Clear - How Clear is Enhancing Tax-Filing and Making Returns Easy for India?

Clear - How Clear is Enhancing Tax-Filing and Making Returns Easy for India?

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by ClearTax.

Tax filing is a tedious task! Be it a layman or a CA, it's time-consuming and cumbersome to a great extent. Then came a startup in 2011 that made this process simpler for the people. Founded by Archit Gupta, Srivatsan Chari, and Ankit Solanki in 2011. ClearTax services range from tax preparation, e-filing, accounting, to investment planning solutions for individuals and businesses.

ClearTax has been rechristened to Clear on June 28, 2021. The brand has decided on the name 'Clear' to represent the whole gamut of services that it offers, which has now expanded to embrace invoices, wealth management, and credit.

Read this article to know more about ClearTax company, ClearTax founders, team, ClearTax journey, startup challenges, ClearTax competitors, ClearTax company details, ClearTax funding, and its investors.

ClearTax - Company Highlights

Startup Name ClearTax
Headquarter Bengaluru, India
Sector FinTech
Founders Ankit Solanki, Archit Gupta, Srivatsan Chari
Founded 2011
Total Funding $140.3 mn (January 2022)
Revenue $8 mn (around INR 60 Crore in FY20)
Valuation ~800 mn (2022)
Parent Organization Defmacro Software Pvt. Ltd.

ClearTax - About & How It Works?
ClearTax - Founders & Team
ClearTax - How It All Started?
ClearTax - Startup Launch
ClearTax - Business Model
ClearTax - Logo & Tagline
ClearTax - Business and Revenue Model
ClearTax - Funding & Investors
ClearTax - Growth & Revenue
ClearTax - Startup Challenges
ClearTax - Acquisitions
ClearTax - Competitors
ClearTax - Advisors & Mentors

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ClearTax - About & How It Works?

ClearTax is built on the massive digitization process of the tax systems in India that the country is adopting. It is a Bangalore-based Financial Technology platform that provides solutions for income tax filing, GST, and mutual fund investments. ClearTax, with its tax and investment platform, aims to simplify the financial lives of the Indians. The Clear interface is designed in a way that the customers can easily find the services they want through an easy Cleartax login and a seamless operation.

The ClearTax journey started out by helping individual consumers, CAs, and businesses to prepare and file their tax returns by easy and effective means. For individual users, the process at ClearTax India is super simple and easy to understand. The user simply has to upload the Form 16 pdf to begin tax filing. This software reads all of it and fills out the tax returns instantly via an automatic process. Thus, ClearTax company eliminates any human factor intervention in computing and filing tax returns.

The customer gets fully prepared tax returns in just a matter of seconds. That’s not all of it about ClearTax. There’s more than the company brings to the table.

The portal also helps users in complex scenarios like job transitions. In such cases, the users receive multiple form 16 so that the Clear software can help them accommodate the changes too. Say, for example, if one has forgotten to claim HRA, then it will take care of that as well.

On the same grounds, the customer can apply for tax refunds, and calculate capital gain/loss if the user has sold stocks or MFs. Cleartax services help them carry forward losses to multiple years, incorporate companies, and also undertake service tax registrations easily, and efficiently.

NIL GST Return Filling

ClearTax has launched the all-new NIL GST Return Filling feature in December 2019. This will help the users including CAs and businesses file their NIL GST Returns without any hassles. Around 20 lakh MSMEs and other small businesses file GSTs each month, here a simple filling process in place would certainly make things really easy for them.

To start filling their NIL GST Return, all that the user has to do is download ClearTax GST Desktop App. After it is installed, ClearTax GST Desktop App will help them file GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B seamlessly and in simple and easy steps. Thus, a taxpayer can avoid all unnecessary interactions with any other portal because they will get everything available on the ClearTax GST software including the submission of returns. Thus, the users can file GSTR-1 with minimal manual effort and directly on ClearTax, which will be supported by both Digital Signature Certificate (DSC) and Electronic Verification Code (EVC). It automates the entire process, making it 3X faster, thereby saving ample time. The ‘Nil return filing’ feature that ClearTax announced back in 2019, comes with important validations and a cautionary window too, which allows the users to reconsider their filing of GST returns with no data. This will stop users from erroneously submitting a Nil return that otherwise was not one.

Cleartax, after being rebranded to Clear, has also included:

  • Cleartax GST - An all-in-one GST toolkit that is designed to simplify the GST filing.
  • ClearE-invoicing - A trustworthy e-invoicing solution that enables the users in bulk invoicing.
  • ClearServices - An expert consultation service to help the users identify their problems and attain their solutions.

Some of the main products of Clear include:

  • Enterprise Products - Cleartax GST, E-invoicing, Max-ITC, E-way bill and more.
  • ITR Filing - Cleartax tax filing feature allows the customers to file ITR within 3 minutes or helps them to file their ITR by Clear experts.
  • ClearOne - Via ClearOne, Clear offers invoicing and payment solutions for businesses.

Cleartax has announced that it will partner with crypto exchanges to help users manage their crypto portfolio effortlessly. As soon as the government announced a 30% tax rate and a 1% deduction at source for gains and transfers via virtual currency, ClearTax rushed to declare that it will aid the users in managing their current cryptocurrency portfolio and taxes. Founder and CEO of Clear, Archit Gupta mentioned that this particular offering was in the works for some time now and this makes ClearTax the first platform in India that offers this solution.

Clear Products and Services
Clear Products and Services

ClearTax - Founders & Team

ClearTax founders are Archit Gupta, Srivatsan Chari, and Ankit Solanki who were friends before starting the company.

Owner of ClearTax
Ankit, Archit, and Srivatsan | Founder, Cleartax

Archit Gupta

Archit Gupta is the founder and the current Clear CEO. Before setting up ClearTax, he worked at Data Domain Inc., which was acquired by EMC2. The ClearTax owner holds a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from IIT Guwahati and a Master’s in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This ClearTax founder worked in Silicon Valley for three years, and this is when he was exposed to the startup culture in the valley. He was pursuing a Ph.D. degree when he decided to drop the program and eventually founded Clear.

Srivatsan Chari

He is the Co-founder of ClearTax. This ClearTax founder did his Bachelor's in Computer Science (Hons) from Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani.

Ankit Solanki

He is the Co-Founder of ClearTax. ClearTax founder holds a bachelor's degree in Information Technology from the S.I.E.S. Graduate School of Technology.

Ravi Sandepudi

Ravi Sandepudi is ClearTax's 'Entrepreneur-in-Residence'. He is an alumnus of BITS-Pilani and The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania). Prior to being appointed as Clear's entrepreneur-in-residence, he was associated with PayPal, Google, and Simility.

Clear has an employee strength of somewhere between 1001-5000 employees, as per their Linkedin profile.  

ClearTax Team
ClearTax Team

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ClearTax - How It All Started?

During his master's and later years, Archit was living in San Francisco and used to visit home during the summers. The Cleartax journey started during one of his visits, in 2010, when he happened to have an informal talk with his father, a Chartered Accountant in Delhi. The conversation was about how doing taxes was a tedious and difficult task for both the individual consumers and CAs. Furthermore, they also discussed how the available computing software makes tax filing so problematic and complex leading to the genesis of the idea that the whole process is time-consuming and hectic.

Within no time, Archit started fixating on the problem and started thinking to himself that it'd be great if he could figure out a way to create software for India to help ease the tax filing process. And in the following months, he moved to India to solve this problem.

There were multiple layers of complexity to this problem and it wasn't easy as it seemed from the top. Since he was from a computer science background, tax and finances seemed to be something new to deal with, and hence, it took him a while to get used to the rules of the game. It required Archit to spend a lot of time with the CAs, put together a lot of learning, understanding, and get deeper insights into the industry. It was like starting from scratch for Archit, but ultimately Clear was born.

“When I started thinking about ClearTax, I was not thinking what the market would be or how big it would be. All I thought was it was a need that should be solved.” said Archit Gupta, owner of ClearTax.

ClearTax - Startup Launch

“I had no marketing budget at that time. So all I did was send emails to friends or people I knew to try the product. But within two hours of the website going live, somebody had filed a tax return. That was a crazy moment for us.” said Archit Gupta, ClearTax CEO.

And that’s how he launched the ClearTax company. From that moment onwards, there was no looking back for Cleartax. In the coming 11 days after the launch of ClearTax services, more than 1,000 people came to the site to file their tax returns on the portal. The founder and the core team were on the edge all the time and kept working day and night to keep adding feature after feature at breakneck speeds as and when the consumers would call up and ask for more support features. Some of the examples of added features on consumer demand are rental income or provision for two salaries.

In the year following the inception of the company, Cleartax had witnessed more than 30K-40K users filing their returns on the platform. The figures kept jumping from 100K to 300K, to 1 million, five years down the lane. From San Francisco to Delhi and from a cushy academic career to an entrepreneur, it’s been quite a journey for Archit Gupta.

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ClearTax - Logo & Tagline

Clear goes by the tagline "Save money. Save time," which rightly represents its motto because it aims to simplify finances, save money and time for millions of Indian businesses and people. The ClearTax logo was a smiling robot along with ClearTax written in Black colour before it was rebranded to 'Clear'.

The current logo of the brand simply has the word clear, followed by "from makers of ClearTax", to hint at the previous name of Clear, which the company is famous as!

Clear Logo
Clear Logo

ClearTax - Business and Revenue Model

ClearTax operates on the B2C, B2B, and B2G models. The company is known to charge its customers for filing. The ClearTax Revenue model is self-e-filing-based, while it operates on a freemium model. ClearTax has a Chartered Accountant-assisted service for filing individual tax returns. The company has a concierge-like service for NRI tax returns through which ClearTax's revenue comes from.

Its services and the Cleartax Business model are designed especially for freelancers and small businesses. The clear Business model helps these freelancers and businesses plan their expenses and claim them systematically, and this way, the company helps them save much more on their taxes than it charges.

The Clear income tax returns (ITR) filing feature, which was free of cost, has now been declared as chargeable, after 10 years of being a free service. This feature would now charge a nominal fee from the users, effective from May 2022. Such a facility would also be included now among the revenue drivers of Clear from the next fiscal year onwards.

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ClearTax - Funding and Investors

Clear has successfully raised around $140.3 million in funding over 7 rounds. Clear raised its Venture Round on January 13, 2022, where it raised an undisclosed amount. The previous funding round that Clear raised was via a Series C round, which was raised on October 25, 2021, where the company raised around $75 million from its lead investors like Kora Capital, Stripe, Alua Capital, and others.

The new funding that Cleartax has received will be used to fuel the company's expansion into the B2B credit and payments space and into the international markets, as per the company's statement in a recent press release.

Founders Fund, Elevation Capital, Sequoia Capital, SAIF Partners, Composite Capital Management, Tiger Global, and Stripe are some of the lead investors of Clear.

Here is a list of all the funding rounds of ClearTax:

Date Stage Amount Investors
January 13, 2022 Venture Round - -
October 25, 2021 Series C $75 mn Kora Capital, Stripe and others
October 23, 2018 Series B $50 mn Composite Capital Management
June 17, 2016 Series A $12 mn SAIF Partners
May 25, 2016 Seed Round $2 mn Founders Fund, Sequoia Capital
April 26, 2016 Angel Round $1.3 mn Max Levchin, Scott Banister
August 19, 2014 Pre Seed Round - Sumon Sadhu

ClearTax - Growth and Revenue

ClearTax revenue was recorded at Rs 60 crore in FY20, a 163% surge over the previous year's (FY19) Rs 22.8 crore.

Here are some of the key growth highlights of the Clear:

  • The company claims to process around $300 billion worth of B2B invoices annually
  • Clear claims to save more than Rs 1000 crore for the Indian businesses each year
  • Clear boasts of a 50 million+ e-invoices run rate
  • The company has saved over 1.8 million man-hours to date
  • ClearTax is featured in the World's 250 Most Promising Fintech Startups by CB Insights. There are 2,174 fintech startups in India according to a recent MEDICI Global Report

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ClearTax - Startup Challenges

As mentioned above, Archit had to start from scratch about anything and everything about tax filing and returns which were the initial challenges that the founder had to face. Secondly, Archit had to opt for bootstrapping because back then, the capital was very difficult to raise. Given that, he also had a very big challenge on hand, which was to build a product software company based out of India with almost no precedents to look up to in the field.

ClearTax - Acquisitions

ClearTax has acquired 6 organizations to date. Clear acquired CimplyFive in an all-cash deal for an undisclosed amount on July 5, 2022. CimplyFive, which is a cloud-hosted application that helps automate company laws and SEBI Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements (LODR) compliance, will help Clear with compliance risk management software that will help the enterprise customers of Clear eliminate numerous procedural non-compliance that occurs. After the acquisition, as per the deal, the CimplyFive team and founder will function as an independent platform.

Xpedize was the previous company that (ClearTax) Clear acquired on March 16, 2022, for an undisclosed amount. Before that, Clear acquired yBANQ on July 7, 2021, in a cash and stock deal with which it forayed into the B2B payments space. Here's a look at the Clear acquisitions:

Acquired Date
CimplyFive July 6, 2022
Xpedize March 16, 2022
yBANQ July 7, 2021
Karvy - GST filing Services March 4, 2020
Dose FM October 18, 2019
Tootl April 12, 2018

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ClearTax - Competitors

Cleartax has competitors in individual services that it caters to. H&R Block and Webtel are the significant competitors in the tax filing space that ClearTax directly competes with. When it comes to the GST space, the startup directly or indirectly competes with Cygnet, Tally, and Computex. Its mutual fund platform competes with entities like:

By stepping its foot into stockbroking and wealth management services via 'Black App', ClearTax has further expanded its list of competitors in India to include:

ClearTax - Advisors and Mentors

As ClearTax assumed this journey, they have kept on adding mentors and Investors like Max Levchin, founder of Paypal, Vijay Shekhar Sharma of Paytm, Neeraj Arora of Whatsapp, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Sequoia, and Ryan Peterson of Flexport.

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Who is ClearTax Owner?

Cleartax is founded by 3 friends, Archit Gupta, Srivatsan Chari, and Ankit Solanki.

How much is ClearTax Funding?

ClearTax has raised a total of $140.3 million in funding over 6 rounds. Its last funding was raised on January 13, 2022.

Who are the competitors of ClearTax?

Some of the major ClearTax competitors include H&R Block, Webtel, Cygnet, Tally, Computex, Paytm Money, ETMONEY, Groww, and Zerodha amongst others.

How much is ClearTax Revenue?

ClearTax revenue is Rs 60 crore in FY20, which witnessed a 163% surge over the previous year's (FY19) Rs 22.8 crore.

Is ClearTax a unicorn?

ClearTax is among 32 of India's 3,500 fintech start-ups that are potential unicorns of India.

Is ClearTax reliable?

With bank-grade network security (128- bit SSL), security audits, and industry-wide best practices in security, we keep your data safe.

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