Filing income tax in India is made relatively simple. Unless you’re incorporated, or have a complex business, filling your own taxes can save you from paying an accountant. Taxes have become even more accessible and easy, not least because the government is adapting to the increase in freelancers.
After all, many Indian workers are both well educated and English-speaking, and are looking overseas to Singapore, Australia and Europe for freelance and remote work where the wages are higher.
Fintechs have become the number one resource in helping small businesses and freelancers manage their income and file taxes. For example, SimpleTax is the leader in Canada, where keeping track of taxes removes most of the potential for human error.
Like with the entire financial services industry, innovation is happening at a rapid pace. The global fintech industry is expected to grow to $123 billion by 2025, and many Indian startups are at the forefront of that.
Here are some of the best websites and software to help small businesses and freelancers file DIY tax returns. The websites below should not only increase the accuracy of the accounts and save costs, but also free up time for revenue-generating activity.
myITreturn allows users to file their tax returns with a mobile app, to make the entire process more convenient. Alternatively, users can use myITreturn’s intuitive website for filing, where you can gain Live Chat support and as well as notice assistance.
Pricing starts at ₹150 at myITreturn for just the mobile app, where you can manage salary, pension, deductions, house property and bank interest. There are many tiers, meaning that you don’t have to pay for features that aren’t useful to you. Furthermore, pricing for assistant income-tax filing starts at ₹750, meaning you can be guided along the way if you’re new to tax filing or if your tax situation is complex.
myITreturn has around 2 million users, and is available in over 9 Indian languages. Android and IOS are supported, and the service caters to both individuals and companies. The higher price tiers include filing of foreign assets, capital gains, business income, agricultural income and many other activities.
ClearTax is a free alternative to myITreturn, in which users can E-file their taxes online using the website (no supported App). The service is mostly geared towards offering a free way to help mitigate late fees, as users will receive tax notices and guidance. It’s also a great place to store financial documentation.
Losses can be carried forward, along with tax refunds. There are many other services on offer, many of which cost (initially, it’s not entirely clear which services cost money). The most notable paid service is the consultations, such as having experts manage your taxes.
There are tiers depending on complexity: ₹799 is the cheapest tier, and includes salary, house property, donations and withdrawal from PF and bank deposits. On the other end of the scale, ₹7000 will land you support a dedicated expert that can manage business income up to 200 transactions, preparation of financial statements, and also salary and other incomes.
FinArt is an app that’s specifically designed for tracking expenses. This is for those that have either a simple taxation process (and thus do not need heavy software for managing it), or for those that have a large amount of expenses that they need to keep organised.
FinArt performs extremely well in conveying the data back to the user. For example, there are easily digestible data visualisation features that break down where the user is spending. It’s not just for keeping evidence of expenses though, it’s also designed to remind users of their bills, set budgets and provide valuable analytics
FinArt is restricted to Android use only, which is a significant limitation. The standout USP for FinArt is the way they leverage Machine Learning in order to perform data preprocessing, steam analytics, action triggers and other forms of personalisation.
To round off this list of softwares is Sleek Bill, an Indian company that helps making invoicing automated and convenient. Sleek Bill uses a Freemium model in which users can use up to 10 documents per month for free using their invoice blueprints, along with getting basic reports, GSTR1 export and basic support.
The Premium tier however is better for those wanting no Sleek Bill branding on the invoices, plus more features.
India has a fantastic space for fintech growth currently, so why not make the most of it. Many fintechs are B2B, with the sole purpose of helping businesses automate processes. It’s always worth weighing up if time-saving software is a good investment.
As a rule of thumb, it’s worth considering if the price for the time saved is lower than the extra income you can generate in that time. So, if a ₹799/month software saves you 5 hours per month, will you generate more than ₹799 from an extra five hours of work?