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Tax Software

Friday March 2,   2007

These days more people file their income tax returns on line than on paper.   People are familiar with the tax software names like Quick Tax, and U-File. But they are not your only options.


Ken Gelhorn has been evaluating tax software for years. He ran several programs through their paces, including many on the web you may never have heard of. He found all were accurate, coming up with approximately the same answer.

" I'm within a buck and a half, a dollar and fifty cents in terms of the results, he says.  

Most developers let you use the software for free if your income is under twenty-five thousand dollars. Taxtron is the most generous.   It's free for those with incomes under thirty thousand. Two other programs are more restrictive. Cute Tax combines a family together for an overall limit of thirty thousand. And WebTax4U limits it to twenty five thousand dollars for a family, not an individual.

What's the bottom line -- when it comes to price? A program called "Each Tax" is the cheapest at six dollars and forty-nine cents for a single return and nine dollars and ninety-nine cents for a couple. Taxfreeway is the cheapest for multiple returns at nine dollars and ninety-nine cents for an unlimited number.

One product, Genutax, is a multi-year product that charges you thirty-five dollars, but then says you may never have to pay again.

But price isn't the only consideration. The well known programs seem to be the easiest to follow and use. They include: Quick Tax, U-File, Tax Wiz, and WebTax4U. That could save you time and frustration.

If you buy a boxed product remember to update it on-line before you use it.

"The product is not ready to go out of the box. What it is, is basically the invitation to get the download from the Internet and you do need a high speed connection if you are using these boxed products," explains Ken.

One other tip: if you have the option of using an interview method -- use it. You may get a deduction you never knew about.

  "They are going to design the questions to allow them to pick up deductions or items the program should be aware or to remind you of, advises Ken.

Before you switch programs, be aware last year's information may not be compatible with a different company. You need to check that, and you have to look up what carries forward from last year.

  "Do you have some RRSP carry forwards? Do you have some tax capital loss carry forwards? That sort of thing because you are going to have to be able to enter them into the new program, Ken says.

To find tax preparation software go to netfile.gc.ca  

There you can review all your options. Because it is a good idea to try before you buy .



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