Five ways to file your taxes on time with technology

 

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Financial Post, March 19, 2012

Filing your taxes has never been easier. No more having to spend an evening with complicated tax forms, pencils and a calculator. By simply installing software, visiting a website or scanning a T4 slip with a cellphone and then electronically submitting the files through the Canada Revenue Agency’s NetFile service, filing taxes is a snap. Here are five software options to help get your taxes filed by the April 30 deadline.

1. SnapTax

Owners of Apple Inc.’s iPhone rejoice: SnapTax is a little app that installs on your device and allows you to complete a simple tax return by taking a picture of your T4 slip. For people who have more complex returns, SnapTax will capture all of your T4 information and then upload it to the company’s online TurboTax software. No more entering information manually into dozens of boxes on tax sheets. Filing a return with SnapTax is $9.99.

2. TurboTax

More than five million Canadians filed their returns with TurboTax last year. The program is available online and for purchase if you want to install it on your home computer. TurboTax walks Canadians step by step through their taxes, pointing out possible deductions and offering money-saving tips along the way. Filing a return starts at $17.99 at TurboTax.ca. The price goes up depending on the complexity of the tax return. Buying the software costs $38 for the standard version; $60 for the premier version, which is targeted at people with more complicated returns.
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3. H&R Block

The name that seems to blanket every shopping mall during tax season also offers an online tax preparation service. For as little as $15.95, Canadians can tap into the company’s tax expertise at hrblock.ca without ever leaving home. The company also offers desktop software for $30, which allows users to do their taxes on their home PCs without an Internet connection.

4. AceTax
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For users of Mac computers who may not want to file using an online service, either because they are filing multiple returns or have concerns about security, there is AceTax software. For as little as $9 (or $7 for returning users) AceTax’s easy-to-follow steps enable you to file a return in minutes.

5. TaxFreeway

TaxFreeway offers software for Mac and PC users, but it also has an iPad version. Simply download the company’s app from Apple’s App Store to get started. Completing your return with the software is free, but users have to pay to file returns to Canada Revenue Agency. It costs $20 to file up to 20 returns using the software.

Did you know . . .

You can claim your child’s art, music or drama classes — and other artistic and cultural courses — on your 2011 income tax return? Under the new Children’s Arts Tax Credit, up to $500 of the costs of honing your budding, under-16 artist’s talents are eligib

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