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THE INC. LIFE

How This Philippine Start-up Takes the Stress Away from Paying Taxes

Because you can’t grow your business without filing the right taxes

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BY Ezra Ferraz - 11 Dec 2017

How This Philippine Start-up Takes the Stress Away from Paying Taxes

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The average business owner in the Philippines spends an average of 182 hours preparing, filing, and paying taxes, according to the World Bank’s “Paying Taxes 2018” report. This figure places the nation in the 105th spot in the global ranking that measures the ease of paying taxes.

Filipinos have to suffer through complex forms and computations, and grind their way through filing and payment processes that are still tediously manual.

EJ Arboleda, CEO and co-founder of Philippine start-up Taxumo, asserts the solution for start-ups is a subscription-based service.

“Taxumo helps self-employed professionals, freelancers, and solopreneurs easily pay for their taxes through a web platform that computes tax dues, automatically fills tax forms, and sends your filings and payments to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) or authorized agent banks,” he says, noting that the platform can cut the tax filing process down to a matter of minutes.

In the Philippines, business owners pay taxes on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. Priced at P4,495, Taxumo’s basic annual subscription helps users prepare and file their monthly percentage tax and quarterly income tax forms, while the premium annual subscription does all that plus the annual income tax form for P9,495.

Getting Filipino business owners — or anyone else in the world for that matter — excited about a solution that helps them pay taxes, no matter how convenient it may be, is tough. Arboleda admits that paying taxes is not sexy, but he advises business owners that it’s something they must do if they want to grow their business.

“As a small business owner, you get to grow your customer base and the ticket price of your orders if you can ‘legitimately’ deal with them. Having official receipts allows you to deal with any customer --- retail or wholesale, SME or large corporates,” he says.

For business owners already working with an accountant, Taxumo can be used as a safeguard to check if he/she is properly filing and paying the company’s taxes. “This gives them ease of mind and helps do away with a lot of stress,” Arboleda says.

Freelancers also stand to benefit the most, since they usually do not know anything about paying taxes, nor can they afford to hire a dedicated accountant. Turning to Taxumo saves them time and money that they can use instead to focus more on building their business.

“Basically, if you don’t pay taxes, you will not have any proof of income — which is normally your income tax return — to show when you apply for a visa to travel, for HMO cards, or for car or housing loans,” he says.

Instead of relying on traditional digital marketing activities of other online platforms, the company’s growth has largely been driven by word of mouth, as satisfied users recommend the service to their family and friends.

Arboleda and his leadership team — CMO Evan Tan, COO Ginger Arboleda, CFO Mark Ong, and Chief Legal Counsel Kevin Baldonado — are all optimistic about the demand for tax tech across the region.

“Eventually, we’d like to service the rest of Southeast Asia, particularly those countries where taxation is as much a problem as it is here in the Philippines,” he says.

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