Personal Finance

Do you do your taxes yourself?

  • Last Updated:
  • Mar 23rd, 2017 2:39 pm
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Sr. Member
Jan 9, 2011
801 posts
388 upvotes
Vancouver
don242 wrote:
Mar 15th, 2017 2:32 pm
Again, both have their advantages. But I still think running through the calculations on paper force you to understand better.
There are definite advantages to doing it on paper. Software will sometimes automatically do things and check boxes for you that it shouldn't. I used StudioTax to make a return for me and my wife, and spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out why I was getting a $1900 refund instead of having to pay about $300 like I was expecting. It turned out that since I hadn't completed my wife's return yet, the software decided my wife's income was zero and automatically checked the box on my own return to claim the spousal amount. I had to check the override box and select "do not claim the spousal amount". Stuff like this doesn't happen when you do it on paper.
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Nov 25, 2014
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Newton Brook, ON
Kiraly wrote:
Mar 17th, 2017 12:47 pm
There are definite advantages to doing it on paper. Software will sometimes automatically do things and check boxes for you that it shouldn't. I used StudioTax to make a return for me and my wife, and spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out why I was getting a $1900 refund instead of having to pay about $300 like I was expecting. It turned out that since I hadn't completed my wife's return yet, the software decided my wife's income was zero and automatically checked the box on my own return to claim the spousal amount. I had to check the override box and select "do not claim the spousal amount". Stuff like this doesn't happen when you do it on paper.
Right, mistakes like this are so very common with e-filers and virtually impossible on paper, which is why both the CRA and IRS actively discourage e-filing and--oh wait. They don't, because while 1 in 5 paper returns are rejected for silly mistakes like this, only 0.5% of e-filed returns are, which is why CRA set a target of 80% e-filing rate across the country to "reduce non-compliance" and "help Canadians get it right the first time". Nice anecdote, though.
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Dec 27, 2009
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The only times I've ever had the CRA have to correct anything (usually some credit I had missed or something - not really any mathematical errors) on my returns were back in the days I was still doing them on paper (and I'm quite good with paper and calculations - I do accounting work for a living). The programs are as easy as pie for most typical returns. As far as the spousal amount, I always fill in returns for both my husband and I when I'm doing it, so I select the option to link the returns. When you have only completed the first return (and haven't filled in your spouse's income) it will show you a return with a spouse with zero income until you do your spouse's return. Not an issue for me since I complete them both in the same sitting.
Member
Apr 18, 2011
279 posts
68 upvotes
Toronto
The biggest problem/barrier with doing your own taxes is to make a decision to start doing by yourself. Once you start doing, it is a piece of cake.
Sr. Member
Jan 9, 2011
801 posts
388 upvotes
Vancouver
nmclean wrote:
Mar 17th, 2017 1:25 pm
CRA set a target of 80% e-filing rate across the country to "reduce non-compliance" and "help Canadians get it right the first time"
If CRA was really serious about getting Canadians to file online, it would drop this silly nonsense of farming it out to more than two dozen third party software developers who charge a fee or ask for a "donation". That's why I waited until 2014 to start filing online, because I refuse to pay a single cent to do my taxes myself. The CRA should get its act together and implement its own in-house filing method that is free to use, like almost every other civilized country has. Why can't we just log in to the CRA website and do all of our filing there?
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Mar 9, 2012
740 posts
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KITCHENER
BengaliPrince wrote:
Mar 13th, 2017 6:45 pm
I've always gone to one of those guys that do taxes to get mine done, but I've been looking into doing it myself and it seems fairly easy considering all the DIY software that exists for taxes now-days, like UFILE.

I spoke to some ppl I know about it and their general ruling was tax accountants typically know better methods to maximize your return,

Thoughts?
Accountants ask the right questions, regarding your taxes. That said, you can find most of that stuff online.

Studio Tax has some options to Optimize the return and validate properly.

Another bonus of a professional, is that they usually are up-to-date regarding changes. Could make a difference if you get a refund or if you owe.
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Dec 27, 2009
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jeff1970 wrote:
Mar 17th, 2017 11:03 pm
Accountants ask the right questions, regarding your taxes. That said, you can find most of that stuff online.

Studio Tax has some options to Optimize the return and validate properly.

Another bonus of a professional, is that they usually are up-to-date regarding changes. Could make a difference if you get a refund or if you owe.
Most people's situation is straightforward and has no need to use an accountant. The programs themselves ask you everything you need (for most situations), and will optimize returns for you too (if pension splitting or anything like that is possible). I'd say the vast majority can get by using the programs and no accountant. People with more complex needs likely know who they are anyways lol. The rest of us do just fine on our own.
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Aug 18, 2005
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XtremeModder wrote:
Mar 13th, 2017 6:49 pm
If you're doing a basic return use www.simpletax.ca
Agreed, I used SimpleTax for the last 2 years and it went very smoothly. It's free but you can optionally give them money, which I did every time.
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Jr. Member
Sep 8, 2008
193 posts
21 upvotes
York
Hey guys, had two questions:

1) Would you recommend doing your own taxes if it was for a corporation?

2) For personal taxes, would you guys recommend studio tax, or one of it's competitors? There seem to be so many credible options!
Member
Nov 9, 2015
269 posts
69 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Hey guys,

I am doing taxes for my parents, using SimpleTax

They were not registered for myCRA.

They only have 1 joint chequing account and no other chequeing account.How do I "verify" it for Simply Tax?

When I try to use the same banking sign-in for my mother, myCRA says it is already registered.

What do I do?
Sr. Member
Jul 28, 2012
832 posts
241 upvotes
Montreal
sundawner1 wrote:
Mar 19th, 2017 10:22 pm
Hey guys,

I am doing taxes for my parents, using SimpleTax

They were not registered for myCRA.

They only have 1 joint chequing account and no other chequeing account.How do I "verify" it for Simply Tax?

When I try to use the same banking sign-in for my mother, myCRA says it is already registered.

What do I do?
Even though it's a joint account, each account holder should have their own ATM card and/or sign-in information.
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Nov 25, 2014
1287 posts
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Newton Brook, ON
Kiraly wrote:
Mar 17th, 2017 7:45 pm
If CRA was really serious about getting Canadians to file online, it would drop this silly nonsense of farming it out to more than two dozen third party software developers who charge a fee or ask for a "donation". That's why I waited until 2014 to start filing online, because I refuse to pay a single cent to do my taxes myself. The CRA should get its act together and implement its own in-house filing method that is free to use, like almost every other civilized country has. Why can't we just log in to the CRA website and do all of our filing there?
Let me tell you, as someone who has actually developed and maintained in-house government software professionally, this is not what we want.

What countries do this anyway? It's the same in the US and the UK. Many civilized countries don't require self assessment in the first place. That is what we should be aiming for in my opinion.
You need someone with an umbrella not a fork
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Apr 16, 2006
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I do the tax returns for my wife and I. I've been doing our tax returns for the past seven years, and I've been doing my own tax returns for even longer (probably 10-12 years now).

I used to use UFile, but tried Simpletax a few years back and loved it. Been using them ever since.

Our tax returns are not at all complicated; some T3's, T4's, and T5's and that's about it. It's mostly just data entry.
Sr. Member
Jan 9, 2011
801 posts
388 upvotes
Vancouver
nmclean wrote:
Mar 20th, 2017 8:53 am
Let me tell you, as someone who has actually developed and maintained in-house government software professionally, this is not what we want.

What countries do this anyway?
Norway, Netherlands, France, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea, for starters. That's 8 out of 8 countries I randomly checked. In fact, Canada and the USA are the only two countries I could find where online filing cannot be done directly, and must go through third party software that charges you a fee or asks for a donation. I think we've gotten so used to it being this way that we haven't stopped to consider how dumb it really is.
It's the same in the US and the UK.
The UK allows ordinary income earners to file directly online without using third party software. Those with businesses and more complex returns need to get third party software.
Many civilized countries don't require self assessment in the first place. That is what we should be aiming for in my opinion.
Agreed.

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