Now that it's tax time, you are probably thinking about how you will prepare your taxes. While some Canadians with especially complex situations are better off with a professional accountant, most of us do just fine with the help of tax software.
As much as I have recommended TurboTax for preparing taxes in the past, I think it’s important to know about other options that might serve you better. There is another well known program that has been gaining momentum. UFile is a serious contender in the Canadian tax preparation market, and it’s one that I recommend as the #1 tax prep software.
I like that UFile automatically gets you the tax credits you should have coming to you, without the need to fill out a lot of extra forms or answer a lot of questions. UFile is updated regularly so that it includes the most up to date information from the CRA, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on what you’re entitled to.
If you are trying to find a viable alternative to TurboTax, here is what you need to know:
What to Expect from UFile
The interview process in UFile works well, although it is not quite as comfortable to use as the TurboTax interviewer. UFile also includes the MaxBack Refund Analyzer, which looks at the whole family to best suggest deductions, credits, and pension splitting. This is a great feature that can help you figure out how to file your taxes in tandem with your partner so that you get the best possible tax refund. The process works well, and you can save information for later, if you need to.
UFile is secure and safe, and has been around for more than 15 years. You can also use information from last year's return in this year's return to speed up the process and make it a little bit easier. UFile also supports the import of desktop versions of H&R Block and TurboTax, so if you are switching tax software, it's possible to enter your information quickly, without the need to add it manually. UFile also offers customer support and options for contacting professionals who can help you answer questions if you get stuck.
It’s also worth noting that UFile is certified for NETFILE, so you can submit your tax return electronically, increasing the speed at which you receive your refund. This is something that is increasingly important as more Canadians go paperless, and as our society looks for more in terms of quick results.
What Does UFile Cost?
UFile’s biggest strength is in the pricing. While there are free tax programs like StudioTax and SimpleTax, you may be willing to pay for a more polished and user friendly product. UFile is valued only $19.99 for four tax returns, while TurboTax Standard charges $34.99 (although you do get eight returns). UFile’s cost effectiveness becomes even more apparent when compared to higher versions of TurboTax, many of which add features that are in the one version of UFile.
The fair pricing for UFile is based on the online version, which starts at $17.95 for individuals. You can add a spouse for only $10, which makes it relatively inexpensive for you to file your return online. TurboTax Standard online starts at $19.99 per return. You can see that, already, you have the potential to save more money with UFile.
One of the nice things about UFile is the fact that it is pretty straightforward, with fewer versions and pricing options. There is a UFileT2, designed for corporations that need to file a T2, for $129.95. If you don't need to file a T2, the online or desktop versions of UFile can help you report self-employed and investment income on your T1. You can also access UFile PRO, which is designed as professional tax software, starting at $129.99. This is ideal if you need to file more returns, and save money.
There is also the UFile Free offer, which is free if you have a simple return or are a new filer, a student, or have an income of less than $20,000. If you add dependents that fit these requirements, you can add them for free as well. This is a nice touch, since some tax preparation software programs will nickel and dime you for every little form or dependent. If you have a simple tax return, consider using this program from UFile to save money on your filing costs. You get the benefit of help preparing your tax return without having to pay anything. This is useful for new filers as well, since they won’t have to pay. It’s a good way to test out the program and decide if you like it.
UFile is my #1 recommended Canadian tax prep software. If you have especially complicated taxes, you might want to consider hiring a professional instead of using tax software at all. Many consumers find that UFile is a great choice because of its easy product offerings and low prices. Even though I think TurboTax is a solid program, UFile is my favorite Canadian tax prep software, and I highly recommend it.