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Ask most people what their least favourite task is every year, and you’ll likely hear “doing my taxes!” Between hunting down paperwork, trying to understand complex forms, and wanting to avoid mistakes, filing your taxes can be frustrating and anxiety-inducing for many. 

The good news is that tax software aims to help with just that. Programs like TurboTax guide you through the process in plain language, find deductions you qualify for, and ensure accuracy on your returns – saving you major time and headaches.

With DIY tax preparation options now easier and more powerful than ever, the key is finding one that best fits your needs. In this comprehensive review, we’ll dive deep into one of the top contenders – TurboTax – to see if it should be your tax hero this time of year.

What Is TurboTax?

TurboTax is developed by Intuit, makers of the popular QuickBooks small business accounting software. As one of Canada’s leading DIY tax filing solutions, TurboTax makes complex returns easy with helpful filing guidance.

With both online and downloadable versions, TurboTax can handle various filing situations. Since its launch, the platform has facilitated almost 50 million tax returns, largely thanks to its ease of use and straightforward filing flow. 

TurboTax Discount Code

You can find discounts for TurboTax through various methods. One option is to receive 2% cashback by shopping for TurboTax on Rakuten. Additionally, you can search for TurboTax coupon codes on websites such as Groupon and Globe and Mail to save on your purchase.

TurboTax

File your taxes with TurboTax

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Key Features of TurboTax

  • Instant Refund Ticker: TurboTax provides a real-time refund status tracker as you input your information, informing you about your refund or tax owing.
  • Step-by-Step Guidance: TurboTax offers a user-friendly experience with straightforward questions about life changes and guides you through tax filing.
  • RRSP Optimizer: The RRSP Optimizer helps you determine the ideal RRSP contribution amount to maximize your tax refund or minimize your tax owing.
  • Pension Optimizer: TurboTax assists in optimizing pension income allocation between you and your spouse for an optimized tax return.
  • Auto Search for Deductions: The software automatically scans tax credits to identify eligible deductions for you. The Deluxe plan and above include more credits. 
  • Year-Over-Year Transfer: You can save time by importing TurboTax filings from previous years. 
  • Return Review: TurboTax conducts a comprehensive review of your return, identifying errors and potential money-saving opportunities before filing.
  • Audit Defence: In the “full service” version, TurboTax offers expert representation in case of a CRA audit, providing peace of mind for both personal and business returns.
  • Business Guidance: TurboTax tailors questions to your self-employment situation, helping you discover industry-specific deductions suitable for freelancers, independent contractors, and more.
  • Rental & Investment Guidance: TurboTax caters to investors of all levels, guiding you through tax-related questions specific to your investments and ensuring you receive all eligible deductions.

TurboTax Pricing

TurboTax offers four automated versions (Free, Deluxe, Premier, Self-Employed) and two premium versions (Assist & Review, Full Service) with assistance from tax professionals. All versions allow auto-filling of your return using CRA data for accuracy and time-saving. 

Deluxe TurboTax, at $21, provides valuable extra deductions compared to the Free version. It also offers continuity and on-demand guidance. 

Free users can rely on an online forum for support, while Deluxe, Premier, and Self-Employed versions offer phone support. 

Free Plan

  • Manages job-related earnings, unemployment benefits, and retirement funds
  • Automatically retrieves tax information from the CRA
  • Can handle contributions to Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs)

Deluxe/ Standard Plan

  • Itemized deductions for employment and medical expenses 
  • Calculates charitable income deductions 
  • Finds 350+ credits and deductions automatically 
  • RRSP contribution support 
  • Homebuyer and rental deductions included 
  • Identifies tax savings opportunities 

Premier Plan

  • Includes key features from Deluxe 
  • Can claim investment income from key assets, including capital gains and foreign income 
  • Able to handle rental income and expenses 

Self-employed Plan

  • Includes all features of Deluxe, plus extra support
  • Accurate self-employment income reporting 
  • Finds industry relevant deductions for consulting, real estate, and foreign income
  • Optimizes rideshare deductions 
PlanPricing (per return)For
Free$0Simple tax returns
Deluxe/ Standard$21Families, students, and individuals wanting to optimize tax credits 
Premier$40Filing investments and rental properties
Self-employed$60For freelancers and consultants filing self-employed taxes

TurboTax Pricing For Expert Help

For more extensive assistance, you can choose the Full Service plan or the Assist & Review with comprehensive tax preparation and audit support. 

Assist and Review Plan

  • Self-preparation and filing
  • Unlimited expert help, with a full review before you file
  • ReFILE capabilities if you make a mistake 

Full Service Plan

  • Return completed by a tax expert
  • Optimizes your deductions based on professional advice 
  • Year-round audit support included, and 3-year audit defence 
  • Scheduled consult for return review
PlanPrice (per return)For
Assist and Review$40-$110Desire to self-file, but need a helping hand
Full Service$70-$250More complex returns requiring optimization

Can You Download TurboTax To Use It?

Yes, you can download TurboTax to use it on Windows and Mac devices. On your TurboTax account, select the “Downloads” tab. Select the version you want to download and save it somewhere on your computer where you can find it. You must have an installation key code for the specific tax year to activate the product. 

If you purchased TurboTax Desktop online and downloaded it, your license code might be included in an email. Alternatively, if you bought a physical CD of TurboTax Desktop, you can find the license code on a slip, like in the example below.

How To File Your Income Tax Online Using TurboTax?

Turbotax application

Step 1: Gather Required Information

Before starting your tax return, collect the following:

  • Tax information slips (T-slips) like T4s, T4As, and T3s.
  • Your Social Insurance Number (SIN).
  • Ensure your address with the CRA is up-to-date.
  • Details about your spouse, including their CRA-registered full name, SIN, income, and occupation.
  • Information on dependents if applicable.
  • Receipts for any claims, such as medical or business expenses if self-employed.

Step 2: Verify Personal Information

Update the CRA with any recent life changes, such as marital status, new children, or address changes.

Step 3: Identify Tax Credits And Deductions

TurboTax automatically searches for credits and deductions to ensure you maximize your refund and minimize tax owed. However, you’ll need to pay for the Deluxe plan to receive access to the full deduction library. 

Step 4: Submit To CRA

TurboTax is CRA NETFILE certified, allowing secure and efficient online filing directly to the CRA without mailing or supporting documents.

Step 5: Refund Timeline

With direct deposit, you can receive your refund in as little as 8 business days, faster than mailing. Track your return status through CRA My Account.

Step 6: Handling Tax Owed

TurboTax informs you of any balance owing before filing. Pay via credit card or other methods to avoid interest charges by the tax deadline.

What Do Consumers Think Of TurboTax?

BBB Not BBB Accredited, 1.19/5 stars
Google Rating4.6 out of 5 stars on Google from 313,000 reviews
Apple Rating4.8  out of 5 stars on Apple based on 929,000+ reviews
Trustpilot Rating1.2 out of 5 stars 
Social Media PresenceActive on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube
Physical Location (office)8 Spadina Avenue, Suite 1900, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 0S8

Users generally appreciate Turbotax’s comprehensive features, ease of use, and ability to handle various tax situations, making it a reliable choice for individuals and businesses. However, there are concerns about the pricing of TurboTax, which some users find higher compared to competitors. 

How TurboTax Compares To Wealthsimple Tax

VariableTurboTaxWealthsimple Tax
CostVarious pricing tiers, including free optionsPay-what-you-want model
(Free for all tax situations unless you wan to pay)Paid options also available
Netfile ApprovedYesYes
GuaranteesMaximum refund and accuracy guaranteesMaximum refund and accuracy guarantees
AutofillOffers CRA Auto-fill my returnOffers CRA Auto-fill my return
Extra Features– Income tax calculators
– RRSP calculator
– Audit defence feature
– Wealthsimple Tax calculator
– Cryptocurrency support
– Audit protection
TurboTax

TurboTax

Pros

  • Wide range of filling options
  • Caters to diverse financial scenarios
  • Comprehensive support from the free basic version to the full-service option.
  • Professional assistance (expert reviews, phone support, or have a tax expert prepare and file your return)
  • User-friendly interface with step-by-step guidance
  • Suitable for beginners and experienced filers
  • Ideal for individuals, families, investors, self-employed individuals, and those with rental properties or investments

Cons 

  • Frequent upselling
  • Cost can add up for those seeking more hands-on support
Wealthsimple Tax

Wealthsimple Tax

Pros

  • Pay-what-you-want model (users to file for free or contribute voluntarily)
  • Smooth, ad-free user experience
  • Cryptocurrency integration for calculating capital gains and losses
  • Excellent choice for individuals with straightforward tax situations, students, and crypto traders

Cons

  • Lacks the variety of product tiers and professional assistance options that TurboTax offers
  • May not be as suitable for those requiring personalized review before filing or complex tax scenarios

The Bottom Line

When tackling your taxes with ease and confidence, TurboTax delivers an exceptional experience with smart guidance, guarantees for accuracy, and access to human experts when needed. The catch is that for more advanced features and functionality, TurboTax is more expensive compared to competing DIY products.

With taxes, there’s comfort in knowing you got it right and kept more money in your pocket. On those fronts, TurboTax is a top contender to make handling taxes smoother. The choice comes down to your specific situation and the type of support you need to file your taxes successfully. 

For straightforward filers who want affordable software, explore options like Wealthsimple Tax first. But TurboTax’s user-friendly approach can provide serious value if you have investments, assets, freelance income, or simply value robust help navigating deductions. Tackling taxes may never be truly “fun”. But TurboTax makes the yearly chore much less tedious.

TurboTax FAQs

What is TurboTax?

TurboTax is tax software from Intuit that simplifies tax filing with a user-friendly interface, guidance, and features for different financial situations, ensuring maximum refunds or minimal amounts owed.

How can I get discounts on TurboTax?

You can save on TurboTax by getting 2% cashback on Rakuten or searching for coupon codes on websites like RetireHappy and Globe and Mail.

What are some key features of TurboTax?

TurboTax features include real-time refund tracking, step-by-step guidance, an RRSP Optimizer, Auto Search for Deductions, Year-Over-Year Transfer, Return Review, and Audit Defense. It tailors questions for self-employed individuals, investors, and those with rental properties.

Can I download TurboTax?

You can download TurboTax with an installation key code for the specific tax year. Ensure you have the key code ready. Online purchases may have the license code in an email, while physical CDs have the code on a slip.

How does TurboTax compare to Wealthsimple Tax?

TurboTax offers a range of options and professional assistance for diverse financial situations. Wealthsimple Tax is cost-effective and suited for simpler tax needs or DIY filers. Choose based on your financial situation and preferences.

Trevor O'Hagan avatar on Loans Canada
Trevor O'Hagan

Trevor is a personal finance, SEO, and technical sales expert. He received an Honours BAA (Economics) degree from Wilfrid Laurier University. Trevor previously worked at Salesforce and used his personal finance knowledge to become a homeowner in Ontario by age 25. Aside from Loans Canada, Trevor contributes to Forbes Advisor and Hardbacon. He also serves as the chairman of the Schwartz-Reisman Alumni Association and is a content specialist at Croton Content.

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