Monday, February 8, 2010

Online Tax Filing and UFile Giveaway

The thought of filing taxes online raises some questions. Rather than do the typical review of the various tax packages available to Canadians, I thought I’d seek answers to questions about online tax filing. UFile was kind enough to answer my questions and provide a giveaway for readers.

The giveaway is a UFile family return suitable for a couple and their dependants. It can be used by a single individual as well. To enter the draw, send an email to the address in the top right corner of this blog. Entries must be received before Thursday at noon, eastern. The winner will be chosen at random among the entries and contacted by email.

When I first thought about filling out my income taxes online, a few questions came to mind:

1. Will my information be safe?

2. Will I be able to access my information again in future years?

3. If I have to refile my 2009 taxes in some future year, will I have to pay again?

Here are the answers I got from UFile:

1. Your tax data will be stored securely on UFile servers protected using encryption and strict security procedures.

2. UFile still maintains tax data back to the 1999 tax year. They may at some point remove very old data, but they will keep at least 10 years of tax information.

3. Once you have paid for the 2009 tax year, you won’t have to pay to access your data for that year again. Your 2009 information will remain available by password access.

The cost of UFile online tax filing is $15.95 plus sales tax for an individual, and $24.95 plus sales tax for a couple and their dependants. For individuals with an income of $20,000 or less, UFile is free. The same applies for a family, but the entire family’s total income has to be $20,000 or less to be able to file for free.

I’m interested in your experience with using UFile and any thoughts you have specifically on online tax filing rather than installing tax software on your own computer.

8 comments:

  1. Personally, I use Studio Tax, but I have used UFile in the past when my low income allowed free usage. I use StudioTax because it's free, but UFile is a decent product.

    I consider these programs commodities. I just don't think there's enough difference between them to recommend one over another other than price. There is, of course, a minimum quality level, and I imagine most products are "good enough".

    UFile has an interesting anomaly on pricing. You can buy a physical CD of the package at Future Shop for $19.99 that allows eight returns. This is cheaper than the online version if you plan to use it for more than one person, and only a little more expensive than filing one return online ($15.95). Seems to me they would want to steer people to the online version since there is no middle man or marginal production cost.

    gene

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  2. Gene: That is an interesting anomaly. I guess the target market for the online version is either single people or those who don't want the trouble of installing software on their PC.

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  3. I switched from QuickTax to UFile last year.

    The primary reason was the abysmal page loading speed for QuickTax, but UFile was also one of the few packages I tried that correctly handled spousal charitable donations and foreign withholding tax.

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  4. I used QuickTax Online one year and didn't have a problem with it. Having that information on their server creeped me out though.

    I have used Studio Tax for the last two years and will likely continue to use it.

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  5. i use UFile as well. i could never believe that a "free" program would have the technical resources to get all the optimizations correct, especially pension splitting where it was shown last year that splitting the max of 50% isn't always the best answer.

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  6. I switched from Quick Tax to UFile 2 years ago and just bought the 2009 package. In 2007, QT was priced at 39.95 and cut back the number of returns to 2 while UF, at 19.95 has allowed 8 all along. At first, I found QT to be a little easier to use but now get along well with UFile. I don't like the idea of "on line" storage so buy the packages at Future Shop .. Bob

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  7. I've used UFile for many years. CRA lists many netfile approved alternatives on their website.
    http://www.netfile.gc.ca/sftwr-eng.html

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  8. In an effort to stimulate the overall economy and R&G Brenner, as well help particular sectors that have been hard hit in the recent downturn, there are a lot of tax changes that have been implemented for 2009 and 2010 that taxpayers should be familiar with. If the taxpayer is using a professional tax preparation service, the service should be aware of all of the new changes, but otherwise it is up to the taxpayer to find out about them.

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