Frugal Canadian, an accountant and a tax expert, has an excellent review of tax software products and one of her recommendations is TaxFreeway, which sells for a bargain basement price of $9.95 for unlimited tax returns. After a reader pointed out that the software is free to try (a product key is required to print or NETFILE), I downloaded and installed the product. The installer is only 4 megabytes, so the download was a breeze and should be tolerable even on dial-up internet.

Like other competing products QuickTax and TaxWiz (and probably UFile, which I haven’t tried), there are two ways of entering data: the interview method and directly entering data into the various forms. Though the user interface is not as slick as QuickTax, I found that it was fairly simple to learn to use the product. There are four panels: a summary chart, a navigate panel that can be used to add more slips (like a T4, for instance), an interview panel (that can be minimized) and a panel that displays the actual CRA forms. The summary panel, which displays a bar graph showing the total, net and taxable income, the federal and provincial tax, the tax paid and taxes owing or refund, is a very clever way of showing critical information.

Overall, despite some clunkiness, the software gets the job done. If you have any concerns about the accuracy of your tax return, it should be noted that before any software gets NETFILE certified by the Canada Revenue Agency it has to undergo extensive testing to ensure accuracy. I just wish I had paid more attention to Frugal Canadian’s post and bought TaxFreeway instead of QuickTax and saved myself $30 in the process.

This article has 19 comments

  1. Does it import previous tax year return files from other programs (e.g. QuickTax)?

  2. Glad you found the review useful.

    dhphelp – Unfortunately, TaxFreeway doesn’t have the capability to import files from other programs. It will allow carryforward of files from its predecessor Taxcel, but no Intuit or other program.

  3. Found this for the really frugal taxpayer….

    For 2005, it is free to download, print and NETFILE (asking for donations only).

    I used it.. works good enough although the T4 entry screen should have been a bit bigger so it showed the entry spot for pension amount.

  4. Canadian Capitalist

    Joe: I will check out studiotax. Thanks for pointing it out. “Free”/donation sounds enticing.

  5. Here is a complete list of 2005 CRA approved NETFILE software.

  6. Canadian Capitalist

    Barry: That is a great summary of the NETFILE options available. Thanks!

  7. Pingback: Which Tax Software?

  8. I have been using Taxfreeway fro more than three years now and am quite happy with the software.
    Prior to such, I used Taxwiz and was happy too only to find that it was bought by Intuit to cut down the competition.
    I am afraid that any cutting edge tax software such as this one may end up the same fade as Taxwiz.
    Lets hope that it will not be the case!

  9. I am a Mac addict. I used QuickTax for many years, and then Intuit bailed on QuickTax for the Mac in Canada. Tried TaxTron. Very unfriendly. Antiquated approach. Gave up. Tried TaxFreeway on trial, and bought it. So far, it works fine on my Mac. I am about to Netfile, so will see how it communicates with CRA.

  10. I have used computer tax programs for many years- Cantax, Ufile, Taxwiz, etc. and my top choice is TaxFreeway. All Canadian and the bargain basement price of $9.95 is incredible for this quality product. E-mail help is turnaround and efficient. Thanks to the guys who created it- they are true Canadians helping us through the annual tax maze.

  11. This package offers two things I have had a lot of problems finding. a) it runs on a Mac, and b) it has a Canadian version. For these reasons alone I would recommend it. Having tried the trial version, I purchased it and ran my tax prep bill for my family from almost $1,000 to $15 CDN (with a few hours work on my part). Good package.

  12. Thanks for the article!

    I’ve been communiting with TaxFreeway customer service and they’ve been quick to respond each time. I would to be able to use QuickTax, but like Jim Marin said, they bailed on a Mac friendly version, so why should I give them my money?! Plus, with TaxFreeway you can file up to 20 returns for less money, as opposed to paying $20 per return with QuickTax. And TaxFreeway supports all CRA forms, so I can file, my and my mother’s return, and she’s a pension collector. This is a first for me, I usually use H&R Block, so I’m looking forward to saving some money!

    Thanks again!

  13. I downloaded this software and upon launching the software I realized I had made a mistake and contacted TaxFreeway immediately for a refund. They are now giving me the run around and avoiding the return of my funds. I discovered too late that the company is not an established software firm but an individual working out of his basement in Markham.
    Use TurboTax !

  14. Blair,

    you seem fishy to me…actually an employee or wannabe employee of TurboTax..

    you seem a bit foolish too, you download it and then you want a refund right after that
    isn’t that a bit strange?

    Do not try to discredit the few canadians who atually do good work…lol

  15. The program got my wife as the one splitting of her pension income, when itr should be the other way around and I can’t find a way to switch. On the T1032 form it always return to my wife’s return! There is no place to get help if you are stuck this way.

  16. How can one change an entry? Do you get only one chance to fill in an amount, and then can’t change it??

    • You can change an entry at any time, but be sure to be on the original form where the entry was initially made.
      i.e. You can change your income on the T4 but not on the T1.

  17. TaxFreeway for Mac 2009 to 2013 product keys WANTED:

    I want to buy these from a person who has legitimate “product keys” to complete my tax returns for 2009 to 2013 (Mac).

    This is not prohibited: an owner of a product key can submit “Up to 20 tax returns.” I’d be 1 of 20.

    I’d need something from you showing that your copy is legitimate.

    I can pay you half-price: $8/yr (purchase new: $14.95 + taxes = $16 per year). 2009 to 2013 would be $40 for you.

    Need asap. Thanks!

  18. Reatha Siemens

    I successfully paid for tax freeway but could not get any further, one site said to click on a icon when there is not an icon to click on. Order ID mhp15089101216p72. I would like a refund.