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Income Tax Software Discussion & Recommendations
April 19, 2022
10:04 am
Dean
Valhalla Mountains, British Columbia
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COIN said

"the returns are stored on a USB stick"

Data stored on a USB stick could corrupt. Happened to some of my photos.
.

A good example of why one should Never rely on only one storage device ❗

FWIW, this is what I do . . .

    I do Not store any sensitive data or documents on computers, the 'Cloud', or any supposedly secure websites, other than the CRA and the FI's I deal with.
    .
    What I do, is keep 'Encrypted' copies of all sensitive data & documents, stored on three different USB memory sticks. Two of the encrypted memory sticks are each stored in a separate secure place on my property. The third encrypted memory stick (redundant back-up) is safely stored off premises, also in a secure place. Each memory stick gets updated every month or two ... sometimes more often as needed.

With sensitive data & documents, you just Can't be too safe.

    Dean

sf-cool " Live Long, Healthy ... And Prosper! " sf-cool

April 19, 2022
10:38 am
Bill
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This conversation has convinced me paper returns are the easiest, most time-saving option for my needs. Thank you allsf-laugh

April 19, 2022
12:00 pm
COIN
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Bill said
This conversation has convinced me paper returns are the easiest, most time-saving option for my needs. Thank you allsf-laugh  

I actually thought the same thing two Sundays ago. Took forever to unsuccessfully install .NET4.5.2. Finally, ended up installing .NET4.7.1 so I could install Studiotax 2021. The for some weird reason Studiotax double counted one of my investment income. Took me forever to get rid of the double count.

Back in the good old days, I would do the return by hand, attach a cheque for the tax owing and drop the whole thing in the drop box (now sealed, probably forever) at 1 Front Street and then get on with my life.

April 19, 2022
3:45 pm
fionag11
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Well, I used Wealthsimple (formerly called SimpleTax) this year and it was pretty painless and easy even though I had to type in my T4 info myself because it was missing from the CRA account. Pretty similar to TurboTax in the interview format. Maybe a bit better at providing helpful comments and explanation. Has the same review function where it checks for things that might be wrong and exemptions you might have missed. If someone's picking a software for the first time I think you can't go wrong with Wealthsimple. Pay what you want but if you don't pay anything they will guilt trip you lol (I did pay) sf-cool
I've always done my own returns and in the old days when I did paper I always seemed to make some error no matter how carefully I added everything up. Just little ones. I have to say I do prefer using the software.

April 19, 2022
3:59 pm
AltaRed
BC Interior
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The number of tax returns done by paper is decreasing every year https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/corporate/about-canada-revenue-agency-cra/individual-income-tax-return-statistics.html Some of the 8% remaining to be submitted by paper in 2021 would be T1 Finals which have to be done by paper.

Data to date for this tax season is currently showing even less, e.g. 6.3% by paper.

It is only a matter of time, most likely <10 years, when enough pre-boomers and some of the boomers die off that the number of paper filers will be an endangered species. With CRA making a big push in 2023 for electronic NOAs and other reminders, it could accelerate the transition even more.

April 19, 2022
6:20 pm
Bill
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I agree, paper filing days are numbered, hopefully if it's no longer an option CRA will be required to let you efile directly with them, as an option. For example, now if I use Wealthsimple my tax info would be sitting forever with someone called Simpletax Software Inc, don't really like that idea.

April 19, 2022
7:26 pm
AltaRed
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Bill said
I agree, paper filing days are numbered, hopefully if it's no longer an option CRA will be required to let you efile directly with them, as an option. For example, now if I use Wealthsimple my tax info would be sitting forever with someone called Simpletax Software Inc, don't really like that idea.  

It is called Netfile and there is plenty of software packages that reside directly on your own device allowing you to transmit your tax return data directly to CRA servers. There is no intermediary. Examples include TurboTax, Ufile, StudioTax, etc, etc. There is no reason to use the "Online" versions of Wealthsimple, TurboTax Online, UFile Online, etc, etc. I'd never use the latter ones.

April 20, 2022
5:22 am
Bill
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This is the page I'm looking at, the only free desktop one I see for 2021 is GenuTax. Are you saying the "mobile app" ones can be used on a desktop computer?
https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/netfile-overview/certified-software-netfile-program.html

April 20, 2022
5:49 am
savemoresaveoften
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Bill said
This is the page I'm looking at, the only free desktop one I see for 2021 is GenuTax. Are you saying the "mobile app" ones can be used on a desktop computer?
https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/e-services/e-services-individuals/netfile-overview/certified-software-netfile-program.html  

I believe that is the only one. Mobile app will be online by default if I am not mistaken.
I understand it is your principle of not wanting to pay for a tax software, maybe I can help you change your mind by saying its worth paying for something that makes your life easier, and give you a piece of mind when it comes to personal data security. The programmers need to get paid too 🙂

April 20, 2022
5:57 am
Bill
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Thanks, smso, I appreciate it, and the money part I would give on, but I'm not convinced, given my disinterest in spending even a minute on tech matters that it would be more convenient for me. I'll just wait for the day I'm forced to change, though another "piece" sf-wink for my mind would be nice given that I seem to be increasingly losing them..........

April 20, 2022
7:45 am
COIN
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I found the method of paying Studiotax most unfriendly.

1) The payment page did not just simply pop-up. Instead I had to hunt for it.
Fortunately, I did manage to find it through trial and error.

2) Despite several attempts I was unable to pay using PayPal as a guest. Had to resort to paying by credit card.

April 20, 2022
9:21 am
AltaRed
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savemoresaveoften said

I believe that is the only one. Mobile app will be online by default if I am not mistaken.
I understand it is your principle of not wanting to pay for a tax software, maybe I can help you change your mind by saying its worth paying for something that makes your life easier, and give you a piece of mind when it comes to personal data security. The programmers need to get paid too 🙂  

Sometimes it can also be penny wise and pound foolish not to pay $20 or so to use software tools downloaded to one's device that could save, couples at least, tax dollars by optimizing deductions between spouses, pension income splitting, etc. The price of a lunch could save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in taxes. It has been one of the best returns on investment I have undertaken from time to time. It is why the surge towards EFile and Netfile continues.

April 20, 2022
9:44 am
Bill
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Maybe, I certainly can see its use for those who have not much interest in the tax filing process, but a lot too is because we adore tech (it's cool and status-y too) so look for every excuse to use it. It's why I've loved my Bell shares for so long now. But I admit I do use my calculator to optimize our returns, pension split, etc, it's not at all hard if you're quite familiar with the relevant lines on the T1, schedules, etc, plus it's weirdly kind of satisfying to figure it out. At least for me. But you don't need to convince me paper's days are very numbered.

April 20, 2022
9:53 am
andied20
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I have absolutely no affiliation or association with Studio Tax, other than I have been a satisfied user since 2005. I have never had a problem with the interface (or any thing else) and after so many years, trying a new software (mytaxexpress) was very awkward at first, until I got used to it.

Some of the positives for me:
--installs to my computer, private info not stored in some cloud server

--can e-file T1135, and have been able to do so for quite a few years

--is available to download before the end of the year

--very reasonable cost --the first couple of years I did not pay, but then began donating $15, and now it is required. My only complaint is now I have to pay GST/HST.

--I have not had any issue paying with Paypal every year.

I know there are posters that have had a more negative experience, but for someone looking for tax software, I highly recommend Studio Tax.

As per the old saying: "your mileage may vary."

April 20, 2022
10:14 am
savemoresaveoften
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andied20 said
trying a new software (mytaxexpress) was very awkward at first, until I got used to it.

Surprised u find it awkward. I find mytaxexpress the easiest to navigate and it resembles the paper form the most (if u familiar with it.) You essentially just add the Tx forms as you need, fille in all the boxes and it populates the numbers to all the relevant forms like T1, schedule 3, fed tax, ON tax etc etc All the Tx forms are laid out almost exactly to the actual official form you recd from your employer, FI etc, one really cant screw up.
I can not stand the studiotax excel table format and I have to keep scrolling left and right, up and down to get to the box I need. And its a pain to navigate to say the least.
The only negative I say about Mytaxexpress is you need to know what credits etc you are entitled to, it wont remind you. It wont hold your hands nor pretend to be your best friend lol
Their tech support is by far the best tho. I had email them with questions on week day nights or even weekend before, and they somehow always have someone to get back to me within a few hours. Its like they offer support 24/7 all for $13.99

If I am filing coupled return or have rental properties etc, I will lean towards turbo tax.

April 20, 2022
11:17 am
Oscar
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Second year using Studiotax . Simple return , last year was a bit frustrated by scroll bar to add t slips but this year no issues. Recently became aware of MyTaxExpress through this site and was interested because of their Linux compatible software. Downloaded but couldn't get it to work and gave up. Had already filed with Studiotax at this point anyways.
A couple of days ago I decided to contact them and within 5 minutes I received a reply telling me to download the other version. This one opened up with one click. Been looking for a way to get away from Windows , this is the ticket. I am in awe at the quick response time and look forward to trying them out next year. And as a bonus I can delete Windows 7 which was on a dedicated hard drive that I had to keep for tax software compatibility only. Windows 8 support ends next January and I couldn't care lesssf-wink

April 22, 2022
6:39 pm
COIN
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COIN said
I found the method of paying Studiotax most unfriendly.

1) The payment page did not just simply pop-up. Instead I had to hunt for it.
Fortunately, I did manage to find it through trial and error.

2) Despite several attempts I was unable to pay using PayPal as a guest. Had to resort to paying by credit card.  

So, I contacted Studiotax and they recommend using Firefox or Chrome (I am using Microsoft Edge).

April 26, 2022
5:17 pm
jane7
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I have been using H&R Block Online software for many years now. It's free (although of course they will try to sell you their services and whatnot, but I don't care). Like any certified tax software, if has all the basics - employment, tuition, RRSPs, TFSAs, investments, you name it... The only thing I found so far it doesn't have is non-resident tax filing. I find it pretty straightforward, quick and easy to use. I am cheap, it boggles my mind that some people are willing to pay for what they can get for free. Happy tax filing, everyone!

April 27, 2022
6:06 am
Bill
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That's the one I decided to try to practice on, to see if I want to switch from paper next year. I assume I can do my 2021 taxes on it and just not send it (I've already paper filed), as practice - ? Until when is it available, after April 30?

April 27, 2022
10:26 am
MG
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Bill said
Until when is it available, after April 30?  

Bill, it should be available for years! Many people do not file by the April 30th deadline and so need the software available for ever. Some people takes years to file (yes I know a few of those folks). You can probably do multiple years for free. Just poke around their website and see how many prior years are still available. Studiotax, which I use, has software availabe for download going back to 2004! sf-laugh

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