You probably already have a hefty to-do list, but during a pandemic the last thing you likely want to tackle is your taxes – especially if you’re on a budget.
With tax-filing season extended from April 30 to June 1, it’s worth noting there are a few free ways to make doing your taxes easier. You can make an appointment and drop off your documents at a government-sponsored tax clinic where a volunteer will complete your paperwork. This option is for those with a modest income and/or simple tax situation. For more details on whether you’re eligible and which clinic is closest to you, visit the Canada Revenue Agency. While some clinics are closed during the pandemic, many are hoping to open for walk-in appointments in time for the new deadline.
If you’d prefer not to wait or to do it yourself, you can download some easy to use software and manage your taxes at home. Here are your best options:
TurboTax Free is the most popular and user-friendly option for Canadians. It begins with an interview that breaks everything down and takes you step-by-step through the process. There is no maximum income limit on this software and it’s accessible via desktop or phone. The free version does not come with customer support.
Many head over to H&R Block to to file their taxes with a tax preparer, but the company also offers free software online. Features include auto-fill and there’s no maximum income restriction. The best part is if you need to file your return again to adjust something, you can do so for free.
SimpleTax offers a lot for a pay-what-you-can model compared with other software that makes similar features available at paid tiers. Such features include a maximum refund optimizer and the ever useful auto-fill to import your previous year’s tax return. The program can also handle self-employment and investment income, while the interface is particularly clean and easy to use.
TaxTron is the only Canadian software available in individual and corporate versions for Mac and Windows users. Both are user-friendly and have assistance modules that will walk you through each feature.
UFile allows you to enter your tax information easily through a step-by-step interview and is accessible online via tablet and mobile. It can also handle self-employment income. It is free for students, newcomers, anyone filing simple returns and for a family income below $20,000 per year.
StudioTax also operates on a pay-what-you-can model, and is available for Windows and Mac users. However, the Mac version is only available in English and does not support provincial returns in Quebec. It allows for up 20 returns and uses auto-fill. While it can handle self-employment and rental income, it’s relatively basic. This software cannot be accessed online and must be downloaded and also does not have a mobile version.
CloudTax is useful for those filing simple non-business tax returns. This software includes auto-fill, chat support and is accessible online and via mobile.
GenuTax can handle up to 20 returns, while most software allows for fewer, but this is not your strongest option. It’s less comprehensive and user-friendly, and is for Windows users only. You also can’t file a provincial return if you live in Quebec.
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