Best tax return softwares in Canada

How to Choose the Right Canadian Tax Return Software for You

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Last updated on April 6, 2021 Comments: 102

Filing your own taxes can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to. Today there are a variety of free tax return software to choose from, and it’s never been less intimidating or easier to file taxes independently.

The biggest benefit of using tax return software and filing the DIY way, as opposed to paying a tax consultant, is savings. By filing your own taxes, the savings will add up year over year. 

Generally, filing your own taxes only makes sense if your tax return is relatively straightforward. If it’s complicated, you may be better off hiring a tax consultant. Although many of the free programs can handle rental income and self-employment, if you’re not familiar with the tax systems, you may be overlooking tax credits and deductions you’re entitled to, negating any money you saved by filing your taxes yourself.

Features You Should Look for When Choosing Tax Return Software

Here is a list of key features that you should consider when looking for the best tax return software in Canada.

Ease of Use

Unless you have a background in taxation, you’ll want free tax return software that’s easy to use. Rather than having to pick and choose the specific tax forms you’ll need, I find it helps if the tax software comes with a wizard. That way the program will guide you to choose the right tax forms without you needing to be an expert.

OS Compatibility

You’ll also want tax software that’s compatible with your computer’s operating system. If you use Windows you shouldn’t have any problem finding compatible tax software. If you use Mac, you might have slightly less selection.

Availability of a Free Version

If your tax return is pretty straightforward—i.e. you’re a salaried employee with no rental income or self-employment—why pay for tax return software when you don’t have to? Save money by choosing from among the best free tax return software out there.

Limitations of a Free Version

When choosing free tax return software, you’ll want to make sure the software has all the features you’ll need. For example, if you have rental income, be cognizant of the fact that not all free tax return software will process that. Some software lets you prepare your tax return for free, but you may have to pay extra to file a more complicated return.

Languages Supported

If you’re reading this article, chances are pretty good that you have a decent understanding of English, but if you’re looking for tax return software in a different language, you might have a tougher time. That said, a lot of software today is offered in several languages. Check beforehand to see if the language you’re most comfortable with is supported.

NETFILE Approved

Last, but not least, you’ll want income tax software that’s NETFILE approved. NETFILE is a service that lets you send your tax return directly to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) safely and securely from your PC. You’ll receive a notification when the CRA receives it. If you’re using income tax software, chances are pretty good that it’s NETFILE approved, but it’s still a good idea to check beforehand.

Best Canadian Tax Return Software in 2021

Below we review eight of the best tax return software in Canada. We’ll describe each in detail, mentioning its distinguishing features, strengths and weaknesses/limitations to help you make an educated decision about which one is the right tax software for you.

Wealthsimple Tax (Formerly SimpleTax)

Apply Now
Formerly SimpleTax, Wealthsimple Tax is one of the newer income tax filing programs out there, and it seems to combine the best features from other tax return software to make a well-rounded program. Wealthsimple Tax offers a web-based version, can be used on a local Windows or Mac desktop, and on mobile via iOS devices only. It features a unique pay-what-you-want structure: it’s technically free, although you might opt to donate something to help support the creators.

Despite its name, Wealthsimple Tax can handle more complicated tax scenarios including self-employment and investment income. It even supports Quebec tax returns and includes a full translation to French, something not very common in free income tax software. It has one of the best user interfaces out there, cleaner and more user friendly than that of, say, StudioTax. Similar to StudioTax, you can NETFILE the maximum allowed 20 tax returns for free. Data you submit is protected, as everything is transmitted using encryption.

Get tax help or learn more by reading our complete Wealthsimple Tax review.


TurboTax

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TurboTax offers both free and paid versions, and works with Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. One notable feature of the free version is it has no income limit (unlike some competing free tax prep programs). Although you can import your tax information with CRA’s Auto-fill My Return, you’ll have to purchase the paid version of the program if you want to transfer your tax information from last year. This is a bit of a bummer.

However, for most people the relatively inexpensive Standard version is worthwhile, at just $19.99. Not only does it allow you to save and transfer tax information from past returns, it will also search for over 400 additional tax credits and deductions to see if they’re applicable. That has huge potential to maximize your return.

The TurboTax interface has evolved over the years from presenting overlong forms to presenting more palatable, user-friendly segments, where you’re only asked to complete sections relevant to you. Everything is well organized by tabs, and its user support is excellent in the event that you run into issues (though, again, high-level customer support is only available for paid versions).

Get tax help or learn more by reading our complete TurboTax review.


H&R Block

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H&R Block allows you to file your income tax return, even if you’re self-employed or have investment income. The offer is available to Quebecers as well.

Taxes can be filed online with NETFILE using a Windows or Mac computer, or Android and iOS mobile operating systems. If your tax situation is more complicated, there are several add-ons you can purchase, including audit protection and pro review.

H&R Block’s interface is well conceived. The opening screen is organized into five logical tabs: get started, quick entry, prepare, wrap-up and file. On each screen you’re only asked a few questions at a time to help you move through the software at a manageable pace. The status report in on the left-hand side of the screen helps you monitor where you’re at monetarily in terms of a tax refund or balance owing.

Get tax help or learn more by reading our complete H&R Block review.


StudioTax

StudioTax
StudioTax has been helping Canadians file their income tax returns for over a decade.

For most of that decade, it had been free, and it still is for those in the northern provinces and territories of the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut as well as for those with income under $20,000, but for the rest of us it costs $15 for filing a maximum of 20 returns.

Though it’s generally considered to be a streamlined program without a lot of bells and whistles, it does accommodate those with self-employment and rental income.

The program’s Quick Start Wizard progresses in a logical way, prompting users to enter their information step by step. If you’ve been filing your taxes with StudioTax for a while, you can import your tax information from the previous year, helping you save time. StudioTax lets you file up to 20 returns — the maximum for NETFILE — for a reasonable price.

It used to only work locally via a Windows or Mac desktop, but now there’s a mobile version for iOS and Android as well. Design-wise StudioTax might benefit from a facelift, but it works pretty well for what it is.

Click here to learn more on StudioTax tax return software


UFileFREE

UFileFree
UFileFREE has a web-based version, or can be used locally on a Mac or Windows desktop. There is currently no mobile version.

In order to file your taxes for free with UFileFREE, you must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • You’re filing your tax return for the first time
  • Your total family income is under $20,000
  • You’re a post-secondary student
  • You’re a dependent
  • You’re in receipt of Guaranteed Income Supplement
  • Your only income is from T4 tax slips.

If you don’t qualify under at least one of the above, you can use a more robust version of the program, but you’ll have to pony up the cash for it.

Click here to learn more on UfileFREE tax return software

 


AdvTax

AdvTax
AdvTax is able to handle a variety of tax situations, such as single filers, those filing as a family, and self-employed individuals. It also supports Quebec tax returns, a nice and unusual bonus for a free income tax software.

It’s a truly free rather than ‘freemium’ income tax software—users won’t be required to pay for any higher-level functionality. Users can download a return once it’s complete and upload the PDF files to the CRA NETFILE. Although the software interface itself is decent, the website is very text heavy and could use a redesign. Those filing simple tax returns should be able to complete their return with AdvTax in about five minutes.

The software works with Windows, Mac, Android and iOS operating systems. In terms of languages, it supports English, French, and Chinese.

Click here to learn more on AdvTax tax return software


GenuTax

GenuTax
GenuTax walks users through the tax filing process with an easy-to-understand interview, allowing users to claim the tax credits and deductions they’re entitled to. Like Wealthsimple Tax, it’s technically free, though patrons are encouraged to donate something in order to support the program’s developers.

GenuTax can process most tax situations, including investment income, rental properties and small businesses. It’s a multiyear income tax software, meaning that in addition to filing your tax return for the current year, you can go back as far as 2008 if you’d like to file a previous year’s tax return. Users are able to file the maximum 20 individual tax returns.

The program works with Windows operating systems only, and is currently not available for Mac or mobile.

Click here to learn more on GenuTax tax return software


EachTax

EachTax
EachTax EachTax meets the needs of individuals with simple tax returns as well as those with more intricate situations, including the self-employed and those with rental properties. It’s Windows and Mac compatible and features a number of attractive features, such as auto filling via tax data query, express notification of assessment and built-in error checking.

EachTax is free for individuals that meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • They’re new customers (regardless of income level)
  • They’re new to Canada
  • They’re seniors (70 years or older)
  • They earn $25,000 or less in annual income

If you don’t fall into one of those groups, the price is still relatively cheap: $6.99 for the first tax return filed with the program and $3.99 for each subsequent tax return. As with most free income tax programs, Quebecers are out of luck.

Click here to learn more about EachTax tax return software

Summary of Canadian Tax Return Softwares

 
TurboTax
H&Rblock
Wealthsimple Tax
StudioTax
UFileFREE
AdvTax
GenuTax
EachTax
Ease of UseUser-friendly interface
User-friendly interface
User-friendly interface
Clunky interface
User-friendly interface
Clunky interface
User-friendly interface
User-friendly interface
Online VersionYes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Mobile CompabilityAndroid and iOS
Android and iOS
iOS only
N/A
N/A
Android only
N/A
N/A
Desktop CompatibilityWindows and Mac
Windows and Mac
Windows and Mac
Windows and Mac
Windows and Mac
Windows and Mac
Windows onlyWindows and Mac
Free Version Available?Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
YesYesYes
Pricing (for paid versions)Standard starting at $19.99
Addons can be purchased
Pay what you want
Donations accepted
Paid version starts at $17.95
N/A
Donate
Starting at $6.99
NETFILE ApprovedYes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
ApplyApplyApplyApplyApplyApplyApplyApply

Our Recommendation for Filing

Are you experiencing information overload due to the sheer number of income tax programs available? You’re not alone. Although we encourage you to consider the features of each program, if you’re overwhelmed and anxious to choose a well-rounded tax software, TurboTax is generally a safe bet. It’s Canada’s best-selling tax software for good reason: the interface is sleek and easy to use, whether you’ve been filing your taxes on your own for many years or it’s your first time.

 

Recommended Read: Canadian Tax Glossary – The Terms You Need to Know.

Author Bio

Sean Cooper
Sean Cooper bought his first house when he was just 27 and paid off his mortgage in only three years. An in-demand personal finance journalist, money coach and speaker, his articles have been featured in publications such as the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, MoneySense and Tangerine’s Forward Thinking blog. He makes regular appearances on national radio and television shows to discuss personal finance, real estate and mortgages, and is also the bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage. Follow him on Twitter @BurnYrMortgage and request his services on his website.

Article comments

102 comments
James says:

Reading here suggests that TurboTax has a MAC version for Canada – is that true?

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi James,
The downloadable versions of TurboTax are only available for Windows PCs. If you’d like to use TurboTax on a Mac, you can opt for the TurboTax Online options available here: https://turbotax.intuit.ca/tax/software/personal/online

Random guy says:

PLEASE HELP! Great article, I’m doing further research for next year. My wife and I are both self-employed (separate businesses), crypto income, rental real estate income, lots of charitable receipts and capital losses from previous years and our accountant is closing up shop. Anyone have recommendations for an online tax service that can handle all that? (I use windows 10 on laptop, in ontario). I have a bit of time but want to get it straight long before 2022 comes.

Daniel from GreedyRates says:

Hi Random Guy,
Sounds like you have a unique tax situation that you aren’t keen on filing yourself. Good on you for getting ahead and preparing for next year. Since your accountant is closing up shop- any chance they might be able to make a referral? I’d imagine that they may know someone who might be best equipped to handle your set of circumstances.

Gordon in Montreal says:

Excellent article. As a retiree I had assumed that there was still only one soft ware – Inuit’s TurboTax. It is overly complicated, misplaces data it downloads from CRA’s “My Account”, has since its inception been unable to adequately prepare Quebec returns, while causing even greater chaos by inserting the wrong data in the wrong place. If your return is the least bit complex, in terms of revenue slips, capital losses etc, you end up having to clear out your TurboTax data, re-download your slips and file them carefully in your own computer files and then reinsert all your data manually. Even the process of deleting and replacing data is very arduous in their software. I suspect the problem is trying to use Intuit’s exotic American programs on Canada’s data structures and tax sytems, federal and provincial, that require simple software that is designed for and compatible with their systems. Bravo! you have listed some software that I will definitely try out in preparation for next year.
Regarding the necessary characteristics to examine in selecting a software, I would add (1) ability to prepare the Quebec return in parallel with the federal one, (2) Ability to prepare in a single operation, the tax returns of both spouses, including the splitting of pension revenue, combining medical expenses etc. (3) the ability to submit the tax return digitally to CRA and MRQ.

Daniel at GreedyRates says:

Hi Gordon,
Thanks for sharing your feedback and glad you found this article helpful. Which tax software do you think you’ll try out next year? Also appreciate the extra notes as we help each other find the right app that best suits our needs.

Christopher says:

I highly recommend Studio Tax (was free but now it’s now $15). I still may use it but I’m in the hunt for a good free one. I had used Studio Tax for the last 8 years – and it’s served me well for me and my family. I’ve heard problems with TurboTax, Wealthsimple looks ok, Ufile not sure but I read some super good reviews about GenuTax so I’m leaning towards that one.

Daniel at GreedyRates says:

Hi Christopher,

GenuTax is a good option if you’re looking for a dedicated desktop app. If you’re looking for options, there are plenty of other free or pay what you want apps recommended by the CRA. Happy hunting.

Luc Charpentier says:

The Ufile Autofill feature does not work. It retrieves the tax slips from the CRA but leaves all the fields blank except the naem. Poorly implemented software which is not tested.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Luc,
How annoying. There are many alternatives. GenuTax, Cloud Tax, AdvTax, WealthSimple Tax and of course that much maligned standard TurboTax.

Jerry says:

I at this moment very disgruntled with Turbo tax 2020. I picked up my standard version at Costco that allows 8 returns. I file my wife’s and my return I had some errors that i could not get cleared. Being a little OCD I used the upgrade option to clarify what the issues were nothing major thankfully but some boxes that were not completely cleared out. What frosts my fritter is I could not get a partial discount after upgrading to the assist level of on my tax return. I have used them for 10 years or better but this is the last time. I now have 10 returns I can file but no one to use them

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Jerry,
You know what I wonder…year after year people have so many problems with TurboTax from the customer service to the frequent errors and yet, they go back for more each tax season. Canadians are way too forgiving sometimes.

Tina says:

Great work! Everything explained very clearly! Great help for a beginner like me.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Tina,
You’re welcome. We really try to do our best and are happy we were successful in your case.

Larry Poire says:

One that’s missing – TaxFreeway.ca
Been using it for almost ten years. What I like about it is that its interface looks exactly like the actual tax form, making it nice and easy to fill in. Support has been excellent.

Aaron Broverman says:

Thanks for the recommendation Larry,
I’m sure our readers will check it out. We’re all always on the lookout for new tax software, especially now during tax season.

Chris says:

StudioTax info is out-of-date. They now have Android and iOS apps.

NoMoreTurboTax says:

Hi all. Something the author conveniently leaves out in their recommendation of ‘best’ software for Canadian Taxes: TurboTax no longer operates on Windows 7 for years 2020 and forward. So at the least, you should be considering their Windows compatibility to have an asterisk, at the worst, this disqualifies it from any top tier recommendation because there are a significant number of PC users who cannot or will not upgrade at the moment. It appears this article was originally written for the 2019 tax season, and updated since. However, one of your updates should have clearly noted this significant change in accessibility.

In terms of recommendations to TurboTax – Your concern for wellbeing of your clients doesn’t extend to liability for their choice to continue using a given operating system. Post your security disclaimer upon program startup, and then allow users to proceed to use your program if they choose to do so. End of story.

Sanjay says:

Windows 7 is from 2009, correct
So anything higher is ok to file for 2020 return?

Do you recommend anything better than TurboTax

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Sanjay,
Perhaps I can give some recommendations. Readers who commented previously have recommended Genutax, StudioTax, CloudTax, WeathSimple Tax and a newer one in the online space but an old company, H&R Block online tax software. I hope that helps.

TaxWriter says:

Just filling with Each Tax…. it good..auto fill worked correctly. it is clear and easy to use. It is old fashion it works! I did not spend hours going through menu of useless stuff. Not feeling forced to pay poor service complicated menus. Most people give up and simple pay to get out of fustration of poor software. Ufile is not great at all.
check out Each Tax… they are honest… simple. old fashion approach. see what need to do.

Aaron Broverman says:

Thanks for the recommendation TaxWriter, I know a whole bunch of our readers who have soured on TurboTax, so this is a great recommendation to turn them on to.

Elaine Hoogland says:

My husband and I just used Each Tax last night. It works much like Ufile and incorporates pages from the regular tax forms. They have a video that you can watch first but I couldn’t get my sound to work, but we forged ahead without it. After giving up on Wealthsimple tax the night before because it entered a third person with a nickname that we couldn’t remove (they asked me for a nickname), and lost my medical expenses, we found Each Tax quite simple. I, like others, was surprised when the Ufile Program I purchased wouldn’t let me use Windows 7. I always used Ufile, so was frantically looking for an alternative that didn’t cost a fortune and was easy to follow with good graphics. Each tax is free to seniors and first-time users. I would recommend it! I don’t know anything about whether the new Cerb etc. is incorporated because it doesn’t apply to me. Thanks for the recommendation.

Aaron Broverman says:

So happy one of our readers was able to help you and your husband Elaine.

Tax Writern Name says:

I just finished my TAX with Ufile disaster…the software online is over doing it. I worked my way through it. no responce or help online. YOU PAY YOU GO.. Nothing helpful about the interview part in Ufile it overly complexes and fustrating. in the end the software will not let you go until you pay.. simple return. sad sad…

on to the next software give them a try…

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi,
I would take the recommendation from TaxWriter above and try Each Tax. It sounds like it’s a much better experience. An “honest, simple and old fashion approach.”

tigger5 says:

For ppl in Quebec… The Mac version of studiotax (from their site) “StudioTax for the Mac is only available in English and does not support Quebec provincial returns”

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi trigger5,
Thanks for letting everyone know. I mean how many exceptions for every product and circumstance are usually outlined for Quebec, eh?

smayer97 says:

see my COMPLETE list of personal Canadian Tax software here:
https://forums.redflagdeals.com/complete-list-personal-canadian-tax-software-2448114/

Aaron Broverman says:

Thanks Smayer97,
This is a great resource for readers looking for some tax software alternatives from even the ones on our list here.

smayer97 says:

One software not mentioned is FutureTax https://www.futuretax.ca/netfile/
$8/1 return, $10/2, $17/10, $30/20

Aaron Broverman says:

Thanks Smayer97, we’ll look into it for next time

Dan says:

I have used MyTaxExpress for several years and am satisfied with it. I am wondering why it was left out of this review?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Dan,
Our writer probably just wasn’t aware of it. We have no nefarious intentions or alterior motive in leaving certain providers off. Also, you just can’t review everything and maybe the writer found the ones they did list to be better.

Elly says:

Probably because it doesn’t have an affiliate program.

Arun says:

I see an affiliate link in the turbotax url in your recommendation. I feel this is not an unbiased reco.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Arun, our advertiser’s disclosure at the top left of all our articles (including this one) mentions the fact that we include affiliates in some of our articles. Even though some of these recommendations are affiliates we strive to provide our readers with the best products available on the market, so just because we may benefit from featuring affiliates, doesn’t mean the product will make it to the page if it’s not worthy. For example, we stand by our choice of having TurboTax on that page as it is the #1 chosen tax software by Canadians year after year and has great perks and benefits.

Elly says:

FYI – That’s not how you properly disclose affiliate links. Refer to the FTC guidelines for best practices. Shameful!

Aaron Broverman says:

Thanks for the info Elly, but you should know this site isn’t governed by the Federal Trade Commission as it is not based in the United States

Graham says:

Interesting site for info purposes.
Nowhere do I see mention any concerns people should have if they use online versions vs keeping info on your personal computer system.
Its just a matter of time before one these sites gets hacked and your info goes into the hands of some unscrupulous individuals. The companies try to make us believe they are secure, well so have a lot of other companies who had way less of our info. If you can access your file from home then its there to be hacked.
Every user should stick to keeping their information on their home equipment.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Graham,
That’s a great point and comes to the heart of what I think is one of the technological philosophical questions of our time, “Do you trust the cloud?” Of course, websites where data is stored can get and have been hacked, but so can your home computer. Nothing is entirely safe, but we do have freedom of choice, so everyone who uses any website that stores any sensitive data must decide for themselves whether their data is safe — it comes down to trust I guess because again, everything can be hacked, doesn’t mean that it will be, but doesn’t mean it won’t be either. You just have to decide what is an acceptable level of risk for you.

Eric Cummer says:

I’ve been using Simple Tax (Now called Wealthsimple Tax) for a few years now and find it a good cloud based program. But I also have security concerns, so after I netfile my return I always change key pieces of information from my past returns the company keeps in storage…by adding a fake name and address etc.

Aaron Broverman says:

Thanks Eric,
I just recommended Wealth Simple Tax to someone. Can you back date returns or do returns from prior years? In any case, you gave good security advice there.

David Laxton says:

I have been using GenuTax since 2003 when it was a onetime fee of $32 now it’s free. I love it and recommend it to everyone. I’ve done many individual and joint tax returns as well as final returns for deceased individuals all without difficulty. Northern living benefits and capital gains are simple. When you start a new year, your personal information is brought forward form the previous year, a big time saver. If you are setup with revenue Canada the software can auto load your information slips, great feature.
I can not comment on their support as I have never needed it.
I recommend GenuTax without reservation.

Aaron Broverman says:

Awesome, thanks David. I’m sure our readers appreciate your recommendation.

Joe says:

Me too, I have been using Genutax for over 15 years now and I love it, it is very user friendly and it does exactly what you need for your tax needs, I also love the way it allows you to do past income taxes for previous years with no hassle..

Aaron Broverman says:

That’s awesome Joe. I’m going to start telling the people that ask for tax software alternatives about Genutax.

Vlad says:

TurboTax does not have a desktop version for Mac – contrary to what is claimed in the comparison table in this article. I just confirmed that with their customer service.
That is a shame since I have been a long time user of TurboTax on Windows platform, and now that I have moved to Mac I have to also choose another tax software since I am not comfortable with online versions.

Aaron Broverman says:

Thanks Vlad,
They may have had one at one time. However, I will notify the editors and see if they can update the article.

Kenneth Pennell says:

Which tax program should I use? CANTAX or TurboTax Premier or TurboTax Home & Business?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Kenneth,
What program you use comes down to your personal preference and your individual tax situation. Knowing neither, I can’t recommend one program over the other. What I can say is that the differences between TurboTax premiere and Turbo Home and Business have to do with he ease of use for self-employed personal & business income and expenses. Outside of that, the two programs are the same in terms of having the same features and abilities. As for CANTAX, the software isn’t free and you can buy T1 or T2 software separately or together. CANTAX believes their greatest differentiating factor is the quality of their customer support and service.

Rohi says:

StudioTax is no longer free…

Aaron Broverman says:

Oh man Rohi,
Thanks for the update. For those who need to know, StudioTax now costs $15 for up to 20 returns. The software is still free for those in the Northern provinces and territories like Yukon, North West Territories and Nunavut and those with incomes $20,000 annually and under.

Pat says:

What happened to Davie215 is not a unique confluence of circumstances, more like the UFile’s modus operandi. The same thing happened to me (and apparently many others). I have tried to email them, to call them and even to sign up for their forum. Even that last thing did not work – I have never received any email with their account authentication code (and I have tried several times). Ironically, they have no technical problems sending me more promo emails. This software looks like abandonware that Thomson Reuters tries to milk for as long as they can.

Aaron Broverman says:

Oh man Pat, if I were an investigative reporter, I’d get to the bottom of this and find out what’s going on at UFile HQ that leaves so many in the lurch. For now though, I’d suggest switching tax software or actually having an accountant or tax preparer do your taxes for you.

Daryl says:

I have been using StudioTax since 2014. Worked every year without hassel. My wife and I have a partnership business and she has another sole propriorship business. I’m also retired and collecting company pension and CPP. I “enjoyed” working with StudioTax. This year I have been trying to convert to Ubuntu from Win 10. One of the hang ups is that there is no FREE Canadian Tax program for the LInus OS. There are cloud based programs but I would prefer our information to reside on our computers. I know I can run Win 10 emulations but again, I’d prefer a tax program that runs on Linux OSes. Cheers and happy holidays or whatever turns your crank. 😉

Aaron Broverman says:

Glad StudioTax is working for you Daryl, but yeah unfortunately you have only web-based tax software at sites like simple tax . ca as your only option. The problem is it has to be CRA approved software and the CRA has completely ignored Linux for years.

Angelo Davis says:

It looks like GenuTax is running a survey for which OSes it should support next. Go give your feedback, and maybe throw them a few bucks. If they do start supporting Linux, they’d be the only ones to do so, which is an advantage for them. https://www.genutax .ca/Help/Survey

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Angelo,
Thanks for the survey. Hopefully Linux will win out because that would help so many people.

Matthias says:

Mytaxexpress offers solutions that work on linux. I’ve been using their windows version (e-file) with wine on a ubuntu based system since 2014 without problems. Now they offer an appImage that should run on most linux distributions. While not completely free, except for low incomes, it is fairly cheap.

Aaron Broverman says:

Thanks for the recommendation Matthias, I hope Daryl sees this and reports back on whether it works for him.

Alamy says:

Writing the Tax Software under Linux is not that hard, we could start a Free Open Source GitHub project that
provides basic functions in the beginning, then expands it base on the feedback.
I just wondered how to get it certified ? How to test the NetFile if anyone know ?

Davie215 says:

Answered a promo for discount on new version, paid for it and was sent a link. The download was for the 2019 version, which corrupted my past folder. Cell phone battery died after 37 minutes on hold. E-mail generated an auto-bot response which forced a reply to actually ask for help, and of course, when clicked, got no reply.

Been my product of choice since 2008, but looking like a scam. Last year they offered telephone help to the 4-return package as a bonus (not toll-free), but this not offered again. This is a Thomson Reuters company, so cannot understand unethical behavior, but please be warned.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Davie,
I’m so sorry this happened to you. What you describe sounds like a uniquely disasterous confluence of circumstances and schadenfreude that the world has never seen. Thanks for the warning, I’m sure our readers will take heed and be careful with this software when they buy it, as it may not work as planned in a minority of cases.

Carl Weatherington says:

Ufile has been absolutely horrible.
1. Horrible customer service, long wait times for a response to questions.
2.When you do get a response, the response is often wrong and they will refuse to acknowledge their wrong doing.
3. Random account problems – through no fault of your own. I am quite computer savvy and I guarantee you, they have dropped the ball on more than one occasion and refuse to acknowledge their mistakes.

I will be calling them out on CBC Marketplace.

I wouldn’t waste my time with them.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Carl,
When you do call CBC Marketplace about your issues with UFile, please let us know the results. especially if anything comes of it and your allegations make it to air in some way.

Nick says:

I have been a user of UFile for many years and have been generally satisfied. However, once you need support, they are completely unresponsive. NO support. Emails only generate automated responses that are 0% helpful. The phone line is merely a test to see how long you will wait on the line without them ever answering. Very frustrating and in essence: fraudulent.

ms says:

This may not be the biggest problem facing Turbo Tax Online users, but it’s profoundly important from a security perspective. I am at NINE phone calls and counting with their support team over 3 months to try to deactivate my late husband’s account with them. It is seemingly impossible to achieve and something that people might want to consider before choosing TurboTax online for Mac.

Aaron Broverman says:

Sorry that’s your experience Ms. Consider your warning heeded. I hope people will read this and not have to go through what you went through.

Mazarin says:

If you do not specify whther the application is suitable for non-residents, all this information is useless.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Mazarin,
I know that TurboTax allows you to put in a foreign address but they charge a $32 filing fee. It’s probably best to just file on paper in consultation with an accountant who does tax filing.

Claus says:

I have used myTaxExpress since 10+ years for personal tax — very reliable at an unbeatable price of $7 for one, $14 for up to ten returns.

rb says:

I do not see offline option for simpletax anywhere?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi RB,
That’s because there isn’t one. Simple tax is a web-based software, which has a clear advantage when it comes to filing your taxes directly to the CRA online. Operation of the software in the cloud also means it can update and maintain its accuracy in real time so you aren’t constantly working with outdated versions. Plus, there’s no hardware to worry about like a CD-ROM.

Prasad says:

I just finished this years’ tax return with StudioTax – 8th year in row. I agree with your comment on the interface looking dated – but does the job nicely for me. The only wish I have is if it had backward compatibility to open prior year files – not a deal breaker.
Thanks for the informative review.

Chris says:

The download page allows you to go back and download any previous year required. Unlike Genutax, each year is a separate app.

Aaron Broverman says:

Thanks Chris, our readers will appreciate knowing this.

Marie Denton says:

Hello,
I found your article after Googling and looking for software that will be compatible with my Apple iPad. I had HR Bkock for several years and it was ok. This year, same simple scenario for this senior retired teacher, plus the added promise of just uploading last year’s return, and inputting new numbers for medical, vision, now to combine last year’s and this year’s Charitable Donations. It WAS A DISASTER ! I had to call for help. Wasn’t long before the lovely lady asked if I was on a mobile device, and with a positive response, then stated that It could be difficult. It was. I went back to my old laptop but that hadn’t seen much action in the past year. That was ridiculous as well. On the iPad I couldn’t find where to put T5 items, when prompted by my HR Block phone helper, she found the spot and told me to type in, It woukdn’t allow any input from me. She had checked that up to that point, I had done everything correctly.. Regarding the laptop, it was a little better, but would only accept one year’s Charitable Donations and not two.
I have an overloaded swear box now. After 4 days of total frustration , I finally called the closest office. Had to take my information in.
I asked about payment and was told that depended in how long it took to input my information …. I said that he could simply update my last year’s HRBlock information and roll it over ( as advertised ) . Nothing had changed for me.
Now after 6 days, a phone call to go through this. – BEFORE he started, checking my name , address, etcetc, even though he had all this on my documentation! He said didn’t have the viral piece of info, regarding fees for administering my investment- all legal and similar to last year – because it wasn’t in regular receipt form. It had been there when I handed over my papers. So I had to contact my Investment guy to call him and fax over duplicates.
The latest is, he won’t accept my usual entry for the amount of UK pension I receive. For about 18 years I have rounded up the pension to $ 2,000.00 annually. The pension is fixed. The only thing that changes is the exchange rate! I have NEVER been questioned about this method and there us never a tax slip or official receipt. Now thus man wants to know the exact amount….I am beyond belief at this attitude…I don’t want to be forever having to do this for the rest of my life..
What do you think I should do ? IF THE DARNED SOFTWARE ( I had the Premium version ) WORKED, this would have been completed two weeks ago. I asked if whatever the new charge was going to be could be reduced by what I had paid for the software and had received a ” probably ” response, but considering all the questions that need nit have been asked, this could cost quite a bit…
No idea how to get in touch with the Head Honcho of HR Block in Canada ( BC ) Do you have any ideas.?
Sorry that my frustration has led to this lengthy rant. I really only wanted to offer an alert as to the efficacy of the HR Block software on an iPad . Many Thanks.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Marie,
Try this. This is listed as the primary number to their Calgary headquarters: 587-956-0787 Their president is PeterBruno. Maybe you can tell someone there your story and get some satisfaction. Good luck.

Debra says:

I have used GenuTax for the last 8 years or so. I used to use Turbo Tax but was frustrated that it kept increasing in price every year, gave you less returns and required you to upgrade to a higher version if you had investment income. GenuTax lets you do up to 20 returns. The only complaint I have is that this program is not compatible with a Mac computer.

Jo says:

Does not support Québec either 🙁

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Jo,
Who doesn’t support Quebec? TurboTax or GenuTax? and in what way do they not support Quebec? like the software doesn’t work in Quebec?

Anne Richardson says:

I also have used GenuTax for years and years now. Have never had a problem. I do mine, my husband’s, kids’ and friends’ taxes every year for free. Very easy to navigate once you get the hang of it.

Aaron Broverman says:

Thanks Anne, I’m sure many of our readers will appreciate your endorsement of GenuTax and I’m glad more people are pointing to it as the affordable tax software of the moment that actually does a decent job.

Glenn Ross says:

Been using ufile for lots of years…but have used simpletax this year. Wow much easier. To be fair tried turbo and block but they share same problem, you must choose your forms first before getting started. Both froze up and would not proceed at that point…I left after waitng 35 minutes each. Might try Genutax too.

Michael says:

Thanks for this survey of Canadian tax software — it certainly helped me choose which to use!

I chose AdvTax for my first netfile because I am very familiar with CRA’s fill-able PDF tax forms, and that is precisely what AdvTax offers to users (well, almost precisely — AdvTax’s forms sometimes use a different numbering). If, like me, you want to see and work with the equivalent of the CRA’s forms, AdvTax seems to be the way to go — IF you already know how to do your own tax returns (I’m self-employed).

AdvTax has generally responded — concisely and accurately — to my email questions within two to six hours (even on weekends).

There are one or two annoying bugs/features (eg, a warning pop-up whenever one tries to enter decimals). I also encountered one glitch (a date that persistently failed to load — however, I was assured that date wasn’t necessary for netfile).

Contrary to its claims, it took me a long time filling out my tax return (and all applicable schedules) via AdvTax; however, that was probably due to the fact that this was my first time doing any netfile.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Michael,
Glad you found this article helpful in selecting your own tax software and thanks for providing such a comprehensive user review. I think our readers will find your experience valuable.

Alexei says:

TurboTax has problems with simple arithmetic. In my tax report, adding 7 cents and 9 cents in one of the schedules, TurboTax Standard (for which I have paid) got as a result 15 cents! Because of this Revenue Quebec did not accept my report online.
Tech support could not help at all, qualification of an agent in my case was null. Instead, they suggested me to talk with Revenue Quebec (?).

So, the “100% Accurate calculation guarantee” software has a problem of arithmetic and/or programming skills of the developers. And tech support is very poor.

Bob Dole says:

It should be noted that TurboTax 2019 can no longer be installed on Windows 7 or earlier systems

Sherry says:

What about privacy?
Simple Tax has been acquired by Wealth Simple and they’ve gone from ‘we will never sell your information’ to something that seems to leave everything up for sale.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Sherry,

Simple Tax’s privacy policy explicitly states that they will not share your personal or tax information without your consent except in cases where your info is transferred to their affiliates for the purposes of providing you with better services, research, advertising, identity verification, technology administration, printing, hosting data analysis, legal and accounting, or in cases where the company is sold, goes bankrupt or merges. So not everything is for sale, but it’s still something people should be aware of in these specific cases. Thanks for flagging.

Mike says:

That sounds pretty broad permission to me!

Victor Nagle says:

Canadian TurboTax Premier 2019 CD and download will not install on Windows 10 Pro 64-bit version 1909.

My understanding is that TurboTax 2019 is not compatible with the latest version of windows 10.

A TurboTax specialist I spoke with believes there is a security feature in windows 10 that is blocking TurboTax 2019 from installing. About 50% of their Canadian enquiries are due to this.

Until Microsoft fix this issue, if ever, TurboTax will be a non-option for most people.

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Victor,
According to the Microsoft troubleshooting message board regarding this issue, at least one person has solved the problem this way: “My Turbo Tax 2019 also loads the opening screen, but then exits. What solved this issue: I found that Turbo Tax downloaded and put a icon on the desktop to start it, but never actually installed. When I went through the installation procedure from where Turbotax downloaded on my PC, then it worked.” That comment came from someone going by VernonKage Paul on the microsoft message board. Let us know if it works for you.

MIG says:

This all sounds a little bit like a “sponsored” ad for Turbo Tax if you ask me …

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi MIG,
All opinions in articles are from our individual personal finance journalists unless otherwise noted on the article itself. If content is sponsored, we let readers know.

Tom Moffatt says:

TurboTax works, but it’s easy to make mistakes. I’ve been using it for years. The EasyStep interface asks you a series of questions and then only prompts you for related tax information. If you don’t understand the implications of a question or answer it incorrectly for any reason, you can easily miss entire sections of the tax return because TurboTax will never show them to you. Always check the tax forms as well to see if the program is doing what it should.

Barb says:

For the situation described by HAB, I’ve been using the Standard version to accomplish what HAB is doing. We have pension splitting, medical deductions, donations, and US and Canadian interest and dividend income. I, too, am finding that TurboTax wants me to upgrade to the Premier version. Is it really necessary? Or would the difference in price be better spent on having one of their “experts” review our returns before filing? Thank you!

Nate Siegel says:

Hey Barb,

Can you really put a price on peace of mind when it comes to your taxes? We’ve found TurboTax to be a great value regardless of which plan or version you choose, but a general rule is, dealing with the fallout of a single mistake on your taxes is pricier than the out-of-pocket you’d otherwise pay for the version that does your taxes perfectly year after year. Think about it and let us know if you have any questions.

GreedyRates

HAB says:

Hi Sean: Thanks for the article. It’s very informative. I’ve always used Turbo Tax and before that I did it on paper. When I use Turbo Tax, I use their step by step automatic program but then I go back and go over the actual forms line by line to make sure I agree with what Turbo Tax has done with my entries. In fact, I prefer to use the form method but it’s good to have done two methods to make sure it’s right. My spouse & I are seniors with pension, investment income and medical expenses and we split our income. My question is that Turbo Tax states that we should use the Premier version which is $75. as opposed to the standard version at about $20.00. If I were to use the “forms” section of the cheaper Standard Turbo Tax version, will I be able to enter investment income and medical expenses and split my income, or are the necessary CRA forms missing from the Standard version. I would prefer to use Turbo Tax to keep consistent with what I have done in the past but I find their price outrageous.

The GreedyRates Team says:

Hey HAB,

Thanks for the thorough comment. It’s hard to be sure if you absolutely need all the features that come with the more expensive version of TurboTax, and even more difficult to determine if their prompt to upgrade from Free is because you need to or because they’re simply upselling. Do you find that the Free version fulfills all your needs? Or are you manually downloading and submitting forms that you haven’t found inside TurboTax? You should be able to complete your taxes including all investments and other special considerations within the Basic software, but Premier might be worth it for the potential savings (both time and money).

Basic versions are good for when you’re single, have few deductions, dependents, and investments. The Premier version might be better for you because it has more advanced options and a deeper search engine for applicable deductions. You said you’ve got pensions, investments, medical expenses and other ideas like split income which might be too complicated for the Basic software. A $75 yearly subscription will be worth the time you save if it has the features missing from Basic, and also allows you to carry over your settings and data from last year, making future taxes a breeze.

GreedyRates