Tax filing is an important activity that every adult who earns a wage participates in. Whether you like it or hate it, it needs to be done at the right time and in the right way, unless you want to taste the pain of tax evasion! Natalie Yunes, Founder of Tax Well Done, brings to us a unique portal developed in Canada to help the diverse Canadian population to file their tax securely, timely and above all most efficiently! In a socially distanced tête-à-tête, Natalie walks us down her business and explains how you can get your Tax well done.
Tell us how Tax Well Done started? What is it all about?
I am a tax professional with over 25 years of diversified tax experience both in the industry and public accountancy. My expertise includes reporting, compliance, and defense of income tax, international Tax and commodity tax issues. I hold many professional degrees, including Bachelor of Business Administration, Certified Professional Accountant (CPA), and a Certified General Accountant and besides, I have also completed the CICA In-Depth 3-year program.
Apparently, tax filing might seem easy with submission of some papers, but in reality, it’s very different. So a lot of people approach me to help with their personal tax returns. While personal tax is a complicated thing in itself, the challenge also lies in finding a reliable and experienced person who is ready to do the work for you. Most professionals with the amount of experience I have do not intend to work for personal tax as its time consuming, tedious and often undervalued work.
This demand and the barrier in the industry stirred me. I felt it is my responsibility to give back to the community my expertise over the years. Hence, I decided to start Tax Well Done, a portal where tax filing tax is very easy in just three steps. All you need to do is sign in, create your profile, upload your documents which are simply photographs taken from your phone, review, and submit. Once submitted, it comes to me in the back end, and I work with your documents, get back to you with necessary suggestions and requirements (if any) and file your tax safely and securely. With Tax Well Done, I can help people with all types of complex returns too.
When businesses went on a pause owing to COVID, what motivated you to launch your business in this testing time?
Some of us are fortunate and blessed in these tumultuous times to continue working from home. Others are not so fortunate. COVID19 has been an eye-opener for my family and me. My family and I were wracking our brains to see if we can help, contribute back to society. When we saw other people volunteering, bringing PPE, offering free/discounted products/meals to people in need, we wanted to find a way to help as well. Finally, after numerous brainstorming and thoughtful sessions, we chanced on this opportunity to use our skills together.
My husband being a programmer and I, a skilled tax person, we decided to create a portal and help people with tedious responsibility of filing their taxes. Due to COVID, people were practicing social distancing and it was really difficult to get out of the houses and meet a tax person to file the returns, so our tested and secured portal came in handy.
Who are your clients?
My clients are mostly younger people, usually between 25 and 40 years old. This is because they tend to be more technologically savvy and prefer doing things remotely, using their phone, which is exactly what my portal offers. Having said that, the portal works seamlessly on all devices, be it- computers, tablets, and phones (Android and Apple).
How seamless is the process of tax filing through your portal?
It is effortless! It takes about 10 minutes for most people to create their profiles and upload photos of their documents. The portal will tell them the estimated cost of the return, and the user is free to decide if they want to go ahead. If they choose to proceed, they submit their documents. My team then reviews it at the back-end. As part of our policy and professional ethics, we then communicate with the client advising them if anything is missing or not clear. Within 48 hours (or even faster, depending on the volume), the return is prepared, provided to the client for download from our secure portal, and electronically filed with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). E-Filing returns ensure faster refunds.
Another marvelous feature of the service portal is it stores all your information and helps you with necessary documentation support in the times when mortgaging or refinancing an existing mortgage is required. I often receive calls from my clients asking to send them a copy of their return and T4, which they misplaced. Thanks to this feature, they can access their documents easily at any time at a moment’s notice.
Furthermore, the users can also upload their information throughout the year, eliminating rush and stress during the tax season. You see, some slips are mailed during the year (for example, donation slips, medical expenses, professional fees), and they can be photographed and uploaded to the portal whenever they come. These slips will be stored in the portal until the user is entirely ready to file their taxes. This feature eliminates the possibility of lost receipts and ensures all documents (both income and deduction) are considered when preparing their tax returns.
How is your business doing currently?
Well, it is not the tax season yet. Most people leave tax filing until March or April. At this time, I have just a handful of people who are organized enough to have their documents ready so early. I am currently “bracing for the impact” of the busy tax season. Together with our marketing specialist, we are preparing and posting a blog about different tax related matters that may be of interest to our users, and we remind everyone about deadlines and things to consider when gathering information for tax season. We aim to educate our users, relieve stress, and make tax filing as painless and enjoyable as possible.
How big is your team?
Currently, I have a very tight-knit team. I am the founder and the main tax consultant who prepares the returns and responds to client’s questions. My husband, Alex Yunes, is the brain behind the portal, its look, and functionality. My son, Dennis Yunes, a business student at Wilfred Laurier University, takes care of our social media and marketing campaigns.
Whenever there is a heavy volume of work, which becomes difficult for me to handle all alone, I bring some very experienced tax professionals who work with me on a project basis. We do not outsource any part of our work, and anybody who works with us is an experienced tax professional.
Where do you see your business post COVID when distances will no longer remain a concern again?
Although we started during COVID with a purpose to help people during this challenging time, I do believe there will still be the need for my services post COVID – since tax preparation is a country-wide necessity. More than 300 remote communities in Canada are distanced geographically; they can take advantage of this portal to file their tax returns. If statistics are to be believed, around 7 percent of our population in the last 2012 census described having mobility issues. To them, this portal would be handy.
I have also seen people who are intimidated by taxes and are afraid to ask questions, especially when they meet in person, so my portal will be handy and beneficial. Lastly, it is also a savior to those very busy people who do not have time or desire to drive down and visit a physical tax consultant’s office. I believe we bring great value to society.
What help do you think you would need to grow your business in this pandemic?
The biggest obstacle to grow our business is to get the word out about our existence. We live in a world of “lockdowns” and “stay-at-home orders”, where we are unable to go places, talk to other people, get recommendations or see advertisements. Given that we are a small business, we do not have a large budget to hire an advertising agency to assist us. Of course, we can choose to charge higher fees to cover this additional overhead. But that goes against what we are trying to achieve – bring tremendous value to our clients. We hope to grow organically through social media, word of mouth, and recommendations.
Any advice/tips to the entrepreneurs around you?
I was thinking about doing something like that for many years. I never had the time. I always thought to do it later. COVID has taught me many things! “Later” may never come! Do what your soul tells you and put 110% in it.
Natalie’s Tax Well done is very affordable, with flexible packages starting from as low as $50. Take advantage of this easy-to-use portal as April is not far away from now! File your taxes correctly to save yourself from unnecessary hassles.
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Author: Debarati Mukherjee, for The Onside Media, Toronto, Canada. If you have any stories or comments, kindly email: – [email protected]