As the first portion of the year starts we prepare ourselves to file our taxes for the previous year.
I’m the guy who is in charge of filing our 2015 tax return for the family and this year I was lucky enough to review UFile Online.
Today I’m going to share the results with all of you.
With the income tax deadline of on or before April 30, 2016 (June 15, 2016 for self-employed) looming for taxpayers it’s time to finish up the 2015 year and file with Revenue Canada.
Our 2015 income tax return has been completed and submitted. Now, we can relax and get on with life until next years tax season rolls around. I have learned a few things about filing an income tax return online this year with UFile and I hope you enjoy this review of what I consider to be one of the best tax return software for Canadians.
When I came to Canada filing your taxes was all a little new for me since I had never filed taxes before. Filing your taxes for the year was unheard of as the tax system in the UK works differently and individuals who pay their taxes through the Pay-As-You-Earn Tax (PAYE) scheme do not have to file their taxes as it’s all done automatically.
Individual circumstances may involve people filing different income tax forms but for the most part filing of taxes is usually completed by self-employed individuals.
When I had to file my first income tax return in Canada we used someone to prepare our tax returns for us which would cost us approximately $75 which we thought was about normal at the time. Over the next couple of years 2008-2010 the costs of having our income tax prepared jumped to just over $100 for both our personal returns.
In 2016, the going rate seems to hover around $30-$50 for one personal income tax return prepared by a professional or someone who knows what they are doing and makes a living from doing tax returns.
The following year or two after our usual tax preparation person hung up their computer for good we found a woman on Kijiji who completed basic income tax returns for $15 each. That worked out great so we used her for 2 years. Honestly, she was nice but we really didn’t know her and not thinking handed her our life in a folder. Looking back we probably should not have done that.
The scary part about hiring a random person from an online ad is that you’re giving up your personal info to someone you don’t know especially if they work out of their home and claim to be a professional. Just be cautious about who you hand your personal information to.
A friend of ours laughed when she found out we were paying someone to do a basic tax return and suggested that we complete our own income tax return because it was easy to do and most software programs can guide you along. Mind you not everyone can take on doing their own tax return especially if it’s a complicated return or you’re not comfortable doing it yourself. Hiring a professional is probably your best solution.
I finally broke down where I wanted to know how to file a personal tax return in Canada so I got to work educating myself by reading information online at the Revenue Canada website. Having lead a frugal life since the beginning and coming to grips with life in Canada I have now taken over the job of filing our tax returns.
The first time I tried to complete our income tax return took me quite some time to get used to filling out all the income tax forms and making sure everything was included. I didn’t want to upset the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and receive a letter asking me to hire someone to complete our income tax returns because I screwed everything up.
With any free software remember that if you don’t know everything you need to know it can be tricky to fill out correctly so spending a bit of money to buy an income tax software program is what many taxpayers opt to do just to make life a bit easier.
You don’t want to miss out on opportunities to claim everything you can claim. It’s amazing how many people don’t know just what they can and cannot claim. Even I had to learn from the bottom up and I’m no accountant which is why sometimes it’s nice to have a helping hand like the virtual accountant experience in UFile.
Having successfully using one of the free software downloads from the CRA website for the last three consecutive income tax filings I was given the chance to review the UFile Online tax preparation software for 2015. Hey why not if it’s free and I get to say what I think about it even if I don’t like it. Turns out, I do like UFile and I believe you will too but it boils down to what you are looking for as a consumer or professional.
UFile With Ease
What is UFile?
UFile is the Canadian consumer tax program from Thomson Reuters, located in Montréal, Québec. It is a leading provider of tax preparation products and has served the professional tax community with tax products for more than 25 years. UFile products include UFile ONLINE, UFile and UFile PRO. UFile is an official sponsor of Earth Day Canada and helps to reduce greenhouse gases and preserve trees through its work with the CRA and promotion of electronic tax filing. – Press Release 2016
Let me tell you why I like UFile.
I opted for the UFile Online version instead of the desktop version just because filing with the online version takes up less space on my hard drive and I could enter my information without having to wait for the software to turn up in my post box.
As with any tax software I had to enter all the basic personal information for each person in the household to get started with UFile. If you are filing with UFile for the second time then you could easily use a previously filed tax return to generate most of the information needed.
Section 1 is where you enter your personal information.
If you have a look at the UFile screen shots you will notice that I have removed my real name and replaced it with Mr, CBB and the rest of the family has had a similar name change. The first screen shot depicts Section 2 where you enter in all the information from various tax receipts.
After entering in Mrs. CBB and myself I added in our Junior dependent and the UFile tax software instantly came up with the form to enter in his RC62 Universal Child Care Benefit amount, which was great because it saved me from routing around trying to find it.
As you can see from the T4 and employment section on the left that my employers’ names have been removed. There are 3- T4’s for me because I work quite a bit and with more than one employer.
I found that adding in another T4 was easy to do and as soon as I had finished one section and moved onto the next section the information bar at the bottom of the screen constantly monitors your tax return and makes suggestions or warns you of possible errors as you go.
The free downloadable software I used previously has a similar feature but not as sophisticated so warnings are not generated as you go. What I also liked is that the error messages had links on them so you don’t have to spend loads of wasted time searching through all the forms just to find one piece of information. Click on the link and sort out the problem, it’s as easy as that.
The earlier software that I had used always listed the forms down the left side, that’s great but what happens if I don’t know which form I need? I would have to navigate through them sequentially until I found the one I was looking for. With UFile, related forms are grouped together and listed under descriptions like “RRSP Contributions, Limits” which makes it easier to navigate.
As you’ll remember during the 2015 year if you’re a regular reader, I dropped a large lump sum into my Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to try and take advantage of the tax deduction as I knew my income would be fairly high this year.
Take advantage of the tax relief when your income is high.
I have quite a bit of RRSP room left because when I started earning an income in Canada it wasn’t enough to take advantage of the RRSP tax break. Now that it is, I’m using some of my contribution room from earlier years to do so even though I have a defined benefits package at my second job however that is only a contract job. Until it becomes permanent then my contributions will likely change although our advisor is monitoring everything for us.
Related: RRSP Basics
With UFile I found that I had completed my tax return for the family sooner than what I would normally. Having thought that I gotten everything, I moved on to section 3 which is the review stage. The UFile software gave me a few reminders and warnings but nothing that wasn’t easily fixed and then you’re able to move on to Section 4 and file your tax return.
Luckily for me putting away lots of RRSP contributions has made quiet the profound effect on my tax return. It also helps that I was paying double CPP contributions and double Employment Insurance so I got a fair amount back from that too.
Again as you will notice from the screen shot, our names have been changed so I didn’t really send our tax return in under the CBB name but it does go to show you how nice, neat and informative some software can be as opposed to the free software available. I’ve blanked out the return numbers but they were exactly what we expected to get back.
I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the navigation and form filling was with UFile. It just goes to show you that you don’t need to be some income tax guru in order to file your own income tax return.
If you normally file your taxes by letting someone else do the hard work and paying them to do so consider preparing your income tax using UFile. The UFile online version is even better than the buy off the shelf version because you don’t actually buy the ability to file until you’re ready. This enables you to fill out all your tax information and see the results before you actually file your return, all before you’ve forked out the cash.
There is a catch though…with the desktop version you can file more income tax returns. So, you win some you lose some. Everything is risk in life but with the popularity of UFile I’m sure you have nothing to fear whether you went with the UFile Online or UFile Desktop version.
How much does UFile tax software cost?
UFile ONLINE is available at no charge for many tax filers, including those with only a T4 slip to report; Canadians with a total income under $20,000; first-time filers, including new Canadians; all post-secondary students (regardless of their income); and seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement. In addition, with UFile ONLINE, dependants’ returns are free as well.
- Single Person $17.95
- Couple including limited dependants’ $27.95
UFile for Windows Desktop
- $19.99 (up to 4 returns with a bonus 4 returns for taxpayers with income $25,000 or less)
Where can you buy UFile?
UFile is available at national retailers including; Staples, Best Buy, Loblaws, The Source, Walmart, Rexall Drugs, and Jean Coutu in Quebec. Consumers can purchase UFile products directly through the web or at the retail level. – Source: via UFile press release link above.
You can clearly see the price differences above where the desktop version would save you even more money and can file more tax returns but you don’t get the opportunity to test it out like you would with UFile Online.
Overall, I was happy with UFile Online and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a simple Canadian Tax Software program that won’t take forever to complete and is priced fairly.
Review of the UFile product the good and the bad (hey I had nothing bad to say) is my own and not part of any advertising or sponsored/paid endorsement. That means, no one paid me to say what you just read. 🙂
With the review of UFile today I’ve been given 10 UFile online codes to giveaway to 10 Canadian Budget Binder fans. Big thanks to the UFile people for allowing me to review their product for free and to give my fans the same opportunity.
Let the UFile product speak for itself.
If you’d like to Enter to Win a UFile Online Code to complete your 2015 personal income tax return click on the rafflecopter giveaway above!! Good Luck.
The giveaway will run for one week starting March 17-23, 2016. I will announce the winners with-in a day or so of closing on Facebook and again in my Saturday Weekend Review Post March 26, 2016. CBB is not affiliated with UFile and anything you win from CBB is gifted from UFile.
If you have any questions, ask away~
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