No matter where you live or how much income you make, there’s one thing we can all agree on; doing your taxes can be complicated and annoying, especially if you’re doing them for the first time without professional help. Luckily, there are many well-rated tax-management programs that you can buy in Canada, such as TurboTax and UFile.
Wondering which tax filing software is the best option for you? Check out the article below to learn the benefits, drawbacks and reasons to use TurboTax or UFile.
Ideal For: – Students – Dependents – New Canadians – Investors & Small Business Owners
Data From 1 Year Prior
TurboTax or UFile data from the previous year
TurboTax has become one of the most popular tax filing programs among Canadians who don’t want to hire an accountant. Free and paid versions of TurboTax are available for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android. The software itself has all kinds of features, including suggestions about hundreds of credits and deductions.
TurboTax Cost Structure
TurboTax Free – If you’re just looking to file your income taxes and you don’t need much help, TurboTax offers a free version that has no income limit, as well as access to their Auto-fill program and 24/7 self-serve assistance community.
TurboTax Standard – TurboTax’s standard version costs $19.99 and gives you access to additional options, including information about over 400 deductions and credits that you may be eligible for, so you don’t miss out during tax season.
TurboTax Premier – Popular among landlords, investors and retirees, TurboTax’s premier version allows you to report rental income, property costs, investments and pension income for $34.99.
TurboTax Home & Business – If you’re a contract worker, freelancer or business owner, TurboTax Home & Business can help you report your investment income, along with your real estate and operational expenses for $119.99 (for 12 returns).
TurboTax Full Service – Alternatively, you can pay a flat price of $129.99 and TurboTax will connect you with a certified tax expert remotely. Then, all you have to do is submit the proper documents and all the work will be done for you.
Note: Other versions and add-ons may be available on the TurboTax website.
Features – As mentioned, TurboTax comes with auto-fill and express Notices of Assessment options. You can also import information about previous tax returns, report all kinds of income and get real-time help from TurboTax customer care.
Guaranteed Accuracy – TurboTax claims to have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, meaning you won’t miss out on any credits or deductions and you’ll be reimbursed for any errors they make that result in penalties or added interest.
Add-Ons – If you spend a bit of extra money, TurboTax offers add-ons, like Assist & Review, which gives you unlimited access to a tax expert for $69.99, as well as audit reviews and TurboTax Full Service.
Maximized Returns – TurboTax also promises to help you get the most out of your return. If you manage to obtain a larger refund or smaller tax bill from another software, they will refund the purchase price of theirs.
Limitations – If you get TurboTax Free, your options may be restricted to filing your primary income taxes. The same principle goes for lower-grade versions (i.e. you can’t report self-employment income with TurboTax Standard, etc.).
Premium Versions Will Cost You – Unfortunately, despite all the advantages that TurboTax’s higher-grade versions offer, they can be relatively expensive compared to other tax filing software, professionals, and services in Canada.
Another tax filing software that’s been popular with Canadians for more than 20 years, UFile has both free and paid versions. However, unlike TurboTax, they are primarily based online and have no mobile app at the moment. The free version is available for:
Post-secondary students (regardless of their income)
People with simple tax returns (filing traditional T4 slips)
Taxpayers earning a household income of less than $20,000 yearly
Guaranteed-supplement income earners
If you want more options or don’t qualify for their free version, you may have to upgrade to one UFile’s higher-level programs, which may not offer up as much variety as those from TurboTax but also come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
UFileFree – Also known as UFile Online, you can sign up for UFile’s free web-based version using your Mac or PC. All you have to do is create an account and make sure you fall within the eligibility requirements above.
UFile Online (Paid) – If you’re an investor, a business owner, or you don’t qualify for UFileFree, UFile Online also offers a paid version that starts at $19.95 and allows you to report self-employment, rental property, or investment income.
UFile Windows – For $22.99 – $34.99, you can buy the UFile Windows extension for PC. This software gives you all the options of their standard version, only you can access your documents offline on your desktop, instead of just online.
UFile Premium – When you upgrade to UFile Premium, which starts at $29.95, you’ll gain all the perks of the standard UFile version, along with free priority customer support services and access to exclusive community benefits.
UFile PRO – If you really want to plan for the future, you can purchase multiple tax filings from the UFile PRO Shop. Watch out because this service can be pricey, ranging from $179.99 for 25 PRO returns to $484.99 for 100 returns.
Note: Like TurboTax, the UFile website may offer other versions and options.
Pros of UFile
Options For Everyone – As you can see, UFileFree can be great for new taxpayers, students, and low-income earners. While their higher-level versions cost money, they can be perfect for business owners, investors, and pensioners.
ReFILE – Most versions of UFile also give you access to their ReFILE service, which is powered by the CRA and allows you to import and examine the information from your previous tax filings whenever you want, from anywhere in the world.
Tax Return Storage – Normally, UFile stores your tax returns on the cloud for up to 9 years. Additionally, you can purchase UFile Windows, then download your tax documents so you can access them offline using your PC computer.
Auto-Fill My Return (AFR) – Another similarity that UFile shares to other tax filing platforms is the option of downloading tax forms directly from the CRA for your tax return, which will be filed automatically and securely once it’s complete.
Guarantee For Success – UFile offers a Triple Satisfaction guarantee when it comes to maximizing your tax return with 100% accuracy. The platform also uses a 128-bit encryption system to keep your information safe from online threats.
The Free Version is Exclusive – Sadly, UFileFree is only available to specific taxpayers. Although their pricier versions might not be too unaffordable for you, they will likely come with a limited amount of filings.
It Lacks Certain Features – UFile does not support Form T1273 (Farming Income) or bankruptcy returns, nor does it provide audit protection. On the other hand, all of these features are available with the right version of TurboTax.
Even though TurboTax and UFile are two of the most popular tax filing platforms in Canada, there are plenty of other programs that can help you accomplish the same goal for free or with a paid membership. So, before you get started, be sure to research and consider what features a good tax software should have, such as:
Cost – If you have simple income taxes and few forms to fill out, most programs and web services have free versions that you can use for basic filings. Premium tax software can be expensive but useful if your taxes are more complicated.
Support – Despite the simplicity of most tax programs, you may have trouble figuring out the filing process alone, so reliable customer support is essential, whether it’s detailed instructions or real-time help from a tax expert.
Features – A good tax software shouldn’t just help you file basic income taxes, it should have all the forms and information you want about any credits and deductions, as well as specialty features like audit protection and assistance.
NETFILE – Every licensed Canadian tax-management software must be certified by an electronic tax-filing system called NETFILE, which is powered by the CRA. Thankfully, TurboTax and UFile are both NETFILE-certified products.
User-Friendliness – Is your software easy to use? Can it connect you with a tax expert? How many tax filings do you get with each version? Be sure to pick a tax software that’s compatible with your device and doesn’t give you a headache.
At the moment, TurboTax and UFile are two of the most popular tax filing programs in Canada. However, there’s always a chance that another software or service is better suited to your needs. So, make sure to do research, organize your tax paperwork and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Tax season is just around the corner and any software that can’t help you get the most out of your return isn’t worth your time or money.
Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. He has been writing for Loans Canada for five years, covering all things related to personal finance, and aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing screenplays, staying fit, and travelling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer.
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