We all know the saying - "the only guarantees in life are death and taxes." Most households treat taxes as an annual annoyance met with little preparation and a lot of aggravation. After all, the tax code is roughly 74,000 pages these days - not exactly light reading. And while many tax software systems already exist to ease the pain of annual filing, are they really guiding your finances in a way that makes tax planning as natural as setting up a monthly budget? That's exactly what the Financial Gravity team is seeking to do with the Tax Operating System® Challenge: create a comprehensive tax planning application as part of a broader, holistic household finance system. The best part? Financial Gravity already has a database of ideal tax "scenarios" that maximize take-home income for an enormous spectrum of brackets and situations. The part that's missing? The automation that connects individuals and their personal situation to their most ideal scenario. They will proactively operate their lives so that they pay the lowest tax allowable, by using every part of the law available to them. What they’ll have is a Tax Operating System®.
The winning design will be an application optimized to lower personal taxes for business owners, entrepreneurs and high net worth families with multiple sources of income, some investments, and the ability to save for the future. Small businesses owners and those with even smaller "side businesses" (or other additional income) will get even more value, as the application will aid in pre-emptive decision making and business planning to help retain as much of their gross income as possible.
Maybe you already know about the tax benefits of the earned-income tax credit, business expenses, and health care costs, and that's a good start, but far from the whole story. In truth, the vast majority of people are still not optimizing their financial decisions and business plans for the most favorable tax outcomes -- and it's costing them thousands of extras dollars every year. The biggest and brightest companies in the world have highly paid teams dedicated to saving money in taxes, isn't it time for the little guy to get some of the same relief?
That being said, current financial services, even ones designed for the wealthy, are inefficient and inconsistent, in part due to their full dependence on a team of disconnected individuals. These experts must maintain an understanding and stay current on thousands of pages of tax codes and a spectrum of financial products that change regularly and vary depending on a number of variables. Unsurprisingly, the outcomes achieved by wealth management services are varied and not uniform.
Despite the number of tax planning and wealth management services out there, ones that enable people to plan in advance of tax time have not yet been automated. This field is ripe for automation to increase consistency, provide support to the experts working in the field, and provide accessibility to business owners at all income levels. An artificial-intelligence-enabled solution will eventually outperform the best advisors as it learns from analyzing a wider variety of configurations for each and every case it processes.
Financial Gravity is a financial service provider offering fully-integrated financial solutions, with a sole focus on increasing wealth and decreasing costs. Whether you’re a business owner or an individual investor, they have some most comprehensive tax, business solutions, and wealth management techniques in the industry.
Unlike traditional financial services firms or consultancies, their unique approach combines both individualized planning and hands-on execution, and with the Tax Operating System® Challenge, these tried and true methods will be brought to the next level of efficacy.
Imagine that Odele, an automated tax planning assistant, pops up on your internet window to guide you through considering options for reducing your tax payment. You may have wondered if there is more you could do to reduce your taxes, but couldn’t figure out who would be a great tax and business strategist for someone at your income level who also stays securely within the law. Or maybe you are considering two career options - one is job employment and another is a business. It seems like apples and oranges. Odele enables you to compare these two scenarios financially.
Somehow, Odele makes it really easy for you to provide your information -- whether you are highly digitally savvy or lack digital literacy; whether you prefer speaking, writing, or typing; whether you gravitate toward smart phone, netbook, or computer. Maybe you forwarded your electronic tax file and talked with Odele via your smart phone. Or perhaps Odele scanned your printed tax return and you input data on your computer. She will find the easiest way for you to give her the information she needs to let you know your options for saving tax dollars.
Odele anticipates what you will need to know to answer her questions and only asks for the information she needs. Within minutes, she comes back with her first estimate of potential savings. If she needs more information, she will ask a few more questions and then return again within minutes with an estimate.
You are wowed by how easy it is to work with Odele. But really, the magic is all behind the scenes -- in Odele’s “brain”.
Odele has used all her knowledge about IRS and state tax codes, court cases, and tax rulings and all her wisdom about how to apply this knowledge, to consider all of your options. What would your taxes be if you changed business structures (e.g.,S-Corp to C-Corp) and used all the strategies available to that particular tax structure? Spun off a separate company? Hired your spouse? Or changed your retirement vehicles? The variations and permutations are many, if not infinite.
Calculating and comparing the tradeoffs for all of these options might hurt your brain even if you had access to all the knowledge. But not Odele. She loves this stuff and she loves figuring out ways to get to the best options faster and faster. She is always up-to-date with tax changes and knows who needs to shift their tax strategy based on these changes. What if you have another child, add a business, add an employee, add or subtract anything? Odele has you covered.
This challenge is all about designing Odele’s brain. In software architecture speak, we are talking about the “model” in the MVC framework.
The proposed Solution, “Odele”, when implemented, will:
The winning Solution will be accurate, fast, fully automated, and cost-efficient. It will fully protect user’s private data, and ensure the security of Financial Gravity’s proprietary tax planning and other financial knowledge. The winning solution will also be flexible and “smart” to enable updates based on tax code changes and learning from prior data.
The winning Solution will also include ideas for Odele’s user interface - it’s interactions with the consumer, especially where these affect how Odele’s brain will work. But the main focus of this challenge is on Odele’s brain.
Odele will disrupt the financial services industry by making the combination of proactive tax planning, wealth-building, risk management, business strategy, and financial planning strategies accessible and affordable to business owners at all wealth levels.