Around this time of year our Coaches are often asked which tax software they would recommend to individuals who would like to file their own taxes online. Here is a round-up of responses on three of the most popular options: Turbo Tax, Studio Tax and Ufile.
It is also important to note that if you are filing online you must use a program that is recognized for use on Netfile by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). For a list of all the recognized programs visit the CRA website.
Previously known as Quick Tax, Turbo Tax offers several different levels and is available for Mac or PC.
The Free Version: Exclusively online and recommended for people with extremely simple returns, (no children or significant assets).
The Standard Version: For folks with very straightforward finances, but is detailed enough to cover pensions, children and RRSPs.
The Premier Version: offers everything the standard version does but can also handle more complicated income from investments or rental properties.
The Home and Business Version: A great option for the home business owner, consultants and contractors.
All versions (except the Free version) are available as downloads or online. The downloadable versions offer the ability to handle multiple returns (8 for standard, 12 for Premier or Home and Business). The online versions are roughly half the price but only accommodate one return.
Features included in all the purchased versions: Turbo Tax EasyStep (uses guided questions to navigate you through the process), free product support by phone, email or chat.
– Money Coach Noel D’Souza P.Eng, CFP®
– Money Coach Christine White P. Eng
– Money Coach Karen Richardson
The first thing to know about StudioTax is that it’s free for all personal users. Starting this year it is available for Mac as well as PC. It has only one, full featured version and will handle up to 20 returns (which is the limit set by the CRA). StudioTax is the brainchild of a group of software developers in Ottawa who offer the program for free but welcome donations.
“I switched to StudioTax last year. I was attracted by the low cost – it’s free! StudioTax was approved by CRA for Netfile a few years back. It’s easy to navigate around as the forms look as if you are paper filing the CRA T1 General. It includes a quick entry wizard and helps you validate your return to be sure it’s optimized and error free. I am using StudioTax for 2013.”
– Money Coach Tom Feigs CFP, CET
“I use StudioTax too. It’s free but you can donate to it if you choose to. I start with the Quick Entry Wizard and then review each form to be sure I didn’t miss any credits etc. They have a PC and MAC version and now have some You Tube tutorials for those wanting a bit more support. The only thing I remember Turbo Tax having that this does not, is an RRSP optimizer with a visual way to see how your refund changes when you deposit more into an RRSP.”
– Money Coach Melanie Buffel BA Psych, MBA Candidate
Ufile online is available for Mac and PC but the downloadable version is PC only. The downloadable version costs less than Turbo Tax but only allows for 4 returns, and depending on your income and circumstances it can be free. It has a questionnaire that once completed fills in the necessary spots in the tax return and easily carries forward the previous years information. There is only one version for personal use, which the company says will handle any tax return no matter how complex.
– Money Coach Leslie Gardner