This article is not sponsored – it’s just a discovery I found exciting.
For a lot of people, the thought of filing a tax return is deeply anxiety-provoking.
You know you’re going to be asked questions. Many of which you a) don’t understand, and b) don’t know the answer to, and you’re fairly certain that giving the wrong answers could cost you money and/or get you into trouble.
Yes, you could see a tax agent, but that costs money now – and that’s money you need for things such as food but also hobbies but mostly making bad impulse decisions.
This year, there’s a brand new solution that makes filing your tax return quicker and simpler. For the very first time, it can even be done from your mobile phone, so you can tick it off your list of things to do during those weirdly productive hours between midnight and 1am when you’re lying in bed.
Introducing the friend we never knew we needed: TaxBot.
TaxBot, a joint collaboration between mi-fi and inGenious AI, allows people to complete their tax return via Facebook Messenger in literally five minutes, and is fully compliant with the Australian Taxation Office.
Those with simple tax returns (if you own seven businesses and have four mortgages this might not be for you, but sorry you have enough things) can avoid expensive accounting fees and all the stress that comes with tax time. About 40 per cent of Australians have simple returns - including young people, singles, and those with low expensive claims - and these can all be filed with TaxBot.
I obviously tried TaxBot to see if it works, and this is what it looks like:
“Looking at ABS data, we found approximately 40 percent of Australian’s tax returns are ‘simple’. This demographic is unmarried, they don’t have investments, and have less than $300 of work related expenses,” says inGenious AI Head of Conversational Design and TaxBot CEO Andi Chatterton.
“We’ve prioritised privacy and data protection in the development of TaxBot. We source users’ data directly from the ATO in real time, ensuring it’s accurate and secure. Additionally, we’ve developed a system that securely collects user’s information, so Facebook doesn’t have access to the user’s personal data at any point.”
“In addition to prioritising security, we’ve designed TaxBot to have a fun and conversational tone in order to make the process approachable and engaging.”
From June 18, you can access TaxBot to register for a notification to lodge your tax once your employer has submitted their group certificate — from July 7 onwards — at a flat rate of $20. This fee can be claimed as a tax deduction next year, and you'll receive $5 off if you share the bot with friends.
Perhaps the biggest benefit, however, is the reaction you'll get from your parents when you tell them you're filing your tax return through Facebook.
They're going to be so mad about it.