This is my review of SimpleTax. Or, as I like to call it, Canada’s most user-friendly tax software.
Learning to do my own taxes felt like a major “adult” milestone. I’ve been working since I was 15 years old, but for many years, I relied on others to take care of this for me.
There’s nothing wrong with this approach. You don’t have to do your taxes yourself if you don’t want to — and if you don’t feel comfortable doing them yourself, you shouldn’t.
But I wanted to learn.
The first time I filed my taxes myself, I used TurboTax. It went OK. The program was a little glitchy on my computer, but it got the job done.
It did make me wonder if there were other options, though. So I did what any millennial in my situation would do.
I Googled it.
That’s how I found SimpleTax. After reading a few reviews, I decided to give it a try.
Spoiler alert: it totally lives up to the name.
Disclaimer: not sponsored. I mean, I wish, but this is just my opinion based on my experience using SimpleTax. I’m not being compensated to write this. I really just love the software.
My SimpleTax Review
SimpleTax is free tax software for Canadians.
It’s designed by a team from across Canada and it aims do exactly what the name suggests: simplify the process of filing your taxes.
The software is web-based so you don’t need to install anything. As a result, you can work on your taxes on any device, so long as you have your password and an internet connection.
SimpleTax is certified by the Canadian Revenue Agency and it is tested every year to ensure accuracy.
And it really is simple. Oh, so very simple.
How does SimpleTax work? What makes it so simple?
There are four elements of SimpleTax that make it really easy for the user to navigate.
- The search function
SimpleTax uses a search function to help you find the forms, credits and deductions that apply to you.
For example, if I wanted to add a charity donation to my return, I would type ‘charity’ in the search bar, it would pull up the part I need to fill out and attach it to my return.
I like this because it means I can focus on filling out what applies to me, instead of worrying about sections that don’t.
Throughout the different sections, there are plain-language explanations of different elements and, where appropriate, links to help understand what you need (many of which point directly to the CRA page).
For example, we were eligible for the Climate Tax Incentive during our first year using SimpleTax. I knew that, but I did not know whether or not we were eligible for the top-up designed for those living in rural or small communities.
When I pulled up the Climate Tax Incentive form, SimpleTax included a link that brought me to the relevant page on the CRA site that helped me figure out the answer. The whole thing took about a minute.
Your return (or what you owe) is calculated as you go and is visible on the screen at all times. You can easily see how each action will impact your taxes.
We file as a couple, so this was useful for me to see when making decisions about who will claim shared credits and deductions.
- The Optimization Tool
When you’re ready to file, SimpleTax includes an optimizer tool, which runs calculations on your return to ensure you’re getting the most you can from it.
Why I recommend SimpleTax
There are three reasons why I would — and have — recommended SimpleTax to others.
- It’s thorough without being overwhelming
The search function allows you to add what you need to your return — and not worry about the rest.
You’ll still be able to see those other sections when you finish and file your return, but when it comes to putting your return together, SimpleTax lets you focus on only the things you need.
- It’s affordable
SimpleTax is free…sort of.
The program is donor-funded. And $0 is a payment option.
The first year I used it, I made a small donation — $10 to do two returns. I wanted to test the software, from start to finish, to see if I liked it. After using and loving it, I upped our donation the following year.
But I like knowing that you don’t have to do that. It makes this piece of tax software very accessible, which I think is important.
- It’s simple
I cannot stress this enough.
The fact that you don’t need to install software to use SimpleTax is awesome. Being able to access it on any computer or device with an internet connection? Awesome. The user-friendly interface? Awesome.
If I did my taxes in one sitting, I would be able to get them done in less than a half-hour. Easy.
Honestly, if you’re Canadian, I really think you would be hard-pressed to find an easier piece of tax software.
If it’s not evident by my review, I think SimpleTax is awesome.
If you’re in Canada and thinking about trying to file your own taxes, consider checking it out. Seriously. It totally lives up to the name.
Do you file your own taxes? Why or why not?
Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst
I used to do my own taxes- loved it! I still prepare it now for my sister in law to do (she’s an accountant). Congrats on doing your own taxes- what a great feeling- very therapeutic.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, honestly! I thought it would be way more difficult than it was – there was definitely a learning curve the first time, but after doing it once, I felt pretty confident about doing it again (especially since SimpleTax made it so ridiculously easy. I cannot stress enough how simple it was).