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Lili launches “Tax Optimizer” toolkit

Co-founder of the Gen Z mobile banking app says she hopes to ease the anxiety caused by filing tax returns

Lili founders. Photo courtesy company
Lili founders. Photo courtesy company

Mobile banking app Lili announced the first-ever “Tax Optimizer” toolkit, that will help independent workers prepare for the upcoming tax season.

This year, millions of first time freelancers will realize the difficulties they must navigate as single business owners, risking overpayments and losing money they could have kept, or accruing fines by underpaying.

“People are turning their backs on the traditional workforce,” said Lilac Bar David, CEO and co-founder of Lili, noting that “there are well over 10 million unfilled jobs because more people are freelancing now than ever.”

Lili’s new service will include advanced categorization tools to track tax write-offs throughout the year, a tax bucket that automatically sets money aside every time a freelancer gets paid, auto-generated quarterly business reports, and the ability to pre-fill their Schedule C form at the end of the year.

A recent study of over 1,000 Gen Z respondents (ages 18-24) conducted by Lili found that over 90% did not know freelancers/self-employed workers should be paying taxes quarterly, and over 50% did not know these workers can deduct business expenses from their taxes.

In addition, one in three people surveyed keep track of their expenses and receipts mainly using their smartphone notes app. And 90% of Gen-Zers reported feeling anxious when they heard the word “taxes”.

“We want to remove this anxiety and help people get ahead of the curve so they are only paying what they owe and not scrambling this tax season,” said Bar David.

“We built Lili to serve the future of the American workforce, which are freelance workers and small business owners,” said Liran Zelkha, Lili’s CTO and co-founder. “Our research revealed that young people are extremely interested in freelancing and working on their own. Because of advancements in technology, this is the first entrepreneurial generation which can finally handle all the complexities of managing their own finances.”

Though it caters to the US market, Lili is actually an Israeli app with offices in Israel and in New York. Its founders, Bar David and Zelkha, were among the creators of Pepper, a mobile banking app that belongs to Bank Leumi, one of the country’s main banks. In May 2021, Lili completed a $55 million Series B financing round, bringing its total funding raise to $80 million. According to company data from the time, the app enjoys some 200,000 users.

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