During Melbourne’s coronavirus lockdown, Rahi Verma, a local certified Public Accountant (CPA) has taken to TikTok to spread awareness about the federal government's COVID welfare payments and their tax ramifications. And he insists on doing so in Punjabi.
“The Punjabi community is a very hard-working one and this is acknowledged the world over. They contribute generously to Australia’s tax revenue. Now that they are unable to do much work, I thought I should help them receive their rightful due in the form of JobKeeper and JobSeeker,” says Mr Verma.
Mr Verma has been posting videos on TikTok since March, when Australia began to crawl into lockdown, and has gained nearly 5,000 followers already.
- Rahi Verma, a Melbourne CPA makes TikTok videos about welfare payments and taxation in Punjabi.
- His videos on topics like JobKeeper, JobSeeker, Centrelink's Parenting Payment have upto 50,000 views.
- 'I want to help everyone, but the hard-working Punjabi community in particular,' says Mr Verma.
“When welfare payments like JobKeeper, JobSeeker and the International Student Emergency Relief Fund were introduced, there was a lot of confusion about eligibility. I got many calls from curious people so I thought why not spread the message for free,” says Mr Verma who migrated to Australia from Punjab’s Sri Muktsar Sahib only four years ago.
Mr Verma’s videos on eligibility for JobKeeper and JobSeeker and the correct way of filing tax returns by temporary residents have been viewed around 50,000 times. Another one on sole traders receiving Centrelink’s Parenting Payment has received over 33,000 views in only four days.
But why TikTok as opposed to other social media platforms like the usual Facebook, Twitter and Instagram which are more popular?
"I'm not a social media person at all. I don't even have a Facebook account. I'm not adept with shooting and editing videos. So, TikTok's time limit of 60 seconds suits me well. Plus, it is fast gaining popularity in Australia," Mr Verma explains.
Most viewers of his TikTok channel are in Australia, he claims.
"TikTok allows you to see the names of countries where your videos are being watched. While I give free advice to students and some temporary residents if they contact me, many other queries have translated into business," Mr Verma says, adding that in about three months, he would have got over 1,000 emails from potential clients.
What started as a “fun experiment” in March, has given Mr Verma not only recognition amongst Australia’s Indian community but has also generated steady stream of business for him, in the comfort of his home.
“My mother suggested that instead of making videos for entertainment, I should use TikTok to spread awareness about my expertise. I changed the name of that channel from @rv22official to @Taxxedptyltd. And sure enough, it has worked out very well. It makes people aware of their rights and duties and I also get a lot of queries which convert into business,” explains the 32-year-old CPA.
Mr Verma says that TikTok’s 60-second time limit affords him enough time to give out the punchiest information that may help the viewers or his business.
“Non-Punjabi viewers request me to make videos in Hindi and English too so that more people from the Indian-Australian community can benefit. But I want to stick to Punjabi for now. Our people are very hard working. I want to help them first,” signs off Mr Verma.
Listen to this podcast in Punjabi by clicking on the audio link inside the picture at the top of the page.
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