Here is a tax preparer with good old-fashioned aggro.
Mr. Tax Refund Pty. Ltd., based in Perth, calls itself the “new kid on the block” – an obvious swipe at market leader H&R Block. It also seeks to set a higher bar for the industry in which it believes the self-service portals leave taxpayers frustrated and old brick-and-mortar giants simply too slow to change anything, including their fees.
“Mr Tax Refund raises the bar for players in the individual tax preparation industry,” said CEO Stephen Burns, a veteran in service-oriented businesses who has additionally mentored startups over the past seven years. “Clients will be offered the same or better service for a fraction of the cost of our competitors. We expect our 24-hour refund option will be very attractive to those who need their cash straight away.”
Adding a human touch
Burns also fashions his startup “somewhat of a sector pioneer” as tax preparation and refund service fully embraces the Internet. “If we can offer our clients all the convenience and cost savings of an online tax portal, but with the added benefit of a real, qualified tax agent and a maximum refund guarantee why would they go anywhere else?” he asks.
Mr Tax Refund is offering basic tax preparation plus 24-hour tax refund offer for $49, challenging H&R Block and ITP ahead of the 2012 tax season, and eyeing an estimated 3.6 million taxpayers who do not use tax agents to file their annual returns. Its service includes a combined over-the-phone and online tax consulting service, available during after-hours too. The company is also throwing in a tempting 24-hour “instant” refund option – paying the clients upfront and later collecting the refund from the tax office.
Burns is betting that Australians will dump low-cost, tax preparation software in favour of Mr Tax Refund, which adds human specialist knowledge to the process.
“Putting your trust in software to do your taxes can cost you a lot more than the few dollars you can save. For many time-poor Australians battling through endless questions about their tax is time-consuming, confusing and frustrating,” he said. “But most importantly, without good advice you’re likely to miss some deductions resulting in the tax office keeping money that’s rightfully yours,” Burns added.
Burns, who spent three years as chief operating officer of OzEmail Ltd., at the time Australia’s largest Internet service provider and the first Australian company to list on the Nasdaq, is putting his money where his mouth is – offering clients a maximum refund guarantee.
“Australians are smart consumers – in the main they are after the best overall result so we decided to stand behind the quality of our work by offering…If our customers can get a better tax refund from a competitor we’ll give them double their tax preparation fees back. No questions asked.”
It’s your call, mate!