Filing your taxes by submitting paper forms to the Canadian government can be complicated and time consuming.
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has made it easy for Canadians to file taxes online through approved NETFILE filing software.
The CRA encourages Canadians to file their income taxes online.
Not only is the online tax filing method faster, but you also stand a better chance to file your taxes more accurately and receive your tax refund faster.
If you file your taxes through the paper tax filing method, you may receive your tax refund within 8 weeks.
With the online method, you can receive your tax refund directly into a bank account you have provided in as quickly as two weeks.
Most software providers approved by the CRA offer paid and free tax software to help you file your taxes.
Keep reading to find out which tax software providers work better, as well as the pros and cons of their online tax filing systems.
With Cloud Tax software, you can file your taxes for free or for a fee.
Cloud Tax offers a basic option and a plus option for more complicated tax filing.
Here’s how the two options differ.
|File one return||File up to 20 returns|
|Use for employment, unemployment, and pension income tax filing.||Use for employment, unemployment, and pension income tax filing.|
|Provides a step-by-step guided application.||Provides a step-by-step guided application.|
|Import your tax slips directly from CRA or scan them using the software AI tool.||Import your tax slips directly from CRA or scan them using the software AI tool.|
|No audit protection||Access to audit protection|
|No access to tax resources and webinars||Exclusive tax-related webinars|
|Little to no tax and technical support||Unlimited tax & technical support (live-chat and email)|
|No access to CloudReceipts||Access to CloudReceipts Personal|
For ease of use, you can access Cloud Tax via the mobile app available on Apple iOS and Google Android.
You can work on your taxes on the go and your progress updates automatically.
You can also use the CloudReceipts app to track and manage all your receipts to help you file your taxes faster and accurately.
Cloud Tax has built-in provisions to help you claim common tax credits and deductions such as registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) deductions, medical expense deductions, employment expense deductions and more.
Cloud Tax is best for individuals with business income and self-employment income.
- Cloud Tax offers tax information security and good privacy standards
- You can access step-by-step guidance and unlimited chat support driven
- Cloud Tax offers a variety of free and paid tax services for varying needs
- You can file your taxes online or on your Android or iOS mobile device
- The Cloud Tax free option is not available for Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, or Quebec residents yet
- You need to pay to access CRA audit support services
Wealthsimple Tax was previously known as Simple Tax.
Canadians love Wealthsimple Tax because it is free and convenient for both basic and complex tax filing.
Also, if you have Wealthsimple Investment accounts, the software integration makes it easy for you to file your investment income taxes.
Depending on your tax situation, you can file your taxes in only a few minutes by using the auto-fill option that automatically pulls in your information from the CRA, Revenu Québec, and your investment accounts.
With many taxpayers dabbling in cryptocurrency investments, Wealthsiplme now provides seamless crypto tax filing services that automatically calculates your tax gains or losses.
The Wealthsimple Tax software allows you to search for eligible tax credits and deductions that you can use to reduce your income taxes and maximize your tax refund.
From home ownership credits to medical expenses, donations, and employment expenses, the Wealthsipmle Tax software allows you to provide income and expense information for tax claims.
If you have a spouse or common-law partner, you can find effective ways to apply income splits for higher tax refunds from the CRA.
Though Wealthsimple Tax is 100 percent free, after filing your taxes, you can make a donation.
You can expect to receive your tax refund within eight days of filing your taxes.
Wealthsimple Tax is an excellent, free tool especially for those who use Wealthsimple’s Investment products.
- Wealthsimple Tax is easy to use, automates tax filing, and is free
- Information is protected and secure
- Available to use across all Provinces and Territories in Canada
- No premium tax support services
- You need to pay $30 for CRA audit support services as of 2023
- Mostly do-it-yourself (DIY) tax that requires some tax knowledge for complex tax situations
TurboTax offers a variety of free and paid tax filing services to help individuals with basic tax needs, self-employment taxes as well as complex tax situations.
TurboTax for simple taxes is free.
The free version covers taxpayers filing Employment Insurance (EI) income, social assistance benefits, employment and pension income.
You can use the free online version to claim tax credits and deductions for childcare expenses, disability-related costs, registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) contributions, tuition credits and student loan interest.
To claim certain complex tax deductions and credits, you need to upgrade to the paid TurboTax Deluxe version.
For example, TurboTax Deluxe includes support for deductions related to donations, employment and self-employment expenses, donations, and medical expenses.
Taking it a step further, TurboTax offers a Premier option to assist taxpayers with investment income and expenses, rental property income and expenses, and foreign income.
If you invest in stocks, cryptocurrency, and bonds in Canada or internationally, the TurboTax Premier option is your go-to tax software.
TurboTax is the best tax solution for businesses and complex tax situations.
- TurboTax is accessible online, through desktop suites and mobile apps
- You can automatically search for tax deductions and credits, and upload tax slips and CRA profile information
- Security is a priority
- TurboTax offers do-it-yourself tax options and tax experts services to help you file income tax
- You can use TurboTax across all provinces
- The TurboTax free version only covers limited tax credits and deductions; you have to pay for full coverage.
- If you have investment income or rental income, you need to use one of their paid suites
H&R Block has been offering offline tax services to Canadians for many years.
They are a known tax company across all of Canada and are trusted by many Canadians.
With many physical offices, you can walk into one to seek tax help and support.
To file your taxes online, you need to create an account, provide your personal tax information and complete an interview for personalized tax services.
Similar to other tax software, you can use a smart search to select what applies to your tax situation.
H&R Block also allows you to automatically import your tax slips directly from Revenu Québec or the CRA.
You can easily search for tax deductions and credits related to tuition, scholarships, grants, other student credits, and RRSP contributions using the free option.
For more complex tax credits and deductions such as medical expenses, dependent transfers and credit, employment expenses, and donations, you need to upgrade to a paid Deluxe option for $19.99 per return.
If you are self-employed, a freelancer/gig worker, own investment property, or have foreign income and expenses, you need the Premier option, which costs $34.99 per return.
With the Premier option, you can claim rental property income expenses, capital gains and losses, and foreign income tax credits.
If you are looking for an all-round tax filing solution with in-person services, H&R Block is the best tax software for you.
- H&R Block offers in-person services that most tax software providers do not
- Various tax service options for situations such as employed individuals, investors, students, and business owners
- Easy to use for tax refund optimization
- H&R Block does not provide mobile app tax filing options
- You need to pay for premium tax support and CRA audit services
Things to Consider When Choosing a Tax Software Provider
Taxpayers with simple tax situations or tax knowledge can use free tax software with little to no support.
However, when you have a complex tax situation with investment income, rental income, foreign income, or self-employed income, you may need more sophisticated tax software.
Be cautious when providing your personal and tax information online.
Do your checks and ensure your preferred tax software provider is approved by the Canada Revenue Agency.
Also, check that your tax provider provides extra security and privacy protection.
Ease of Use and Support
Choose a tax software that is easy to use and allows you to conveniently do your taxes online.
Not all tax software providers offer online or mobile options.
Some tax software providers offer extra support for cases such as a CRA tax audit or if you need to provide supporting documents to the CRA.
You may need to pay a fee to access extra tax services.
If you need in-person tax services, a tax software provider such as H&R Block may be your best option.
Tax software fees are generally affordable, ranging from $0 to $150, depending on your tax needs and situation.
Do your research to identify which offering works best for you and your budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is NETFILE?
NETFILE is an online tax-filing service for Canadians. Through NETFILE, you can submit your income tax and benefit return to the CRA with a high chance of getting your tax refund within two weeks.
- What tax software do accountants use in Canada?
The common tax software providers Canadians use to file their income tax and benefit return are Turbo Tax, Cloud Tax, Wealthsimple, H&R Block, Ufile, Genu Tax, and Studio Tax.
- Is Turbo Tax Canada really free?
Yes, Turbo Tax has a free tax-filing option. However, the tax credits and deductions you can automatically claim are limited. You need to pay for the Deluxe and Premier options to access a wider range of tax services.