There are five major seasons in a year—spring, summer, autumn, winter, and tax season. Though the level of human impact of the four naturally occurring seasons is debatable, there’s no getting around the fact that technology has changed how we work with our tax returns. Let’s take a look at some of the latest tax software available in Canada and see which might be right for you.
One of the best options available to Canadians is SimpleTax, as known as Wealthsimple. For starters, the interface is easy to use and visually appealing. The page layout is simple to follow and the entire tax return is laid out on a single page. Wealthsimple also allows its users to autofill out portions of the form from the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) website. No more tedious minutes spent filling out your personal information. There’s a convenient smart search feature that allows quick access to forms and deductions you might need to make an adjustment to your tax return. The software can be used easily with people who are self-employed, have investment income, or rental income. They have a video tutorial series to help you through the process, too. Perhaps the biggest draw to using the Wealthsimple platform is that it’s free. You read that correctly—this refund software costs nothing to use.
There are a couple of negatives, however. They don’t offer refund storage, which means you’ll have to track old returns. There is no audit defense or expert review with the free version. Seeking professional guidance will require money out-of-pocket. Finally, their customer service is only okay. Be ready to spend some time on the phone or chat if you are seeking questions from someone within the company.
Another great option available to Canadians is Turbotax, formerly QuickTax. The software is centered around it EasyStep Interview. This is designed to help walk you through your refund step-by-step. The process feels intuitive, and the questions are easy to understand. Questions are prompted to figure out more information about your refund. This software will ask questions about things like what women’s clothing stores you shopped at this year. This helps to identify if you have any tax advantage purchases to declare. It might also prompt you about donations you’ve made. Did you clear out your wardrobe and gift any blouses or other women’s clothes? Turbotax will help calculate that into your refund amount.
Though most of the Turbotax software is easy to use, it can get complicated from its commercial messages and litany of reference ID numbers. There are several select styles to pick from and it can become confusing. A startup company would most likely want different software from a single-family home. Access to expert guidance costs more and there aren’t often promotions from upgrading products. More options can be a bad thing and might mean more time and money in the long run, so get your debit or credit card ready.
Another option for people filing in Canada is GenuTax. Like Wealthsimple Canada, GenuTax is free. What’s great about their free service is you can file up to 20 returns during one tax season. This means you can file for a small business or larger family if needed. Many of the features like their login are simple to use and you can work your way through the process by answering questions about your previous tax returns and income information. Your refund is straightforward and easy to understand.
There are a few downsides to note before you make your decision on GenuTax. Most notably, information with the CRA is fine, but residents of Quebec can’t file provincial returns with this software. You won’t be able to file a corporate tax return, either. All customer support is managed through your email address. Finally, though they say the software is free, they will ask you to donate to the company to help pay for their annual updates. Often, companies like this will have to charge people to use their software to be able to keep the information up-to-date and operating at optimal performance.