SimpleTax/ Wealthsimple Tax vs TurboTax 2021

simpletax vs turbotax

It's March, and that means tax season is happening now. Taxes in 2020 were a little wonky, with extended deadlines, federal benefits programs, and extra tax credits for many Canadians. For this reason, we recommend that you get started planning your taxes now, and for many, the first step in the process is to choose an online tax preparer.

Even if you have had your taxes prepared in person in the past, this year, the Canada Revenue Agency recommends that Canadians file their taxes online, which is both more straightforward for you and safer due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Filing your taxes online is quick, easy, and safe.

In fact, the most challenging part about it might be choosing which online software you'd like to use! We're big fans of TurboTax and SimpleTax, and we've compared them side by side in this Wealth Rocket article.

Table of Contents

WealthsimpleLogo

Try out SimpleTax for Free! Experience and track fast tax refund processing. SimpleTax enables users to automatically import tax information to the CRA.

SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax Overview

Now known as Wealthsimple Tax after being acquired by robo-advisor Wealthsimple in 2019, SimpleTax is a completely free Canadian tax software. There are no fees whatsoever to use SimpleTax.

While Wealthsimple owns SimpleTax, you do not have to be a Wealthsimple customer to use this software.

Anyone can use this software to prepare their 2020 income tax return in a quick and easy process.

SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax Features

SimpleTax is a free tax software, so they don’t have all of the bells and whistles that some other online tax preparers have, but that said, they still sport the following features:

  • Maximum refund guarantee:If another tax preparation software program gives you a greater refund, SimpleTax will give you back what you've paid them.
  • Pay what you want: When you file with SimpleTax, you get to choose how much you pay, even if it's $0.
  • Previous return storage: Access your old returns from your account page.
  • NETFILE approved: File your income tax return directly to the CRA for the fastest refund and receive an express Notice of Assessment (NOA).
  • Auto-fill My Return: Import your financial information directly from the CRA to SimpleTax for quick and easy filling.
  • Refile: Made a mistake? File an amended income tax return for the same $0 fee.
  • Flexible: If you have investments, self-employment income, or rental income, SimpleTax can handle it.
  • Secure: Meets CRA requirements for encryption and privacy.
  • Dynamic Calculation: See your refund dynamically calculate as you enter your tax details.
  • Auto-fill My Return: See your refund dynamically calculate as you enter your tax details.
  • Smart Search: Search for deductions and credits that meet your financial situation.
  • Refund Optimization: SimpleTax will suggest splitting donations and pension income to best benefit your tax situation.
  • RRSP Optimizer: SimpleTax will offer ways to maximize your RRSP for the highest possible refund.

SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax Fees and Costs

SimpleTax is free to use, but they suggest you provide them with a donation of your choice. Their default donation amount is $19, and we usually suggest donating in the range of $20. That said, the amount you donate has no bearing on the product you receive.

IntuitTurboTax

Save 10% on your first purchase with TurboTax! Experience the ease of online tax filing. Choose from a variety of software packages that fit your tax filing needs

SimpleTax/Wealthsimple Tax Pros & Cons

Overall, we consider SimpleTax some of the best free online tax software available today. Unfortunately, the lack of customer support and overall barebones product offering makes us hesitate to recommend it to anyone nervous about filing their taxes online. If you are confident with online tax filing and have an uncomplicated tax situation, this software will suit your needs nicely.

Pros: The Good Stuff

Logo Complete free.

Logo NETFILE approved, quick refund, and express NOA

Logo Auto-fill my return

Logo Good for students, families, landlords, and small business owners

Logo Nice user interface

Logo Previous year return storage

Logo Previous year return storage

Cons: The Not So Good Stuff

Logo Email-only support due to the free nature of the software

Logo No option to have an expert review your return

Logo No additional coverage like audit protection

TurboTax Overview

TurboTax is an Intuit product and has been offering online tax filing software in Canada for over 20 years. They claim to be the #1 tax software in Canada, helping Canadians file 45 million income tax returns since their inception.

This software is a premium service, which means it is not free, and it's packed to the gills with extra features and add-ons that will put even the most nervous tax filer at ease.

TurboTax Features

Where SimpleTax prefers a barebones approach, TurboTax is loaded with features that help their customers quickly and easily file their income tax returns, including:

  • Tiered pricing: TurboTax is not one-size-fits-all and instead offers pricing tiers depending on your tax situation's complexity. Expect to pay between $0 to $44.99 for your return.
  • NETFILE approved: File your income tax return directly to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) with NETFILE. When you file, you'll receive an express NOA, and your refund will arrive in as little as eight days.
  • Instant refund tracker: Watch your refund automatically calculate as you enter your financial information, don't wait until you finish to see the final tally.
  • Auto-fill my return: Save time while filing by connecting to your CRA My Account and import your tax documents directly from the CRA.
  • RRSP optimization: TurboTax will suggest ways to optimize your RRSP contributions to ensure the maximum possible refund.
  • Pension splitting: TurboTax will suggest ways to split your pension with your spouse to help you pay the least amount in taxes.
  • User-friendly questionnaire: Not sure which deductions and credits apply? Just answer the introductory questionnaire, and TurboTax will suggest the right deductions and credits for you to claim.
  • Mobile app: File your taxes entirely from your mobile phone if you desire, or start on your mobile phone and transfer later to your desktop, your choice!
  • Assist & Review: This add-on makes a real tax expert available while you fill out your return and meet virtually to review it before you file.
  • Full Service: Have a tax pro with ten years of experience file your tax return for you for an extra fee.
  • Audit Defense: This add-on protects you if the CRA audits you. If this happens, a TurboTax expert will walk you through the process step by step.
  • Accuracy Guarantee: If you receive a better refund with another online tax filing software, your copy of TurboTax is free.
  • Customer Service: Find the answers to your questions through the online knowledgebase, through their phone support tool, or chat with an expert online.

TurboTax Fees and Costs

TurboTax is not a free product, but you'll only pay for the software you need since it offers tiered pricing. Here are the options for the paid versions:

Free Version

  • Best for: Simple tax return
  • Cost: $0
  • Availability: Mobile app

Standard

  • Best for: Families, students, individuals
  • Cost: $19.99
  • Availability: Standard features like NETFILE, Auto-fill my return, SmartSearch for deductions, RRSP optimizer, etc.

Premier

  • Best for: Landlords and investors
  • Cost: $34.99 per return
  • Availability: All standard features plus guidance for rental income and deductions

Self-Employed

  • Best for: Small business owners
  • Cost: $44.99
  • Availability: All standard features plus Quickbooks self-employed for free and extra guidance on filing self-employed income

Assist & Review

  • Best for: New filers, complex tax situations
  • Cost: $69.99 (this is an add-on)
  • Availability: All features of software edition of your choice, plus have a tax pro review your return before submitting

Full Service

  • Best for: New filers, complex tax situations
  • Cost: $99.99
  • Availability: Have a TurboTax expert prepare and file your taxes on your behalf.

TurboTax Pros & Cons

Pros: The Good Stuff

Logo Tiered cost, only pay what you need

Logo NETFILE approved

Logo Auto-fill my return

Logo Mobile app

Logo Good support

Logo Good options for add-ons

Cons: The Not So Good Stuff

Logo It can get expensive if you choose too many add-ons with your paid version

LogoDifficult to qualify for the free versionbr>

Our Final Thoughts

There are no one-size-fits-all solutions when choosing an online tax software, but TurboTax does an excellent job tailoring their experience, so you only pay for the service you need.

The extra features make it a good option for Canadians who are nervous about online filing.

That said, it isn’t easy to qualify for the free version, so it may not be the best choice if money is tight.

SimpleTax is a good option if you are a confident filer looking to save on costs but isn’t suitable for all Canadians.

Due to its reputation and flexibility, we think that TurboTax is the better online tax filing software for Canadians.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can file your 2020 taxes as early as February 22, 2021, in Canada and the deadline to file your taxes if you have a balance owing is April 30.

While it's easier to file your taxes if you have a CRA My Account, you can still file a return without this feature by mailing in your return.

There are several free online tax filing software programs available in Canada, including SimpleTax. so you do not have to pay to file your taxes.

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