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Simple Tax Review

    With springtime comes warmer weather: birds chirp again in the mornings, flowers blossom, trees bloom, and tax season rolls around for Canadians! Filing your taxes can feel like a full-time job; you must gather all your paperwork including T4s, look at RRSP contributions, plus  figure out what to deduct and what not to. Thankfully, there is a simpler way to file, with Simple Tax, the online income tax filing software. It is an easy-to-use and secure way to submit your taxes via the web and is aimed at those who have a non-complicated tax situation.

    Another benefit to Simple Tax is that it is free to use. It does encourage a default donation of $19 (or higher); however, you can donate any amount you like. You begin by creating an account on the website and click the blue button labeled “start your tax return”. From there, you fill in basic necessary information, and you are ready to go. Simple Tax is also available via the App Store and Google Store on tablets or mobile devices.

    The next step in all this? Fill in your return! Once your personal information is inputted and you have linked your Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) account to your Simple Tax, the software will import CRA documents via autofill, to streamline the process. The system then asks for your tax details and will guide you along through a variety of questions. From income to investments, the system determines potential deductions that you could qualify for and helps to formulate your tax return. Once you have entered everything, including T4 information, you can review your tax return before submitting it. If there are any red flags, Simple Tax will allow you to address them before completing the submission.

    As Simple Tax is NETFILE approved, you can submit it using this function. If you do get an income tax refund, you should receive it within two weeks of submitting your Simple Tax return. Additional benefits to the software include meeting the CRA requirements around privacy and security and it can handle some small business returns, as well as self-employment, and investment property income. It also has an RRSP maximization calculator to help you get the most out of your RRSPs and provide information about how much of a contribution can help you get the best refund. There is also a re-file feature where you can adjust your information after you have submitted it.

    What are some cons to Simple Tax? Well, because there is no real “fee”, its customer support lacks a lot. There no phone number to call if you run into an issue, and you can only email questions about using the software specifically; there is nowhere to go if you have general tax questions. This may prove to be challenging for first-time tax filers. Plus, while it can help some business and property owners, others may need something a little more sophisticated. The same goes for non-Canadian residents or those who have recently immigrated to the country.

    Simple Tax may sound like your income tax return solution, but it is best to compare it to other reputable software systems that are out there before you dive in. Much like Simple Tax, Turbo Tax, and H&R Block also have software packages that are available online and are downloadable on iOS and Android devices. H&R Block also has locations across Canada for in-person customer service. While Simple Tax is donation-based, Turbo Tax costs anywhere from $0-$44.99, while H&R Block charges between $0-$29.99 for its tax refund services. All three are NETFILE certified, and while Simple Tax only offers customer service in the form of questions via email, Turbo Tax offers email and phone options, and H&R Block provides customer service in the form of email, phone, and in-person.

    Moreover, when it comes to add-on client assistance, Simple Tax provides no customer support after filing a tax return, while Turbo Tax offers customers assistance, tax review, as well as full-service filing. H&R Block gives clients audit protection, an expert review of the filing, and last will and testament services, if needed.

    Depending on your situation, Simple Tax may be exactly what you need come tax filing season. For more information, visit Simple Tax.

    Christopher - BSc, MBA

    Christopher - BSc, MBA

    With over two decades of combined Big 5 Banking and Agency experience, Christopher launched Underbanked® to cut through the noise and complexity of financial information. Christopher has an MBA degree from McMaster University and BSc. from Western University in Canada.

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