The Frugal Canadian

A frugal spender seeks to find new ways to save money and increase her net worth.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Tax Software Reviews

If you're like most people, you haven't thought much about your taxes yet. After all, they aren't due until April 30th, so there are still nearly 3 months to file. If you're thinking about buying a tax software package this year, I've reviewed some of the more common programs which I hope you'll find helpful.

TaxFreeway
This is my favourite program which I found a few years ago and it was available for the bargain price of $8. This year, the price has risen to $9.99 but it’s new interface and ease of use has increased dramatically. While, it’s wizard/interviews and tax planning ideas are not as good as the other programs I’ve reviewed, it contains all the forms needed to file your tax return. The new interface should help most users complete their returns with ease. What I like best about TaxFreeway is that you can prepare unlimited returns, it’s small to install, quick and easy to navigate through the schedules and forms.

TaxWiz
TaxWiz is my second choice. It is an Intuit product which I used for a number of years prior to finding TaxFreeway. It’s basic, uses an interview process and reasonably priced for what you get. The main drawback for me is the 5 return limit.

Ufile
This is is my least favourite program. It’s cheap and great for simple returns, but I find the the wizard interview process is extremely frustrating. Self-employment income is a nightmare to enter in this program. The user is essentially forced to go through a series of questions and at no point do you actually see a completed tax return until you are ready to print the return. Maybe this will appeal to some users, but I find it difficult to find if I’ve missed anything and hard to review for accuracy.

QuickTax
The software remains the most user friendly and most capable package yet also the priciest. If you have absolutely no tax knowledge it’s easier to use than TaxFreeway, but offers little benefit over TaxWiz and Ufile. The number of returns which can be filed is the lowest of all three packages and this is my main reason for not liking this package.

QuickTax has several different versions, each of which has a different price level with more bells and whistles. These are fun to play with, although, in my experience are not very useful. If you’re going to go with QuickTax, I’d recommend the Standard version as the Platinum and Unincorporated packages really have no additional “required” features to help you complete your returns. They have some neat features, but if you’re self-employed you’re better off getting a decent accounting package at the beginning of this year, so you’re in good shape for next year. In my opinion, these added features are not worth the extra $20.

30 Comments:

At 11:28 PM, Blogger Humble Investor said...

This is excellent! I have always used QuickTax Standard (while quietly muttering under my breath as the price has slowly inched up year over year) but will definately give TaxFreeway a shot this year.

 
At 9:52 AM, Anonymous Investorial said...

Thanks for pointing out TaxFreeway and TaxWiz! I'll check those out when I'm preparing my filing.

I've been a loyal user of QuickTaxWeb because its so comprehensive and can tackle most situations. It is pricey but it's worth it. Perhaps I should ask one of my accounting friends if they'll do my taxes? Many accountants help people file taxes as a side business during the season.

Keep up the good work! It's nice to see a frugality site geared towards Canadians!

 
At 3:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate your time spent in reviewing these programs and letting us know about what you've learnt. Do you happen to know of any tax filing programs that you can use if you're using a Mac? I went to the TaxFreeway website, and they only support the product for Windows users? Any suggestions?

 
At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These also look interesting:

https://www.genutax.ca/Purchase.aspx - $35 but good for "many years".

http://www.mytaxexpress.com/index05.html - $13 (less for a single return)

 
At 8:01 PM, Blogger The Frugal Canadian said...

I haven't seen any Mac compatible programs. The only thing I can suggest is using either the QuickTax web or Ufile web version which doesn't require an installation.

 
At 10:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a great fan of TAXWIZ for a number of years but this year, my opinion changed. I just downloaded the Deluxe version and what a disappointment!! They removed those neat buttons from the right side of the entry fields taking you to the right entry forms. The looks of the application changed into something very clumsy. Time to look elsewhere ... It was very neat and wonderful product... too bad Inuit!!! I won't get QuickTax, way too pricey

 
At 9:08 AM, Anonymous Canadian Capitalist said...

I did not notice your review, but this year I switched from QuickTax to TaxWiz. I did a review, but from the comments to your post it looks like TaxWiz has become worse. I'll try TaxFreeway next year. Thanks for the tip!

 
At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last year Quick tax helped me save 200-500 hundreds (can't remember exact $) by knowing what to claim under my and my wife returns.
It was the first time I use a software.
Difference between Quicktax $39.99 and Taxwiz $19.99 is insignificant cosidering the savings you can make.
I would like to know if Taxwiz can help the same way

 
At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is another new product I found on the net.

http://www.studiotax.com/en/home.htm

This product is free (only request donations). Allows you to print, NETFILE. Has a few things that could be better.. but the price makes up for that.

 
At 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I haven't seen any Mac compatible programs."

Don't know how good it is (still need to actually use it), but TaxTron is the only Canadian desktop tax software I've seen to date (well, for the 2005 season; I recall QuickTax used to have a Mac version) that will run on Mac OS X.

 
At 2:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I've been a QuickTax user for 3-4 years now, and because of the rising cost I went looking for an alternative. I tried TaxWiz, also an Intuit product, and it worked and felt just like QuickTax! I highly recommend it... especially at half the price of QuickTax!

 
At 11:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just installed taxwiz and re-installted, but I still can't use the "Interview". I get sort of scripts. The interview doesn't work.

I e-mailed taxiwz and waiting for help.
Anyone had this issue?

 
At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been using myTaxExpress for 3 years. nothing better than this.

 
At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://p086.ezboard.com/bnetfileincometaxsoftwarecanada

 
At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reviews. I tried out TaxFreeway and ended up buying the key. Very easy to use :)

 
At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great program!
The "help" section needs updating though, as presently it's just a small F.A.Q section, and by the time you get a reply from the email help, you've wasted several hours. I'll use it again next year, though.

DON'T USE TAXTRON! I used TaxTron the last 2 years, but couldn't make it work this year. Their email support couldn't help me, and when I asked for a refund, they started ignoring my emails. No way to contact a live human either, as the phones will only direct you to tech support, and you'll end up listening to music on "hold".

 
At 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it amazing that you are so harsh about Ufile. I have used it for a few years and have turned my friends on to it. They love it too.

You can do more returns with it than you can with the Intuit products and its a Canadian product.

 
At 7:15 PM, Anonymous JSimp said...

Thanks alot man. I'm 19 and just living on my own with a few buddies, and I suck at math, ha. I am probs going to go and buy Tax Freeway or TaxWiz and install it on my notebook. It sounds easy enough to use, and Im like, super behind on my incometax. Thanks alot man.
-JSimp

 
At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've used taxfreeway for 2 years...awesome program and easy to figure out how to use. Plus u get to do unlimited taxes.

 
At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have used quicktax since 1999. This year (2007) however, they moved rental income from standard to platinum (hence price moves from $39.95 to $59.95), AND limited the number of returns to 2 instead of 5 so I can't even do my own family.

Intuit has lost another customer; Taxfreeway will get my business this year.

 
At 6:06 PM, Anonymous Mary said...

AceTax will always be my Tax software. They are at http://www.fredsoft.ca/acetax

 
At 1:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently purchased Taxtron for 2007's tax year (2008)-- BIG mistake! I have been a yser of Quick Tax since 1997 and switched to Taxtron because I switched from PC to MAC YES!!. It has an easy to use method of entering tax infromation whereas Taxtron is totally arcane as is the program. I beleive it is designed for persons who are doing Tax returns as a business and who understand the "professional" method of tax returns. I have since found Tax Freeway and am checking it out. So fa it feels like Quick Tax.

 
At 1:23 AM, Blogger Yeltur01 said...

Hi:

I tried TaxFreeway this year and found it almost as easy as QuickTax which I've been using for many years, however I switched to a Mac computer and have to start over, Intuit does not make QuickTax for Macintosh. I made the mistake of purchasing TaxTron, for all out there - DON't DO IT! It is not user friendly at all and the copy I got on CD has glitches like American Forms in it.

 
At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I AM REALLY FRUSTRATED WITH UFILE ONLINE VERSION! They have a software bug (I have worked around computers for 30 years so I should be somewhat credible).

I’ve used Ufile Online for many years with no problems but this year they are driving me crazy. My problem is the property tax credit....it is transferring twice to the On 479 tax form (but only shows being entered once in interview section). Ufile responded today……….one week since I emailed them (they should be responding faster than this). Someone is lazy and isn’t looking at the actual tax forms! I have told them that the information in the interview section appears to be correct, from what I can see, but it’s the actual tax form On 479 that has the error. But I get a silly response back:

“You[sic] property tax credits reported only once on Schedule On 479. You will find it in Tax return section of (my husband’s name)”.

I’ve now sent them a clipboard copy of the particular page – On 479. I've paid for their service but I fear I will end up using some other software so I can finally Netfile our tax returns. (Good chance the people responding on help line probably earn barely over minimum wage, have very little computer knowledge, and don’t really care?)

 
At 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used Quicktax on PC for years and found it expensive but excellent. This year I added a Mach and bought Taxtron... HUGE MISTAKE! I'm a retired Engineering Professor and used to complicated software... much of which I've written. But Taxtron 2007 is useless. Fortunately I still have a PC so I went back to Quicktax and did the job in no time flat.

 
At 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used Quicktax for years, It is one of the best but the limit of two, the price and the game it plays with the $20,000 and less income turns me off to try others.

 
At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used Quicktax for years. The product is good. The price now is too expensive. The limit of two returns bad. The $20,000 p.a a gimmick. Good Bye Quicktax

 
At 2:24 PM, Blogger George said...

Tax Freeway does have a mac version which they claim is virtually identical to the windows version.

 
At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am currently trying to use Ufile to file tax returns for 2007 and 2008. Firstly it doesn't let me manage both files with the same login and carryforward data. I have to login seperately for each tax year, no big deal but when I tried to open both returns at the same time in order to get some numbers from the 2007 return to input into the 2008 return I noticed that information began to be mixed in between returns ie. 2007 data appearing in the 2008 return and vice versa. Yikes!! I now have to re-do both with some other software. I think i'll have to go back to QuickTax although it's more expensive.There's been a lot of buzz about StudioTax on other sites but I don't see a review here.

 
At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A complete list of Revenue Canada Netfile approved products is available at: http://www.netfile.gc.ca/sftwr-eng.html

 

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