Tax Software Face Off

Why should you use tax software? As the parent of a disabled child there are a lot of extra credits and deductions available to you. Not all of them are straightforward. Many of the credits interplay with other credits. For example, attendant care expenses and child care may reduce the disability tax credit supplement. The fitness tax credit and the children’s arts tax credit add $500 to the total as long as you spend at least $100 in either category. In addition there is the family tax cut (not a disability related item) which I understand has as many as 85 individual steps to follow. The days of doing your taxes on paper are quickly coming to an end.

I normally use the most popular tax program in Canada which is TurboTax. It has worked well for me and it’s easy to understand. This year however, for the first time some of the leading tax products are offering their software for free.

Foremost among them is H&R tax. Their online product is now free with no restrictions. I tried it out for comparison sake and whilst I found it worked, I had to make three passes through the data entry before it accepted everything I entered. It’s not quite up to the level of TurboTax in terms of user-friendliness, however you cannot get cheaper than free. Other free programs are available (click here for the full list).

I gave another free product, SimpleTax a run through and found it interesting. It’s a pay by donation product ($0 if you wish). I don’t recommend this product especially for people filing disability claims for the first time. Many of the entries required a manual input of tax credits which may be slightly beyond the capabilities of first time filers.

For me, TurboTax is still the product to beat. It has a step by step procedure and offers extensive help for every entry point. You can buy it just about anywhere (I picked up my copy at Costco for about $28). The online version is $18, but you will pay extra for a spousal return. The CD version will process up to 8 returns.

The free software presents an ideal opportunity for some parents to test their tax capabilities. If you are nervous about your taxes and insist that an accountant do them for you, this is your chance to find out what you can do. Once the accountant completes your taxes, use some of the free software to do it yourself and compare the result. Maybe this will give you the confidence to take over next year.

The big question is how do you know if your chosen product has correctly processed all the disability related items?

Next week I will post a simple tax preparation checklist for you to follow to ensure you are getting your entitlements.

8 thoughts on “Tax Software Face Off”

  1. I always use Turbo Tax and I share it with my friends as it can be installed in 2 computers for up to 8 to 12 returns.

    1. I have not tried UFile, but it is certainly a popular program and I’m sure that it will serve your disability needs. We would be pleased to hear your review after you do your taxes.

  2. Hi, I would like to ask you guys about this; I have never used any tax software and my income is low, that’s why I use there cheap accountant who is do income tax for me for $30 each year. and this year, my child has diagnosed as ASD. I already applied for ASDfunding and continuing looking for the treatment, teaching.

    1. I would like to know, what kind of benefits can I get and how? (I already understand that in my case my child can get disabled tax? what else?)
    2. using those software($28 is really cheap and I pay $30 each year), can I do my own income tax each year? as well is those are new user friendly?

    I found your website since my child got diagnosed and read a lots of use full information. Thanks and god bless your ASD child. Thank You!

    looking for you guy’s reply, Thanks in advance!

  3. Hi. Having an accountant do your taxes for $30 sounds like a pretty good deal to me. You can certainly take up the challenge of having an accountant do your taxes and then follow up with your own free tax software to compare the results.

  4. You could also look for additional support through supported childcare, your local child development center, apply for respite coverage or check out some of the charities on my website. If your child is of school age there should be some support in the system although this varies greatly from district to district.

    Good luck

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