Once again, tax season is upon us, and many people are using TurboTax to file their return. A few years ago, Intuit rebranded the Canadian tax software from the previous QuickTax name. This was done to align all Intuit global tax programs under the TurboTax name. So, if you are wondering what happened to QuickTax, the answer is this: It’s now TurboTax. Same program from the same company.
I’ve used TurboTax, and it’s one of the best programs out there for doing your taxes, especially if you have already used the program. I recommend it, and here’s why:
While only so much change with tax software from year to year, TurboTax does make improvements each year, and it’s important to realize that tax law changes as well. As usual, TurboTax has upgraded its step-by-step guidance, including better tracking of where you’re at while filling out your return. (You should also know that TurboTax is NETFILE certified so you can file your return quickly and easily, and get your refund faster.)
For the latest version, for your 2013 taxes, TurboTax has incorporated the new NETFILE rules from the CRA. You no longer need your personalized four-digit code to take advantage of this service. It makes things a lot easier, especially when you file with a third-party provider like TurboTax.
Another bonus with TurboTax’s NETFILE capability is that now you can file with a single click. There is no need to leave the program and go to the CRA web site to finish the process, and you don’t need to mess with extra files. This simplifies the whole process, and results in an even faster and more convenient tax return.
Save Your Information
One of the reasons I often recommend TurboTax to those who have used it before is due to the fact that you can save your information year to year. This means that the next year you file your tax return with TurboTax, it’s even easier. Just review the information and only change what you have to.
Additionally, I have found the ability to flag items helpful. If you are missing something, you don’t have to stop the process while you hunt up a piece of documentation. Instead, all you have to do is flag the page so that you can easily get back to it later. This helps me as I often find myself missing some number or piece of paper. Instead of trying to find the appropriate place in the program again or pausing for an hour while I try to track down the right information, I just flag it and move on to the next step. When I get what I need, it’s easy to return the problem place.
TurboTax Standard is likely to cover the needs of most Canadians, and is reasonably priced at $17.99 for the online version and $39.99 for a physical copy. Use this link to get a 10% discount on either price. I almost missed a deduction once, and just getting that helpful advice more than made up the cost of my outlay. For those with average tax returns, particularly families and couples with a fair amount of deductions, the Standard version is likely to be your best bet.
If you have a very simple tax return, you can use TurboTax Basic software for $19.99. I’ve never tried it but it appears to be stripped down to a walk through for just T4s and donations. It can be an upgrade from doing your taxes on paper, and you get the NETFILE option. There is also TurboTax Free, which allows you to enter your T4s and other similar income online and use NETFILE through there as well.
Other versions for those who have more complicated taxes include:
- Premier: Get tax help with investments and rental properties. If you have investment income, this is the software to get, although it will cost you $32.99 online and $69.99 on CD. (10% discount) For some, though, it’s worth the cost in order to avoid an even costlier tax professional.
- Home & Business: Do you run a business? This version of TurboTax includes everything from the Premier version, and adds functionality to help you maximize your business deductions and expenses. You will pay $44.99 to prepare online or get the software for $99.99 (10% discount), and it can be ideal for the home business owner.
It is worth noting that the Standard version can handle investments and business income and expenses. So, if you are fairly knowledgeable about taxes, there isn’t a need to upgrade. You won’t get any wizards or optimizers for investment/rental/business income and deductions when you use the Standard version. If you know that you will have questions, and you want the extra help, it makes sense to upgrade. You can compare TurboTax versions on Intuit’s site.
Another new feature offered by TurboTax is the ProReview. You can submit your tax return to an analyst who works for Intuit. This analyst will go through your tax return line by line, and look for errors as well as provide you with suggestions that can help you reduce your tax liability… or even help you boost the amount of your refund.
There are times, though, that it might make sense to go with a tax professional. While the ProReview is nice touch, it may not replace a knowledgeable accountant. If you have very complex taxes, or if you have questions that remain unanswered, considered hiring a tax professional that you can sit down with. For most people, though, even those that own businesses, the truth is that TurboTax can be a great resource, and that it is sufficient.
I’m a fan of TurboTax and have used it to prepare my family’s taxes. It’s a great program and worth the money if you want one of the smoothest experiences while doing your own taxes.