Canada’s leading tax software product, QuickTax has been rebranded as TurboTax this year. Recently, I asked Intuit executives, Geoff Morgan and his colleague Cam Moore, about the name change and to provide us a rundown of what’s new this year. Here’s what I found:

  • The QuickTax name was changed to reduce confusion with TurboTax and to take advantage of TurboTax advertising spilling over into Canada. The underlying software remains the same and is still being developed in Edmonton and Mississauga.
  • TurboTax comes in four flavours: Basic (retails for $19.99), Standard (retails for $39.99), Premier (retails for $69.99) and Home & Business (retails for $99.99). All flavours allow users to prepare their taxes with either an interview method or directly using forms or switching back and forth between the two. The main difference between various product flavours lies in the range and sophistication of the interview process. For example, the Premier edition includes extra guidance if you sold stocks, bonds or mutual funds in 2010. But if you are comfortable preparing your taxes directly with the forms and don’t need any guidance, Basic should be sufficient for your purposes.
  • You can file up to 8 returns with Basic and Standard and up to 12 returns with Premier and Home & Business.
  • Two new features were introduced in TurboTax 2010: Mapping icons to provide taxpayers with a visual representation of where they are in the tax preparation process and setting flags to remind users of missing charitable donation slips, T-slips yet to receive etc. I can see the utility of the flagging feature because right now, I write down everything I need to double check and manually double check everything before netfiling.
  • The new solidarity tax credit (an average of $500 tax credit per household available to Quebec taxpayers who have registered for direct deposit) is supported in TurboTax. The software also supports automatic download of Relevés from Revenu Québec.
  • Features such as Life Changes Profiling, importing tax data from UFile or H&R Block, expanded support options (see What’s new in QuickTax 2009) and Audit defence ($39.99 for individuals and $49.99 for Incorporated, see What’s new in QuickTax 2008) introduced in past years are back again.
  • Mac users looking for a desktop product are out of luck once again and have to make do with TurboTax Online.
  • Qualifying tax payers may be able to file their taxes for free with the TurboTax Free or TurboTax Student through turbotax.ca. Military personnel who performed active duty overseas are eligible to file for free.

I haven’t had a chance to test drive TurboTax just yet, so watch for a future post on my impressions of the new features. TurboTax is available at Staples, Future Shop, Best Buy and other fine retailers. It can also be downloaded from turbotax.ca. Wal-Mart is selling TurboTax Standard for $29.97 ($10 off the retail price) until February 10, 2010.

This article has 16 comments

  1. try http://www.studiotax.com/en/main.htm its free for personal use, or give a donation.

  2. A few months ago my Windows Vista crashed in a completely unrecoverable way. I have since switched to using Kubuntu Linux (which appears much more stable) but recently realized that I can no longer file using QuickTax. Would you happen to know of anybody that is either making tax filing software that is Linux compatible or alternatively has a completely web-based application, in such a way that there is no resident application?

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  4. @Matt: I’ll be covering competing software products in future posts. I’ve written about StudioTax in the past.

    @Phil: There are plenty of web-based applications available. TurboTax offers one at turbotax.ca. We’ll cover competing web-based products in a future post. Here’s a list of 2009 programs:

    http://www.netfile.gc.ca/sftwr2010-eng.html

  5. Phil,

    Nearly all of the Tax Prep software packages are web-based now. http://turbotax.intuit.ca/tax-software/index.jsp. Or you could run one of the Windows emulators (e.g. WINE) for Linux to run your Windows apps.

  6. I still prefer to prepare my taxes on my own machine. I have no reason to believe that there are problems with the online versions, but I prefer to wait a few more years to hear if any problems come up. Thanks for the Walmart tip.

  7. Tip – For many of the web based products you do not need to pay until you want to print and/or file it with CRA. Last year was the first year that I used 2 different web products and they each presented me with different refund amounts. I ended up filing with the one that gave me a slightly bigger refund. I don’t know why there was a difference in refund amounts but if you are looking to maximize refunds, you can certainly try more than one web application.

  8. which one of these online packages is the cheapest to do an individual tax return? Mine isn’t too complicated jsut a few investments and dividends. Nothing else.

  9. I bought it recently and really like it. Been a QuickTax user for years, really enjoy the interface and the simplicity they launched with this year’s version. I just need those T5 statements to arrive and I’m on my way. Looking forward to your test drive review.

    Mark

  10. “Canada’s leading tax software product”
    No comparison nor even mention of other products.
    No critique of this product.

    This is an advertisement posing as an article.

    I guess that is what happens when you sell out to a co. like MoneySense.

    • @Joseph: First off, I’ve explicitly stated the policies under which this blog operates:

      http://www.canadiancapitalist.com/what-you-can-expect-on-this-blog/

      “Canada’s leading tax software product” — That’s not an opinion. It is a fact. TurboTax is the market leader. How do I know? I’ve heard it from many of its competitors.

      This post is exactly what I said it is: my notes from a meeting with Intuit executives. And I’ve mentioned that I’ll report back on my impressions with new features, which I can only do when I’ve had a chance to play with it. Next week, I’m running a post on my meeting with UFile executives. In the past, I’ve posted what I learnt from StudioTax people.

      http://www.canadiancapitalist.com/category/taxes/software/

      For about a year now, I’m operating under a partnership with MoneySense. There has been zero interference from MoneySense. Just as we had agreed. I wouldn’t have it any other way. You may say that all I have is my word, which is true. In this business, I’ve either earned the trust of my readers or I have not. I hope it is the former.

  11. @CC – You say ” “Canada’s leading tax software product” — That’s not an opinion. It is a fact. ”

    Is it? “Leading” in what measure?

    $sales? Number of units sold? Customer satisfaction? Software quality? Ability to maximize a refund? Ease of use?

    That has not been defined in your statement has it?

    [Insert country here]’s leading [insert product or service here] is marketing speak. No different than “new and improved” and so on.

    Is a “leading” product the best one in its class? Not necessarily. Often it is “leading” because it gets promoted.

    In my opinion starting of an article with this statement is similar to unabashed promotion.

    Interviewing company executives about their product is biased to start with, since they are paid to highlight the benefits of the product and paid to not mention the drawbacks.

    So to quote them is to provide a biased overview of the product. In this article you are being nothing more than a conduit for the information that they want to release to the market.

    You are definitely NOT being unbiased here.

    And also note that I did not say that MoneySense has interfered with you and writing your articles.

    But MoneySense makes money by advertising products and services. Therefore they cannot afford to upset the companies that pay for that advertising. Therefore there is implicit pressure to NOT say anything negative about those products and services. Therefore articles on Moneysense will be biased. Since you are on Moneysense – well I think you know what I mean….

    That is how media works. To deny it is to be naive or worse….

    I for one will very strongly maintain that some of your articles are biased, and that you are not free to write whatever you want.

  12. I for one have trust that CC’s articles are unbiased, and that he is free to write whatever he wants.

  13. @ CC: Please note:

    I did not say that your readers do not trust you
    I did not say that I do not trust you
    I did not say all your articles are biased

    But this is how I think you are taking it in your response to my OP.

    I do believe this article is biased and I mentioned it because I also believe most of your articles are NOT biased, making this one mention-worthy.

    I think your blog is valuable to its readers. For different readers, the value is different.

    For me, this value lies mostly in you making posts/announcements of industry news. New products, services etc.

  14. Fourth and its looking like the last time I use TurboTax. I finish entering all data then try to print the tax return and nothing happens. I try to save it to a PDF file and the same thing it just goes to the ready to send page. The support people have asked me what error messages appear and I tell them none come up it just goes to the send page. I know other people have had the same problem with saving to a PDF file or printing return,

  15. + for Studiotax. Would not use any other product.