EY will offer direct-to-consumer tax solution, TaxChat, in 2020
EY will offer its TaxChat online tax preparation service directly to consumers who are required to file U.S. tax returns starting in 2020.
The solution is not quite do-it-yourself, as it will offer licensed tax professionals who prepare and file clients' individual federal and state returns through the digital platform.
DIY tax solutions remain a necessity to taxpayers in the absence of a government-issued basic platform, but the industry has been plagued with issues leading to mistrust, such as Intuit’s being accused of misleading customers away from the free version of TurboTax, and Canopy Tax abruptly shuttering its professional tax prep software ahead of launch next year.
EY's direct-to-consumer offering will start in January. The Big Four firm bought certain tax tech assets from TaxChat, which makes mobile tax prep solutions, in 2017. Since the acquisition, EY TaxChat has been exclusively an employee benefit offered by participating companies. The new app rolls out with:
- Mirrored web-to-app interfaces for easy switching between devices;
- Customer service support via both chat and phone; and
- Updated functionality reflecting all 2019 regulatory tax changes.
EY TaxChat asks users a few short questions about their personal circumstances before providing a price quote tailored to their situation.
Individual taxpayers can submit their tax documents by taking pictures to upload through the app on a smartphone or tablet, or by uploading via cloud or computer. The platform's chat function allows users to connect to an EY professional to ask questions at any time during the process. The tax return is then prepared and sent to the individual for review and approval before EY files it on their behalf with state and federal authorities.
"Each year, your finances become more complex and, typically, so do your taxes," said Dina Pyron, financial services partner and global TaxChat leader at EY, in a statement. "Whether you start your own business, become an independent contractor, earn side income from a rental, or shift your lifestyle from being a single renter to a married homeowner with children, preparing and filing your taxes can become time-consuming and confusing."
"EY has more than 100 years of experience serving the tax needs of some of the world's most complex companies and successful individuals," added April Spencer, EY Americas business tax leader. "With EY TaxChat, we can bring EY knowledge, experience and technology to help even more individuals file their taxes with ease and confidence. EY TaxChat gives users the combined benefits of simplicity, convenience and mobility to make it easy for filers to comply with U.S. federal and state tax laws."