We talked to Nathalie Goldstein about how MyExpatTaxes made US Expat Tax filing easy and this is what she had to say.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded MyExpatTaxes?
Nathalie Goldstein: I was born and raised in Silicon Valley, California, USA, and imagined living my entire life there. However, as fate would have it, I ended up moving to Vienna, Austria, and becoming an ex-pat.
I founded MyExpatTaxes after experiencing a frustrating experience with my own U.S. taxes while living overseas. Having to fill out and mail forms back and forth between countries, long waiting times to know if the IRS received them, costing thousands of dollars, I questioned why there was no affordable tax software for Americans abroad in this day and age. My team figured out we could create such software, and then MyExpatTaxes was formed. Now MyExpatTaxes is the leading U.S. Expat Tax Software serving thousands of expats in over 180 countries.
How does MyExpatTaxes innovate?
Nathalie Goldstein: We want to say “fun” and “taxes” in the same sentence. We continually redesign and update our user interface to ensure a comfortable and straightforward experience. Plus, we have a very user-friendly interface to help clients understand the tax questions and info we need.
We are always adding features to make sure Americans abroad have a stress-free experience filing U.S. taxes. For example, my ExpatTaxes allows expats to file tax extensions, their Foreign Bank Account Reports, and even more complex forms such as Foreign Corporate, Trust, and Investment Forms.
Our system allows for a seamless customer experience and enables some of the lowest costs for expat tax solutions. All of our services are flat rates. It doesn’t matter if you were a freelancer with 30 different jobs in the past Year – our flat fees are the same for everyone. It is only 149 Euros for our DIY expat tax software.
We can reduce operating costs because of our automation and direct integration with the IRS eFiling System. Therefore, we can give the customer extra services that are typically very expensive. For example, we offer the IRS Streamlining service at one-third of a tax consultant fee.
We believe the system at MyExpatTaxes is proving to be the missing piece in the U.S. expat tax market. Everyone should be empowered to save time, money, and control their finances, even if living thousands of miles away from home. MyExpatTaxes is a product of these values, offering expats an easy and affordable software solution.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your business, and how are you coping?
Nathalie Goldstein: When COVID hit, and traditional tax firms could not take in-person meetings, the IRS stopped most customer calls and paper processing for taxes. Then the release of U.S. Stimulus Checks happened, and with the urgency of receiving the check, many Americans realized they needed to get tax compliant to receive one.
We are all about transparency and made a series of stimulus check posts and updates to ensure American expats were up to date on what they need to know and how to get their checks. From this, we had over 40k visitors tune in.
We also did a survey, later on, to see how many of them received the check on time. 57% of those who received their stimulus payment reported that it took more than two weeks after filing their 2019 tax return to get it, with the majority stating it took at least four weeks or longer.
As you can imagine, there was a sudden demand for filing online between tax season March and July. We had to quickly adjust our growth projections from 5x a year to 10x year over year from this.
It is never easy to adapt to increased demand. This is especially so when everyone is working remotely, and you are limited in the ability to hire and scale your company due to international border closures. Fortunately, due to our focus on automation, we could address the growth while maintaining high-quality customer service.
In addition to serving our customers, we also wanted to make sure our employees were doing well during this pandemic. The team and I knew from the beginning; we wanted to create an international workforce. A workforce where employees can work anywhere in the world, emphasizing empowering family life integration. Where I live in Austria, there is great importance on work-life balance, so I consider my team’s health and well-being.
I reassured my team when COVID hit that it’s ok if they have to work odd hours to accommodate family obligations and appointments, have their kids interrupt conference calls. I find prioritizing family is just as crucial as doing concrete work for the company.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Nathalie Goldstein: Yes. Even with the closing of the borders, relocating and bringing our new team members didn’t stop us from finding the best talent globally.
Furthermore, we had to work with our budget to ensure each staff member was comfortable and fully equipped to stay safe during the pandemic. We had to adjust from seeing everyone at the office to collaborating behind a screen, setting appointments, and weekly sync-up meetings.
Most importantly, though, we knew how important it was for our customers to get quick and reliable answers during such uncertain times. This is why we made it our goal to help all U.S. expats file their taxes quickly and electronically to help them get their U.S. Stimulus Aid.
How do you stay in the game and stand apart from your competitors?
Nathalie Goldstein: No other tax company has built affordable tax software specifically for U.S. expats. We include hundreds of tax forms and FBAR to help expats stay tax compliant. Additionally, we offer one of – if not the most – affordable Streamlined Procedure programs out there. This program allows expats to become tax compliant and makeup years of not filing taxes without IRS penalties and burning a hole through their wallets.
Our software and company are unique; we’ve already won several awards, such as the Best Expat Tax Management Platform by Acquisition International in 2019. And I won the Global Mobility Rising Star award last year by the prominent Forum for Expatriate Management.
We have a lot of plans for 2021. We will expand our DIY, online capabilities for more complex topics such as foreign investments, pension, and corporation support. Our vision is to be the leading U.S. expat tax firm for both Online DIY and assisted markets.
Despite living in unusual times, we are looking forward to expanding our company and offering more tax support for Americans abroad.