“Peaceful” probably isn’t the first word that comes to mind when a startup founder thinks about tax season.
But two entrepreneurs in Atlanta Tech Village believe it could be. Their software, TaxZen, is built as a “do-it-for-me” tax filing platform specifically for tech startups and companies looking to maximize their research and development (R&D) credits.
Saurav Bhandari, CPA worked in finance and analytics at The Home Depot before catching the entrepreneurial bug himself and joining forces with co-founder Riya Adhikari. After starting a CPA firm, Riya said she noticed “a lot of money [in R&D tax credits] wasn’t being claimed, and our startup community really needed that money. So we thought about what we could build to help them.”
Building and Educating in the Tax Space
What the co-founders built was a platform that is both tech and human-centric. TaxZen’s algorithm is designed to automatically search for missed business tax credits by integrating directly with customers’ payroll and accounting software services.
Customers get additional access to a marketplace that “connects a client’s needs to a specific CPA’s expertise,” added Saurav. That marketplace of CPAs can help companies walk through the more individual tax-related questions without having to go through a traditional CPA firm. “That human touch is something that we are going to take forward no matter like you know how big we get,” said Riya.
Their pool of CPA professionals is continually growing to meet demand.
As a tech startup, TaxZen has customers pay a percentage of whatever R&D tax credits they qualify for as a platform fee on a contingency basis.
As Hypepotamus chatted with TaxZen’s co-founders, it was clear that the two co-founders do live their tag line: “Taxes don’t have to suck!”
Education also remains front and center for the team. As early-stage startup founders themselves, Riya and Saurav told Hypepotamus that emphasizing with other founders means providing useful tax-related information, which currently comes in the form of weekly R&D tax credit webinars run out of Atlanta Tech Village.
The team recently pitched at Atlanta Startup Village’s August pitch event and are looking to continue to grow their presence in the city and beyond.
And they have a lofty goal of helping 100,000 early-stage tech companies in the next two years navigate tax credit season, Saurav added.