Online tax platform is first beneficiary of gov’t startup program

The Board of Investments (BOI) recently approved a four-year tax incentive package for local startup Taxumo as part of the government’s program to boost the startup sector under the 2017 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP).

Taxumo co-founder and CEO EJ Arboleda (left, standing) with his co-founders

Taxumo co-founder and CEO EJ Arboleda (left, standing) with his co-founders

Taxumo is the first startup approved by the BOI under the 2017 IPP, which promotes micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and innovation-driven activities through fiscal incentives and other non-fiscal support.

Taxumo’s software allows self-employed individuals and professionals with their tax filings, from submission to payment.

Users simply enter their income/expense figures in the online system which then fills out the relevant tax forms (BIR Form 2551M for Monthly Percentage Tax Payments and Form 1701 for Quarterly Income Tax Payments) with calculations based on the data entered by the user.

Formal operation began in July 2017 after a trial run from November 2016 to June 2017. No fees were charged during the trial run as it only solicited feedback and comments from the users. Taxumo earns from subscription fees that users pay in either monthly terms or annually to use the system.

The services being rendered by Taxumo is fully automated and does not require human intervention. The startup’s 24 personnel only acts as quality controllers and customer support representatives.

Taxpayers can go to the website and sign up for a free one-month trial. If satisfied, they can then subscribe to the different plans as outlined in the site. Small business owners and professionals can register with an email and provide the necessary information.

Taxumo co-founder EJ Arboleda said the “platform will empower MSMEs and individual taxpayers to become better corporate citizens with a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) platform that allows for efficient filing, payment and monitoring of their tax returns.”

Arboleda said he is grateful that the BOI has given the attention to companies like Taxumo because the start-up industry needs all the support it can get to move forward.

“Digitization is a great equalizer that levels the playing field among small and large firms. Adopting an innovation-led business model, like the integration of digital strategies and e-commerce, enables MSMEs to scale-up their status and become competitive in the long run,” DTI secretary and BOI chairman Ramon M. Lopez said.

“We must effectively tap the potential of MSMEs as it forms a significant part in of our country’s growth resurgence and nurturing them not just as backbones of our economy but also one of the prime movers of both domestic and regional growth,” he said.

DTI undersecretary and BOI managing head Ceferino Rodolfo said, “While the Philippine start-ups sector is at a nascent stage, our large young Internet-savvy population and growing economy make the country a hot-bed for technology-driven activities.”

He stressed “the need to have a forward-thinking mentality that is anchored on providing entrepreneurs and startups with the necessary support to start and grow right from the earliest stages of development.”

The startup project complements the strategy of the Startup Ecosystem Development Program (SEDP) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

SEDP is a five-point program developed by the agency as an industry cluster program to foster inter-enterprise linkages among MSMEs and strengthen collaborative networks.

With the plan, the government aims to create high-growth and high-impact startups that will nurture innovation, sustain economic growth, and generate large-scale employment opportunities.

The five-point program targets to increase culture and collaboration, address legal and regulatory barriers, support through government services and capital resources, create a national startup council and establish a startup economic zone.

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