Tax compliance in India is significantly low as the average person doesn’t have access to expert tax consultants. In 2014, the Income Tax Department has identified more than two million potential non-filers, and has made information on their tax affairs available via its online portal. “One of the major roadblocks for tax knowledge and compliance in India is because people don’t have access to season assistance,” says Vikram Ramchand, Co-founder of Makemyreturns.
To have better understanding of tax compliance and income tax return, Vikram teamed up with Varun Advani and Aashish Ramchand to start Makemyreturns. “Since we had the expertise, we decided to bring it to people via the Internet and hence founded Makemyreturns.com,” adds Vikram. The startup offers online tax filing to salaried employees, startups and Non-Resident Indians.
After cementing the idea, the trio began the crucial process of understanding the core issues faced by the average Indian tax payer and devised methods to make it easy and simple. “The idea was to bring clarity and simplicity in taxes for the taxpayers. The trio did this by understanding every single individual case and made recommendations on the various tax saving avenues available to the assessees.
Before Makemyreturns, Vikram had hatched two successful startups. He has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, and an MBA from the London Business School. Aashish is also a serial entrepreneur, who started JRC Corporate Finance and JRC Advisory, both highly successful firms in the corporate finance and investment advisory space, while Varun is a budding CA practicing over the past three years working on audits, personal and corporate taxes with M.B Advani and Company.
Operational since 2011, Makemyreturns raised seed capital in 2012 through HNI investors based out of London. In the first year of operations, Makemyreturns had about 8,000 users filing their returns. “Post that we’ve seen a 300% increase in our customer base. This year, we’re expecting to hit a customer base of 2,00,000 users,” reveals Aashish.
Makemyreturns will soon be launching several new features which will change the way tax return filing is done in India. “One of the new features enables the user to interact with a dedicated chartered accountant that works like a direct one-on-one conversation,” ponts out Aashish. Besides this, it’s also building artificial intelligence capabilities around the customer service functionality to decrease the response time for a question that a user has.
To scale further, the company is looking to raise £200,000 (over $300,000) via London-based crowd funding platform CrowdBank. “We’re planning to use the funds to increase our operational efficiencies and create awesome new product lines across various platforms,” adds Aashish. Makemyreturns achieved breakeven this year and expects revenue to touch Rs. 4 crores by the end of the next year.
By beginning of the next financial year, Makemyreturns expects to be the primary go-to service for all tax compliance and advisory needs. “We aim to expand operations beyond the metro cities and reach out to the salaried/self employed people in tier II and III towns which form a bulk of our filing population,” says Vikram.