In this article, I’ll review SimpleTax which is one of the premium free online tax return software in Canada.
Tax filing can be very overwhelming as most of us approach doing these taxes with a feeling between anxiety and absolute awe.
Therefore it is quite common to see Canadians looking for different options to make filing their taxes simpler.
Thankfully, wide varieties of tax software programs are now available online to do the most difficult part of the job for us. Interestingly some even do the work for free.
Apart from relieving you of the stress that comes with filing taxes, one of the major benefits of using tax software and filing taxes yourself is to save cost. Filing your own taxes helps to add up savings over the year.
So If you intend to file your own taxes this year, you should consider using the SimpleTax app for your tax filings.
This free online tax software is very easy to use, and more importantly, designed to deal with issues ranging from basic returns to more complex tax difficulties such as investments, self-employment, and rental income. In simple words, this application gets the task done for most Canadians.
I’ve covered the top features, comparison, pricing and everything you need to know about SimpleTax. Let’s get started.
SimpleTax was designed and introduced to Canadians as of 2012 and ever since then have been growing into a household name as the year passes.
It was founded by a designer named Jonathan Suter, alongside his wife Allison, and friend Justin Reynen who is also a tax lawyer and developer.
The company later acquired in September of 2019, by a Canadian Robo-advisor giant called Wealthsimple.
However, the model remained unchanged and the SimpleTax experience continues to favour the general public.
It is expected that with Wealthsimple onboard, users are soon to experience a lot of modern and sensational modification in the years to come.
One of the things people love about SimpleTax is the provision of standard functionalities of tax software programs for free while at the same time delivering in a way that’s incredibly easy to understand.
Features of SimpleTax
The 2020 version of SimpleTax is available for download so let’s have a look into what the software has to offer to users.
Once again, SimpleTax is entirely free to use, although an option is always provided to make a donation once you’ve completed your tax return and ready to file.
Completely free (with donation option)
Direct and easy-to-use interface
Quick refund processing
Auto-Fill My Return
Import previous year’s return
Immediate Refund Tracking
Investments, self-employment, and rental income can be handled
Easy to use
SimpleTax is easier to use because of its one-tier. Multiple tiers present on some tax software programs tend to confuse things ultimately leading to confusion.
SimpleTax running software is NETFILE approved. This implies that one can easily transfer completed tax return to CRA directly form SimpleTax in just a few minutes. It is stated that fast processing of the refund, as well as an extra benefit, comes along with NETFILE
Auto-Fill My Return
With the Auto-Fill My Return more than half of your tax information can be automatically filled from CRA by SimpleTax.
This helps to save time since you’re not manually uploading your data from the multiple tax slip. However, to enjoy this feature, you need an active CRA My Account.
Not only can you upload your personal data, details such as your previous year’s tax info, spouse and/or child information can also be uploaded.
Instant Refund Tracking
SimpleTax helps to monitor your refund simultaneously as you fill out your return. This helps to paint the perfect picture of your taxation at all times.
In addition, a tool called the refund optimizer is available and mostly comes in handy in identifying several deductions and credits which will ultimately help you save tax, and get a larger refund.
The Re-File is an online aid found on SimpleTax that helps to make necessary adjustments to tax returns that have been filed already.
One of the things that make this feature unique is the ease of usage by users in making corrections and seeing possible changes to that effect.
However, not all information can be changed by Re-File. Information on the first page of your T1 General Return, such as address and marital status cannot be changed.
Handles Complex Tax Situations
Unlike most free tax software who handle simple tax situations only, SimpleTax is known to handle more complex tax situations such as multiple income streams, self-employment, or rental income.
In layman terms, all situations that may arise from you filling your tax can be handled and processed with SimpleTax.
However, if you have a more complex tax structure such as foreign income, corporation, or properties, dealing with a tax professional is best for you.
Benefits of The SimpleTax Tax Return Software
1. Smart Search
SimpleTax has this smart search feature that is built-in to the software and allows you to search for the right information and that too with ease (the information you’re looking for or need).
You’ll not know everything about tax filing, that’s completely normal and that’s where this feature and SimpleTax wins. It is really good to try it once.
No more hunting for the right form, deductions or credit, smart search box lets you type almost anything to instantly add it to your return.
2. Step By Step Guidance
By just answering a few simple questions you can possibly add every credit in your tax return.
Also, the SimpleTax software provides you with a step by step guide to make your tax filing experience fun, easy and fascinating.
3. Auto-Fill Tax Return Form
SimpleTax software can auto-fill part of your tax return with information directly from CRA.
It’s easy, accurate, and too good to be true. The best part it works!
4. Award-Winning UI Design
The UX design of SimpleTax software is really simple, outstanding and award-winning.
The screens are designed in a way that the page would need no refresh for a long time.
Also, all of your tax calculations are done on a single page and getting to see your refunds is a lot easier.
5. Instant Refund Optimizer
Another great feature of SimpleTax is that it has a refund optimizer built-in to the software.
Here’s how it works – The refund optimizer runs multiple calculations to maximize your tax return.
The refundOptimizer provides you with the best of tax credits.
Tax Credits such as :
Amount of home buyer’s
Amounts of Canada’s caregivers.
Previous year losses
Labour-sponsored fund by Quebec FTQ
Labour-sponsored fund by Quebec CSN
Gifts and Donations
Interest on student loan
Expenses of home stability
Amount of provincial caregiver
Childcare credit by Québec
Expenses of provincial arts and fitness
Personal tax credit Manitoba
Reduction of provincial tax and a lot more
All of these and many more tax credits can be applied to maximize your refunds.
SimpleTax Software Guarantee
SimpleTax gives you a 100% guarantee that you’ll get the maximum tax refunds filing taxes with them.
The software also claims to be 100% accurate and ensures you’ll have the maximum refund amount.
1. 100% Accuracy
Software calculations of SimpleTax are 100% guaranteed and accurate.
To top it up, the company gives you the assurance that if you face any of fines or penalties by CRA because of an error in the calculation of the return, the company will owe you a total refund.
2. Maximum Refund Assured
SimpleTax software is sure to give you the maximum refund and the creators of the software claim that if you succeed in finding someone who gives you a better refund than SimpleTax, then you’ll get your money back.
3. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
The software platform of SimpleTax is built very robust right from scratch.
It is also claimed to satisfy you to the fullest in terms of filing your taxes, and if it fails to do so, then you owe them nothing and still get your tax return filed.
This feature of SimpleTax is something that can never be compared to any other software currently in the market.
SimpleTax Software Features
Now let’s look at some of the best and the most important software features of SimpleTax which we haven’t discussed before:
1. Pay as you like
SimpleTax software has no restrictions on the amount you pay them (will talk about this in just a bit); neither does it put any income limits and has a no catch policy.
That’s because SimpleTax strongly believes in creating a project that customers like and prefer.
So the end donations you’ll pay will help them keep the project alive and further enhance the features.
2. Faster Refunds
6. UX Designed with Attention
SimpleTax has been featured in some of the best Canadian magazines, newspapers, and news channels, showing its excellence in serving people.
It’s been featured in (just to name a few):
• CBC News
• The Globe and Mail
• Financial Post
• Canadian Business
• Everything Zoomer
• The Vancouver Sun
How to Use The SimpleTax Tax Return Software?
After getting to know the features and benefits of the SimpleTax software, now let’s look at how to use them.
Using SimpleTax for filing your tax return is pretty easy and quick. I’ll run you through each of the important pointers here:
1. About You
The first step is to fill out the about you section and provide basic information about yourself.
It is recommended that you’ll sign up.
Doing so, the system will save your data for further use or for next year tax filing.
2. Your Taxes
Once you have completed the about you section, the next step is to fill in your tax details by using the “Your Taxes” dialogue box located under the “About You” section.
There are multiple ways you can fill in the taxes.
3. You can Autofill the information directly from the CRA
Or you can search and add things. If you are completely unaware, then you can answer a few questions to get yourself started to fill in the details.
4. Final Review before submitting
After you have completed the taxes section you will get the “review” section.
Here you’ll have to click on the “Check and Optimize” button.
The suggestions, warnings, and errors will be indicated in grey, yellow and red colours respectively.
You can ignore the grey and yellow ones, but you need to correct the errors to move forward.
Just follow the instructions, and you will be all set to complete your return.
5. Summary Section
We are almost the end of filing your return.
In the summary section of your tax return, you can get a line by line tax summary at any time you’ll need during the form filling.
The “Summary” section is located on the main menu on the left-hand side.
The arrow under “Amount” will give expand the complete breakdown of the return.
Likewise the arrow under “Documents” will enlarge and collapse the paper forms provided if any.
6. Final Tax Submission
There are lots of tax return software out there and we are certain you must have heard about one of the most popular out there; the TurboTax.
How does SimpleTax level up against TurboTax? Well, both applications have lots of features to offer, however, there are some unique differences on both sides. So let’s have a look!!
Unlike SimpleTax, TurboTax is not entirely free. TurboTax has four grades at four different price levels
TurboTax Free ($0)
Self Employed ($44.99)
SimpleTax is far superior when compared with the Turbo Tax-free. This is because SimpleTax has a great user interface and enables you to automatically import your information into your return, a feature only available with paid versions of TurboTax.
Without disputing how easy users find TurboTax to use, the user interface of SimpleTax is certainly better especially if you are filing a very basic return.
When it comes to the paid versions of TurboTax, a lot of features you won’t get on SimpleTax are readily available. The amount paid for these features definitely worth the value being offered provided all your tax return needs are met.
For instance, if you are looking to ensure that your savings are fully optimized, purchasing an audit defence add-on, and getting a TurboTax professional check your return will get the job done.
Additionally, as a business owner, the highest price level of the TurboTax paid version; the Self-Employed tier offers great value in filing your business tax return.
It is loaded with additional information and specialized advice to help maximize all of your possible credits and write-offs. If you find the extra guidance and features crucial to you, this is where TurboTax wins.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is SimpleTax Safe to use?
It is important to know how safe it is to input your personal and financial information online and so It’s not out of the ordinary for you to know if the software is well secured
Honestly, you have no reason to worry as SimpleTax takes its user’s privacy extremely seriously. The app makes use of the highest levels of encryption when classifying and transferring the data into your income tax return.
As additional security, the NETFILE feature on the app also makes use of top security encryption possible. For more details about security, you can always check on their page.
2. Is SimpleTax the Right Choice for Me?
If you’re like the majority of Canadians whose tax situations are fairly straight, SimpleTax is one of the best options for you out there. It is easy, reliable, fast, and free!!
However, If your tax returns are highly complex meaning you operate a trust, own foreign property, or draw income for a corporation, SimpleTax isn’t best for you.
Getting a tax professional gets the job done, however, may charge more but you still get to save on the long run
3. Can I use SimpleTax even when I’m not a resident in Canada?
The answer is NO. People outside Canada are subjected to the NETFILE restriction. Furthermore, if you are in Canada on a working holiday visa or a deemed resident, you won’t be able to make use of SimpleTax.
However, some certified software products that support non-resident and/or deemed residents are available but returns are expected to be printed and mailed.
4. Can professional tax preparers make use of SimpleTax?
Sadly No. With SimpleTax being NETFILE certified, its model is designed to help those preparing their own taxes. Because of this, SimpleTax has a required NETFILE limit of 20 returns on a single account.
In order to help others prepare their returns, and EFILE certified product is what you need to get
5. When will I get my tax refund?
Returns files online are typically processed within 2 weeks after submission. However, if you’ve registered for a direct deposit, you get your returns faster; a maximum of eight days. Also, if it is a cheque you’re expecting, you will have to wait a little longer as it takes up to four to six weeks.
6. Is SimpleTax available in all provinces?
Yes!! SimpleTax is available in all districts including Québec!
Can I use SimpleTax? I’m filing my taxes for the first time?
Yes! First-timers are allowed by the CRA to file and submit their returns online utilizing NETFILE.
What are the exclusions to using SimpleTax?
As mentioned earlier, SimpleTax follows all NETFILE restrictions. AgriStability/AgriInvest Programs are not supported by SimpleTax.
There you go, that was my complete review of the SimpleTax software Canada.
Simply put, SimpleTax is definitely one of the best tax return online software’s in the Canadian market. It’s really simple and easy to use with a lot of important and well-defined features. To top it up it’s absolutely free to file your tax returns.
The best part that I personally like about SimpleTax is that the UX is really simple and easy to use for the normal average person like you and me.
Please let me know your thoughts and comments below.
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Sagar Sridhar is a personal finance blogger from Canada. His genuine passion for personal finance coupled with his unique style of writing is what stands out. Professionally, he is a computer engineer, agile certified and has a master’s degree in Project Management. His writing has been featured or quoted in the leading Canadian publications such as Credit Canada and many other personal finance publications. While he is juggling between his day job and blogging, he is the main author on this blog and has miles to go before making the final pit stop.