Last year, I reviewed StudioTax, found it to be of very good quality and ended up Netfiling our taxes using it. Many Canadians seem to agree — StudioTax reports that more than 100,000 taxpayers used the software to file their returns in 2007. I asked the developer of the software for an update on what’s new for the 2008 tax year and here’s what I found:

  1. StudioTax now has the ability to split pension income for senior couples.
  2. Taxpayers can now print a PDF copy of their return without installing third-party software such as CutePDF. Those filing paper returns can select the forms they would like to print.
  3. The forms for inputting the T-slip information has been cleaned up. Reporting your share of interest, dividend and distribution income from joint accounts has been made automatic.
  4. StudioTax now automatically updates itself by checking if a later version of the software is available on the website.
  5. StudioTax has already received Netfile certification from the Canada Revenue Agency. The Netfile-certified version will be available on the website shortly.

The developers are hoping to have a Mac OS version of the software available for Apple users in the near future. Also in the works: software for filing Quebec provincial taxes.

The personal version of StudioTax is free, though the developers are asking for a donation to support their efforts. They are also diversifying by releasing an enterprise version of StudioTax for professional tax preparers. The enterprise version can be used to E-File tax returns. The first 20 returns are free but heavy-duty users are required to buy a license (cost $150) for unlimited returns.

This article has 26 comments

  1. I’m normally a QuickTax user. However, I went to the Financial Forum show here in Toronto a few weeks ago and UFile was handing out free samples. They also had it on display and it looked easy enough to use. I’m going to give it a try this year to see if I like them. Free seems to be a good price at least for a trial.

  2. After using Studio tax for my last two returns and trying many others, I recommend it as a great choice…the free part is just a bonus.

  3. I used studiotax last year and plan to again. I’ll be throwing some dollars his way.

  4. “Reporting your share of interest, dividend and distribution income from joint accounts has been made automatic.”

    This year my wife and I have moved to joint bank accounts (chequing and savings)… so how do I “split” the interest on something like that? Ideally I would just put it all under my name since I am a graduate student and I pay virtually no income tax, but I’m not sure how this would work.

  5. Big fan of Studio Tax… hard to beat free and it works just as well as any commercial software. New versions coming for Quebec and Macs is nice to hear, will mean anyone can use it!

  6. Xenko, the way interest is split on a joint account is determined by the percentage of money each person put into the account. So if you aren’t earning any income and the joint account never had any of your cash in it then the interest is taxed 100% in your wife’s hands. Even if you had a little bit of cash in the account to start out if you aren’t adding to the account but your wife is then more and more of the interest is going to be taxed in her hands, not yours.

  7. Thumbs up for this product. I have been a long time supporter.

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  9. I tried the income splitting thing on my return, 50% with spouse… and the half-amounts duly appeared on my T1, page 2, but nothing showed on my husband’s return, which is linked. Maybe it’s not supposed to, I don’t know, but I’ve e-mailed the Studio Tax team about it.
    Quick Tax will split income and show the right proportions on the two spousal returns, so I expected Studio Tax to work the same way.

  10. The answer is that you have to enter the same amounts on the other return as well.

  11. Arthur R. Giroux

    When will Studio Tax be available for my Mac OS-10 ?
    Should i wait to do my 08?

    • Canadian Capitalist

      My understanding is that a Mac version is doubtful for the 2008 tax year. Contact StudioTax and ask him directly if he is planning on making a Mac version available this year.

  12. I have just finished submitting my taxes using CuteTax Online, it works well for my Mac OS X, great!

  13. I find it impossible to input data to the T4A(P) form. I try to input box 20 taxable CPP benefit, box 21 number of months. The inputs jump up a row and months becomes about 10000 and dollars becomes 12. Also I have a T3 with dollars in Box 42. There is no box 42 on Studio Taxes T3 input form. My software is up to date.

  14. Frank – I had this problem, pointed it out to the Team at Studio Tax and they addressed it at once… they said that the programme does actually record the info. in the right place although the lines jump. It’s not an Update that you need, it’s what they rather quaintly call a “new build” of the programme. You go to the ST web and just download the programme again, the old one is uninstalled and everything works fine – at least it does now for me.
    The ST team is always very quick to respond to queries and problems – unlike some others we could name – so my advice is to go straight to them for answers.

  15. Thanks Cherry, I will try the fresh download. Hopefully there will be a box 42 on the T3 input form as well.

  16. Hi Frank: There won’t be a box 42 – it’s for Return of Capital, and you don’t have to report it. You’re supposed to keep track of those figures yourself and use them in your oh-so-honest way to reduce the Adjusted Cost Base of your shares/units/whatever they are. This increases your capital gain when you sell them, and that’s effectively when you pay the tax on the Return of Capital.

  17. I downloaded your free studio tax 2008, but I can not print out my returns , which I want to have a copy of and also
    send it to Revenue Canada by regular mail not efile.

    How can I do this?

  18. Contact Studio Tax at:
    I’m sure you’ll get a prompt reply.

  19. I’m a retired Tax man and love StudioTax; it even does my Farm statements. We do need a FORUM though, for users to help each other with questions. For example, “why does the CCA on T1175 not automatically transfer to T1163, and why is not the CCA calculated automatically?

  20. @nick12 I’m interested in this software too, and agree that forums or troubleshooting support may help, so I just set up a Get Satisfaction page for Studio Tax, it should be approved in the next couple of days. This is a simple support community website that anyone can add to, including the developer of the software if he so chooses.

  21. urban, I hope you’ll tell us soon where to go for that page; I like the idea.

  22. My previous comment with the address has been moderated, here it is:

  23. I can’t find box 34 (personal use of employer’s automobile) on the T4 page…

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