Tax Filing With TurboTax Online

I have filed my family’s tax returns electronically ever since the introduction of Quick Tax several years ago.  The first couple of years were a bit glitchy, but they have improved the software every year.  This year Quick Tax re-branded to TurboTax Canada and I decided to try their newly introduced online version.

TurboTax Online: Getting Started

TurboTax Online is even easier to use than ever.  I was not able to import my data from last year as I had done in previous years, but it was just a matter of re-entering my name, address and other personal data, so it wasn’t a big deal.  If you have other carry-forward entries I would suggest keeping last year’s return beside you for reference.

TurboTax Online gives you the option of selecting one of three versions – Basic (most commonly used), Premium (for more advanced investment transactions and rental properties) and Home and Business.  I chose the Basic version.

When I entered investment income it tried to upgrade me to the Premium version.  I declined as I have always found the Basic version to be sufficient for my needs.  Note that if you do decide to switch, you will not be allowed to go back.

If this is your first time completing a tax return, electronically or otherwise, begin with the tutorial, which takes you through the entire process.  The EasyStep interview asks questions designed to assist you in entering your T-slips and other information to best process your return and double-checks everything for accuracy.

User Friendly Instructions

This version is very user friendly with easy step-by-step instructions that guide you through the return.  I have done tax returns for years and know how and where to enter my figures so I found it a bit tedious pressing “continue” all the time (in fact my husband, hearing all the clicking, thought I was playing a game!).

However, for newbies, it’s important to read all the information to be accurate.  It’s easy to navigate back and forth between screens, and there’s lots of help and advice available from hints, “Tina” the virtual agent, and live support through email or phone.

There is an optional “Audit Defense” available for $39.99, that provides 3rd party representation by a tax specialist in case you are audited by the CRA, but if you carefully and accurately enter all your information this shouldn’t be necessary for most people.

Ready To File

Once you have completed your “free” return, if you are satisfied with the result you will be asked for your credit card information for payment.  Then all you have to do is NETFILE (follow the instructions given) and you’re done.

TurboTax Online uses the same level of online security that major Canadian banks use and securely saves your return until next year.  You can download your return in a pdf format for your records.  I received emails immediately after with my receipt for payment and my user ID confirmation for next year.

I found this version to be easy and fast.  I did a joint return in less than 30 minutes.  I even get a tax refund so I guess I should start taking my own advice about reducing taxes paid at the source.

My only beef is with the price.  My joint return would have cost $16.99 each plus GST (I had a free coupon).  That’s fine if you only have one return to file, but you can purchase a CD version that allows you to do 8 returns (Basic) for $29.99 in many retail stores, and I even found it at Staples online for $19.99.

With no hard copy to produce I would expect tax filing online to be less expensive.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Sustainable PF on March 15, 2011 at 6:03 am

    I used TT online as well this year. Very easy to use.
    You should have entered our contest (about a month ago) Boomer – your chances would have been very good as we didn’t get too many entries (due to it being a Canadian contest I think – that or people delay doing taxes far too late!)

    • Boomer on March 15, 2011 at 3:48 pm

      Hi Sustainable PF: I hardly ever enter contests and I’m also a tax return procrastinator – so I’m two for two. Thanks, though.

  2. Money REasons on March 15, 2011 at 8:25 am

    I’m thinking of buying the turbo tax deluxe version this year.

    In prior years, I went with online version of TaxAct, because it was free for all income levels and because my taxes were fairly simple, with the most complex portion being the accounting for stock transactions.

    Nice writeup.

  3. stock market newsletter on March 15, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I ended up using TaxACT for the past couple of years and it hasn’t disappointed yet. More people I know use TurboTax.. Regardless, nice post.

    • Boomer on March 15, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      @Money REasons and
      @stock market newsletter – Thanks for the info. I had always used QuickTax because not all software have been compatible with my Mac. Years ago I used Netscape rather than Explorer and very few programs even recognized it. Rather than getting frustrated every year, I just stick with the tried and true.

  4. schultzter on March 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I’ve used StudioTax every year since it came out. Mainly because it is free and I figure I pay enough taxes already, I don’t need to pay to do my taxes. If there was no free software I would keep doing by hand.

    Personally, I think the CRA (and MRQ) should have online forms at a minimum. No need to optimize or interview, just the forms online (or in a PDF if they insist) that I can fill out and submit.

  5. Boomer on March 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Hi schultzter: I’m pretty cheap so I like free. I’ve been doing my family’s taxes for a lot of years and I could easily still do the paper version – I just like to save a few trees.
    I agree that the CRA should have a free on-line tax preparation – at least for basic returns. They seem to have the resources for a lot of other free programs, so why not taxes?

  6. Tobias Kevorkazito on March 19, 2011 at 3:05 am

    This is my second year using TurboTax. The process was very easy and I like doing this myself with the assistance of the ‘wizards’… lots of advice there. Even when I missed a tax-credit it reminded me so that was great. It’s good for basic returns. Tax laws change so much and this solution helps me so that I don’t need all that background. The price is great too at $18.99. The Netfile is easy as well. Last year I didn’t have an access code but one call to CRA, no waiting in the evening, and I had my code and filed my return. I am so happy with it. Except now I just got another

    • Boomer on March 19, 2011 at 11:49 am

      Hi Tobias. I agree TT is a quick and easy program. There is really no reason for someone with a basic tax return to pay to get someone else to do it for them.

      • Tobias Kevorkazito on March 19, 2011 at 2:26 pm

        My last sentence was cut-off, I was going to write that after filing my return I received another tax slip for RRSP contribution. It was only $15. I started a new RSP account at ING so I dribble contributions in there. Is that value (which is not significant) a problem if I don’t enter in this years’ return (which I guess is too late now to input). Can I put it in next years’? I know this thread is about TurboTax and I divulge but any advice would be appreciated.

        • Boomer on March 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm

          Hi again Tobias: For that amount ($15) I would leave it for next year as it’s not going to impact your refund much. Turbo Tax asks you if you have unclaimed RRSP contributions from previous years and will give you a section to enter it.

          • Tobias Kevorkazito on March 21, 2011 at 10:42 pm

            Thanks for the reply. I appreciate the heads-up!

  7. Investment Fiduciary on April 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    I second the writer’s opinion. The US version is very impressive as well. I won’t why anyone would use the CPA to do their taxes.


  8. bryan on April 10, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I have also used many other online tax software
    programs. But the best by far is TurboTax mearly because it uses a
    simple Q&A interface and even if a person pay $39 for the deluxe
    version, it’s well worth it compared to the cost of paying a tax prep service.

Leave a Comment

Join More Than 10,000 Subscribers!

Sign up now and get our free e-Book- Financial Management by the Decade - plus new financial tips and money stories delivered to your inbox every week.