The Best Tax Preparation Software

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It’s tax season! Those words can instill fear into the hearts of many Canadians because of how complicated it can be to understand and do taxes, but tax preparation software can ease the burden and help you get the job done. If you’re in Canada and looking to file your taxes more easily, there’s software out there that’ll make the process simpler and more accurate for you.

All the best tax preparation software you can find easily on Amazon comes from one trusted brand: TurboTax. We’ve put together this list of some of the different versions you can find from TurboTax for the 2020 tax season, based on your current life situations and who you need to do your taxes for. Keep in mind that most of these download options are for PC only, and while the CD’s will work on Mac computers, not all of them are equipped with a CD drive. We’re no tax experts, but we’ve put together a little guide for you at the end of the article to help you understand how tax preparation software can help you file your taxes, and what that process will look like. The pandemic last year also brought with it many changes, and because of that there’s some things you should keep in mind while you do your taxes — we’ll do our best to help you navigate the process.

1. Editor's Pick: Standard Digital Choice: TurboTax Standard 2020

1. Editor's Pick: Standard Digital Choice: TurboTax Standard 2020
  • Easy to use
  • Most popular option for individuals and families
  • Automatically searches over 400 tax deductions and credits to see if you’re eligible
  • Option to import last years tax slips

Key Specs

Platform: PC Download
Edition: Standard
Language: English

This is the version to get if you want to use a basic digital option to file your taxes — you won’t need to load any software with a CD, which is great for anyone with a laptop or PC without a CD drive. With the ability to file eight returns, you can make sure your whole family does their taxes accurately and efficiently.

2. Standard CD-ROM Choice: TurboTax Standard 2020

2. Standard CD-ROM Choice: TurboTax Standard 2020
  • Easy to install and use
  • A great choice for individuals or families, with the option of filing 8 returns
  • Will automatically search through tax deductions and credits that you could qualify for, saving you money and time
  • If you’ve used TurboTax before, it’s easy to import last years information

Key Specs

Platform: CD-ROM
Edition: Standard
Language: English

Some people prefer their software to be on a physical CD, and that’s okay too! You’ll get the same standard software as the first option listed here, but you’ll download the software with an included CD.

This program will ask you all about your life experiences, and then put that information in the correct spot to ensure you document all the credits and deductions you qualify for, without needing to work with a tax professional which could cost a lot of money.

If you’re using a laptop or computer without a CD drive, you won’t be able to use this one, so go for the previous digital model instead.

3. French Option: TurboImpôt De luxe 2020 [Téléchargement PC]

3. French Option: TurboImpôt De luxe 2020 [Téléchargement PC]
  • Easy to use
  • A great choice for French speaking families to do their taxes accurately
  • Guides you through the process step by step, and asks questions to make sure you’re getting the right credits and tax deductions
  • Auto fill with your previous years tax return for an even easier process

Key Specs

Platform: PC Download
Edition: De Luxe
Language: French

If French is your first language and you’d prefer to use a program in the language you’re most comfortable speaking, TurboTax has got you! This is the same standard edition software as our previously mentioned picks, but it will be in full French.

This is also a great option to purchase if you don’t have a CD drive, because you can download it right onto your PC. You’ll also be able to file eight returns, which is great for families who need to process multiple tax returns.

4. Best for Businesses: TurboTax Business Incorporated 2020

4. Best for Businesses: TurboTax Business Incorporated 2020
  • Easily and accurately helps you file your incorporated business tax return
  • Step by step instructions that will help you maximize your return
  • Helps you claim eligible business expenses
  • Alerts you to possible areas that could cause you to get audited

Key Specs

Platform: PC Download
Edition: Business Incorporated
Language: English

Filing taxes for a corporate entity? You’ll need tax preparation software that includes a corporate T2 tax return like this one.

This business version has the same step by step instructions that will help you receive all the deductions and credits you qualify for, and it’ll also help you claim any business expenses that might be eligible for; it’ll also flag areas of your return that might lead to a CRA audit.

While we’ve linked the PC download version here, if you’d prefer to receive your software on a CD that option is also available.

5. Best for Investors or Property Owners: TurboTax Premier 2020 [PC Download]

5. Best for Investors or Property Owners: TurboTax Premier 2020 [PC Download]
  • Perfect choice for investors and people who own property
  • Includes 12 returns
  • Asks you questions, and makes sure that information gets recorded in the proper spot on your return
  • Auto import last years information for a quicker process

Key Specs

Platform: PC Download
Edition: Premier
Language: English

This premier edition of TurboTax is intended for investors or property owners, and it’ll give you knowledgeable guidance on both your investment and rental property income and expenses.

In addition to those features you’ll get everything else that’s already included in standard, like step-by-step guides and information about deductions and credits you could qualify for.

6. Best for Home and Business: TurboTax Home & Business 2020, 12 Returns

6. Best for Home and Business: TurboTax Home & Business 2020, 12 Returns
  • Includes 12 returns
  • Ideal for self employed individuals, or anyone with a small or home-based business
  • Also includes everything you’d get in the Premier version

Key Specs

Platform: CD-ROM
Edition: Home & Business
Language: English

This option is ideal for anyone who is self-employed or who is a small business owner, and it will give you guidance on all your income and expenses from being self employed, or from running a home-based business on the side.

This option includes everything you’d get in the Premier option, which is the choice we just previously mentioned, so any investors and property owners out there could also benefit with this version if they have a business on the side.

We’ve linked the CD-ROM option here for you, but if you’d prefer a PC digital download you could always do that as well.

Advantages for Using Tax Preparation Software

Doing your own taxes is entirely possible these days — tax preparation software makes it easy to understand the whole process, and it will give you step by step instructions of the information you need to fill out. You won’t even need to worry about filling out the actual tax forms because this software will automatically do that for you, and then it will send it in to the CRA when you’re ready to file. Software like TurboTax makes it super easy for anyone with less complicated tax situations, but if you’re really unsure about how to do your taxes when you already have a complicated tax situation, it might be worth it to get a certified public accountant to do your taxes for you.

One of the biggest advantages to using tax preparation software is that it can save you lots of money that you might have spent hiring a tax professional; people who prepare your taxes for you will generally charge a fee based on how complicated your tax situation is, but software like this can help simplify the process enough that you could do it all yourself. This software also has your best interest at heart, and it will tell you all about the tax credits and deductions that you might qualify for and you may have missed while filling out your information.

Guide for E-Filing Your Taxes

There’s a general process for filing your taxes over the web, and that’s through NETFILE from the CRA; while you fill out your information on the tax preparation software, it’ll be automatically filling out your forms for you, and then those prepared forms get sent out through NETFILE for the CRA to review. You don’t need to upload any of your physical forms or receipts while you NETFILE, but you may be asked for them later if you get audited; be sure to keep all receipts and paystubs safely stored away in case you ever need it.

There are some tax situations where you won’t be eligible to NETFILE, for example you can only use this process if you’re filling out your own tax return, and not somebody else’s. You also can’t use NETFILE for things like reporting income that you made from an international company, or if your address is outside of Canada. For a full list of the restrictions, head on over to the Government of Canada website where you can read all about the different eligibility requirements to make sure you qualify for using tax preparation software like TurboTax.

Has Covid-19 Impacted Tax Season?

In short, yes! If you’ve received any income benefits from the Canadian Government, like CERB or CRB, these are all amounts that you’ll need to report on your tax return. Some individuals also might have interest relief because of Covid-19, depending on how much money you made in 2020. These editions of TurboTax are all ready to help you navigate these changes, and it will help you upload your information as accurately as possible. If you need additional assistance on reporting these numbers or figuring out if you qualify, you can always log onto the Government of Canada’s website to look over all the changes in detail.

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