Saturday, April 6, 2013

Software tax filing in Canada (Turbo Tax and UFile Review)

As you may know it is tax return season and among the hustling and bustling of life, filing taxes can be a pain in the butt. However, compared to doing taxes manually on those thick booklets of tax papers they used to send to you through snail mail, nowadays there are quicker ways to file your taxes and faster ways to get your refunds through online methods. I am pretty new to filing taxes for myself (like I filed taxes for family members in the past, but this is the second year I am filing for myself. Here are two programs that I have tried:


Last year, I was introduced to an online program called UFILE ( What I liked about this program is that it was very simple to use. In the mail you would get all sorts of forms like investment, tuition credit forms and etc... On Ufile, once you finish entering your own information, there is a form that will let you choose what kinds of forms you have, and from there, you would just enter the number in the boxes. Mind you, this is for a student, I'd imagine for someone who works a full time job, it would be slightly more complicated than that. 

The best part was, this year when I was filing my returns, the information from last year were contained in my account. Essentially, it took only a few minutes to file my return this year. 

Don't forget, if you are a senior, a student, have an income lower than $20,000, have dependents, you can file for free with UFile here: FREE TAX FILING:


This year, I was sent a Turbotax Premier from Turbotax to try out (it was part of a prize for some contest). So I decided to give it a try to file the taxes for my family members. I remember I started filing their taxes last night, and to sleep for the night, I turned off my computer. I noticed this morning that Turbotax didn't save the information I saved last night... (or atleast it didn't do so automatically). UFile, because it is online, the information is saved, so with respect to automatic response in saving information, I would say Ufile has the yet (until I figure out if there is an auto-save for Turbotax).
It turns out, if your computer blacks out, you need to refill in your information with Turbotax, however, if you decide to exit the program, it will prompt you to save. So Turbotax has a saving feature at the end.

I think Turbotax is slightly more user friendly, but also more wordy too (like there is alot of information that you need to read before you can enter your tax information. I caught myself a few times thinking "Oh my god... why is there so much to read?!", but I guess compared to the paper version, electronic filing has considerably less reading.

The thing I like most about Turbotax is that there are pictures that make the readings less heavy, and at the top right corner there is a location that tells you how much you are refunded.

You can try Turbotax here (free to try but costs money when you want to file):


This year, Net filing is super easy. All you need to do is have a tax program (Turbotax/Ufile), to create a .tax file at the end of your filing and you go on to the CRA's website, choose "NETFILE" and then you enter your SIN and birthday information. After, you just upload the .tax file and then it is finished.

In Summary:

I think UFile is cheaper (well for students it's free) compared to TurboTax that charges a fee. In summary, both of these programs have their own specialities, but in the big picture of things besides Ufile being free, there really isn't many differences between the two. It took be about 2 hours to finish tax returns for 3 people, and not many brain cells were killed in the process.
****UPDATE: for both of the filing systems, if you are under CPP or are a student, it is free to use their program!

Things to REMEMBER :
- Be sure to sign all the locations (if you are mailing it)
- Enclose all necessary documents (T4s, T5s and etc...) (when you mail it, but don't throw them away if you aren't mailing it because there is a chance you will get audited)

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