TurboTax Canadian Review: Top 15 Software Features & Benefits

Last updated on June 3rd, 2020 at 07:29 pm

TurboTax is an American-made tax return software developed to ease the lives of millions of tax-payers around the world. Of the nearly 39 million tax returns filed in Canada last year, 92% were transmitted electronically, and paper returns accounted for the rest. Out of the countless tax software’s in the market, the one leading the market is TurboTax. It’s considered to be the premium tax software application.

In this article, I’ll review everything about the TurboTax software by keeping the average Canadian in my mind and check to see if it is truly Canada’s #1 trusted and the best online tax return software.

Also, I’ll dive deep into the topic, review the best features and benefits (pros and cons) and finally conclude if the product is right for your needs and help you make that decision. Let’s get started!

Quick Peek At The 15 Best Software Features Of The TurboTax Software 

1. Instant Refund Ticket 

2. Life Changes Profiling 

3. RRSP Optimizer

4. Pension Splitter

5. Deduction Toolbox

6. Transfer Existing Tax Data 

7. Tax-Return Review

8. Audit Defense 

9. Import e-Slips

10. NETFILE 

11. Easy Step Interview

12. Business Interview

13. GPS Guidance 

14. Rental Guidance 

15. Auto-Fill My Return 

Why Is TurboTax The Best Tax Return Software In Canada? 

What really makes TurboTax the #1 tax return software and trusted by millions of Canadians every year to file their taxes? Reasons below:

1. Instant Refund Ticker

TurboTax has this feature called “Instant Refund Ticker”

Now what this really does is, As you enter all of your tax deductions into the TurboTax software, you’ll instantly see the impact on your overall refund amount or in simple terms on the tax owed amount.

No surprises here and No waiting until you’re done filing taxes. All this data is calculated in real-time. 

2. Life Changes Profiling

Next on the list is “Life Changes Profiling” feature found on the TurboTax software. 

Now what does this feature do? How do you benefit from it?

Once you start filing your taxes, the TurboTax software will ask you basic and simple questions about what’s new in your life. For Instance – Marriage, Kids, New Home, etc. 

Then it’ll show you the impact of those life changes on your refund.

3. RRSP Optimizer

With the RRSP Optimizer feature, you’ll be able to see how different RRSP contribution amounts can increase your tax refund amount. Or in-fact lower your tax owing. Now isn’t this amazing to be true?

Based on your income for the year and your RRSP max limits defined, you can pretty much play around here on your computer with different permutations and combinations of the numbers, make sure you are comfortable in terms of your RRSP contribution amount; with what you enter before finally submit your return. 

Here’s what I usually do every year using the TurboTax software – I’ll generally login to canada.ca and keep my deduction limits up-to-date, whether its RRSP or TFSA max contribution limits which is accumulated over the years

Once I have this information handy – The next thing I’ll do is figure out how comfortable I am by making an “X” RRSP amount and enter that in the TurboTax software. I’ll of course play around a bit using the software to make sure I am getting the max refund of course with all factors included. 

In a nutshell, the RRSP Optimizer feature helps you make an informed decision on the optimum RRSP contribution for you and your spouse to get the max refund.

4. Pension Splitter

Next on the list is “Pension Splitter”

Pension Splitter feature is only applicable to you – If you have corporate or CPP income, of course, you can split up to 50% of this income with your spouse for taxation purposes.

Once you have this information handy, TurboTax software will automatically suggest the best distribution of your income, so that you’ll end up paying less in taxes.

5. Deduction Toolbox

Did you know that there are over 400 tax deductions available for you to possibly claim In Canada?

More deductions mean a bigger tax return, and the TurboTax software will hunt for every single one you qualify for.

A small quick note here – There are a ton of online tax return software in Canada. Only the best ones like TurboTax can cover everything for you. This is one such feature of the software making it so robust and when I say it is the #1 software used in North America, that’s what I mean to say – Completeness, clean and robustness, leaving you in peace when filing taxes. 

6. Transfer Existing Tax Data

We all file taxes every year. That’s the norm. If you do file taxes every year using the TurboTax software you’ll automatically qualify for one major advantage and that is “Transferring previously reported tax information”

What I mean to say is – If you are used to filing taxes using TurboTax last year, you can transfer that tax data into TurboTax for this year.

Doing this saves you from manually entering all the existing information, which helps improve the accuracy of your return, saving you a ton of time. 

7. Tax-Return Review

What exactly does the TurboTax Tax-Return Review mean? Hoes does this feature benefit you as an individual? Why do you need this?

TurboTax software will repeatedly do the scans in the background for you and check your return for any money-costing errors or money-saving opportunities.

It’s the software’s way of ensuring that you get your biggest refund possible. Or pay the lowest amount possible. This is one such premium feature you can expect from a premium tax return software. 

8. Audit Defense

Have you heard of Audit Defense before? Like anywhere before? 

What this feature means is – you’ll always have a professional representation ready in case you’re ever audited by the CRA.

This premium feature is available for Personal and Business returns.

In case of any issues, you’re instantly connected with a tax pro who will deal with the CRA on your behalf.

9. Import e-Slips

First of all, what are e-slips? Or electronic slips?

If you get e-slips from your employer, RRSP provider or through e-post, you can automatically enter that info directly into your tax return and file taxes.

TurboTax has already partnered with epost.ca, cifunds.ca and canadahelps.org making it easier for you to add the e-slips and file your taxes. 

10. NETFILE

Now, This is a BIG ONE! 43.1% of Canadians filed their taxes through Netfile last year (2019)

With TurboTax NETFILE in place, you can easily file your tax return directly to the CRA, of course from the CRA website instead of printing and mailing it in. Thus saving you tons of time for other ways of filing your tax returns

By using NETFILE, you can get your refund in as few as eight days. The tax refunds will usually be direct deposits to your individual bank accounts

11. Easy Step Interview

Next and 11th on the list of the best TurboTax features and benefits is the “Easy Step Interview”.

What the “Easy Step Interview” feature does is – Instead of asking you the complicated tax questions, TurboTax asks easy-to-understand questions that relate to your tax needs. 

So rather than wondering what to say, the Easy Step Interview takes the intimidation out of answering tax questions. Indeed, a fantastic and noble feature from the giant software makers. 

12. Business Interview

Again, this tax feature is applicable only for the Home and Business plan users and above.

TurboTax finds plenty of self-employment deductions as you answer questions about your business (Remember the Easy Step Interview we talked about)

As you’re working hard growing your business, TurboTax software helps you get more from it at the tax time. Nice! 

13. GPS Guidance

GPS and Taxes?

That’s what I thought too! But, oh boy, was I wrong here. 

With the GPS guidance feature, you’re never lost in your return. TurboTax literally maps out your return from start-to-finish in easy-to-follow steps.

So you always know where you are in your return, and how far is left to go until you’re done. I mean to say in terms of percentage of completion before you’re done. 

14. Rental Guidance

14th on the list of the best TurboTax features is “Rental Guide”

Please note that this software feature is only available for the premier and above plans.

The rental Guidance feature is specialized guidance for rental property owners. The software locates every rental deduction you can claim, from advertising to insurance. So you make the most of your rental income.

15. Auto-Fill My Return

Last but not the least, the 15th of the list is “Auto-Fill My Tax Return”.

With this feature, you’ll save time and download your 2019 T4 slip info directly from the Canada Revenue Agency in just a few clicks.

Turbo Tax software will then automatically import your information into your return. It’s fast, easy, and accurate. What more to say!

turbotax

How Does The TurboTax Interface Work?

TurboTax has a straight-forward user interface that asks for key financial information at first, for example, if you are an organization, then crucial documents like the income statement and balance sheet would be required.

Using this data, and the allocated tax policies your tax fund will be determined; if you are an individual who wants to pay his regular tax for the month then just put in your salary receipt and let the TurboTax App do its wonders.

Overall it is a very easy process.

Don’t try to cheat your way around it though, as the software has a built-in audit system that rechecks the data from your organization’s servers.

TurboTax Add-On Functionalities

The founders of TurboTax; being the veterans in the industry have a lot to offer.

When it comes to the product features, it is considered to be the most user-friendly software out there because it’s easy to use interface. The tax return software is both accommodating and simple for newcomers and for well-established companies. 

Typically designed as a question-answer software, using it shouldn’t be a difficult task. Just put in your data, let it make the calculations and then your tax receipts should be done.

TurboTax Business Software 

As per the market evaluation, there is a varied type of businesses; sole owners, partnerships, private and public limited companies, and even mergers.

While using the software; if there are certain key areas that do not apply to you, then the information would be stored for you until you get the necessary upgrades. This applies only for the free version of the software which caters to only a limited number of transcripts.

Although if you are lucky enough to be using the fully compatible paid version, then the process ends very swiftly.

It even has an FAQ tab enrolled in both the versions of the application, if certain immediate queries need to be answered then either fellow customers or skilled technicians would be at your service.

TurboTax Market Best Features

One of the best features of TurboTax is online help.

Consider the scenario – you are using the online software for the first time and you don’t have an idea on how to make it work for you.

For example – You don’t know about your tax privileges, should you even be paying taxes?

All of these queries can be solved by enabling the online help option (Only available in the paid version) when you do select it, a skilled professional, normally an accountant pops up on your screen, guides you through the rest of the process. 

Tax Transactions On The Fly

TurboTax has you covered in every scenario.

Ease of access is further provided as the free flow of information is supported.

Apart from its desktop version, there are separate versions of it in Application Stores. Catering to a wide range of customers, it has certainly made its mark in the industry.

For example, if you are out of the station and need the organization’s financial reports, then there is an option of sharing key data between different versions of the application.

That means, from your desktop version you can easily copy and send information to the mobile version. This encourages flexibility for its usage.

Getting the tax back is also become convenient in this application, upon certain vital performances of the organizations, tax is paid back to them for further investment purposes. Just out in your credentials like account number and the funds would be wired back into your account.

TurboTax Versions

TurboTax has five key versions, all of them are pretty much the same with little to slight variations.

However, the pricing changes and certain functionalities, have notable differences.

The free version is better suited for students who want to get an overall idea about the taxing process.

For Example – If you need to pay back student loans, then you can do it with the free version of the software.

turbotax

The basic version of TurboTax is priced around $90; it is very much the same as the free version but with the only allocation of the online help feature. As discussed, a skilled accountant would guide you through the whole process.

The deluxe version will cost you around $140 (Depends on your province) and comes with all the goodies packed; you can transfer information, get the tax back and even ask for online guidance.

Premier version which is priced around $180 will help you file grievances (Upon occurrence), these reports would then, later on, be recorded and worked upon.

Also, the self-employed version exclusively caters to sole-owner type businesses like start-ups or basic projects. Although with this version, you can opt for any feature which has been allocated.

If you are part of the Canadian armed forces, then certain taxes would be deducted from your overall pay. TurboTax software effectively tracks all of your critical transactional items.

TurboTax software will notify you if the tax is paid or not.

Conclusion

There you go, that was my take on the TurboTax software and 15 of its best features. 

TurboTax is the #1 tax software in Canada; trusted by millions of Canadians every year

I personally like the product and will endorse the software for its robustness, features and the great intuitive design.

Give it a try and I’m sure you’ll love it even more than I say or mean to. 

If you are choosing between TurboTax and SimpleTax; then its a personal choice. But, both are good for you. I personally like TurboTax better. 

If you enjoyed the content of this post and found it useful, please share it on social media and help spread the word. Also, please let us know your thoughts and comments below. 

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TurboTax Review

4.9

Value For Money

4.8/5

Benefits

5.0/5

Rewards

5.0/5

Pros

  • Online Tax Return Software with lots of benefits
  • Auto-Fill my return feature is extremely good
  • 80%+ Canadian file online taxes through Netfile

Cons

  • Lots of other fantastic options like SimpleTax
  • You may prefer to physically visit something H & R Block to file taxes
  • Customer Support can be better in case of any issues

Sagar Sridhar

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.

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