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.

This article has 12 comments

  1. I’ve used QuickTax on PC and the online version for Mac… and the online Mac version is really lacking. Furthermore, there’s a horrible feeling of security nerves that’s hard to get over with the online version.

  2. I concur, using an online tool like that worries me, and I am not sure why, I guess being old and paranoid has it’s drawbacks.

    I keep meaning to try Quicken On-Line (then I can use it with my iPod touch), but just don’t get up the nerve to try it.

  3. The question I have had for years is why doesn’t the CRA offer a bare-bones online tool you can do yourself, for free? I actually like doing my taxes, and I still do them on paper, because I’m pretty comfortable figuring out the forms myself, and I hate the idea of paying money to submit tax forms.

  4. You want to do your taxes on an iTouch? lol.

  5. Is there an app for that? That would be cool! 🙂

  6. Canadian Capitalist

    @Doctor Stock, @Big Paranoid Man: I agree. Putting up every bit of personal information there is about the family onto a central server somewhere gives me the creeps as well. Granted, such servers certainly have a much greater protection that your average home computer but I can’t help but imagine them having a big bulls eye on their back. However, I heard that many online sites now offer the ability to delete your data once you are done but then you have to trust them to delete it properly.

    @ChrisG: I don’t think CRA will ever offer free tax software. The big vendors offer free filing for low-income households, so CRA’s stand seems to be that everyone else makes enough to shell out $20 to $40.

    Despite the cost, I can’t see myself going back to paper. I probably easily save 2 to 4 hours by prepping taxes using software, not to mention, software is much less error prone.

  7. @CC,

    I agree it is a real time saver to use software. The last time I used paper I made a few small errors and had to recalculate huge portions of the return.

    Another option is to try a couple online packages to see the results and then fill in a return by hand. I recall the packages I tried giving a summary of taxes owing before having to purchase their services.

    However, the best option for me is to use StudioTax, which is freeware with the option of donating. This way, I don’t feel guilty about using the online packages for free just to get the results.

  8. RBC Online Banking customers get 20% off Quicktax online (Quicktax Standard is $13.59):

    http://quicktax.intuit.ca/tax-software/partners/rbc.jsp

    I’m sure a whole host of other institutions offer such discounts to their clients.

  9. Maybe I inadvertently hacked this message section, since I seem to be the only one posting, but I’m not overly concerned about having my return data online at Quicktax or UFile. With maybe a million returns between them, the possibility of any one person suffering identity theft from a data leak at these companies seems remote. Maybe a handful of people will somehow be victimized, I just don’t think it would be me.

  10. Canadian Capitalist

    @Gene: Thanks for the RBC code. I’ll mention it in a round up. You have a point that security is probably top notch and these days we don’t think twice about transacting online. Still, I can’t get past the fact that esp. with tax information there is all sorts of valuable info such as SIN numbers etc.

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