Best Tax Software Canada
Pricing & Features Reviewed
We tested more than a dozen software solutions for your tax returns to pick out 5 absolute winners
The tax filing due date has just been postponed, and while filing your 2021 taxes may be the last thing on your mind right now, it shouldn’t be overlooked. We know that filing taxes is already an overwhelming process, but in reality, it doesn’t have to be.
In this day and age, there is a wide range of free and affordable tax return software programs to choose from that make filing taxes a walk in the park. If you haven’t even started filing your taxes yet, it’s time to begin looking for an online tax preparation software before it’s too late.
Given that there are so many tax return preparation software programs to choose from, selecting the right one for you can be a daunting and often time-consuming task.
If you don’t know which tax software to choose, look no further; in this guide, we have covered the top five best online tax filing solutions in Canada for 2021 and beyond.
1. Best Tax Software: TurboTax
First up on our list is TurboTax: an easy-to-use tax return software popular among Canadians, and for a very good reason. When it comes to the type of programs available, TurboTax offers both paid and free versions that work on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
Before you get too excited, it is worth noting that while the free version doesn’t allow you to transfer tax information from previous tax years, it allows you to file your tax returns free of charge, no strings attached.
If you plan on importing your tax information from previous years, TurboTax offers an inexpensive Standard plan available for just $19.99 (currently on sale for $16.99).
Maximize Tax Refund Potential
Not only does the Standard plan allow you to transfer tax information from 2018 and 2019, but it also allows you to look for over 400 credits and tax deductions opportunities, allowing you to maximize your tax refund potential. After all, no one in their right mind would want to miss out on an opportunity to save money!
If you’re new to filing taxes online, we highly recommend opting for the Assist & Review plan — or Assist & Review Self-Employed plan — for unlimited guidance with any tax-related questions from TurboTax experts.
If you’re a real newbie, TurboTax’s professional team can also assist you with filling out your tax return and review it before you file. As a whole, TurboTax is an easy-to-use and affordable tax return software, which is exactly why it deserves the number one spot on our list.
2. Best Free Tax Software: SimpleTax
If you’re looking for a completely free online tax return software, SimpleTax may just be for you. Much like TurboTax, SimpleTax offers a web version that can be used on Windows and Mac, as well as a mobile version that can be used on-the-go.
The main issue is, SimpleTax is available for iOS devices only, not Android. This is something that must be taken into consideration when choosing the right tax software for your personal needs.
Compared with the other free versions of tax return software we have tested, SimpleTax offers the most features, including partial auto-fill returns, free customer support and a convenient RRSP calculator.
Smart Search Box Included
In addition to these features, this free tax return software comes with a smart search box that makes adding things such as medical expenses and gifts to your return a quick and easy process.
When it comes to accuracy, we truly believe that SimpleTax is an online tax returning software that you can trust. If you’re not convinced, SimpleTx comes with an “100% Awesome Guarantee,” meaning that if they make a mistake and you end up paying a penalty or any extra interest, SmartTax will reimburse you.
While this tax return software is 100% free, you have the option to pay what you want after submitting your tax return to the CRA if you feel like supporting SimpleTax.
3. H&R Block
H&R Block’s online tax return software offers everything you need to file your taxes with ease. Regardless of whether you prefer to use Mac, Windows, iOS or Android, H&R Block has you covered.
One of the best things about this tax filing software is that it is extremely affordable, meaning that regardless of your budget, you will be able to use H&R Block’s handy “do-it-yourself” service.
Of the three plans available, the most basic option is free and offers automatic return optimization, auto-fill returns (AFR) and SmartSwitch.
If you require further assistance, we highly recommend the Assistance pack available for just $19.99. With this pack, you receive unlimited tech support and customized tax tips as you create your return with ease.
If you’re willing to fork out more money, the most expensive program is available for just $29.99 and offers all of the basic and assistance features in addition to digital return storage and audit protection.
To ensure that your taxes are securely filed with the CRA and Revenu Québec, as with the other programs on our list, H&R Block’s tax software is NETFILE certified. But what about filing? If you’re old-fashioned or you prefer to file your taxes in person, you have the option to drop off your documents at your local H&R Block office.
You can even schedule a follow-up interview to review your completed tax return. If you aren’t sure how you should file your taxes, you can answer a few simple questions online to find the best solution for your needs.
StudioTax is one of the oldest tax return software providers on our list, and there’s a good reason as to why Canadians are still using it to this day. One of the main reasons StudioTax is so popular among Canadians in 2021 is that it is 100% free with no strings attached.
Despite the fact that this free tax filing software doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles offered by SimpleTax, it’s an easy-to-use solution to online tax filing that we cannot recommend enough.
Internet Connection Not Necessary
One of the main benefits of using StudioTax over some of the other programs available is that you can download it locally and use it without being connected to the internet. This means that your tax return files will be safely stored on your computer (Windows and Mac), rather than on the cloud.
You can even download the iOS and Android version of the program onto your mobile device for quick and easy access to your tax return on-the-go. It truly doesn’t get any better than that, or does it?
Recently, StudioTax announced that its tax return program is certified by both CRA and Revenue Québec, a fantastic bonus for a completely free tax filing program. With all of that being said, it must be noted that the Mac version does not support Québec tax returns at this moment in time.
It is also worth mentioning that while it’s still a significant amount, you can only file up to 20 tax returns using StudioTax, so if you require more, we suggest selecting another software program from our list.
Last up on our list of the best tax filing software programs in Canada is UFile: a popular tax Canadian tax return solution that’s easy, free* and, most importantly, secure. Now, while we did just point out that UFile is free, the free version is only available for students, first-time tax filers, those with simple returns and anyone with an income less than $20,000.
That being said, the paid versions are fairly affordable and start at around $19.95 per family member entered in UFile. If you want to add a second family member (spouse), expect to fork out an additional $12 plus tax and GST.
As with some of the other programs we have reviewed, UFile allows you to resubmit data from a previous tax year using CRA’s convenient ReFiILE service. Therefore, if you used UFile last year, you can quickly import all of your information from 2019 (2018 tax year).
Saves Your Tax Returns for 9 Years
If you end up using UFile for the foreseeable future, you’ll be happy to know that it stores a copy of your returns for the last 9 years, allowing you to access years worth of tax returns at any moment.
Similar to SimpleTax, UFile can be used both locally on Windows and Mac computers. If you’d prefer to use this program online, UFile also has a web-based version that’s quick and simple to use. Unfortunately, at this moment in time, UFile does not offer a mobile version that can be used on-the-move.
Nevertheless, given the low cost and all of the fantastic features available, UFile is one of the best tax filing software programs in Canada for 2021 and beyond.
Tax Software Buying Guide
If you’re still struggling to find the right tax return software and you don’t know what to look out for, we’re here to help. It is clear that every single tax software on the market will allow you to do one thing: file your taxes online.
That being said, some products come with extra features that make filing your taxes as easy as pie.
In the section below, we have listed the key features to look out for when searching for tax return software suitable for your requirements, including auto-importing from the CRA and cost.
One of the most important things to look out for when searching for an online tax filing service is that your tax return will be prepared using NETFILE certified software by the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency).
If you don’t know what this means, NETFILE software essentially allows you to electronically submit your tax returns directly to the CRA from the tax filing website.
If the tax filing software you have chosen is not NETFILE certified, you will have to manually print out all of your tax return forms and mail them to the CRA. Given the current global situation, this is something that should be avoided.
The second most important thing to look out for when selecting an online tax filing plan is cost. While some of the providers on our list offer a free plan, others require you to fork out anything from $20 to over $100 depending on the plan you choose.
If you can afford to opt for an expensive plan that includes all of the add-ons, then we highly recommend doing so. If you don’t fancy spending a penny, there are some fantastic, 100% free tax filing software programs in Canada that we cannot recommend enough.
It goes without saying that you should only look for tax return software that is compatible with either your computer’s operating system or mobile device. If you happen to use Windows, then you shouldn’t have any trouble finding compatible software since most programs are available for Windows.
On the contrary, Mac and Android users may have fewer options when looking for tax return software, though it isn’t impossible to find compatible programs.
If you or someone you know is looking for tax filing software available in a language other than English, you may have a harder time searching. Having said that, in this day and age, it isn’t impossible to find modern tax filing programs in Canada available in other languages such as French.
What’s more, most websites offer online support, so if you ever need assistance navigating the tax filing program, an expert will be there to help in no time.
Tax Software: Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Better to Do Your Own Taxes or Pay Someone Else?
One of the main questions people ask when looking for online tax filing software is: “Wouldn’t it be easier to pay an accountant to do my tax filing for me?” In reality, the answer to that question is often a big fat “no.” Despite the fact that you often have to pay for tax return software, the cost of hiring a professional is often significantly higher.
To tell you the truth, doing your taxes is actually fairly easy, you only have to know how to read and input data on the tax return form before sending it off online or in person. The only exception is if you own your own business, earn a high income or you simply don’t know where to begin.
How Do I Know Which Tax Return Software Is Right for Me?
Choosing the right tax return software for you may be tricky business, but it isn’t an impossible task. While we mentioned many of these points in our buying guide, it is important that you know exactly what to look out for so that you can accurately file your taxes before September 2021.
If you don’t fancy physically mailing your tax return given the current situation, one of the first things to look out for is that the software program is NETFILE certified by the CRA. Apart from that, you must make sure that the program you select is compatible with your OS and that it fits into your budget.
These days, there are so many online tax filing services on the market, that choosing the right one for you can be a daunting task. To make things easier, we have listed the top 5 best tax filing software programs in Canada for 2021 in hopes that you will finally find the right one for your requirements.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the range of services, TurboTax is a common option for Canadians looking for a trustworthy tax filing solution. On the other hand, if you’d prefer to save some extra cash for a rainy day, then we can’t recommend SimpleTax enough.