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Free income tax software options in 2021 (2020 tax year)
December 19, 2020
5:41 pm
pooreva
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Let's start a new topic regarding tax software options for tax year 2020.

I personally would be interested in downloadable (for PC) stand alone FREE software. If anybody has any suggestions with experience from previous year(s), that will be highly appreciated.

December 19, 2020
6:06 pm
AltaRed
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Studio Tax is the best one I am aware of. Software that resides on one's PC and is free (or a donation is solicited if one is so inclined...and should).

Simple Tax was an online website based application that might have been okay in the past but not so sure any more now that it is caught up in the WealthSimple machine.

December 19, 2020
6:21 pm
Norman1
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I think the only other free (donations funded), downloadable tax software is GenuTax Standard.

I've used StudioTax for Windows for many years. The UI is quite rough, especially for those who have lots of T3 and T5 slips.

One person I suggested StudioTax to tried it and ditched it. He didn't have confidence in it because of the UI issues. He bought one of the paid tax software packages instead.

December 19, 2020
8:24 pm
AltaRed
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I agree on the UI. I don't actually use Studio Tax for anything but 'what if' analysis, but post #1 asked for freebie ones downloaded to computer.

December 20, 2020
10:57 am
Bill
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I file paper returns for spouse and me. But this year maybe I'll download something free that'll allow me to figure out the exact best allocation of income between us, I've always just ballparked it before. Would Studio Tax work for that? Or any other free online resources that are good? Has to work well for non-RRIF pensions income, Cdn dividends (i.e. gross up) income, interest income, and capital gains income situation.

December 20, 2020
11:01 am
MG
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I can attest to using StudioTax for at least 10 years. Once you get used to it, it is pretty easy - especially if you are doing more than one tax return. Lots of opportunity to do "what if analysis" and income splitting scenarios as well. If you just want to do some ballparking ahead of time, taxtips.ca also has high level income tax calculators that I use in November/December timeframe to decide if I need to withdraw more money from my RRSP or if I have room for more capital gains, etc.

December 20, 2020
12:45 pm
Norman1
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StudioTax can handle both eligible and other-than-eligible Canadian dividends from T3 and T5 slips. Same with interest income and capital gains.

It will take some "getting used to " if one has to enter more than two T3 slips or two T5 slips. I don't bother anymore. I just total up the boxes of the T5 slips, for example, in a spreadsheet, and enter the box totals as one T5 slip into StudioTax.

December 20, 2020
1:37 pm
Bill
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I will try those suggestions, thank you.

December 28, 2020
3:58 pm
pooreva
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Studio Tax is NOT free anymore. Now they ask $15 in order to be able to print or netfile your return.
Genutax for 2020 will be available 'by Feb 22'

December 28, 2020
4:03 pm
dommm
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pooreva said
Studio Tax is NOT free anymore. Now they ask $15 in order to be able to print or netfile your return.
Genutax for 2020 will be available 'by Feb 22'  

Yup, just went to the Studio Tax web site & read the bad news.

December 28, 2020
4:34 pm
Norman1
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The $15 price for StudioTax 2020 is a bit high.

TaxFreeway for Windows is $9.95.

December 29, 2020
5:54 pm
bhuc
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Studio Tax 2020 is now $15.00... however,

There are multiple methods to purchase a "license key",
to receive a confirmation reference number
only to wait 20 minutes at which point you
cut and paste the confirmation reference number into to a input box
only to have yet another popup window where your email id must be input
to "Get the License and Activate Studio Tax "

It is so confusing I think most will be turned off by the process I know I am .

There are so many ways this can go wrong, it boggles ...
And then when that happens you will be EMAILING customer support to get it fixed !

For what it's worth I think Studio Tax is a pretty good product I am sorry they messed it up with their licensing process!

https://www.studiotax.com/etransfer.html

January 4, 2021
4:29 pm
Hmm
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AltaRed said
Studio Tax is the best one I am aware of. Software that resides on one's PC and is free (or a donation is solicited if one is so inclined...and should).

Simple Tax was an online website based application that might have been okay in the past but not so sure any more now that it is caught up in the WealthSimple machine.  

I complete disagree that ST is the best application to file your taxes. The interface hasn't been updated since the early 2000s and it's not the most user friendly tax filing application. Just try out the other (freemium and paid versions) you'll know what I mean. ST can be tricky and I find their interface really clunky. Their RRSP contribution and maximizing is quite tricky too.

I know many people used it because it WAS free and have rationalized it because of that. I suspect many will still use it but will be shocked to find out when they file that they now have to pay.

In some countries, the government will complete your tax return on your behalf or the application software is provided free by the government. Why should tax payers have to pay to file their tax returns?

Anyway, I'll be switching to Simpletax. Should Simple tax decide to follow ST's route and charge for filing, hopefully in 2022 CRA will open up their CRA drop boxes and I'll do a paper return.

January 4, 2021
5:32 pm
lhsaid
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Norman1 said
The $15 price for StudioTax 2020 is a bit high.

TaxFreeway for Windows is $9.95.  

Honestly, this team deserves more, StudioTax is very well designed ! and user friendly .

January 4, 2021
5:54 pm
pooreva
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Hmm said
Anyway, I'll be switching to Simpletax. Should Simple tax decide to follow ST's route and charge for filing, hopefully in 2022 CRA will open up their CRA drop boxes and I'll do a paper return.  

It looks like Simpletax is web based. Sorry, I prefer standalone software, no cloud or similar nonsense NO MATER how much they claim it is secured...

So you will be doing your taxes by hand (paper return)? Good luck. I am not that smart...

As many do not like Studio Tax's interface, the only option is Turbotax. Yes, it cost $35+tax but you can do 8 returns and it is very user friendly and versatile. I guess you could share cost with one/two friends or families.

January 4, 2021
6:41 pm
AltaRed
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I don't care either way. I buy UFile when it is on sale for ~$19 and do 3 tax returns. Has a user friendly interview style UI which is way more pleasant to use than the more spreadsheet like Studio Tax. I mentioned Studio Tax in response to 'free', and being resident on the computer, not necessarily because it is'the best'.

I don't get why folks whine about $10 per return (assuming 2 per household) for the convenience of preparing tax returns and online Netfiling including the T1135 form.

P.S. UFile is interview style like TurboTax at less cost depending on number of returns.

January 4, 2021
8:40 pm
topgun
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I have used the Cantax, Quicktax and Turbotax programs over 3 decades. The price is about $40 including tax for years. Yes at one time I did 3 returns. Myself and parents. Now I do one return. A great program. Worth the money.

Have a Great Day

January 5, 2021
6:16 pm
COIN
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As far as I remember, Studiotax always charged a fee for returns in excess of 20. Are they now charging even if you use them for only one return? No freebies at all?

January 5, 2021
7:35 pm
Oscar
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COIN said
As far as I remember, Studiotax always charged a fee for returns in excess of 20. Are they now charging even if you use them for only one return? No freebies at all?  

On their website they say it is still free for individuals with income of less than 20 thousand. Not sure how that works, maybe built into the program.

January 5, 2021
7:44 pm
Norman1
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Yes, that is usually built into programs to let people print or NETFILE for free when their income is below a certain level.

Actually, StudioTax and other NETFILE software were required by CRA to block more than 20 returns.

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