It’s 1996. The Web is just beginning to trigger associations with computers instead of spiders and the dot-com bubble is starting to swell with confidence.
Enter Timur Taluy, a 20-year-old USC student eager to apply his electrical engineering major to Web programming.
Into this scenario walks Timur’s dad, Atilla a successful tax preparer in Ventura who iss nosing around for ways to bring technology into tax accounting.
The two begin to brainstorm, but not without input from the rest of the family: Timur’s mom, Claire, and brother, Kurt.
The plot thickens and pop, out of the family business machine comes what the Taluys claim is the first online tax preparation service the world — and World Wide Web — has seen. And it’s headquartered in Ventura, at 1732 Palma Dr.
Over the course of the next few years, FileYourTaxes.com revolutionizes the tax industry and inspires several dozen copycat companies.
Now, it’s 2008, and people still have to pay taxes, but increasingly they are filing online.
“Absolutely online tax filing is the fastest growing segment of tax services anywhere,” said Timur, the company CEO. Atilla and Kurt also still keep regular hours.
According to Timur, online tax filing in 2008 is expected to increase 14 percent over last year. That should amount to more than 300 million tax returns filed online this year, as compared with only 300 in 1996, Timur said.
Many retirees, veterans and others who don’t normally file taxes will need to this year in order to benefit from the Economic Stimulus Act, signed into law this year. Each taxpayer could receive as much as $600 from the government. Married couples filing a joint return could receive as much as $1,200 and people with children can get as much as $300 for each eligible child younger than 17.
FileYourTaxes.com is offering free federal and state income tax return and e-filing to California taxpayers March 27 and 28 as a community service, Timur said.
“We’re California residents too,” he said. “We live here and grew up here. So it’s nice to give back to community.”
The company provides free federal filing year-round to people with incomes of less than $50,000 as part of an Internal Revenue Service program.
People who don’t normally file taxes but need to this year, should file an abbreviated return, offered for free at the IRS.gov website, Timur added.
Another company, Consumer Credit Counseling Service, which has an office in Camarillo, encourages people to make sure an accurate amount of money is taken out of their paycheck each month to pay for taxes, to avoid struggling all year only to receive a large refund check at the end of the year.
“Many people are excited to receive an income tax refund, but what they don’t realize is that the government is simply giving them back their own money. It’s not a windfall, and it’s not winning the lottery,” says a release from the company.
To check how much income tax to have withheld from paychecks, log on to www.gotdebt.org and use the IRS Withholding Calculator.
Although it may seem counterintuitive, the boom of online tax filing has actually helped tax preparers who do the job in person, Timur said.
“About 60 percent of the U.S. population goes to tax preparers, and the other 40 percent are self-filers,” He said. “Online filing is getting the people who were doing it with pen and paper.
And also some of the software brings attention to deductions and credits and causes people to go to a tax preparer who can look at it more closely, because they’re an expert in that area.”