Once again, tax season is upon us, and I’m pulling out the TurboTax to file my return. A couple of 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.
While only so much can 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.)
I have been using TurboTax for a couple of years, and have found it useful. One of the most useful features is the ability to flag pages to easily come back to them 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 $39.99. In fact, 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 the Basic version of TurboTax 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. However, if your taxes are really that simple, you might also consider the lower cost UFile or even the free StudioTax. You won’t get the same level of personalized help preparing your return, but if your taxes are simple (or if you are very experienced) these other options can benefit you and save you money.
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 $69.99.
- 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 $99.99 for this software, and it can be ideal for the home business owner.
- TurboTax 20: If your business has taken the leap beyond being “just” a home business, this version of the tax software. You can file up to 20 returns with TurboTax 20, for the cost of $129.99. If you need help navigating the tax landscape, and you will file multiple returns, it can make sense to pay the cost for this version.
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.
I recommend TurboTax and continue to use it to prepare my family’s taxes. It’s a great program and worth the money if you want the smoothest experience while doing your taxes.