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Home Business & Finance R&D tax credits are due July 15th. Neo.tax wants to help startups...

R&D tax credits are due July 15th. Neo.tax wants to help startups apply, and raised $3M to do it – TechCrunch

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    All founders love “freemoney, but with the global pandemic going on, the necessity of free money has taken on a whole new meaning this year.

    In the same vein, Neo.

    tax wants to help startups secure R&D research credits from the federal government — which tend to be fairly easy to acquire for most software-based startups given the current IRS rules for what qualifies as “research.

    The free money is good, but what sets this startup apart is its ambitious vision to bring machine learning to company accounting — making it easier to track expenses and ultimately save on costs.


    tax was founded by Firas Abuzaid, who spent the past few years focused on a PhD in computer science from Stanford, where he conducted research in machine learning.

    He’s joined by Ahmad Ibrahim, who most recently was at Intuit launching small business accounting products; Stephen Yarbrough, who was head of tax at Kruse Consulting, a popular consultancy for startups on accounting and financial issues; and Leonardo De La Rocha, who was creative director of Facebook Ads for nearly five years.

    tax’s Stephen Yarbrough, Firas Abuzaid, and Ahmad Ibrahim.

    tax wants to automate everything about accounting, and that requires careful application of ML techniques to an absolutely byzantine problem.

    “But if you wanted to develop a machine-learning-based solution to automate this, you have to make sure you collect the right data, and you have to make sure that you can handle all of the numerous edge cases that are going to pop up in the 80,000 page U.

    One insight is that rather than creating a single model for all small businesses, Neo.

    tax tries to match similar businesses with each other, specializing its AI system to the particular client using it.

    While Neo.

    tax has a big vision long-term to make accounting effortless, it wanted to find a beachhead that would allow it to work with small businesses and start to solve their problems for them.

    “That data from the R&D credit basically gives us the beginnings of the training data for building tax automation,” Ibrahim explained.

    “Automating tax vertical-by-vertical basically allows us to be this data layer for small businesses, and you can build lots of really great products and services on top of that data layer.

    So it’s a big long-term vision, with a focused upfront product to get there that launched about two months ago.


    all early-stage startups), the R&D tax credit offers up to a quarter million dollars per year in refunds from the government for startups who either apply by July 15th (the new tax date this year due to the novel coronavirus) or who apply for an extension.

    Ultimately, Neo.

    tax is betting that a deeper technical infrastructure and a hyper-focus on artificial intelligence will allow it to catchup and compete with both Pilot and incumbent accounting firms, given the speed and ease of accounting and tax preparation when everything is automated.