By Sarah Kollmorgen
There comes a day each year with the power to bring about a nervous sweat to even the most organized and courageous among us: tax day. Fortunately, there are those who have made it their career to sort through our crumpled return forms to make filing slightly less painful.
In today's convenience-focused world of Uber and Amazon, making tax filing as easy as possible is key for accountants and tax specialists who want to see business thrive. As a result, many tax services are moving from the physical shop to the online realm, allowing them to appeal to niche communities and expand their client base.
Financial-themed domain extensions -- such as 'dot-tax' (.tax), 'dot-capital' (.capital), 'dot-loans' (.loans), and 'dot-money' (.money) -- allow these online-oriented companies to tout this specialty to the online world. Even better, they stand-out amidst a digital landscape over-saturated with 'dot-com' (.com).
Below, we’ve rounded up a few companies successfully making this leap -- and making money in the process -- with a 'dot-tax (.tax) domain.
When Gene Conley launched FileIt.tax in 2013, his goal was to bring tax services into the 21st century. “We wanted to create a business whose model doesn’t exactly exist in the industry today,” Conley says. “Nobody wants to go to a tax shop anymore. Who has time for that?”
The result: Fileit.tax, a virtual tax agency. After submitting tax documents online, users work with one of the company’s “tax heroes” -- via email, Skype or phone -- who complete the taxes.
With Millennials in mind, the company branded itself right down to the domain name to reflect its focus on both quality and convenience. The SEO benefits of the 'dot-tax' (.tax) domain have also helped FileIt.tax drum up business around the county. By having a 'dot-tax' digital address, Conley says FileIt is "visible online and not geographically bound."
The company’s online-only approach to tax services appears to be working: FileIt.tax has grown more than 300 percent in the last three years.
While many online tax companies offer a range of accounting services, Tax Pics (found at Text.tax) hones in on the convenience factor. As the domain name implies, clients only need a mobile device to file their taxes with Tax Pics: Users take a photo of their tax return documents and upload them to the Tax Pics website for the company’s experienced CPA. Or, as the company slogan goes: “Snap, Send, and Done.”
Online companies may be the way of the future, but there is still plenty of room for brick-and-mortar offices. Gruber & Associates (Gruber.tax) is a full-service accounting firm offering financial and tax services for individuals and businesses. The company is taking advantage of both worlds by offering a Florida-based office paired with comprehensive online presence.
“In the past, only fee-conscious clients who view us as a commodity would be on the website,” says company president Richard C. Gruber. “Now it is a mainstream way to seek a professional."
Gruber says the 'dot-tax' domain seemed like the perfect fit because it was short and to the point. Gruber & Associates currently serves clients in more than 30 states, around the globe and in a range of different industries.
For LGBT.tax, the domain name says it all. Maribel Garcia, who works in operations at LGBT.tax, says the shifting web of LGBT legislation over the past few years has made it difficult for people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities to know how to file -- and for the government to correctly process -- their taxes. LGBT.tax formed to focus exclusively on these issues.
“We really wanted a domain name that said ‘this is the only thing we’re doing, we’re focusing on your community,’” Garcia says. Since switching to a 'dot-tax' domain name, Garcia said they’ve noticed an uptick in the number of people reaching out for their services. She thinks the 'dot-tax' domain name contributes to the feeling of trust between LGBT.tax and its customers.
Switching from 'dot-com' to 'dot-tax' isn’t just a U.S. trend. Philip Hare & Associates, a specialist tax consultancy for venture capitalists in the U.K., has also taken advantage of the customization trend with philiphareassociates.tax.
In February, the company was awarded “Best EIS/SEIS Tax Adviser” by the EIS Association, showing that even big-business firms are getting in on the "not-com" domain trend.