Tax Returns by Pocketbook

Tax Troubles? There’s an App for That

Historically, doing your tax return involved painstakingly sifting through documents while trying to decipher the ATO website, or a rushed lunchtime trip to the accountant.

But all that could be about to change, with a new app from Aussie fin-tech startup Pocketbook promising accountant-reviewed tax returns in under 10 minutes, for as little as $39.

Tax Returns by Pocketbook uses a clever smartphone interface and the inbuilt features of your iPhone (such as the camera) to streamline the process.

Pocketbook founder Bosco Tan said that the app was designed with simplicity in mind.

“We wanted to make the workflow simple and quick, and re-think the process of doing your tax return, which is currently quite clunky”, he said.

The app works as you’d expect it to: answer a few basic questions, take photos of important documents using the app and hit submit when you’re ready to roll. You can even chat to an accountant through the app if you need to clarify anything.


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Returns are processed by registered tax agent Refund Express, who will review the return and clarify any outstanding issues before submitting it to the ATO.

Currently, the app is only suitable for simple tax returns with simple income and deductions. If you own shares and receive dividends, there is an extra $10 fee, and it doesn’t cater for more complicated returns (for example if you have an investment property). But still a handy tool nonetheless.

Tax Returns by Pocketbook is the first app of its kind in Australia, Tan says. While the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) offers the e-tax app as a download for desktop computers, and myTax on the web, “the ATO doesn’t have a mobile product, and that’s what the user wants”.

Since launching on 1 July, around 100 people have submitted their tax return via the app, and initial feedback has been positive according to Tan and App store reviews. Tax Returns by Pocketbook is exclusive to Apple devices.