A tax practitioner has teamed up with a software engineer to create a new tax prep program aimed at preparers who service Spanish-speaking taxpayers, especially undocumented immigrants who are ready to begin filing tax returns.Latino Tax Software’s MultiTax distinguishes itself from more established tax packages by helping clients obtain Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers from the Internal Revenue Service and allowing them to file multiple years of tax returns that they have avoided filing earlier. The software also lets preparers toggle quickly between screens in English and Spanish.
Company president Manuel Alvarez started his practice, Latino Taxes, four years ago in California and has since grown it to 1,000 clients, about 85 percent of whom are Hispanic and Brazilian, while the rest are Latino.
“Within the Hispanic and Latino community, there are some specific challenges,” he said. “Many people have never filed their taxes in the past, so we help them prepare multiple years of taxes at a time. We work with a lot of undocumented immigrants. Many of them do not have a valid tax ID number, and we work with them so the IRS can choose an ITIN for them.”
Alvarez, a Stanford University MBA, came up with the idea for the software a few years ago and met an engineer at Stanford who helped him develop the program after tax season this year. He previewed the software at the IRS’s National Convention of ITIN Acceptance Agents in Dallas in July.
Alvarez is targeting several markets, including independent practitioners, service bureaus and large tax prep chains. He noted that Hispanics, now an estimated 15 percent of the U.S. population, are predicted to grow to 25 percent by 2050.
He has already been in talks with some nationwide tax prep chains about his software. “They view the Hispanic market as one of the largest growth areas and they are very interested in the solution we’re selling to drive efficiency,” he said.
Alvarez plans to charge a base price of $500 for software to prepare just federal returns, or $800 for both federal returns and all the states. There will be additional fees for electronic filing, or $500 extra for unlimited e-filing. Users will be able to try the software free for 30 days. At press time a beta version of the software was expected to be available for download beginning in late August.
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