Wealthsimple Tax Review

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Last updated on June 17, 2022 Comments: 13

There are two types of filers out there: those who file their income taxes themselves, and those who pay someone else to do it for them. For me, the convenience of filing at home and not having to bring my tax documents to a professional is a huge benefit and the main reason I’m a die-hard DIY tax filer. That said, if I didn’t have access to online income tax filing software like Wealthsimple Tax, I might think twice about doing it myself.

Fortunately, Wealthsimple Tax exists to provide Canadians with an easy, secure, and most importantly, affordable means to file taxes. It’s a donation-based software that is best suited to those with a relatively simple tax situation, and while it does have some limitations (mainly flexibility and support), I nonetheless think it’s an excellent choice for most Canadians.

Our Rating:

Company Overview

SimpleTax was founded in 2012 by husband and wife team Jonathan and Alison Suter, with the goal of offering Canadians a straightforward and inexpensive way to file their taxes online. The service has grown in popularity since its inception because technically it is free to use, invoking an unusual donation-based fee system that asks customers to “pay what you want” – or nothing at all, even for those filing multiple returns. This flexible pricing, paired with a genuinely easy-to-navigate user interface, makes Wealthsimple Tax one of the premier affordable income tax filing services in Canada.

Popular robo-advisor Wealthsimple purchased SimpleTax in 2019, recently rebranding it to Wealthsimple Tax.

Special Features

Here’s what you can expect from this year’s iteration of Wealthsimple Tax. Since this is a donation-based service, there are no “tiers” of products, and users can benefit from all of these features when they file their income tax returns:

  • NETFILE approved
  • Meets CRA requirements for encryption and privacy
  • Refund is dynamically calculated as you enter your tax details
  • Import previous year’s return
  • Return auto-filling – import your data directly from the CRA
  • Step-by-step guidance – answer a few simple questions to customize your return
  • Can handle self-employment, small business, and investment property income
  • Smart search function makes finding the right deduction easy
  • Auto-fills your return with cryptocurrency gains/losses from over 300 exchanges and wallets
  • Free support available via email, chat, and phone
  • Refund optimization – including splitting donations and pension income
  • RRSP maximization calculator – maximize your RRSP for the highest possible refund
  • Maximum refund guarantee – Wealthsimple Tax includes pension splitting, spousal dividend claims, and carryforward amounts to maximize your refund
  • Re-file functionality – make adjustments after you’ve already filed

Pricing

While other online tax platforms have pricing tiers that may be confusing or convoluted, Wealthsimple Tax’s pricing scheme is straightforward: it’s 100% free. That said, they do recommend that you donate to use the software: Their default donation is $19, and most users seem to donate around $10–$20.

How It Works

Step 1: Create an Account

To get started with Wealthsimple Tax, you can go to their website and click the blue “Start your tax return” button. From there, you will make an account and start by filling out your necessary information, including your name, date of birth, address, marital status, province of residence, and whether you are registered with the CRA.

Alternatively, if you are already a Wealthsimple customer, you can file your taxes from your Wealthsimple dashboard. When you log into your Wealthsimple account, click the “Taxes” option in the top menu bar, and you’ll be taken to Wealthsimple Tax through the Wealthsimple portal. Finally, Wealthsimple Tax is also available in the Apple Store.

Starting your tax filing is simple with Wealthsimple Tax

Step 2: Auto-Fill Your Return

Once these basic questions are complete and you’ve linked your CRA account, Wealthsimple Tax will import any documents available from the CRA to auto-fill your return and streamline the process.

SimpleTax autofill

Step 3: Enter Tax Details

Wealthsimple Tax will also ask you a series of questions about your tax situation, income, and investments. This allows the platform to determine which deductions you’ll qualify for, and to formulate the rest of your return. You can monitor your progress and your refund using the navigation menu on the left-hand side of the screen.

Finding deductions

Step 4: Review Before Submission

After you’ve entered any additional investment information, T4s, and claimed all of your deductions, you’ll have a chance to review your tax summary. If there are any warnings or suggestions, Wealthsimple Tax will allow you to address them.

SimpleTax review

Step 5: Submit Tax Return

Once you’ve finished reviewing your return, you can submit it using the CRA NETFILE functionality. If you have direct deposit with the CRA, you should receive your income tax refund within two weeks of submitting your return.

SimpleTax submission

Step 6: Consider Paying

As I’ve mentioned, Wealthsimple Tax is entirely free, but they do suggest you donate if you can afford it. The pay screen below can be modified to any amount, or you can choose from one of their suggested donations.

Donations SimpleTax

And that’s that. You can also check out the below video for an in-motion glimpse into how the platform works:

Customer Support

Wealthsimple Tax offers support via phone, email, and chat, however it’s more for answering questions about using its software (not general tax questions or advice inquiries). For tax-specific questions you can access Wealthsimple Tax’s extensive knowledge base. If you have a question about your taxes while you are going through the filing process, Wealthsimple Tax’s helpp section is easy to access by clicking on the hyperlinked parts of each tax question, such as the article about the new Climate Action Incentive shown below.

SimpleTax support

How Wealthsimple Tax Compares

Wealthsimple Tax’s donation-based fee model is appealing to those on a tight budget, but it’s always a good idea to check out the competition before committing to any product.

 WealthsimpleTaxTurboTaxH&R Block
AvailabilityOnline, iOS and AndroidOnline, iOS and AndroidOnline, in-person, iOS and Android
Cost to Use$0 (donation recommended)$0 - $44.99$0 – $29.99
NETFILE CertifiedYesYesYes
Available Add-OnsNoneAssist & review, full service filingExpert review, audit protection, last will & testament
SupportEmailEmail and phoneEmail, phone, in-person
Read full reviewRead full review

When comparing these three tax platforms it’s important to consider what is offered by each for its basic free version, and who can use it. With TurboTax and H&R Block, qualifying for the free version requires a very straightforward financial situation, for example someone with only T4s and RRSP contributions, but no self employment income, rental properties, medical expenses, or unregistered stocks or investments. Here are some features that come with Wealthsimple Tax, but which are not available in the free versions of TurboTax or H&R Block:

  • transferring your information forward from previous years
  • automatic RRSP optimization
  • automatic searching for applicable deductions and credits
  • access to technical support

Accessing these features in TurboTax or H&R Block requires an upgrade to a paid tier for $19.99. Further upgrades on those platforms will allow you to access extra features like a dedicated, priority phone support line from H&R Block, or Audit Defense, in which TurboTax will represent you in the event of an audit by the CRA. These paid features are excellent if you’d like expert oversight while filing your taxes, and may be beneficial if you have a complicated tax situation or are filing for the first time.

One noteworthy new feature that’s unique to Wealthsimple Tax is the ability to calculate your capital gains on cryptocurrency. The program supports over 300 exchanges and wallets, including NDAX, Coinberry, Shakepay, and Bitbuy, and will automatically import your transactions, find market prices at the time of your trades, and match transfers between wallets. For crypto traders, this is a huge benefit over the other tax software options out there.

Wealthsimple Tax Pros and Cons

Wealthsimple Tax offers many benefits, but it’s not perfect. Here’s where Wealthsimple Tax excels and where it falls short.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface
  • Free (donations encouraged)
  • NETFILE certified
  • Safe and secure
  • Suitable for most Canadian tax situations
  • Auto-fill for crypto traders

Cons

  • Lacks extra add-ons like audit defense or expert tax review
  • Maybe a bit too bare-bones for nervous or first-time filers
  • May not have enough sophistication for all business owners, income property owners, those who are not residents of Canada, or those who have recently emigrated from Canada
  • Limited customer support

Who Should Use Wealthsimple Tax?

For both new and experienced tax filers, Wealthsimple Tax offers an inexpensive and easy way to file your taxes directly with the CRA. While their support options are somewhat limited, Wealthsimple Tax is still a good option if your tax situation is straightforward or if you’re a crypto trader, and I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to use this software for my tax filing needs.

Those who are on the fence might elect to at least start the tax filing process with Wealthsimple Tax; if it becomes clear to you that your tax situation requires extra attention and personalized advice, you can always jump ship to a more robust, paid platform before submitting your return.

Submit Your Tax Return with Wealthsimple Tax

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Author Bio

Jordann Brown
Jordann Brown is a freelance personal finance writer whose areas of expertise include debt management, homeownership and budgeting. She is based in Halifax and has written for publications including The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and CBC.

Article comments

13 comments
Doris Froese says:

My husband filed our taxes while I was gone and said there was no option except to pay $40 each. I have no income, how can it be $40? Makes me furious!

Daniel at GreedyRates says:

Hi Doris,
That’s frustrating! Try reaching out to their Clients Success team at 1-855-782-3559 to see if they can refund your fees. Wealthsimple Tax is supposed work off a pay what you want model and we’d love to hear back if that isn’t what you experience. Let us know how it goes.

Ina S says:

I am hoping to find here information about the system requirements for WealthSimple. I still run my computers on Windows7/ServicePack1. GenuTax for example states it can be run on W7/SP1, but I would like to compare. No way to find any information on the WS website… Unfortunately I waited until the last day with my simple tax return, I downloaded TuTax software, which did not indicate W10 requirements before download (and receiving payment), and after clicking ‘install’ I was told that it is not possible, I should upgrade to W10 and then try again. My computers are older and work perfectly with W7/SP1, so installing W10 and making some programs and devices unusable is not something I am planning on. And buying a new computer neither, which would require anyhow to purchase the program again….. Your help is truly appreciated. Thank you

Daniel at GreedyRates says:

Hi Ina,
Wealthsimple Tax is an online only tool and could work as long as you’re using a modern browser. Your Wealthsimple tax information will be stored securely in the cloud, similar to many other tax-filing software options. If you prefer a desktop option, consider Genutax, which will work with Windows7/SP1. While these options might work now, keep in mind that Microsoft no longer supports the Windows 7 operating system and there’s no guarantee that future releases will be supported. Fingers crossed.

Robert Schella says:

I just completed 2 family members 2020 tax return and had to pay for each one. Where is the free option. I still have 2 more to go and will have to pay for them also. It seems a bit mis leading

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Robert,
The website does say that WealthSimple Tax is “Pay What You Want” which includes free. Check it out: https://www.wealthsimple.com/en-ca/product/tax/ Perhaps you want to put your issue down here in more detail because it does say that it can be free if you want it to be.

Albin Foro says:

Eligibility for free filing just fluctuates from service to service year by year, and I’ve used many. Used SImpleTax to Netfile last year and am a first time Wealthsimple filer for 2020. It’s worth noting that it supports CRA Netfile but also My CRA automatic filling of information from the various slips it has received, e.g. CPP and OAS/GIS. The software keeps “guesstimating” the tax bill / refund and other entitlements as you progress through the input form, but frankly I’ve never had any software estimate that accurately predicted the final CRA Assessment. The software prompts for a donation after Netfiling , but as a first-time user, I’ve held off until final results from CRA are in (you just close the pop-up box). My return is simple, but I plan to help with a family member’s return including a small business and some pandemic support received last year, a bit more of a test.

Aaron Broverman says:

Sounds like an ethical and reasonable plan Albin. It’s also packed with great advice for others. I’m really hoping that people reading this take heed and are able to use your words to make some good things for themselves when filing their taxes for 2020.

Alex.R says:

What’s the best one for filling previous years electronically? I have just recovered my slips & documents for 2015-2017 and would like to do returns for these years (not previously filed). Since I used TurboTax in 2018 & 2019 I requested the free 2017 download from their website but when I got the e-mail it wouldn’t download and there is no live tech support so I’d rather deal with someone else from now on if it is possible to do previous year’s for free?

Aaron Broverman says:

Hi Alex,
Have you tried Wealth Simple’s Tax software? It’s web-based and pay what you want and has real human support behind the scenes. Maybe you can ask them if you would be able to file for past years. You should be able to I think.

T. Desousa says:

I did one simple tax that and It wouldn’t let me leave unless I paid the minimum 20 dollars. For 15 dollars, I can buy studio tax and pay 15 dollars for 20 people. What I don’t like is when I’m misled.

Daniel at GreedyRates says:

Hi T,
Ah, that’s frustrating. I’d be inclined to follow up with customer service to see why that’s the case since you should be able to use the service and only pay what you want. Did it prompt you to pay when you were trying to file a previous year’s return?

T. Morrison says:

Does anyone know whether any of the free versions of SimpleTax and TurboTax provide their specific customer support services OUTSIDE OF the tax filing season,i.e., if I emailed SimpleTax in August of 2020, would they respond to my question regarding my 2018 Tax Return filing with their product? Thanks!