Fund, Sequoia Capital, SAIF Partners
The Snapdeal Pivot
In January 2013, Snapdeal had a mere US $100,000 in the bank, a small chunk left after it had burned through almost all of the US $57 million it had raised since September 2009. Th...
Transformation by design
Polaris’ Arun Jain has engineered a unique strategy at the mid-sized financial technology company, incubating a robust products company from within a running services entity. He ...
In coffee, we trust
Tata Starbucks is the coming together of two iconic brands. 34-year-old Avani Saglani Davda, the company’s CEO, explains to us why her game plan for Starbucks in India is to “g...
Where there’s traction, Money will follow
Deepinder Goyal, founder and CEO, Zomato, shares a great working relationship with investor Sanjeev Bikhchandani of Info Edge for one simple reason: Bikhchandani is more entreprene...
Playing 20 Questions with Mittu Chandilya
The AirAsia India boss discusses his interview experience with Tony Fernandes, his firm-and-fair management style and why it is crucial to be a serial innovator to win in the aviat...
Where ownership and management are different
Dr. Ranjan Pai, Managing Director, Manipal Education and Medical Group, has led the professionalisation of the Group by consciously empowering his senior managers, seeding several ...
Building a Happy Company
Ashok Soota-led Happiest Minds Technologies has woven happiness into its business process. Find out how you can do it too....
Narayana Health’s ten-year plan
Narayana Health’s Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty wants to rewrite India’s healthcare story. His personal mantra: it is pointless talking about all the advancements in healthcare if peo...
Creative Dialogue on Scaling Up
Cognizant’s Lakshmi Narayanan indulges in a creative, freewheeling chat with L. Kannan and Vijay Babu of Vortex Engineering, a solar-ATM manufacturer....
"Businesses don’t go anywhere, people do"
Mindtree’s Subroto Bagchi urges entrepreneurs to think of their journey as a process of continuously creating infrastructure – physical, intellectual and emotional. He specific...