Start a business, Do your taxes, Save money

What Canadian tax software should I use?

And the winner is … TurboTax! by Intuit.

Surprise, surprise.

Okay, let me get this out of the way up front. I don’t get anything for recommending TurboTax. Absolutely nothing–no affiliate pennies***, no karma points in Accountant heaven, no kickass adding machine for sending you all over to the Intuit website. (But if you’re listening, Intuit Man, you do owe me a favour.)

In fact I don’t even really like TurboTax as a tax software that much. But, they are consistent, relatively easy to use, and most importantly, since they are the big kid on the block, they will be around for years to come, unlike some start-ups. I’m looking at you TaxWiz – anybody remember those guys? They were around several years ago and were a few bucks cheaper than TurboTax (who was still going by the name of QuickTax back then, I believe). Anyway, once TaxWiz  had acquired enough market share to make the Intuit mother ship angry, Intuit bought them out. Which, I imagine, was TaxWiz’s hope all along.

TurboTax has an online version and CD/Download version where you can store all your data on your own computer. Call me crazy, but I prefer the latter. Although, if you qualify to use one of their free online editions, you may want to check those out. It’s tough to beat free:

Free Online Edition (conditions apply)

Free Student Edition (conditions apply)

CD Editions:

Intuit Turbotax Basic Tax Software Tax Year 2012

Intuit Turbotax Standard Tax Software Tax Year 2012 (I use this one)

Intuit Turbotax Premier Tax Software Tax Year 2012

Intuit Turbotax BUS Home Business Tax Year 2012

So, which one should you use? Well, I use the Standard edition. I have to deal with a rental property, a few stock sales, and a couple of small (micro?) businesses.

What? You should be using the Home & Business edition!

If you just read the product descriptions, you would think so, wouldn’t you? But the truth is the Standard edition has all the tax forms necessary for rental properties, stock sales, and businesses included with it. Basically, the Premier and Home & Business editions have extra “interview questions” included with them. That is how they justify the higher prices. But if you prepare your return just using the tax forms themselves, you don’t need those interview questions. In fact, I find them quite annoying.

So, why not go really cheap and use the “Basic” edition?

Because the Basic edition does not allow you to carryover last year’s information into this year’s tax return. You would have to re-enter everything in again, including your address info and all your carry-forward amounts (RRSP carryforwards, capital losses, etc.). A real pain if you have a memory like me.

So there you have it. If I wrote ad copy for Intuit it would go something like this:

“TurboTax Standard Edition–for cheap people with bad memories.”

***Update: Okay, I cracked (or rather figured out how to do it) and signed up for an Amazon affiliate account. So if you do buy anything from Amazon from one of the links above I will get affiliate pennies! If you prefer to get the Download Edition you can get it directly from the Intuit website: Basic, Standard, Premier, Home & Business.

February 24, 2013 Posted by | Running Your Business, tax | , , , | 4 Comments

What class does CRA want software and computers entered into?

How do I enter software and computers on my tax return in Canada?

Computers bought in February 2011 or later belong in Class 50. This class allows a 55% deduction each year. Operating software (such as Windows, etc.) is also included in this class. So if you buy a computer and pay extra for an operating system, just lump them together and put them in Class 50 together.

Software (that is not an operating system) belongs to Class 12, which is a 100% write-off. But not exactly. It is subject to the “half-year” rule which means you only get to write off half in the year that the asset is purchased. Just put it in Class 12 in TurboTax and let the software figure it out for you.

Speaking of TurboTax, does that go in Class 12?

Not in my little piece of the universe. It is only worth about $40 so don’t bother capitalizing it. Put it in Office Expenses and put it out of its misery. Doing so gives you a 100% deduction right now with none of that half-year stuff to worry about. See my post on Expenses vs. Capital Assets for more.

April 5, 2012 Posted by | Home office expenses, Running Your Business, tax | , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments