Software

QuickTax responds to complaints

December 29, 2008

36 comments

Last year, QuickTax frustrated a lot of loyal customers by drastically reducing the number of returns that can be filed with the Standard version. This year, Intuit seems to have listened to its customers: the number of returns that can be filed with all flavours of QuickTax is back up to 8 for the 2008 tax year. The marketing message is also much improved: the website now makes it clear that the more expensive Platinum and Unincorporated versions provide “enhanced guidance & tax-saving tips for investments and rental properties”. The pricing structure remains the same — Basic costs $19.99, Standard $39.99, Platinum $69.99 and Unincorporated $99.99. The Standard version should suffice for most users who have a bit of investment, rental property or self-employment income and don’t mind interacting with the forms directly.

Slow Support at UFile

March 24, 2008

80 comments

[Update: Here’s an email from Joanne Birtch, Vice-President Marketing and New Business Development, Dr. Tax Software Inc. reproduced with permission:

“I am writing about your blog entry called Slow Support at UFile. The subject title no longer reflects the reality at UFile. Our support team has made an enormous effort to improve its response times due in part to the impact of your article. However, despite these improvements, UFile continues to be tarred with a very old and unflattering brush.

While not wishing to stop the dialogue, I would appreciate it if this blog could be updated to reflect today’s reality.”]

[Update 2: Note that this blog has no affiliation with UFile. If you need support with your UFile tax software, the contact information for UFile is available here.]

If you are considering switching to UFile (read my review) this year, there is one huge drawback you need to be aware of: the support is really slow. Firstly, UFile does not offer phone support. If you encounter a problem with the software or need some help, the only way to currently contact UFile is through email (the website says that live chat support will be available later).

Many readers have commented on their frustration with UFile’s slow response times and I personally experienced it as well. I sent a quick question on March 4, 2008 and received a response on March 10th, which is unacceptably slow in my opinion. QuickTax offers phone support for Standard or higher but it wouldn’t be a fair comparison due to its higher price. However, QuickTax Basic has the same sticker price as UFile and support is by email only but I found their response to be a lot faster – less than 24 hours.

Quick Review: GenuTax 2007

February 4, 2008

12 comments

One of the reasons that I liked StudioTax is that it allowed entering tax information directly into the forms. Admittedly, not everyone is a fan of the direct entry method. A lot of people prefer the interview method where the software asks relevant questions and generates the tax return based on the answers. If you prefer the interview method, GenuTax could be a good choice.

I downloaded a trial version of GenuTax and gave it a whirl through some basic tax scenarios – T4, RRSP contributions, Child care deductions, UCCB, Capital gains etc. It should be noted that like StudioTax, you’ll need to download additional libraries from Microsoft to install and run GenuTax. The GenuTax window is spartan and uncluttered – a left panel displays the tax summary and the right panel prompts the user to enter information for the current question. You can either click Next to go to the next question or select the question you want to jump to from a list. Once you are done, you can generate and view the tax return.

GenuTax has an interesting pricing model – a one-time payment of $34.99 plus tax includes updates for generating future tax returns. If you have a fairly simple tax situation (though GenuTax can handle most tax scenarios) or if you don’t like the direct entry method of preparing your tax return, you’ll be happy with GenuTax. Personally, I still prefer StudioTax but GenuTax would be a close second choice among the lesser-known tax preparation titles that I have tried out so far. It is nice to know that there are plenty of quality alternatives for preparing our taxes.