What software should you choose to file your tax return?

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FOSTER CITY, CA - JANUARY 28: TurboTax products sit on display at Costco on January 28, 2016 in Foster City, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for TurboTax)

Doing your taxes using software still scares many people. However, it shouldn’t! It is clear that the tax world contains a lot of subtleties and that you still need to be informed to fill out the right sections of the forms, but the tax software as such is easy to use when you follow it well the instructions. In addition, an online solution can be economical and much more reliable than doing business with a “half-hearted” who improvises as a tax specialist 2 months a year! The question that is often sent to us by email is: which tax software to choose? Here is a summary of the advice and recommendations from the experts we consulted.

Which software to choose?

The tax software offer does not change much from one year to the next, we find the same names and there is not really one that is better than another, it is only the interfaces that are changing.

Software as such is equivalent; H&R Block also offers services in person, directly at their office, but for a few years, have been innovating by allowing citizens to use their free and easy software to do their tax return. Software that allows people to report on their own without fear of missing an important item is recommended more than software that puts pressure on people to use their paid services. For Turbo Impôt and Impôt Expert, their prices are similar and they differ mainly by their way of making us complete the declarations. In the end, it’s a matter of taste!

TurboTax, UFile, H&R Block?

Some Points to Emphasize

All software works under the same principle: we first pass an “interview”, that is to say that we answer questions allowing us to identify the maximum credits and deductions to which we are entitled and what forms to fill out. Then we start entering the information in the forms. With Turboax tax filing, you can easily import information from previous years if you used the same software for your last return. You can use TurboTax online on any device with a current browser. You can also use the TurboTax mobile app for iOS and Android to do your taxes from your smartphone or tablet.

TurboTax is generally a bit more expensive than the other two, but it enjoys a better reputation in USA. H&R Block now offers a free online solution for your tax return, and paid versions if you want to benefit from additional assistance or protection. There are different versions of this software. Among other things, we give the possibility of making more than one report with the same or using a version specially designed for students. Observe what each company offers, compare the offers and make a choice suited to your needs!

Tax credits, access codes and statements

All three software works the same way. You access software online through your preferred web browser, regardless of whether you are using a PC or Mac. Just create an account with a password and you can get started right away, including from a mobile device (tablet or smartphone). Your return is saved on the publisher’s servers and can be accessed from any device, provided you have an Internet connection.

For provincial tax, those who are making their first declaration must register for direct deposit. No need for a federal or provincial access code to make and send a declaration in the digital version. The access code that was sent for the electronic transmission of your provincial return is now replaced by the date of birth and the SIN. For paper copies, no need to include statements. Reminder: the tax credit for QST, file taxes with turbotax and that for the northern region has been replaced by the solidarity credit for several years.

Tips and Warnings

Before starting your declaration, make sure you have made the updates for the software you are using. Always print your tax return even if you send it electronically. You can’t know if you will need it during the year and a computer glitch has arrived so quickly. Some software companies offer free services and advice, sometimes these are offered by professionals, and sometimes other users provide help.

In Conclusion

The software mentioned above is roughly equivalent. If your declaration is simple enough, it is an economical solution in addition to being easy, even if you have never done it. This software is for the general public and all offer technical support if you have questions or problems.

Above all, do not have your taxes done by a stranger who installs a cardboard sign in the window of his home and who improvises as a “declarer” of taxes during the months of March and April. Here you are given links to the software named in this column. By the way, you can usually do your tax report for free if you are a student. Same thing if you have a simple declaration to make (only one record of employment, no investment income, etc.) with TurboTax, it’s free!

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