Finally, freelance artists never have to think about tax again

A tax service that understands the needs of freelancers shouldn’t be so hard to find.As your tax return looms, it’s the perfect time to meet Hnry.

It’s difficult for freelancers and independent contractors to stay on top of their taxes and financial admin – especially when they’re juggling multiple clients and managing unpredictable income. James Fuller, CEO of Hnry, understands all too well the stresses of financial organisation for the self-employed: ‘About five or six years ago when my partner and I were out freelancing we didn’t know how much money was ours and how much we had to put away for tax. We had to rely on patronising accountants and old-school accounting packages. So we got thinking: why can’t there be a service that takes care of all the tax and lodgements so we can focus on working with our clients?’

His frustration inspired him to co-found Hnry – a new tax service that began in New Zealand but recently expanded into the Australian market. Hnry’s mission is to take all the stress of tax and financial admin away from sole traders, so they never have to think about tax again. Every customer who signs up to Hnry gets their taxes automatically paid and filed from that point forward.

Fuller explained the process: ‘Everyone who signs up to Hnry gets their own unique bank account for their self-employed income. Every time they get paid into that account, we calculate, deduct and pay their taxes before passing the rest to their personal bank account straight away. The whole process takes about 60 seconds. They get paid, we strip out the exact amount of tax (income tax, Medicare, GST, student loans, HECS) and they get the money left over. You don’t have to calculate anything; everything’s automated. We also lodge your tax returns with the ATO – all as part of the service.’

Imagine not having to store fading receipts in a shoebox again! Hnry’s customers also get access to the Hnry app, which has lots of tools useful for those in the creative industries.

Fuller said, ‘Through our app you can easily create quotes and invoices to send to your clients – we’ll even chase up your unpaid invoices when they’re overdue to help you get paid faster. You can also upload photos of your expense receipts and send them to us; our team of accountants will review them and store them electronically, which means you can bin them straight away! You can also get financial reports, which a lot of our customers find helpful for working with banks to get a loan or a mortgage.’

‘Through our app you can easily create quotes and invoices to send to your clients – we’ll even chase up your unpaid invoices when they’re overdue to help you get paid faster.’

Aside from all the high-falutin’ technical wizardry, Hnry stresses the human element. ‘We’re not faceless software; we are a team of people. As part of the service you get unlimited access to our specialist team of accountants and tax experts – you can chat with them over the phone, by live chat, or email,’ Fuller explained.

‘You don’t even need to get your financial affairs in order before joining the service – we’ll help you with all that by running you through a health check. We’ll find out if you’ve owed any prior tax or have any lodgements outstanding and then help you resolve those issues.’

Fuller is emphatic about demystifying the tax process and providing education and resources in everyday language rather than complex, acronym-heavy terminology.

As for the name of the company itself? Fuller chuckled, ‘We loved the idea of a service with the name of a person: approachable, efficient and fun. I did some research and two people suggested the name Henry. Obviously domain names are expensive so we played around with the spelling. But really we wanted it to be Hnry your friendly neighbourhood accountant who’s affordable to hire – but loyal and dedicated.’ It’s as simple as that.

Thuy On is Reviews Editor of ArtsHub and an arts journalist, critic and poet who’s written for a range of publications including The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Sydney Review of Books, The Australian, The Age/SMH and Australian Book Review. She's the outgoing books editor of The Big issue. Her first book, a collection of poetry called Turbulence, came out in 2020 and was published by University of Western Australia Press. Her next collection, Decadence, will be published in July 2022. Twitter: @thuy_on