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Today's tax software and applications do more than just let you calculate your income tax and send in your return. Most tax software programs include tax planning features so you can analyze different income tax scenarios. If your business is a sole proprietorship or partnership, you'll be able to use any of the Canadian tax software in this article. If your business is incorporated, your options are more limited as you need tax software specific to the T2 tax return.
All these Canadian tax software programs and apps are Canada Revenue Agency approved (and you don't want to use tax software or apps that aren't). There can be quite a difference in price, though, as you'll see in comparing costs of the versions of the software or web app that you would need to use the T1 tax form for a sole proprietorship or partnership. All prices are in Canadian dollars.
The Best Canadian Tax Software and Apps
Intuit Turbotax (Formerly QuickTax)
TurboTax is a user-friendly Canadian tax software program that lets you prepare your income taxes easily and quickly. The EasyStep Interview leads you through the tax preparation process by asking questions in plain English, and tax planning is a snap because of the ability to run multiple tax scenarios, and features such as the capital gains analyzer and incorporation analyzer.
- TurboTax Standard—families, students, and simple small businesses, up to eight returns—$39.99
- TurboTax Premier—for investments and rental properties, up to 12 returns—$79.99
- TurboTax Home & Business—consultants and small business owners, up to 12 returns—$129.99
- TurboTax 20 Returns—home and business, up to 20 Returns —$139.99
- TurboTax Business Incorporated—one corporate T2 return —$249.99
- TurboTax Standard—$19.99 per return
- TurboTax Premier—$34.99 per return
- TurboTax Self-Employed—$59.99 per return
The online editions do not do incorporate (T2) returns.
- TurboTax for iOS—free
- TurboTax for Android—free
There is now also a TurboTax Live product called Assist & Review that lets you talk to an expert about your taxes and get a final review of your Canadian income tax return before you file for $99.99 per return, and a TurboTax live Full Service product where Intuit's tax experts prepare and file your taxes for you.
Note that for sole proprietors all versions provide the basic T2125 form (statement of business activities) for nonincorporated businesses. For those that need it, the more expensive editions provide "expert guidance" in the form of an extended interview format for self-employment income and expenses.
Import options: TurboTax desktop will import data from QuickBooks.
TaxTron used to be GriffTax and is still the only fully functional user-friendly Canadian tax preparation software available in both individual (T1) and corporate (T2) versions for both the MacOS and Windows. All versions are quick, easy, and fully bilingual, using a step-by-step approach to guide you through the tax preparation and filing process.
- TaxTron Individual—one return of any income and up to 19 additional returns with total income under $31,000 each—$12.99 for Windows, $19.99 for MacOS
- TaxTron Family—Up to five returns with total income > $31,000 each and up to 15 additional returns with total income under $31,000 each—$24.99 for Windows, $39.99 for MacOS
- TaxTron Corporate—for corporate T2 —$99.99 for Windows or MacOS, free if you have a net loss for tax purposes
- Free web-based app for Canadian T2 tax returns—the company claims that "For CCPC companies with no income/expense/asset/liability during the year with single jurisdiction the web-application has facility to file a return in five minutes"
Import options: None
This Canadian tax software has two things going for it. The first is that GenuTax is free—and that includes future annual updates. (The website asks that users pay by modest donation.) The second is that you can prepare and file up to 20 tax returns for the current tax year and the past tax year. Some other tax preparation software programs designed for public use allow you to do fewer returns. As is common, you work through an interview process to complete your tax return.
The downside? You can't file a provincial return for Quebec with this software (you can still file a federal return), nor does it work for preparing corporate tax returns. A separate tax planning software, GenuTax Planner, is also available.
Cost: GenuTax Standard tax software download—pay by "modest donation"
Import options: None
While primarily designed as a high-end product for tax professionals, Cantax is suitable for any business that needs to process multiple T1 or corporate tax returns. Two of this Canadian tax software's best features are the Quick Entry screen, where you can enter the data from different forms onto a single screen, and the Pathfinder, which makes it easier to move between form(s) and the return.
- T1Plus Home Office—15 returns with single user license—$169.00
- T1Plus Home Office with EFILE—15 returns with single user license—$229.00
- T2 Pay Per File—$233.00 per return filed
- T2—$482.00 for three returns
For tax preparers, there are other editions available for processing large numbers of T1 or T2 returns. See Cantax Products.
Import options: Data from TurboTax or ProFile. CanTax also imports GIFI data from accounting software.
UFile for Windows
With this tax preparation software, you enter your income tax information using an interview interface. This Canadian tax program is capable of handling any kind of self-employment income and calculating capital gains and can be used by Quebec residents. There's a UFileT2 version for handling corporate tax returns, and UFile also offers online income tax preparation and filing.
- UFile 4 for Windows—4 returns with single user license—$22.99
- Online version of UFile for T1 returns—$19.99 per return (add spouse for $10.00)
- Online version of UFile for T2 returns—$153.95 per return
Import options: Data from H&R Block or TurboTax
There's a lot to like about this tax web app. The interface is elegant; the entire return is on one page; a smart search feature lets you find any form or deduction you need and add it to your return pronto; and your refund is calculated instantly and updated as you go. Part of your return can be auto-filled with information from the CRA, a built-in refund optimizer maximizes your refund, and SimpleTax has no problem handling self-employment, rental, or investment income. The only downside is that it can't be used for corporate tax.
Cost: Pay whatever you want to pay when you use it, including $0 if you wish.