For many, tax season can be a nightmare—that’s a fact Ponte Vedra resident Aaron Rosenthal knows all too well.
Co-founder and director of marketing for the online tax preparation company E-file.com, Rosenthal strives to remove as much of the anxiety and stress from the tax-filing process as possible. Judging by the numbers alone, he must be doing something right.
At a growth rate of 4,642 percent, E-file.com came in at No. 79 on Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 5,000” list of the fastest-growing companies in America.
“We are proud to be recognized with such a prestigious group of companies,” Rosenthal said. “It is not only wonderful recognition for E-file.com, but it also helps demonstrate that North Florida is a great area for starting a business.”
A graduate of the University of North Florida College of Business, Rosenthal co-founded E-file.com with fellow graduate Robert Reynard in 2013. Rosenthal said that it was his own frustration with other online tax preparation companies that gave him the idea to start his own.
“I’ve had a few startups, and this is the latest,” he said. “Another of my businesses had been for years referring customers to TurboTax, and each year it seemed like TurboTax became more and more difficult to work with. At one point, I said to myself, ‘Is there a way for me to do this and provide a top-quality solution at a lower cost?’ That’s kind of what got us involved in online tax preparation.”
While his company is like other online tax-filing programs, Rosenthal said that cost is one factor that sets E-file.com apart from its competition.
“Our software is only offered online via the Cloud—we don’t offer any sort of discs or downloads,” he said. “We don’t have that production cost involved, which means we pass along that savings to the customers, so we can offer our software at about 50 percent lower cost than many of the other companies that provide online tax software.”
In addition to the lower cost, Rosenthal said that E-file is dedicated to protecting its customers’ privacy.
“There are other companies in the space, and they tend to resell their customer information to third party advertisers,” he explained. “One of the things that we’ve done is we’ve taken the stance that we are never going to sell any of our customer information to third party advertisers. We want to provide an affordable software solution, but also protect the privacy of our customers, so I think that’s something that certainly helps us to stand out.”
Even with the company’s current success, however, Rosenthal said there is still room for growth.
“We’ve been one of the fastest-growing companies in the country, but we still really just have a fraction of the overall tax preparation market,” he said. “Right now, we only provide personal income tax preparation. In the future, we could always provide tax preparation services to businesses as well, and I think that’s something that we’re looking forward to.”
Having made North Florida not only his personal home, but the home of his business, Rosenthal said that he is honored his company can represent the First Coast on a national level.
“I think it’s great for the company, but it’s also great for North Florida to be showcased—especially in a national publication like Inc. Magazine,” Rosenthal said. “I love this area; I’ve been here for a very long time and I’ve chosen to raise my children here. I love the exposure that the area gets just as much as the awards themselves.”