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How to File Your Income Taxes for Free in Canada

How to File Your Income Taxes for Free in Canada

By Simon Hung

Tax season is almost here and the Canada Revenue Agency will start accepting tax returns for 2022 on February 20, with the deadline for most Canadian personal income tax returns falling on May 1, 2023.

The once-time-consuming chore has become a (mostly) painless experience in recent years thanks to NETFILE and easy-to-use software, with online filings accounting for over 90% of all Canadian tax returns.

There are several free programs available that can instantly file your return to the CRA, so you won't have to panic-file at the last minute à la Homer Simpson – here's a list of free NETFILE-certified tax programs you can use to file your tax returns this year.

No payment is required to file T1 personal tax returns with these programs, but some accept "pay what you want" donations after filing, including GenuTax and Wealthsimple Tax. Free programs offer a maximum of 20 returns per computer and most are fully-featured, but some offer paid upgrades to unlock additional features.

Historically, TurboTax and Wealthsimple Tax have been the top choices among RedFlagDeals readers, while other popular options from previous years – notably AdxTax and StudioTax – are still available for 2022-23, but now require a fee to file your taxes with the CRA.

Additional Tax Tips

  • All free programs offer a maximum of 20 returns per computer
  • Paper T1 tax forms are still available at Canada Post and Service Canada outlets
  • Low or fixed income Canadians have the option to file via telephone for free
  • The deadline for self-employed individuals to file their taxes is June 15
  • The CRA will never, ever, ever, ever call, text or email you for personal information or demand a payment with gift cards

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Editor's note: this article was originally published in 2016 and updated on January 19, 2023 with up-to-date options

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    • Intuit TurboTax Standard 2022, 8 Returns, English, Digital Download
      Item 7031500 Model 7087271
      No rating value average rating value is 0.0 of 5. Read 0 Reviews Same page link.

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      Write a review
      Price34.99$
      E-delivery
      Features:
      Digital Download
      Ideal for families with common tax deductions
      Can be installed on up to three computers
      Activation via the internet is required
    • Report Post
    • If Basic4($20.69) worked fine in your situation, i.e. SIMPLE TAX return, no need to get Standard8 ($34.19). Check the (compare) Product features and benefits 1/3 down the page of the following link to see if u want to pay for the extra for the "added features". If u are allowed to install software on 2 computers, u can always buy the 8 returns, then "share cost" with someone. https://turbotax.intuit.ca/tax/software/download

      REMINDER: Turbo Tax ONLINE is still free for SIMPLE TAX returns. I can't find the income limit for Canadians. Sample listing of "simple return" situations can be found on same page https://turbotax.intuit.ca/tips/how-to- ... -canada-47.
      I cant find where it say you can install on 2 computers ..am i blind?
    • Report Post
    • Question for anyone that may know, last year I bought Turbotax Basic ($20.69) - to do taxes for our family, wife and minors. Worked fine.
      Would I benefit in any way to pay the extra $15 to get Standard ($34.19)? Do the better prompts/additional feature(s) make it easier for me to claim more credits, at LEAST to cover the difference in cost?

      Thanks
      If Basic4($20.69) worked fine in your situation, i.e. SIMPLE TAX return, no need to get Standard8 ($34.19). Check the (compare) Product features and benefits 1/3 down the page of the following link to see if u want to pay for the extra for the "added features". If u are allowed to install software on 2 computers, u can always buy the 8 returns, then "share cost" with someone. https://turbotax.intuit.ca/tax/software/download

      REMINDER: Turbo Tax ONLINE is still free for SIMPLE TAX returns. I can't find the income limit for Canadians. Sample listing of "simple return" situations can be found on same page https://turbotax.intuit.ca/tips/how-to- ... -canada-47.
    • Report Post
    • Question for anyone that may know, last year I bought Turbotax Basic ($20.69) - to do taxes for our family, wife and minors. Worked fine.
      Would I benefit in any way to pay the extra $15 to get Standard ($34.19)? Do the better prompts/additional feature(s) make it easier for me to claim more credits, at LEAST to cover the difference in cost?

      Thanks
      Probably not if your taxes are not that complicated. You should try out using Studiotax to see what yiu could have missed. It is free to download and try it. You can enter all the data for free. You just can not Netfile or print. If you like it, it is only $15 for up to 10 returns.
    • Report Post
    • Question for anyone that may know, last year I bought Turbotax Basic ($20.69) - to do taxes for our family, wife and minors. Worked fine.
      Would I benefit in any way to pay the extra $15 to get Standard ($34.19)? Do the better prompts/additional feature(s) make it easier for me to claim more credits, at LEAST to cover the difference in cost?

      Thanks
    • Report Post
    • TurboTax Standard on sale for $32.98 at Walmart until next Wednesday
      It's $33.99 at SDM and tomorrow is the last day. If you have coupon like "redeem and get 40% points back", then it's a very good deal. I bought some on-sale shampoos with Turbotax to get it to $40, redeemed 40K points and got back 16K. So it's like paying $6 (tax) and 24K points for a Turbotax plus couple of shampoo bottles
    • Report Post
    • StudioTax for Android is free and on Google Play.

      Your text to link here...
      So like .0000001% of rfders qualify for the free edition

      Who even cares when theres so many other actually freeoption out there

      The fact that you even have to pay money to manage money that was taken from you to begin with is ridiculous
    • Report Post
    • If anyone does any self directed investing, https://www.easyacb.ca is good for keeping track of adjusted cost base. There is a $10 off promo by using FIRSTYEAR10OFF.
    • Report Post
    • One more thumb up for Wealthsimple Tax. Superior program and you can donate to support their team.
    • Report Post
    • TurboTax Standard on sale for $32.98 at Walmart until next Wednesday
    • Report Post
    • Any comments on Turbo Tax desktop alternatives that do a good job with filing the spouses return too? Right now Turbo Tax desktop can do the spouses return in the same file and cross post all the necessary numbers but they won't allow me to split donations between the two of us, I have to override the form and then it's no good for eFile.
    • Report Post
    • ive used studio tax for 7-8 years, never a problem! a few $$ is cheap!
      $15 isn't cheap. At least not to a "true RFDer" ,lol.
    • Report Post
    • For those of you who fill out the paper forms for free, federal CRA employees are still not emptying drop boxes due to Covid so you have to mail them in. Maybe we can hope that by April they'll go back to work in person.
      There are only a couple of drop boxes open in Canada, The remainder are closed/sealed. CRA cite covid as the reason, but an insider told me that management and employees both like the "work from home" concept. And they're being very creative in ways to keep them from returning to the office, despite the new Federal mandate. This may explain why my adjustments requests (not covid related) which normally has a service standard of around 6 weeks have taken more than 157 weeks.
    • Report Post
    • You strategically skimmed down ? Hopefully you know that bracket percentage only apply above the threshold, and you woud have gain more money ?
      Oh yeah, I meant I put the amount that would have stuck out like a sore thumb in the next highest bracket...Yeah, English isn't my first language lol...
    • Report Post
    • I use this for tax planning: http://www.ees-financial.com/img/upload ... r-2022.htm

      I'm sure there are better tools, but I'm very lazy. When I worked, I strategically skimmed down to the next lowest bracket.

      Your notice of assessment and CRA site should show you how much room you have left. I regret maxing my RRSP. I needed to room to buffer out massive tax rates but I had no room available when I yanked a big account that turned into income lol...

      Always max the TFSA though. You never know when you have to use that RRSP, cuz life is unpredictable. How would I know we'd hit 0.25% interest rates?
      You strategically skimmed down ? Hopefully you know that bracket percentage only apply above the threshold, and you woud have gain more money ?
    • Report Post
    • Yes, overall it's still cheaper than $30 for TurboTax at Costco. And their support is superior. I don't mind to pay the annual fee.
      It's now 35$ at Costco
    • Report Post
    • @ADenarius Thanks.
      Weird that they talk about a money back guarantee on the landing page.
      I think they encourage, but don't require, donations.

      Edit: We've got a myriad Wealthsimple Tax users so they can confirm. I've always used Genutax cuz I'm data-paranoid. Maybe I'll do a dev project later to make a Linux option available (way later).

      Edit 2: There is a paid upgrade option: https://help.wealthsimple.com/hc/en-ca/ ... time%20fee.
      How much does it cost to use Wealthsimple Tax?
      Wealthsimple Tax is free to use, although you can upgrade your return by purchasing an upgraded support package for a one-time fee.
      Upgraded return features and how to use them
      https://help.wealthsimple.com/hc/en-ca/ ... 0002719881
    • Report Post
    • @ADenarius Thanks.
      Weird that they talk about a money back guarantee on the landing page.
    • Report Post
    • Does SimpleTax charge you to file the return?
      https://www.wealthsimple.com/en-ca/tax
      The hassle-free, worry-free, and actually free tax filing platform.

      Get started
      Free yes, hassle-free, most likely, worry-free ehhh not for me.
    • Report Post
    • Does SimpleTax charge you to file the return?
    • Report Post
    • Have any for T2?
    • Report Post
    • I like Turbota - (used be Quick Tax). Free if you use online version and fill out your details from scratch each year. If you use last years saved return to save time, it will cost you.
    • Report Post
    • SimpleTax (now WealthSimple) is freeand excellent as well
    • Report Post
    • CRA link for all Certified tax software

      https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency ... ogram.html

      Paid products and products with free offerings
      Tax software Certified

      Tax years 2023
      myTaxExpress
      StudioTax
      CloudTax
      EachTax.com
      TaxTron
      UFile
      eFile Canadian Tax Return (Apple)
      TaxFreeway for iPa
      TurboTax for iPhone, iPad 202
      fastneasytax.com
      Tax Chopper Online
      TaxFreeway for Windows
      WebTax4U.ca
      TaxTron for Windows
      TurboTax Windows
      FutureTax for Window
      myTaxExpress for Mac
      TurboTax for Android
      StudioTax for Windows
      AdvTax
      TaxFreeway for Mac
      eFile Canadian Tax Return (Android)
      CloudTax Plus for Apple.
      UFile ONLINE
      TurboTax Free
      TurboTax Online
      All url link here https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency ... ogram.html


      ie free
      Genutax
      https://www.genutax.ca/
      Taxman
      http://taxman.coolpage.biz/
      Cloudtax
      https://cloudtax.ca/

      note from CRA website "The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) does not look at the privacy policies of software developers. It is your responsibility to research these policies before buying or using a software product or web application. "
    • Report Post
    • That's one thing I miss from either CanTax or QuickTax (sorry, I can't recall which one had it). There was a slider that allowed you to immediately see the impact of changing the RRSP contribution for the year. I found it useful for tweaking the amount claimed so as to bring taxable income down to the top of a lower tax bracket, thus saving the remaining RRSP deduction for higher brackets in subsequent years.
      I use this for tax planning: http://www.ees-financial.com/img/upload ... r-2022.htm

      I'm sure there are better tools, but I'm very lazy. When I worked, I strategically skimmed down to the next lowest bracket.

      Your notice of assessment and CRA site should show you how much room you have left. I regret maxing my RRSP. I needed to room to buffer out massive tax rates but I had no room available when I yanked a big account that turned into income lol...

      Always max the TFSA though. You never know when you have to use that RRSP, cuz life is unpredictable. How would I know we'd hit 0.25% interest rates?
      If you have enough cash , you can contribute into your RRSP now, but you don’t have to deduct this year and carry the unused contribution to future year when you have higher income to save more tax.


      You can use this site to play around to see where the brackets are and how much you should contribute:

      https://www.rrspcontribution.ca/
      So you can see how much RRSP contribution room is available to you on your notice of assessment, it will carry over any amounts you do not use in the year. As to higher income in future years, that is more of a tax planning consideration. If you want to play around with StudioTax, you can input RRSP contributions and see at what amount does your taxes become $0.
      Thanks everyone. This is really helpful. Will play with some numbers and figure out.
    • Report Post
    • To those who think wanting to keep the most precious data of your financial life private is "tin foil."

      It's not that your tax data is insecure at wealthsimple etc per se. It's what ties your information to your stored data that will be up for grabs first.

      Even the biggest tech companies & fintech get leaks regularly. Your SIN leakage alone will keep you busy handling cases and courts and law enforcement and credit bureaus for decades (look up Desjardins leak, people's lives have been upside down until now!)

      Not to mention who knows what wealthsimple etc do with your data for analytical purposes affecting your financial life in areas that you wouldn't even know immediately.

      Warning people is good, in my humble opinion.
      You pretend as though everyone's data hasn't already been leaked or sold already though. You'd be very naive to think that. It's alot of wasted effort at this point to spend any time trying to protect yourself because your phone, credit card, credit bureaus, online stores have all been tracking and selling your data for decades. Let alone all the breaches that have happened as well. It's also interesting that you think the CRA has no way of getting hacked as well.
    • Report Post
    • So when will our forms be available on the CRA?

      /Too lazy to look...
      Should be showing up after Feb
    • Report Post
    • After decades of Turbotax, I tried Wealthsimple for the first time.
      I like the interface a lot.

      I think I will do my returns in both this year and, if it works out, change to Wealthsimple for next year.
    • Report Post
    • So when will our forms be available on the CRA?


      /Too lazy to look...
    • Report Post
    • Random question, is there any way to import from TurboTax to any of these?
    • Report Post
    • I've seen Turbotax at SDM stores.
      Do SDM stores carry Ufile?
      Nope.

      Wal-Mart
    • Report Post
    • The 2022 Wealthsimple Tax is out!

      You can start to mess with the numbers already. NETFILE opens on February 20th.
      link?

      Is account required to play with numbers?
    • Report Post
    • The 2022 Wealthsimple Tax is out!

      You can start to mess with the numbers already. NETFILE opens on February 20th.
    • Report Post
    • I've seen Turbotax at SDM stores.
      Do SDM stores carry Ufile?
    • Report Post
    • We also use our Optimum points to get Turbo Tax. Before COVID, they put this on sale at Loblaws company of stores: previous sale at RCSS was $29.98 plus 5000 optimum points.

      Costco may also have a weekend sale in February when they reduce by $3-$5.
      got mine today at SDM. 39.99 with some filler to get it up to 60.
      then at 20x pts i got back 20 bucks. win/win.

      until i do my taxes. lol
    • Report Post