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Income Tax Software Discussion & Recommendations
March 28, 2022
11:32 am
Dean
Valhalla Mountains, British Columbia
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This subject has been touched on before (at least in part), but I wasn't able to find a good thread here that addresses the 'Overall' subject.

Each year more & more people take the plunge, and elect do their own Income Tax returns themselves, using the various software now available. As our income tax is no longer as complicated/convoluted as it used to be, my wife & I are now considering retiring our accountant sf-wink, and doing this as well.

We know there are various software choices available (and sometimes different versions within each brand), some free, some not ... TurboTax, UFile, Wealthsimple Tax, StudioTax, TaxFreeway, etc., etc.. The full lists are fairly long! CRA Link ➡ https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/netfile-overview/certified-software-netfile-program.html

Q: Which tax software (& versions) would be recommended for people with . . .

    Employment Income, Pension Income (to be split between the two spouses), Savings Accounts, GICs, RRSPs, TFSAs, and Stock Investments with capital gains & losses.
    Notes:
    - No business, or rental income anymore.
    - Software will need to be for Windows 10.
    - Willing to Pay $ for good quality software.

'Thanks' in advance for your responses & recommendations. And please feel free to discuss other related matters on this subject.

    Dean

sf-cool " Live Long And Prosper " sf-cool

March 28, 2022
11:57 am
COIN
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Whew, Studiotax still works with Windows 7 for 2021 (except Quebec).

Question: Do all tax software require Windows 7 or higher?

March 28, 2022
1:15 pm
AltaRed
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The PC (not web based online) versions of UFile and TurboTax are likely the most user friendly in that they use an interview process to help users populate the right things in the right places including things like digital subscription, e.g. Globe & Mail, tax credits. These may be the best options for someone just transitioning from an accountant to DIY.

UFile is less expensive than TurboTax but either will do, and I notice some big banks have messages offering 20% discounts on TurboTax. I can't speak for other packages except I do use Studio Tax for 'what if' analysis. I've not found it as friendly but that is likely because of lack of familiarity with the software.

Disclosure: I used the predecessor of TurboTax in the '90s but switched to UFile after retirement, and after my corporate employer no longer provided tax support. Once one starts to use one brand, it is harder to switch to another.

March 28, 2022
3:57 pm
frugal lady
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I have been using Ufile for Windows version since 2007 and as AltaRed stated I find it user friendly with its "interview process". It is cheaper than others and Staples always has it on sale for $5 less each year. You no longer get a CD but just download it and enter your activation code. Also over the years I liked the option to purchase Ufile for 4 returns or 12 returns as now I do the tax returns for family and friends.
Myself personally I would not use the web based online version. I want my tax returns on my computer and not the web.

March 28, 2022
4:04 pm
Dean
Valhalla Mountains, British Columbia
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Thanks for that , AltaRed. sf-smile

Best I can tell, if I go with TurboTax, I'd have to buy their 'Premier' version, because of our stock investments with capital gains & losses.

I've looked at the UFile website a bit, but I can't tell if their software covers stock investments like TurboTax 'Premier' does.

Do you know ?

Thanks,

    Dean

______________________________________________________________

P.S.
Thanks for that also, Frugal Lady. sf-smile

Yes, I agree ... I don't want to do my taxes online either.

    Dean

sf-cool " Live Long And Prosper " sf-cool

March 28, 2022
4:29 pm
AltaRed
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UFile for Windows covers pretty much any kind of investments one can put on a T1 tax return including investment income, Schedule 3 capital transactions, T1135 foreign income form, self-employment, RE transactions, etc, etc.

March 28, 2022
4:37 pm
cgouimet
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I've been happy with TurboTax Premier. My 6th tax year now...

CGO
March 28, 2022
5:26 pm
Alexandre
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I've been using TurboTax for many years. For tax year 2021 it runs on Windows 10 and even Windows 11.

I file tax returns for multiple people, and combined they cover all items you listed, except capital gains and losses. I know TurboTax can handle them, just can't tell how well as I didn't need that for any of tax returns I filed.

You can start with TurboTax Standard and do a dry run. While filing taxes, it could offer upgrade in place to Premium, for a fee. For a dry run you can decline it and see if Standard is sufficient.
For example, I had RRSP withdrawals and that was enough for TurboTax Standard to suggest upgrade to Premium. I declined and it handled RRSP correctly nevertheless.

March 28, 2022
8:21 pm
AltaRed
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AltaRed said
UFile for Windows covers pretty much any kind of investments one can put on a T1 tax return including investment income, Schedule 3 capital transactions, T1135 foreign income form, self-employment, RE transactions, etc, etc.  

P.S. Meant to include.... that I have been using it since I returned from being an ex-pat in 2006. Works well for anything I could ever possibly imagine.

March 29, 2022
5:46 am
savemoresaveoften
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Just to be clear, Turbo tax basic version ($35 less discounts that are widely avail) can NOT handle capital gain and loss at all ? I mean even simple stocks gain and loss requires the prem version which is a lot more dough ?
As for studio tax, I just can not stand the interface. It is basically a Windows 95 backbone more or less, an aweful looking "calculator". It looks like GenuTax, except Genutax is free.

Some prefers the "interview" type question, but once you are familiar with the process and follow the big news as to whats changed, I dont see extra value the interview questions provide. Its long and tedious.

I have been using a less known one called MyTaxExpress. $15 for 10 returns but it wont "remind" you for credits etc that one may qualify for. So you need to "know" your tax.

March 29, 2022
8:29 am
Alexandre
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To clarify, it is TurboTax Standard that goes for $35.

TurboTax allows to file taxes two ways: through "interview" type questions, or just by filing necessary forms. Hybrid tax filing is also available: start with "interview" questions and if at the end you still have tax forms which weren't entered - enter them manually.

Also, this is from TurboTax support forums:

The differences between the Standard and Premium editions are in the guidance that TurboTax provides. In our TurboTax Premier edition, TurboTax breaks the process of reporting your investment and rental income in expenses into smaller, easier to understand steps to help you enter your amounts confidently and accurately.

You'll be able to report the same amounts in TurboTax Standard; the interview is just a bit more transactional and CRA form-like.

You can always choose to start in TurboTax Standard and if you find you'd like more help and guidance as you go, upgrade to TurboTax Premier and just pay the difference.

March 29, 2022
11:04 am
pooreva
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Using TurboTax for ages. Since it was QuickTax.
But it is a shame they charge $35 for piece of software having Same interface since I know it.
Anyway I blame government for Not providing tool to file our taxes for free, at least for ordinary citizens. Business, small/big should pay for tax prep.

March 29, 2022
11:28 am
AltaRed
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savemoresaveoften said
Just to be clear, Turbo tax basic version ($35 less discounts that are widely avail) can NOT handle capital gain and loss at all ? I mean even simple stocks gain and loss requires the prem version which is a lot more dough ?
As for studio tax, I just can not stand the interface. It is basically a Windows 95 backbone more or less, an aweful looking "calculator". It looks like GenuTax, except Genutax is free..  

I don't know anyone who has to upgrade to Premier. Standard covers everything a typical individual would need to do a personal tax return, including deduction/credit optimizations between spouses, etc. (that Basic apparently does not).

March 29, 2022
12:14 pm
savemoresaveoften
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AltaRed said

I don't know anyone who has to upgrade to Premier. Standard covers everything a typical individual would need to do a personal tax return, including deduction/credit optimizations between spouses, etc. (that Basic apparently does not).  

ah ok, good to know, thx all for chiming in. This is important as they change it now that you can not even take a test drive on your desktop without paying

March 30, 2022
10:53 am
Pronounced Zed
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I would recommend StudioTax because you don't have to pay anything upfront. Download it. Try it. If it works for you, pay only $15 to actually print/netfile. If your income is below a certain level you don't even need to pay.

The interface is not the best, but it does what you need.

March 30, 2022
11:41 am
Bill
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I agree, pooreva, and seems kind of backward in 2022 to even have to file a return for all those folks who only have a few t-slips box amounts the gov't already knows about - what a waste of time and energy.

March 30, 2022
12:42 pm
Norman1
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Bill said
I agree, pooreva, and seems kind of backward in 2022 to even have to file a return for all those folks who only have a few t-slips box amounts the gov't already knows about - what a waste of time and energy.

Things can get complicated under the Canadian tax system even for those who just have a few tax slips.

The taxpayer could have some unused RRSP contribution deductions that the person wants to finally use on that return. Maybe the taxpayer wants to carry part of the capital losses from the T5008 (Statement of Securities Transactions) slips back to the second year before and carry the rest forward.

March 30, 2022
1:54 pm
COIN
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Norman1 said

Bill said
I agree, pooreva, and seems kind of backward in 2022 to even have to file a return for all those folks who only have a few t-slips box amounts the gov't already knows about - what a waste of time and energy.

Things can get complicated under the Canadian tax system even for those who just have a few tax slips. 

Yes, also you may be able to claim some home expenses if your employer required you to work from home (due to COVID or some other reason).

March 30, 2022
2:13 pm
Dean
Valhalla Mountains, British Columbia
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FWIW ... This is how TurboTax advises it's customers on which version of their software they should buy . . .

According to the recommendations in that link, if a person has Stocks, they need to buy the 'Premier' version. But some folks who have posted here in this thread, have indicated that Stocks can also be dealt with in the 'Standard' version.

Go Figure sf-confused

    Dean

sf-cool " Live Long And Prosper " sf-cool

March 30, 2022
2:28 pm
Norman1
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I've read that TurboTax Premier is not needed for stocks if one knows how fill in Schedule 3.

TurboTax Premier will be needed if one wishes to have the software guide one through completing Schedule 3.

Perhaps someone who has used TurboTax Standard can enlighten?

Supposedly, there is a Forms mode in which one can add the Schedule 3 and fill the schedule in.

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