The Best Canadian Tax Software and Apps

The Best Tax Software and Online Apps for Canadian Small Businesses

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 the comparison cost of the version of the software or web app that you would need to use the T1 tax form for a sole proprietorship or partnership.

01
Intuit Turbotax (Formerly QuickTax)

woman entering income tax receipts
Image (c) PeopleImages/ Getty Images

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.

Desktop Editions:

  • TurboTax Standard (home, consultants, and small businesses - up to 8 returns - $34.99)
  • Turbotax Premier (for investments and rental properties - up to 12 returns - $74.99)
  • TurboTax Home & Business (consultants and small business owners, up to 12 returns - $119.99)
  • TurboTax 20 Returns (Home & Business + up to 20 Returns - $139.99)
  • TurboTax Business Incorporated (one corporate T2 return - $249.99)

Online editions:

  • 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 corporate (T2) returns.

Mobile editions:

  • TurboTax for iOS (free)
  • TurboTax for Android (free)

There is now also a Turbotaxlive product called Assist and Review Self-Employed 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 $119.99 per return and a Turbotaxlive Full Service Self-Employed 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 non-incorporated 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.

Imports: data from UFile, QuickBooks, Quicken.

02
TaxTron

TaxTron screenshot
TaxTron

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 Macintosh OS 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.

Editions:

  • TaxTron Individual (1 return 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 5 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 Coporate (for corporate T2 returns - $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 5 minutes"

Imports: none

03
GenuTax

young man working on income tax
Image (c) Iaartist/ Getty Images

This Canadian tax software program has two things going for it that really appeal to me. 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 use this tax software if you live in Quebec or 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".

Imports: none

04
Cantax

mature man working on income tax
Image (c) Courtney Keating/ Getty Images

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 features that I really like are the Quick Entry screen where you can enter the data from different forms onto a single screen and the Pathfinder that makes it easier to move between form(s) and the return. 

Editions:

  • T1Plus Home Office (15 returns with single user license - $149.00)
  • T1Plus Home Office with EFILE (15 returns with single user license - $149.00)
  • T2 Pay Per File ($199.00 per return filed)
  • T2 ($418.00 for 3 returns filed)

For tax preparers, there are other editions available for processing large numbers of T1 or T2 returns, see Cantax Products.

Imports: data from TurboTax or ProFile. Can also import GIFI data from accounting software.

05
UFile for Windows

woman entering income tax receipts
Image (c) PeopleImages/ Getty Images

Essentially with this tax preparation software, you enter your income tax information using an interview interface. This Canadian tax software program has the capability to handle any kind of self-employment income and calculate 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.

Imports: data from H&R Block or TurboTax.

Cost: UFile 4 for Windows (4 returns with single user license): $22.99 CAN

Online version of UFile for T1 returns: $17.99 CAN per return (add spouse for $10.00 CAN)

Online version of UFile for T2 returns: $146.25 per return

 

 

06
SimpleTax

Woman doing taxes online

Image (c) Jamie Grill Photography/Getty Images

 

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.