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Offline income tax software MyTaxExpress
February 27, 2022
10:06 pm
Max_Anderson
Vancouver, BC
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A note on my experience choosing income tax software-

First, I wanted an offline Windows software. It's not that I would care if anyone merely snooped on my income tax return, but it would be extremely troublesome and costly if information got hacked leading to identity theft. That's very unlikely to happen, yet some huge companies have had their customer information stolen so it's a worry I'd just as soon avoid. Also, offline software is less vulnerable to server errors, although that's also highly unlikely. If I were to choose an online software, I'd try WealthSimple Tax (simpletax.ca). They put a guarantee behind their accuracy, and the business is owned by the huge Power Corp. of Canada so it's likely to be high quality software.

I also wanted software to use for linked returns of my spouse (who is self-employed) and myself, that would optimize our refund (something Taxtron apparently lacks).

Quite a number of offline software packages are certified by the Canada Revenue Agency. I've used the industry leader, TurboTax by Intuit, but I strongly disliked it. Their basic "Deluxe" version is now $19.99 for 1 return, "Premier" is $34.99 for 1 return if you own stocks, and "Self-Employed" is $44.99 for 1 return. I've also used GenuTax and StudioTax (the second most commonly used such software, after TurboTax), and while they worked okay, I wanted to try something new. Some online comments claim StudioTax, FutureTax and Ufile have been flaky for some users.

It came down to a choice between TaxFreeway ($9.95 for up to 20 returns; offers interview and form modes simultaneously) and MyTaxExpress ($13.99 for up to 10 returns). I chose MyTaxExpress. It's been produced by Arcadia Software Corp. since 2002. Surprisingly they also offer a corporate tax software for $40 (it's likely pretty basic, since corporate income tax software can run in the thousands of dollars).

MyTaxExpress worked okay for me, but has a few minor quirks:
-It doesn't work for Quebec, or certain agriculture credits.
-The "Help" is rather sparse and online-only, and it took ages to find the line on which to enter political contributions.
-With two coupled returns (for spouses) it would not allow the spouse to be checkmarked as self-employed on the first page of the T1 General until first using the menu item "+Form" to add Form T2125 (Statement of Business or Professional Activities) to their return - but there was no instruction or hint saying to do this first.
-There was a line on the first T1 page with a checkbox beside "7) Make an election to this tax return" which was puzzling. The word "election" in the context of taxes means to make a choice, but it would be nonsensical to have a checkbox for that by itself, so in this case perhaps it means the file being submitted includes a revocation of an earlier election? To give MyTaxExpress credit, it took their support, which is provided by email, only 16 minutes to respond to a question about this line, and they quoted verbatim CRA's explanation to them of the line, which was "Where the taxpayer has made an election with respect to the completion of their return" which is, obviously, useless circular reasoning. The CRA's Guide doesn't explain the line, and searching the CRA site provided no answer either. MyTaxExpress advised that the people who need it know to use it, and otherwise please leave it alone, so perhaps there is some explanation buried in some arcane CRA forms somewhere. Accountants say no living human being understands the whole Income Tax Act, but mystery is ridiculous on a T1.
-There are a few pop-up worksheets referred to in the T1 General, e.g. "pension income amount (use the federal worksheet) 31400 91" but there are no instructions as to where to find such worksheets. It turns out they are accessed by clicking on the dollar field. The worksheet mentioned on line 75 of form BC428 does not pop-up (to show the relevant calculation), but the software nevertheless calculated the credit correctly.
-On the simulated CRA pages, the 2-digit line number labels were missing from the T1 net/taxable income page, but no big deal.
-I had to reboot my computer to get the optimizer to work, but that was probably my fault for having over seventy web tabs open.

Note, the Auto-Fill did not enter the tax installments paid, because the CRA did not include them in the information transmitted, so it was important to enter those manually.

Will I use MyTaxExpress again? Maybe; it's easiest to choose the software a person has recent familiarity with, and the identification information is then passed to the next year's return, slightly speeding up filling it in.

February 28, 2022
10:46 am
Dean
Valhalla Mountains, British Columbia
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.
Best I can tell, the 'Standard' version of TurboTax (the most popular version) provides for '8' returns. And for ~$35 it can come with a CD

https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product/turbotax-standard-2021-pc-8-returns/15741213

My question is, does it handle tax-favorable pension income-splitting, when one spouse has a pension ?

    Dean

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

February 28, 2022
10:59 am
savemoresaveoften
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I have used mytaxexpress for the past 10 years. To me it "feels like" the paper form, and super easy to navigate and input the usual. Mind you it could just be cuz I dont qualify for any rebate, govt program etc, so I dont have to worry about missing a claim etc. For others, genutax or turbo tax or one of those that ask you millions of questions to try to find every single rebate for you may be the answer.

I download taxfreeway and delete it after 10mins, its not even comparable to mytaxexpress.

re turbotax, you cant even download without purchasing it first. Without a test drive, I aint giving my money to them.

re Mytaxexpress, filing T1135 is considered 1 filing. So filing ur tax return plus T1135, you use up 2 filing quotas.

February 28, 2022
11:05 am
Dean
Valhalla Mountains, British Columbia
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savemoresaveoften said

. . .

re turbotax, you cant even download without purchasing it first. Without a test drive, I aint giving my money to them.

. . .  

I think you may be mistaken https://turbotax.intuit.ca/tax/software/online

    Dean

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

February 28, 2022
11:55 am
savemoresaveoften
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Dean said

I think you may be mistaken https://turbotax.intuit.ca/tax/software/online

    Dean

  

thats the online version.

To get the download version, one has to purchase first i believe.

February 28, 2022
12:14 pm
AltaRed
BC Interior
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Yes, don't get confused by the online and offline versions of tax software. Both TurboTax and UFile have online and download executable versions. I'd never use an online version (which is what what the WealthSimple one is as well). You are populating a database through the internet to an application residing on the provider's servers. What could possibly go wrong with that?sf-wink

February 28, 2022
6:31 pm
Max_Anderson
Vancouver, BC
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February 18, 2022
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Dean said
.
Best I can tell, the 'Standard' version of TurboTax (the most popular version) provides for '8' returns. And for ~$35 it can come with a CD

https://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product/turbotax-standard-2021-pc-8-returns/15741213

My question is, does it handle tax-favorable pension income-splitting, when one spouse has a pension ?

    Dean

  

Sorry, I don't know the answer to that question. I believe Intuit changed the name of their most basic version this year, from "Standard" to "Deluxe" at $19.99 for one return https://turbotax.intuit.ca/tax/software/online, but for $34.99 you can get the Standard version for 8 returns, including a CD, at BestBuy. But if you are self-employed or have income from stocks you may need a higher version.

February 28, 2022
6:49 pm
COIN
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"Some online comments claim StudioTax, FutureTax and Ufile have been flaky for some users."

I've been using Studiotax for about 8 years now. I got a few "freebie" years but I think they charge a fee now. Yeah, a bit flaky but it is now the "devil I know".

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