Software

Quick Review: UDoTaxes 2009

March 21, 2010

5 comments

If you are looking for free software for filing your taxes, you now have a choice to make. StudioTax is once again available for the 2009 tax year and in my limited test drive of the 2009 edition, I found it to have the same high quality and ease-of-use that I noted in my original review. But UDoTaxes, which is also free to download and free to print and file or NETFILE offers an equally good alternative. Just like StudioTax, the developers behind UDoTaxes ask for nothing more than a voluntary contribution via PayPal to support their efforts. UDoTaxes supports the direct entry method of preparing taxes and though the software has a list of interview questions, the interview method is fairly basic.

I downloaded and installed UDoTaxes on my Windows Vista laptop and when I ran the software for the first time, it prompted for the usual information such as name, SIN number, Mailing address etc. and created the tax returns for the taxpayer and spouse. The software looks pleasing and follows the typical pattern of listing the summary and forms navigation on the left-hand pane and clickable CRA tax forms on the right-hand pane. You can enter tax data through the T-slips, which look exactly like the ones you receive in the mail. The T-slip screens can be accessed either through the toolbar icons or from the form list or by clicking the corresponding box in the T1 General screen.

Screen shot of UDoTaxes Main Page

UDoTaxes has some clever touches. Clicking on a box in the T1 General lists the related forms, which allows you to select the one you want to work with. If a form is incomplete, it is prefixed with an “x” button the forms panel. A RRSP Optimizer and a Pension Split Optimizer are built into the tool. In my opinion, UDoTaxes looks just a bit more polished and a little bit more responsive than StudioTax but both products are extremely good and the price is right.

Free Filing Options from UFile.ca and Giveaway

February 25, 2010

110 comments

UFile.ca, a web-based tax software, is offering several free ways for Canadians to prepare their 2009 taxes:

  1. Free File Friday for Seniors: On February 26, 2010, tax payers 60 years or over can open a tax file and file their taxes at a later date for free. Check this web page for more details.
  2. Students, regardless of income level, can file their taxes through UFile.ca at anytime through the tax season. More details are available here.
  3. Families with total income of $20,000 or less are not charged a fee to NETFILE or print their tax return.

Giveaway: I am giving away 10 vouchers that can be used to prepare and file an entire family’s tax returns at UFile.ca. You can enter by simply leaving a comment in this post (please do not send an entry via email) and don’t forget to include your email address. If you are reading this through your favourite RSS Reader, you have to click through to the website and scroll to the bottom of the page and type in your comment. Some quick rules: (1) Deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, February 26, 2010. (2) One entry per person. (3) Canadian residents only. (4) I treat your privacy very seriously. Your email will be used for the sole purpose of contacting you if you happen to win. (5) I’ll pick ten entries at random and announce the winner after the deadline.

Go Canada! Go!

Questions regarding QuickTax 2009

February 4, 2010

12 comments

The QuickTax 2009 giveaway is now closed. The winner, Jim Squires, has been contacted but I haven’t heard back from him. Jim, if you are reading this, check your email for the winner notification and get back to me. If not, I’ll be picking a new winner.

In addition to entering in the giveaway, readers asked a number of questions in the comments section of the post. I’ll try and answer some of them in this post.

DownshiftDad (and many others) asked:

Any word on a Mac version? They disappointed me a few years ago by discontinuing it.

Here’s what Geoff Morgan of Intuit Canada said about the Mac version: “For Mac users, we offer QuickTax Online. The look and feel of QuickTax Standard, Platinum and Business Unincorporated are almost identical to the desktop version, with a couple differences. Some tools in the Online versions feature enhanced graphical tools. Probably most relevant to you, the Online versions of QuickTax are interview-only, there are no forms.

QuickTax Online is the extent of our Mac offerings as of today. Intuit Canada pulled our Quicken and QuickBooks for Mac desktop products from the market a few years ago. Demand for the Mac version was low, so we focused our development resources where the vast majority of our customers were, which was PC.

While Mac’s share remains approximately 10-12% of the overall market, it’s an increasingly important consumer and small business segment for us, and we’re working to address it. (Note: We’re a publicly traded company, so I can’t make forward-looking statements.)”

Barry asks:

I also would like to know if you will be reviewing the real free options such as StudioTax and Udotaxes.

I do plan to write about competing software products in the future and time permitting, compare the tax returns generated by tax software from different vendors and report back on what I find. I plan to test drive StudioTax and if there are enough new features to warrant a post, I’ll definitely highlight them. However, I should point out that I requested a meeting with the folks behind StudioTax and did not hear back. My job becomes much easier when someone can just tell me what’s new with their software and I don’t have to go digging through tax software. Udotaxes is a new name to me, so thank you Barry (and thanks for recommending StudioTax earlier) for bringing it to my attention.

Ken asks:

Do these tax programs just interview you? Do you still get the capability to go to each form and enter your own data after the interview process?

The desktop versions of QuickTax allow you to input tax information either through the interview method or directly into the forms. It also allows you to switch back and forth between the two. Other software products use either the interview method or the forms method.

Aolis says:

You didn’t explain what the differences are between the versions. I have filed my own taxes for over a decade but recently got married. Is it worth getting the Standard? What about for investments with capital gains?

The main difference between Basic, Standard and Platinum versions lies in the range of questions asked during the interview process. If you are comfortable directly inputting data with the forms method the Basic version should be sufficient for you.

Stay tuned as I have more tax software reviews and giveaways coming up.