Personal Finance

Do you do your taxes yourself?

  • Last Updated:
  • Mar 23rd, 2017 2:39 pm
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Sr. Member
Mar 3, 2015
693 posts
93 upvotes
Scarborough, ON
I did last night for first time in life while huge nervous not to make mistake, but i turned out just fine because Intuit Turbo Tax is easiest downloading all files from CRA site effortless. I cant still believe i did my tax on my own for first time without going outside office. Thanks 1000 times TurboTax.
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Dec 27, 2009
3608 posts
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Ottawa, ON
skunkyjosh wrote:
Mar 13th, 2017 7:40 pm
I'm way too lazy to do them myself. It cost me $71 this year to have them done.
Unless you have a complicated situation, it is likely far easier to do it yourself than to take the time to get the stuff to someone else. It is done with online software in minutes and is pretty much idiot proof for most straight forward returns.
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Dec 27, 2009
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Super_Chicken wrote:
Mar 13th, 2017 8:27 pm
Studio Tax is nice.
http://www.studiotax.com/en/

It's free and a downloadable program. My friend told me about Simple Tax this year. I'm iffy about online only tax applications unless you're able to do the PDF full printout. In 6 or 7 years if the CRA asks you to pull up your tax file and simple tax is gone, then what? So it's nice to keep the install files for simple tax.
Yes, you can print all the forms out. Any program I've used allows you to.
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Mar 9, 2012
600 posts
204 upvotes
Chickinvic wrote:
Mar 13th, 2017 9:48 pm
Unless you have a complicated situation, it is likely far easier to do it yourself than to take the time to get the stuff to someone else. It is done with online software in minutes and is pretty much idiot proof for most straight forward returns.
I'm too worried about making mistakes and not getting proper refunds but I'm sure my situation is quite simple...

Image
Deal Addict
Oct 13, 2006
1545 posts
226 upvotes
Burnaby
I use StudioTax, but I do think its a good idea to at least do a paper form at least once so you get the understanding of where the numbers come from etc. I completed mine in < 15mins basically plunking in numbers into the correct boxes. I don't have a complicated return T4, a few T5, capital gains, RRSP contribution and transit receipts.
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Apr 21, 2014
1154 posts
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Alberta
Super_Chicken wrote:
Mar 13th, 2017 8:27 pm
Studio Tax is nice.
http://www.studiotax.com/en/

It's free and a downloadable program. My friend told me about Simple Tax this year. I'm iffy about online only tax applications unless you're able to do the PDF full printout. In 6 or 7 years if the CRA asks you to pull up your tax file and simple tax is gone, then what? So it's nice to keep the install files for simple tax.
You are able to print to PDF on simpletax. It's an option right above the submit to cra button. I always keep a PDF copy for my records.
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Aug 16, 2009
1410 posts
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I've been doing my own taxes since Studiotax 2009. No complexity to my returns. It's just data entry, simply inputting some T-slips and deductions.
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Nov 25, 2014
1374 posts
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Newton Brook, ON
amplified wrote:
Mar 14th, 2017 2:44 am
its a good idea to at least do a paper form at least once so you get the understanding of where the numbers come from etc.
lol. Mathematics education has been held back for decades thanks to this pervasive notion that scribbling numbers repetitively improves understanding, when really it just teaches you how to mindlessly follow instructions and causes people to resent the whole concept.

Tax software has descriptive fields and direct links to CRA documentation, and allows you to view the filled forms and experiment with values to instantly see the effect they have. That is far more educational than trudging through line after line of "Add X and Y".
You need someone with an umbrella not a fork
Sr. Member
Jul 28, 2012
838 posts
249 upvotes
Montreal
skunkyjosh wrote:
Mar 13th, 2017 11:03 pm
I'm too worried about making mistakes and not getting proper refunds but I'm sure my situation is quite simple...

Image
I think it's outrageous that the company charges you an extra $2.50 x 2 for Efiling in Canada and Quebec, considering that they are actually charged a hefty penalty when NOT Efiling.
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Nov 19, 2004
7220 posts
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Cambridge, ON
nmclean wrote:
Mar 14th, 2017 1:17 pm
lol. Mathematics education has been held back for decades thanks to this pervasive notion that scribbling numbers repetitively improves understanding, when really it just teaches you how to mindlessly follow instructions and causes people to resent the whole concept.

Tax software has descriptive fields and direct links to CRA documentation, and allows you to view the filled forms and experiment with values to instantly see the effect they have. That is far more educational than trudging through line after line of "Add X and Y".
While i understand what you are saying, playing with numbers to see what the result is does not necessarily mean you understand why you are getting the results you are.

Judging by the number of questions that appear all the time on rfd about working overtime not being worth it because people fail to understand the progressive tax system or people not understanding what a tax credit is versus a deduction shows that simply inputting numbers doesn't help. If you go through a tax return manually, you quickly see how the system works, where the credits are applied and how they are calculated. Yes, the form guides you through each calculation, but you get to see why and how the calculations work. The software then comes in handy to play with your variables to optimize a rrsp deduction or similar, but now you know the why behind it.
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Nov 25, 2014
1374 posts
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Newton Brook, ON
don242 wrote:
Mar 14th, 2017 2:30 pm
While i understand what you are saying, playing with numbers to see what the result is does not necessarily mean you understand why you are getting the results you are.

Judging by the number of questions that appear all the time on rfd about working overtime not being worth it because people fail to understand the progressive tax system or people not understanding what a tax credit is versus a deduction shows that simply inputting numbers doesn't help. If you go through a tax return manually, you quickly see how the system works, where the credits are applied and how they are calculated. Yes, the form guides you through each calculation, but you get to see why and how the calculations work. The software then comes in handy to play with your variables to optimize a rrsp deduction or similar, but now you know the why behind it.
What that shows is simply that people still don't get it. It says nothing about which helps more, because people have failed to understand those things since forever, before netfile existed. And "simply inputting numbers" is exactly what the paper forms are. They are redundant, mechanical, and certainly don't allow you to see anything "quickly". For the purpose of understanding the system, there is no advantage to manually copying numbers and computations from the paper to a calculator and back, flipping between papers and duplicating lines. From software, looking over the output after you have entered the relevant variables once allows you to see just as much, quicker, and without any chance of error.
You need someone with an umbrella not a fork
Member
Nov 6, 2015
482 posts
149 upvotes
Guelph, ON
skunkyjosh wrote:
Mar 13th, 2017 11:03 pm
I'm too worried about making mistakes and not getting proper refunds but I'm sure my situation is quite simple...
If you make mistakes it's not like the cops are going to show up at your door and arrest you for tax fraud. Actually for simple mistakes CRA usually just fixes it themselves and then just send you a notice of what changes they made and what the new refund or balance owing is.
Deal Addict
Aug 13, 2008
3008 posts
235 upvotes
Mississauga
ive used studiotax 3 years in a row now, with no trouble at all.

how does simpletax compare to studiotax for those that have used both?
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Dec 6, 2006
3818 posts
712 upvotes
Toronto
nmclean wrote:
Mar 14th, 2017 1:17 pm
lol. Mathematics education has been held back for decades thanks to this pervasive notion that scribbling numbers repetitively improves understanding, when really it just teaches you how to mindlessly follow instructions and causes people to resent the whole concept.

Tax software has descriptive fields and direct links to CRA documentation, and allows you to view the filled forms and experiment with values to instantly see the effect they have. That is far more educational than trudging through line after line of "Add X and Y".
Your comparison isn't really true (although yes, mindless writing numbers doesn't help).

You compared people who do the math on paper and only do "Add X and Y" mindlessly, vs people on software that will actually read the fields and links to documentation.... sure.
But I can easily compare people who do the math on paper and will actually try to understand how to calculation works and read the instructions, vs people on software who only follow "Fill in this box value on T4 into that box in Schedule1".

There's really no difference, doing on paper or on software. It's the person, if s/he has the mindset to want to understand or not. Doing it on paper in this case with tax filing, may give you a bigger picture. Since most software will auto-calculate a bunch of fields after you enter 1 value, so it's easy to loose track how 1 thing can affects what. Won't help much with training your brain that's for sure since the calculations are so simple anyway.
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Nov 25, 2014
1374 posts
569 upvotes
Newton Brook, ON
boyohboy wrote:
Mar 15th, 2017 9:29 am
Your comparison isn't really true (although yes, mindless writing numbers doesn't help).

You compared people who do the math on paper and only do "Add X and Y" mindlessly, vs people on software that will actually read the fields and links to documentation.... sure.
But I can easily compare people who do the math on paper and will actually try to understand how to calculation works and read the instructions, vs people on software who only follow "Fill in this box value on T4 into that box in Schedule1".

There's really no difference, doing on paper or on software. It's the person, if s/he has the mindset to want to understand or not. Doing it on paper in this case with tax filing, may give you a bigger picture. Since most software will auto-calculate a bunch of fields after you enter 1 value, so it's easy to loose track how 1 thing can affects what. Won't help much with training your brain that's for sure since the calculations are so simple anyway.
In response to this, I'll quote an excerpt from "A Mathematician's Lament" by Paul Lockhart:
SIMPLICIO: Now hold on a minute. I don’t know about you, but I actually enjoyed
my high school geometry class. I liked the structure, and I enjoyed
working within the rigid proof format.

SALVIATI: I’m sure you did. You probably even got to work on some nice
problems occasionally. Lots of people enjoy geometry class (although
lots more hate it). But this is not a point in favor of the current
regime. Rather, it is powerful testimony to the allure of mathematics
itself. It’s hard to completely ruin something so beautiful; even this
faint shadow of mathematics can still be engaging and satisfying.
Many people enjoy paint-by-numbers as well; it is a relaxing and
colorful manual activity. That doesn’t make it the real thing, though.

SIMPLICIO: But I’m telling you, I liked it.

SALVIATI: And if you had had a more natural mathematical experience you would
have liked it even more.
I completely agree that it's unfair to cherry-pick someone who is eager to learn with paper, versus someone who is not with software, or vice versa. In fact, that is exactly the point I made to don242, because that's what he did. Me? I wasn't comparing individuals at all. I was comparing educational tools. Your statement, "There's really no difference, doing on paper or on software," is what I disagree with. The tool matters.

If you take that same person who "will actually try to understand how to calculation works and read the instructions" and put him in front of an electronic system instead of a stack of paper, he will still do that, but better. Further, if you take the "mindless" person and give them something more user-friendly and engaging, sometimes they may begin to care, explore, and understand. On the other hand, if you move the mindless software users backwards, they will only resent it even more.
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