When I was 16 years old (in the good ol’ mid-80’s), I filed my first tax return. What did I know about taxes? Nothing. So I listened to my Mother (this is normally when things go wrong for me) and paid her accountant (I think it was $50) to do my taxes. I signed, dated, mailed and waited for my refund.
Over the next month, I learned that my refund amount (around $200; not too shabby) actually should have been closer to $2,000 due to my circumstances. I questioned the accountant and was told a lot of reasons why I was incorrect, and he was right. I thought he was full of crap. I went to the post office to get the tax forms and guide, then went to the library. Over the course of a few days I devoured everything that I could obtain in those pre-internet-access days. I filed my amendments (with paper and pencil!), waited, and got back just shy of another $2,000. I then proceeded to re-do my Mother’s taxes for a past period of 7 years (the limit you can go back). With the resulting return she got, she installed wall to wall carpet in the entire apartment, got caught up on all of her bills, and gave us some experiences and dinners that were normally relegated as ”treats” for us. Since then I have done my own taxes…and for many other people in my family and circle of friends.
A lot has changed in the tax preparation realm since I was 16. The best change is the invention of computer tax programs. Doing scenarios with pencil, eraser and calculator took a long time. For the past seven (?) or so years I have been using a program called Studio Tax. Since I complete a minimum of 8 returns a year, I had to stop using the big brand names once they put a limit on their $80 packages. Studio Tax allows me to complete 20. And the mandatory cost is zero dollars. Yes, zero.
Donations to the creator are greatly appreciated and help to make improvements to the program. It is an excellent program and I highly recommend it.
The question I get asked most frequently once I convert people to users is how to locate the .TAX file they must upload to CRA to complete their e-filing. The answer is below.
(Clicking the images will bring up a larger version)
Clicking on the CRA link will take you to the internet page to file your return immediately.