SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax Review 20211
Filing taxes in 2021 is going to look a little different this year. First, due to the global pandemic, you likely received one or more government benefits that you'll need to claim on your taxes.
Second, this year the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) encourages Canadians to file their income tax returns online to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you've never filed your taxes online before, now is an excellent time to start.
Fortunately, there are several online tax preparation software programs available that make the process of filing your taxes simple and straightforward, even if you have a semi-complicated tax situation like self-employment income or rental income.
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The programs available in Canada range from bare-bones free tax software programs to premium software, packed with features and add-ons.
A popular software program is SimpleTax, now known as Wealthsimple Tax. Canadians will find everything they need to know in this SimpleTax review, including whether it's the right choice for filing their taxes online.
What is SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax?
SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax is an online tax preparation software that allows Canadians to file their taxes for free. That's right, free. This software was known as SimpleTax, but the company was purchased in 2019.
The buyer, Wealthsimple, is one of the most popular robo advisors in Canada. Still, the company has a broad portfolio of financial products, and now they have tax filing software too.
SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax is an excellent choice for Canadians with uncomplicated tax situations who have a good grasp of how the tax filing process works in Canada.
The software is streamlined and informative enough to handle most tax situations, but it does have a few drawbacks that we'll explore below.
How Does SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax Work?
SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax is an online tax filing software, which means you can file your taxes from home using your personal computer. There is no need to visit a physical location, making it an excellent option to file your taxes in 2021 safely.
You don't have to be a Wealthsimple customer to use SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax, and you can start filing by simply visiting their website and creating an account.
Once you've created an account, you'll have the option to link your CRA My Account. This feature allows SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax to import tax documents like your employment slips, RRSP slips, and more.
Once you've linked your account, SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax will ask you a series of questions about your tax situation to determine which tax forms and slips will apply to you.
In 2021, there will be an extra series of questions pertaining specifically to any benefits you may have received during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether you are a student, a small business owner, or a landlord, SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax can adjust to meet your needs and help you file with ease.
Once you've entered your tax information, SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax will offer you several options to optimize your return and maximize your refund or minimize your taxes owing.
These options include suggestions to optimize your RRSP to reduce your tax burden, splitting your charitable contributions or pension with your spouse, and suggesting relevant federal and provincial deductions and credits.
As you complete your return, you'll be able to watch your refund calculate dynamically instead of waiting for a "magic number" at the end. This feature is helpful in the event you make a mistake causing your refund amount to go haywire.
Once you've finished entering your information, reviewed your available deductions and optimizations, and are satisfied that your refund is ready to submit, you can move on to submitting your return.
When you are ready to file, SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax will prompt you to donate to use the software. SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax operates on a "pay what you can" model, which means you do not have to pay anything.
This payment model makes SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax one of the few genuinely free online tax filing software programs in Canada. That said, if you can afford to donate, the company suggests $20 as a fair amount.
Once you've made your donation or opted out, you can proceed to the NETFILE function to file your return directly with the CRA.
When you use NETFILE, you'll dramatically cut down on the time it takes to receive your refund.
If you have direct deposit enabled, you'll receive your refund in about eight days. You'll also receive an express Notice of Assessment when you use NETFILE.
Once you've completed your return, the only thing left to do is wait for your income taxes to be refunded. If you've configured direct deposit through the CRA, you'll receive your refund promptly. Otherwise, you'll have to wait for a cheque to arrive in the mail.
SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax Pros & Cons
SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax is free software that punches above its class in terms of features and functionality. Here are the pros and to using this tax preparation software.
Pros: The Good Stuff
Autofill my return: Connect to your CRA My Account to import employment, RRSP, and other tax slips.
Smart search: Search through hundreds of deductions to find the ones relevant to you.
Refund optimization: Answer a series of simple questions to have relevant deductions suggested to optimize your return.
RRSP optimization: See the impact of extra RRSP contributions on your total refund or taxes owed.
Pension splitting: Allow your spouse to claim part of your pension or charitable deductions to reduce your total tax owing or maximize your refund.
Maximum refund guarantee: If you complete your return with another tax filing software and receive a larger refund, your copy of SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax is free.
Free: Using a "pay what you want" model means that your copy of SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax could be free. Alternatively, you can donate as much or as little as you like.
Netfile certified: NETFILE certification means you can file your return directly with the CRA and receive an express Notice of Assessment, as well as your refund in as little as eight days.
Dynamic refund calculation: Watch your refund dynamically calculate as you enter your tax information. Catch errors and omissions quickly if your refund doesn't match your estimates.
Versatile: Suitable for most tax situations, including students, individuals, families, self-employed Canadians, and Canadians with rental income and investment income.
That said, SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax is a free tax preparation software, so it won’t have some of the premium features you can expect with other paid tax preparation software. Here are the cons to using this software:
Cons: The Not So Good Stuff
No return storage: Other software programs will store your returns for up to seven years and carry forward relevant information from the previous year.
No expert review: There is no option to have a tax professional review your return. This option is a premium feature offered by some competitors.
No audit defense: This is no option to have SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax experts by your side in the event of an audit. This option is a premium feature offered by some competitors.
No customer service: If you have a question, contacting SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax is not super easy, and there is no immediate phone or chat availability.
Our Final Thoughts
SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax is an excellent free software for Canadians who have a good grasp on their tax situation and whose taxes are not overly complicated.
We love the streamlined interface and how easy it is to find the right deductions and file your taxes with ease.
That said, SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax has a bare-bones customer service team and no premium option to have an expert review your return.
For these reasons, it may not be the best choice if you have never filed your taxes online or have a complex tax situation.
Frequently Asked Questions
SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax uses encryption to protect your data as it travels between your browser and their server.
Your data is also encrypted when sent to the CRA via the NETFILE filing process. On top of that, you can configure two-factor authentication with SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax, which adds an extra layer of protection against unwanted logins.
Finally, SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax is backed by Wealthsimple, one of Canada's most popular robo-advisors. Wealthsimple has an excellent reputation in the financial services industry.
SimpleTax/Wealthsimple tax does not charge a fee to use their online tax preparation software. Instead, they operate on a "pay what you can" model, where you choose how much you want to pay for their software.
Some people will pay nothing, while others will donate a larger amount. The suggested donation is $20. These donations are enough for SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax to provide a good quality online tax preparation software.
Still, you'll notice it lacks some features that other paid tax preparation software programs have. In particular, the customer support staff at SimpleTax/Wealthsimple tax is much smaller, which helps them save money and keep offering this service for free.
SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax makes money by asking their users for a donation after they file their taxes.
This donation is entirely optional, but SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax suggests a donation amount of $20 to help fund their development staff and help them continue to offer the service for free to those who need it.
Because the software is free, it is a little more basic than some other premium options. This lack of premium features helps keep costs low and enables SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax to maintain their optional donation payment method.