TurboTax Review

TurboTax Review

Written by Lisa Rennie
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated February 8, 2022

Filing taxes is mandatory in Canada, but filing them is no easy task, especially if you have a complex financial situation. Improper filing can lead to lower tax refunds, higher taxes owed or even a tax audit by the CRA. Thankfully, there are numerous tax softwares available in Canada, with TurboTax being one of the most well-known. 

What Is TurboTax?

With TurboTax, you can file your taxes online and submit your tax return directly to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Millions of Canadians have already used TurboTax over the past couple of decades that the tool has been around, and as such, it’s developed an excellent reputation. 

TurboTax is among the more extensive tax preparation software products out there, but the features and ease of use might make it worth the few extra dollars. That said, it’s still a relatively affordable tool for Canadians to use to file their taxes, especially when you consider everything that you get with it and what accountants charge for tax preparation services. 

Ideal for both simple tax filings and more complex situations, TurboTax is fully equipped with all the features needed to file accurately and with ease.

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What Does TurboTax Offer?

TurboTax has a number of features that Canadians with little or advanced tax knowledge can benefit from. Below are some of the features TurboTax offers: 

Expert Advice From Tax Experts

TurboTax has real tax experts available to answer questions and give advice as you move along your tax filing. They’ll also work with you line-by-line to make sure you don’t miss anything. 

Maximum Refund Guarantee

One of the fears of filing your taxes yourself is missing out on different tax credits and deductions, which can result in lower tax refunds. TurboTax offers a 100% guarantee that you get the highest tax refund possible.

Moreover, if the CRA finds any discrepancies in your tax return and you are charged a penalty as a result, TurboTax will reimburse you whatever you have been charged (plus interest) thanks to its 100% accuracy guarantee.

Similarly,  if you are ever audited by the CRA, TurboTax will provide you with professional representation and deal with the CRA for you. 

Netfile Certified

Tax returns filed online are submitted directly to the CRA thanks to NETFILE, which means you can get your tax refund shortly after you’ve completed your tax return. 

RRSP Optimizer

The RRSP optimizer will show you examples of various contribution amounts and how they will impact your tax refund or amount owing. That way you can make an informed decision on how you should contribute to your RRSP

Instant Refund Ticker

This tracker will keep you updated throughout your tax filing so you don’t have to wait until you’re almost done to see what the final total is. Instead, you’ll get real-time information that shows you how it affects your refund or tax owing as you enter your information.

Full service

While you will have all the support you need to file your taxes on your own, you can always get a TurboTax tax expert to prepare your tax return for you and file it on your behalf.

Pension Splitter

TurboTax offers a pension optimizer tool that helps you split up to half of your CPP or other pensions with your spouse to save on taxes owed. 

Rental And Investment

If you have rental income or have been investing in stocks, bonds, ETFs or Crypto, TurboTax offers users guidance on these matters. They will ask questions depending on your investments, to ensure you’re getting the maximum deductions and highest return. 

How Much Does TurboTax Cost?

TurboTax offers a range of pricing plans. Depending on the level of expertise you want and the financial situation you’re in, the price will vary. 

No Expert Help

If you don’t want any expert help and wish to do your taxes on your own, the plans under the “I’ll do my own taxes” will be your best choice. They offer four types of plans and they are the most affordable compared to the plans where you want expert help or want an expert to do your taxes. 

Free Plan

This is the TurboTax free plan and it is best suited for simple tax returns. Through it, you’ll be able to enjoy the following benefits: 

  • Modify a filed 2018 or 2019 tax return and resubmit to CRA at no charge
  • TurboTax Mobile App
  • Up-to-date on any recent changes 
  • Auto-fill returns
  • View Notice of Assessment immediately after filing-Foreign income verification statement
  • Online storing of tax returns for 7 years
Standard Plans

This plan costs $19.99 and is best suited for families, students and individual returns. This plan offers: 

  • All the Free plan features
  • SmartLook, which allows you to connect with a tax specialist in real-time
  • Transfer tax info from last year
  • Ask questions and organize the information required
  • Identifies tax saving opportunities
  • Optimized returns, including RRSP optimizer and spousal optimizations
  • Guidance on RRSP income, contributions, family benefits, and tuition
Premier Plan

This plan costs $34.99 and is best suited for individuals with investments and rental property income. It offers: 

  • All the Free and Standard plan features
  • Guidance on investment income and expenses
  • Guidance on rental property income and expenses
Self-Employed Plan

This is the most expensive plan under this category at $44.99 per return. It’s best suited for personal and self-employed taxes. This plan offers: 

  • All the Free, Standard, and Premier plan features
  • Guidance on reporting self employment income and expenses
  • QuickBooks Self
  • Employed tracking for expenses and mileage
FreeStandardPremierSelf-Employed
Best Suited ForSimple tax returnsFamilies, students and individual returnsInvestments and rental propertiesPersonal and self-employed taxes
Cost$0$19.99 per return$34.99 per return$44.99 per return

Expert Help

If you want some help from experts, you can opt for one of these plans:  

Assist and ReviewAssist and Review Self-Employed
Best Suited ForThose who want on-demand advice from a tax expert and full review of their tax return.Self-employed individuals who need questions answered and hidden fees found.
Cost$79.99 per return$99.99 per return
Key Features-Support and questions answered along the way
-Modify a filed 2018n or 2019 tax return and resubmit it to CRA
-TurboTax Mobile App
-SmartLook, which allows you to connect with a tax specialist in real-time
-Professional review of your tax return before you file
-Guidance on RRSP income, contributions, family benefits, and tuition
-Guidance on investment and real estate income and expenses
-Guidance on rental property income and expenses
-Auto-fill returns
-Up-to-date on any recent changes 
-Identifies tax saving opportunities
-All Assist and Review features
-Guidance on self-employed tax returns.
-Advice from experts on finding self-employed expenses
-Guidance on self-employed obligations
-QuickBooks Self
-Employed tracking for expenses and mileage

Have An Expert Do Your Taxes

If you prefer to take the stress of your hands, you can have an expert do your taxes for you. TurboTax offers the following programs: 

Full ServiceFull Service – Self-employed
Best Suited ForHave your tax return completed and filed by an expertHave your self-employed tax return submitted and filed for you by an expert 
Cost$129.99 per return$199.99 per return
Key Features-Full prepared tax return by a tax expert
-Optimized for deductions, credits, and expenses
-Reviewed by an expert before filed
-All Full-Service features
-Tax experts experienced in filing self-employed returns
-Assistance finding expenses based on your industry
-Free GST/HST filing

Pros And Cons Of Using TurboTax

Pros 

  • Easy to use. Just answer a few simple questions and TurboTax will help fill in the gaps. 
  • NETFILE certified. You can safely submit your tax return via the internet directly to the CRA thanks to NETFILE.  
  • Quick Notice of Assessment. Get your Notice of Assessment within minutes to see how much you’ll be getting back or how much you owe, and any tax refund you’re eligible for will be yours within 8 business days.
  • Mobile app. TurboTax is compatible not just on a laptop or desktop, but on your mobile device too. Just log in via the mobile app for iOS or Android.
  • Real-time tax support. Get access to professional advice from an expert on-screen and in real-time. 
  • Guaranteed accuracy. TurboTax guarantees that your tax return will be filed with complete accuracy. If for whatever reason, that doesn’t happen and you are charged a penalty by the CRA, TurboTax will reimburse you for the full amount. 
  • Instantly see your refund. With the Instant Refund Ticker, you can immediately see what your refund (or amount owing) is at all times. 
  • Optimize your RRSP contributions. TurboTax’s RRSP Optimizer helps you make better decisions about your RRSP contributions to maximize your tax refund. 
  • Data protection. Your sensitive information will always be protected so you can file your taxes online with peace of mind. 
  • Compatibility. Switch between desktop, mobile, or tablet quickly and securely and pick up where you left off.
  • Split your income with your spouse for a better refund. If you have CPP or pension income, you can divide it with your spouse so that you pay less in taxes overall. TurboTax will suggest the ideal distribution of your income.
  • Find out about all possible deductions. The Deduction Toolbox will inform you of all the possible deductions you are eligible to make. 
  • Save time and accuracy by importing last year’s data. If you used TurboTax to file last year’s return, you can transfer that information into this year’s return for faster and more accurate filing. 
  • Audit representation. In case you’re audited, a tax professional still deals with the CRA on your behalf. 
  • Flexible pricing structure. TurboTax offers varying levels of service, each with its own price point. You can choose among any of them and select the one that makes the most sense for you.

Cons 

  • Cost – More expensive than other software platforms. 

How Do You Create An Account Using TurboTax?

Creating an account with TurboTax is easy. All you’re required to do is enter and confirm your email address, choose a secure user ID and password, and provide your name. You can also provide your phone number, which TurboTax recommends, but this is optional.

What Support Is Offered By TurboTax?

If you need help filing your taxes you can reach out to TurboTax’s experts by phone, live chat or through email.  

  • Live Chat – Live assist and review (tax experts help you as you file your taxes, but not with free version)
  • Email – You can contact Turbotax’s customer support through email by filling out their contact form on the website. 
  • Phone – If you’d like to speak with someone, you can call 1-888-843-5449

There is also the TurboTax Help tool that you can use that offers many resources that may provide the answer to your questions. 

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TurboTax FAQs

Is TurboTax safe?

Yes, filing your taxes with TurboTax is safe. Your sensitive information will be kept confidential and will be protected against potential hackers thanks to NETFILE certification that ensures secure transmission of your information to the CRA. 

What if TurboTax makes a mistake on your tax return and you have to pay a penalty?

TurboTax offers a 100% accuracy guarantee, which means you will be fully reimbursed for any penalties or interest paid if the software makes any mistakes in calculations when you file your taxes. TurboTax also promises to give you your money back if you are able to get a higher tax refund using another platform.

Can I file my taxes for free using TurboTax? 

Yes, you can file your taxes for free using TurboTax’s free edition. This is only available for simple tax returns. This usually refers to people who are trying to file for employment and unemployment income, pension income, RRSP contributions, and claiming basic tax credits like dependants, child care and caregiver. 

Does TurboTax have an app? 

Yes, TurboTax has an app that can be downloaded through the Apple Store or Google Play. Users can file their taxes through the app, just as they would through the desktop version. 

Is TurboTax Right For You? 

Whether you’ve got a simple tax return to file or have a more complex situation that involves running a business, being self-employed, or having investments or rental income to claim, TurboTax may be suitable for you. The software offers a variety of plans to suit different situations, so your needs will likely be covered under one of these plans. If you’re the type to file your own taxes, TurboTax makes it easy to file while having expert support along the way. Otherwise, if you prefer to have an expert handle filing your taxes entirely for you, TurboTax can do that too. 

Lisa has been working as a writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same. She's used a variety of financial tools over the years and is currently growing her money with Wealthsimple, while stashing some capital in a liquid high-interest savings account so that she always has a financial cushion to fall back on. She's also been avidly using her Aeroplan TD credit card to collect as many Aeroplan points as possible to put towards her travels!

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