Wealthsimple ventures into the tax space with SimpleTax acquisition

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Toronto-based Wealthsimple has acquired SimpleTax, a web-based tax preparation app. Wealthsimple said the acquisition will allow the companies to make financial tools simple and accessible.

Under the terms of the acquisition, the entire SimpleTax experience, including its domain, client support, and user interface, will remain the same for the 2019 tax season. However, Wealthsimple said it plans to explore ways to enhance SimpleTax’s product and integrate the two brands into a more cohesive client experience.

“We both set out to empower people with simple, honest, and transparent financial tools. Together, we can have an even greater impact.”

Wealthsimple partnered with H&R Block earlier this year on a solution to help users grow their tax refund. However, this solution was only made available to H&R Block clients. In January, Wealthsimple also announced a partnership with tax service TurboTax, which allowed TurboTax customers to assess their taxes and open an RRSP account in a unified process. The SimpleTax acquisition marks Wealthsimple’s first tax venture that will be available for all Wealthsimple clients.

“Taxes are so ingrained in our lives, and like most financial services, the process of filing them is inherently complicated, challenging, and expensive,” said Michael Katchen, co-founder and CEO of Wealthsimple. “We have admired SimpleTax for years. They are doing what Wealthsimple did for investing by making tax filing easy, accessible and affordable. By bringing them into the Wealthsimple family, we’re one step closer to simplifying people’s financial journey over their lifetime.”

Wealthsimple also announced some key new milestones in the company’s growth. It now has 250 full-time employees, is tracking $5 billion in assets under management (AUM), is used by over one million Canadians, and has four offices, including two in Toronto, one in New York, and one in London. The startup offers four retail products as of today, including its high-interest savings account, its commission-free stock trading platform, and ‘pay what you want’ tax software.

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The acquisition comes less just five months after Wealthsimple raised $100 million in May, with Katchen telling BetaKit at the time the startup owned 70 percent of the ‘digital advice’ space in Canada. The company has also partnered with online estate planning startup Willful, wealth management firm Grayhawk Investment Strategies, and Mercer, a consulting firm for the health and wealth management industries.

“Wealthsimple shares our values and dedication to building something better. It’s a perfect fit,” said Jonathan Suter, co-founder and CEO of SimpleTax. “We both set out to empower people with simple, honest, and transparent financial tools. Together, we can have an even greater impact.”

Wealthsimple said it remains focused on expanding its product lineup.

Image courtesy Wealthsimple

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Writer, globetrotter, drone pilot & David Attenborough enthusiast