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.