Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tax Time!

It’s that special time of year: Tax Time! NETFILE is open for business!
For many it is a dreaded time but for me it is time to start the tax refund dance!

Perhaps, if I did not have tuition credits, RRSP contribution and OSAP loan interest to deduct I may be dreading this as well.

This is also personal accountants most favourite and most hated time of the year. Many of us will walk, no run, to tax booths set up in malls much like during Christmas time gift wrapping booths are over crowded. Those smartie-pants accountants are going to be working long hours but also laughing all the way to the bank as they cash their hard earned cheques!

I am fortunate enough that thanks to my education, I can sincerely say that I know a bit about what I am doing and can handle my taxes thank- you- very- much!

I still choose to use a handy dandy software to help me along the way.

My choice for years now has been Turbo Tax Standard Canada, aka Quick tax.

Here is why?

1. I am lazy and I don’t want to have to look up my SIN and postal code(I actually know it, but typing it out involves too much work), I can easily transfer last year’s tax refund info to the new year. I click on a button and there it is, ready to go! Last year I used Quick Tax and their website assures me that Turbo will manage just fine to transfer my info.

2. Thanks to the twitter world, I found out that last week the software was on sale at Walmart and I picked it up for $28.99. My sister and I will share it and split the cost. Also, as we can file up to eight, >$25K income returns, we will try to share it with another friend or two to keep costs down.

3. It asks my simple questions and I answer them (well duh!). The guide is very simple to use and the questions are usually yes/no and multiple choice, allowing you to quickly navigate through the forms that apply to you. Have I mentioned, that I like easy?

4. I love the little chart in the corner showing my how my return is growing with every click. Now this applies to me right now, I will probably bear my teeth at it if it was going in the red.

5. RRSP optimizer! If you are prepared, and basically your employer sent you your T4 forms prior to the March 1st RRSP deadline, you can play with this tool to optimize your RRSP investment and tax return. This is a great tool if you are planning on taking out a short term RRSP loan to optimize your contribution. Again, it is a bit time sensitive depending on whether or not you have all of your ducks in a row early enough.

6. There are some audit guarantee and technical support options. If you need it, it is there. I haven’t personally used it, but it’s good to have the option.

7. The final check always finds one or two ways to optimize my return and makes sure I have filled out all of the forms. No thinking involved.

8. Three clicks and it is sent to the Tax man! I love the paperless and instant gratification of uploading my return. I don’t have to worry about it being lost in the mail and then waiting for it to be processed in Tax land. I also have the automatic deposit option and basically cash in my account in about two weeks. Bang Bang, thank you m’am!

One pet peeve, I can never find the form to input the rent I paid during the year. After a bit of searching it is generally easy to find.

Hopefully you are all finding an easy option to file your returns and are doing the happy-tax-refund dance with me!

How do you file? Paper and pen? Accountant? Software?

Ps. this is my personal opinion on the software of my choice.

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