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Filing your taxes can be complicated and time-consuming, especially if you’re doing them for the first time without professional help. Luckily, there are many well-rated tax software you can use in Canada, such as TurboTax and UFile. 

Wondering which tax filing software is the best option for you? Read on to learn the benefits, drawbacks, and reasons to use TurboTax vs UFile.

 TurboTax vs. UFile: Key Points

  • Both TurboTax and UFile offer free versions for those looking to save money, as well as paid versions for more comprehensive features and services.
  • TurboTax and UFile are both NETFILE-certified and offer express NOAs, accuracy guarantee, and auto-fill features.
  • If you need help filing your taxes, TurboTax offers full-service assistance from experts for an added cost.

Overview of TurboTax and UFile

TurboTaxUFile
CRA-Approved & ReadyYesYes
Price– TurboTax Online: $0 – $60
– Assist & Review: $40 — $110
– Full Service: $70 —$250
– Online: Free
– Online (Paid): $20.95
– Windows: $21.99+
– UFile Premium: $32.95+
– UFile PRO: $209.99+
Auto-FillYesYes
Express Notice of Assessment (NOA)YesYes
Accuracy Guarantee100% (with reimbursement)Triple Satisfaction (without reimbursement)
Notable Features– Real-Time Refund Updates
– Audit Protection (optional)
Free version is available only to:
-Students
-Dependents
-New Canadians
-Investors & Small Business Owners
TurboTax

TurboTax

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 on hundreds of credits and deductions, guaranteed accuracy and audit protection.

TurboTax Benefits

  • Extra Features – TurboTax comes with auto-fill and express Notice 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 anywhere between $40 to $110 per return. You can also opt to audit protection or have a tax expert file for you through their Full Service plan.
  • Maximized Returns – TurboTax also promises to help you get the most out of your return. With TurboTax, you don’t have to pay till you file. So you can compare your tax refunds with other tax software before choosing. 
TurboTax

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How Much Does TurboTax Cost?

TurboTax Pricing is broken down into three categories. The price plan you require will depending on the amount of assistance you need and the complexity of your tax situation.

TurboTax Online

If you’re looking to file your income taxes and you don’t need any help, TurboTax offers the TurboTax Online plan. This plan costs between $0 – $60 depending on your tax situation. The free version is only available to Canadians with a simple tax return. 

Under this plan, you’ll have access to their auto-fill program and 24/7 self-serve assistance community. 

Assist And Review

If you’d like expert help from a tax expert while filing your tax return online, the Assist and Review plan is a good option. This plan costs between $40 – $110, but provides unlimited help from a tax expert. Moreover, you’ll have access to additional features such as having the tax expert review your tax return to ensure 100% accuracy and the best return. 

Full Service

Alternatively, you can pay a flat price of $70 to $250 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.  

Cons of TurboTax

  • 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 the free plan, 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.
Ufile

UFile

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)
  • First-time taxpayers
  • New Canadian residents
  • Taxpayers earning a household income of less than $20,000 yearly
  • Dependents
  • 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. 

UFile Benefits

  • 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. 
  • Express NOA – As soon as your tax return has been received and processed by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), you should be able to access your Notice of Assessment on your UFile account almost instantly. 
  • 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.

How Much Does UFile Cost?    

UFile has multiple different plans you can choose from depending on your tax situation.     

UFile Free 

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, or a business owner, or you don’t qualify for UFileFree, UFile Online also offers a paid version that starts at $20.95 and allows you to report self-employment, rental property, or investment income.

UFile Windows

Starting at $21.99, you can buy the UFile Windows extension for your 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 $32.95, 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 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 $209.99 for 25 PRO returns to $559.99 for 100 returns. 

Note: Like TurboTax, the UFile website may offer other versions and options. 

Cons Of UFile

  • 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.  

Can’t pay back your taxes? Find out what you can do if you can’t pay your taxes.

Features To Consider When Choosing Tax Software

TurboTax and UFile are two of the most popular tax-filing platforms in Canada. But 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. 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 also 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.  

Need help paying your taxes? Consider these CRA tax loans.

Tax Software vs. Using A Tax Expert

The idea of having your taxes filed for free sounds very appealing. But it’s important to understand that using software products like TurboTax and UFile are meant for specific situations. Not every scenario calls for a DIY approach using tax software, particularly basic platforms.

So, when should you consider using a tax software, and when would it be best to have your taxes prepared by a tax expert?

Tax Software

For many Canadians, income tax filings are relatively simple and straightforward. If you are employed, only have a few deductions to claim, and few or no investments, then perhaps filing your taxes on your own using tax software might be fine. 

Tax Specialist

More complex tax filings warrant an expert to handle returns. For example, if you run a business, have several investments on the go, or sold property during the year, then tax software might not be robust enough to handle your tax filings, especially a free version. Instead, you might want to have a tax specialist handle your income taxes for you.

TurboTax vs. UFile: Which One Should You Choose?

At the moment, TurboTax and UFile are two of the most popular tax filing programs in Canada. The question is, which one should you choose?

Both TurboTax and UFile are CRA-approved and NETFILE-certified. They also both promise express Notice of Assessments, accuracy guarantee, and auto-fill capabilities. 

Pricing

When it comes to cost, both TurboTax vs UFile offer free versions of their software. However, the free version of UFile isn’t available to all Canadians. To take advantage of the free software, you need to either be a first-time tax filer, a student, earn an annual income of less than $20,000, or have a simple return. No such stipulations exist for TurboTax’s free version.

Otherwise, there are several pricing tiers with each product that vary quite a bit. The ultimate price you pay will be determined by your exact needs.  

Expert Assistance

If you have a more complicated tax return and need a bit of expert assistance, TurboTax has what you need. For an extra charge, you can have one of their tax experts prepare your return before you file it. UFile makes no mention of tax filing services.

Mobile App

Further, TurboTax offers a mobile app that you can download to use their services. UFile currently does not have an app version of their service.

Final Thoughts

Whether you choose TurboTax, UFile, or any other tax software, 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.

TurboTax vs. UFile FAQs

How does TurboTax Online differ from TurboTax Desktop?

Turbotax Online and Turbotax Desktop are essentially the same. The difference is that how each software is accessed. Turbotax Online is web and cloud-based, while Turbotax Desktop must be downloaded and installed on your computer.

How many returns can you make with UFile?

That depends on the version that you purchase. For example, UFile 4 for Windows includes 4 returns for $24.99, while the top-tier UFile PRO version includes 100 returns for $559.99.

Do I need to file my taxes with NETFILE with TurboTax and UFile?

No, you don’t have to file your income taxes through NETFILE. You also have the option to print your tax return and mail it to the CRA.
Bryan Daly avatar on Loans Canada
Bryan Daly

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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