How Xamarin Drove Taxfyle to be the Uber of Taxes

Taxfyle is an on-demand tax filing app that enables individuals and organisations to connect with tax professionals. The idea of the app is to make filing taxes easier and more affordable, regardless of the size of a business. The app came about when Tickmark’s CEO realised there was a need for accountants to be able to deliver their services in a more proactive and consultative way. By developing a mobile app, he would be able to bring accountants together with those who needed them. The aim being that accountants could manage their own time and those needing to file their taxes could do so simply. 

While the idea was clearly a good one, and initial uptake was good, the first version of Taxfyle began to struggle. The team used JavaScript to give them the shortest release path, but when they needed to commit to rapid release cycles and improve both stability and performance, cross-platform, a different solution was required. 

What Was Taxfyle Trying to Achieve

Ultimately, the idea of Taxfyle was to pair accountants with people who needed to file their taxes. The concept came to Tickmark’s CEO, Richard Lavina, when he was taking an Uber. The driver had flexibility and the passenger had a service at their fingertips wherever they went. Before the idea of an Uber for taxes, individuals and businesses  would either have to submit all their documents to an accountant, or go online and file themselves. Lavina asked himself why filing a tax return couldn’t be as easy as hitching an Uber ride. With the growth of the gig economy and more and more people being in the position of having to file a return, he was on to a good idea.

How Does the Taxfyle App Work?

When it’s time to file their taxes, Taxfyle users have to answer a few simple questions, submit a few documents, get an instant quote, and then get matched with an accountant. The process takes just a few minutes and they can receive their completed tax returns for their e-signature within just 24 hours. What’s more, the process is completely secure and, as accountants can work to their own schedule, the level of customer service and attention to detail is extraordinary. 

Taxfyle is a mobile-first approach to filing taxes, eliminating the frustrations of travelling to retail locations, printing emails and documents and waiting for consultation. However, the app is more than a way to file taxes; it is an integral tool that allows customers to find real-time answers to tax questions, gain around the clock access to expert help and file their taxes at below the market rate.

How Was the Taxfyle App Developed?

Co-founder, Will Sahatdjian, has been developing software for over ten years as a designer and full-stack developer using ASP, ASP.NET, and C# to deliver solutions for several medium-to-large scale enterprise systems.  To deliver Taxfyle, he knew that the team would have to create a delightful user experience. Sahatdjian was well-versed in Xamarin, but JavaScript was the common language amongst his team of mobile developers, making it initially the obvious choice to deliver the app. When the app was first launched for Android and iOS, while a success, rapid release cycles and breaking changes added uncertainty. Sahatdjian knew that C# could give him the robust system and seamless tooling he needed, but it would mean training his team and rewriting the app from scratch. However, the alternative of unpredictability and delays was a much bigger risk.

When the team tested Xamarin, they immediately saw the benefits it could bring. Elements such as static typing, robust compile-time analysis and a predictable debugger could make a significant difference. Sahatdjian knew that mobile quality would be critical along with automated app testing and crash reporting, and Xamarin would give the team the well-engineered tooling and architecture to continually refine and reiterate. 

Taxfyle 2.0. was developed from scratch with Xamarin Studio in less than five months, and that includes the time it took the team to learn C# and .NET. Xamarin has given them many advantages, not least the ability to share code across platforms which has enabled them to deliver the rapid release cycles they needed. 

The Benefits of Xamarin

The team decided to use Xamarin to enable them to put user experience first and truly deliver a native app across all devices. Migrating from JavaScript to .NET has improved stability and performance, thanks to some key benefits:

  • Common codebase – the team shared over 70% business logic across platforms while still building a custom UI for each platform.

  • Fast learning curve – Xamarin University offers a huge amount of training, that along with code review and side-by-side coding sessions got the team up-to-speed in no time. 

  • Automated testing – without Xamarin, the team would have to write and test business logic twice and jump between codebases and languages. This increases the time needed and the margin for error, Xamarin Test Cloud resolves these issues and frees up precious time. 

Could Xamarin Help Your Business?
Taxfyle has grown from a business with three co-founders to one with over 40 employees and 40,000 users in just three years. If your company can see a gap in the market for an on-demand service, could simplify traditional industry practices or could improve employee satisfaction, then a mobile app built with Xamarin could help. Taxfyle has simplified tax filing with an intuitive, on-demand mobile experience. And, whether your team are already well-versed in C# or need to learn to from scratch, with Microsoft support behind Xamarin, they’ll be up to speed in no time.

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About the author

Michael Ridland is the Co-CEO and Founder of Xam Consulting.

Design-led problem solving delivering digital solutions.

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