The 6 Best Tax Return Software in Canada

By Heidi Unrau | Published on 31 Jan 2024

To file quickly, easily, and without a blinding migraine, choosing the best tax return software in Canada is crucial. Tax season is the most dreaded time of year, with many of us hoping to bypass the annual state of confusion and potentially costly mistakes. If this strikes a chord with you, read on as we explore the 6 best tax return software in Canada. All of them aim to remove the guesswork in filing a tax return in Canada, but which offers the best value for your money. And more importantly, which one is the best for your unique situation?

Tax Return Software
Best For
Premium Features
Crypto Traders
In-Person Filing
First Time Filers
Students and Low-Income Families
Seniors Over 70 Years Old

TurboTax: Best Overall

Best Tax Return Software in Canada For Premium Features & Support

TurboTax has earned a strong reputation for being one of the best tax return software in Canada for its user-centric approach. In short, it simplifies the complex task of tax filing. Operating on a try-before-you-buy model, it provides a risk-free opportunity for users to explore its features before any financial commitments. Those cautious about diving into the intricate world of tax preparation find this option particularly beneficial.

The platform offers a diversified suite. This includes a specialized self-employed version, addressing various needs based on your industry with meticulous precision. Users walk through a detailed ‘interview’ process, sharing personal information and details about income, RRSPs and potential credits and deductions. This methodical approach ensures that you explore and use every possible tax-saving opportunity, potentially maximizing refunds.

For investors, TurboTax takes care of stock sales and other incomes to accurately reflect every dollar on your tax forms. It also has a special how-to section for students. This factors in tuition costs, transfer of unused tuition credits, moving expenses, and student tax benefits. Learners can tap into this expertise whether they go off to school for the first time or go back as an adult.

For new Canadians, it also lights the way as they adapt to the laws and expectations of their current home. This helps immigrants, new permanent residents, international students and work visa holders navigate their first year tax obligations and beyond. It guides them through the work to file their taxes correctly and on Canadian deadlines.

Wealthsimple Tax: Crypto Traders

Best Tax Return Software in Canada For Crypto Traders

Wealthsimple Tax is among the best tax return software in Canada thanks to its budget-friendly fee structure, ease of use, and crypto compatibility. Originating as SimpleTax, a creation of Jonathan and Alison Suter in 2012, it quickly gained popularity. The straightforward and free, “pay what you want” system is coupled with an easy-to-navigate interface. Renowned robo-advisor Wealthsimple acquired it in 2019 and rebranded as Wealthsimple Tax.

This software stands out for its simplicity, security and NETFILE certification. It abides by CRA requirements for privacy and encryption, allowing users to import the previous year’s returns. You can auto-fill current returns directly from the CRA, referring to step-by-step guidance throughout. The software can handle various income types, including self-employment and investment-property income. Moreover, it optimizes refunds by including features like pension income splitting and spousal dividend claims. For crypto traders, it offers a unique capability to auto-fill returns with gains/losses from more than 300 exchanges and wallets.

The process of using Wealthsimple Tax remains uncomplicated. Users can easily create an account, link their CRA account, then answer questions about their tax situation. Next, review the summary before submission and submit the return using CRA NETFILE functionality. For Wealthsimple customers, filing can start directly from the Wealthsimple dashboard.

How its payment system works

While you don’t have to pay, WealthSimple tax asks its users to donate $19 per return, but allows you to pay $0.00 if you want. Typically, most contributions range between $10 and $20. However, this platform has certain limitations, primarily in flexibility and support. It may lack the sophistication required by business owners, non-residents or recent emigrants from Canada. Further, it may seem too minimal for nervous or first-time filers. Customer support focuses more on resolving queries about using the software rather than offering general tax advice.

Wealthsimple Tax offers a viable direct and low-cost avenue for those with uncomplicated tax situations or crypto traders. The donation-based model makes it an attractive choice for budget-conscious users. Meanwhile, its unique features, especially relating to cryptocurrency, set it apart from its competitors. 

Pricing: Free for any user, with a request to donate $19 per return. Most people pay $10 to $20. However, if you need more advanced features, have a more complicated tax situation, or need additional support, you can purchase a paid plan based on your needs. Paid plans range from $40 to $80 plus tax.

Provincial Availability: In every province and territory

H&R Block: In-Person Filing

Best Tax Return Software in Canada For Digital & In-Person Filing

H&R Block stands out in Canada’s tax software domain. It blends more than 50 years of experience with innovative solutions for both online and in-person tax filings. Established in the United States, it has fortified its presence in Canada with more than 1,000 operational locations. Generally, it offers Canadians the flexibility of in-person consultations or online tax software for home filings, via three different plans. You can either work together online, in person or just drop it off for pickup later making it the best tax return software in Canada with various filing methods.

H&R Block stands apart with its Maximum Refund Guarantee. This promises users that they will attain the highest refund or the lowest tax bill, else the software cost gets refunded. This also applies if another firm gets a better result for you. 

It also offers optional Audit Protection for personalized assistance on audits or reviews and presents multiple refund options, allowing flexibility in refund receptions. The software ensures ease in filing and integrates with NETFILE for direct tax refund submissions.

The available plans include: 

  • a Free plan for simple tax returns and people under 25 years old
  • a Deluxe plan at $19.99/return for maximizing deductions and credits
  • a Premier plan at $34.99/return, designed investors, rental income, and even foreign income 
  • a Self Employed plan at 44.99/return, designed for the self-employed with advanced features

These plans cover aspects like automatic tax return optimizations, claiming of employment income, tuition, donations, medical expenses, rental property income and capital gains. Support services range from basic online help sections to an Expert Review add-on starting at $39.99. This provides unlimited tax advice and personal review experts to guide users through complex cases. 

H&R Block also offers 20% discounts for military personnel and their spouses. For Canadians living in the United States, they make a DIY package available for $99 USD, with online support included.

When compared to competitors like TurboTax and Wealthsimple Tax, H&R Block holds its ground. Its unique in-person consultation option makes it a preferred choice for those who value this approach to discuss evolving financial scenarios.

Pricing: Free, Deluxe for $19.99, Premier for $34.99, Self Employed for $44.99, with 20% discounts for military personnel and a $39.99 fee for a review of your return by a tax expert

Provincial Availability: In every province and territory

TurboTax stands out with its promise of the highest possible refund, displayed consistently throughout the user’s journey. It presents tax-saving opportunities vividly. Further, it keeps abreast of the latest tax amendments so users don’t miss out on any benefits.

To test out various scenarios, you can use its online calculators for income taxes, RRSPs and self-employment deductions. Further, its robust FAQ and community chat answers the most common questions.

Even better, TurboTax accommodates users with deeper support needs. These range from the basic AnswerXchange forum to phone support and professional review and oversight with the Assist & Review and Full Service versions. These premium offerings extend comprehensive services, including preparation, optimization, review, and filing of tax returns, with the added advantage of year-round audit support.

The pricing of TurboTax reflects its premium positioning. The Assist & Review version, starting at $40 per return, identifies 400 tax-saving opportunities, making it a valuable choice. With the Full Service version, you get the expertise to deal with income and expenses from stocks, bonds, cryptocurrency and rental properties.  The price starts at $70 per return and covers capital gains and losses. The cost, although higher compared to competitors, aims to produce larger returns via a simplified, user-friendly experience.

TurboTax has evolved its filing process to be more digestible and relevant, eliminating overwhelming forms and focusing on user-specific needs. This combination of extensive support, meticulous detailing, and user-friendly interfacing establishes TurboTax as the optimal choice for Canadians seeking a refined and insightful tax filing experience.

Pricing: Three levels: Free for simple returns, $40-$110 for Assist & Review, or $70-$250 for Full Service tax preparation by an expert.

Provincial Availability: In every province and territory

CloudTax: First-Time Filers

CloudTax prides itself on demystifying the daunting process of tax filing with its intuitive and user-friendly interface. As such, it has become a significant player in Canada’s tax software landscape. Adopting a freemium model, it allows users to explore its extensive feature suite without an immediate financial commitment. This makes it an appealing choice for those looking to save a few dollars on tax preparation.

Nimalan Balachandran founded CloudTax in 2019 after working as a Taxpayer Service Agent at CRA and a financial advisor. Pricing in CloudTax is competitive, with two do-it-yourself options: free and the Plus version for $29.99.

Its “file with an expert” pricing reflects its comprehensive offerings, yet remains accessible, emphasizing user convenience and potential for larger returns. The software provides additional options, including:

  • a Basic version with a virtual tax expert for $99.99
  • a Premium package for $249.99 tailored to rental income, partnership income, emigrants, deceased tax returns, and more
  • a Business package for $349.99 designed for the self-employed, business income, non-resident tax returns, and CloudReceipt access

Users experience a streamlined process, where they get guided through each step. This meticulous strategy guarantees that every tax-saving opportunity gets identified and leveraged, potentially maximizing refunds.

CloudTax differentiates itself with its commitment to offering extensive features even in its free version and providing unlimited chat support. This keeps users informed about the latest tax changes so they can capitalize on all available benefits.

By tapping into AI technology, CloudTax scans your slips or imports information directly from the CRA. Its financial toolkit comes with few barriers to entry.

CloudTax’s approach to tax filing is user-centric, eliminating complex forms while focusing on individual user needs. With its emphasis on security, user-friendly navigation and responsive support, it positions itself as a prime choice for Canadians. In return, they discover an efficient and insightful tax-filing solution. 

Pricing: Free for basic returns, or Plus $29.99 for up to 20 returns. Full-service plans prepared by a tax expert include the Basic plan for $99.99, the Premium plan for $249.99, and the Business plan for $349.99.

Provincial Availability: Canadians in Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, or Quebec cannot access the free version, only the paid ones.

UFile: Students & Low-Income Families

Best Tax Return Software in Canada For Students & Low-Income

Operating in Canada for 20 years, UFile streamlines the cumbersome task of tax filing with the CRA or Revenu Quebec. Designed for diverse needs, UFile offers multiple plans, each integrated with features that ensure the software’s efficiency and user-friendliness.

UFile allows users to fill in their tax information seamlessly and file their tax returns with CRA, providing a choice of plans at various prices. Notably, it’s NETFILE certified and has cemented its reputation as a trusted choice across Canada.

With UFile, Canadians with total family incomes lower than $20,000 can file their returns at no cost. Post-secondary students, first-time filers, and those with a simple can also file for free regardless of income.

UFile provides several products, including UFile Online starting at $20.95. UFile Premium, at $32.95, includes additional benefits and priority support. Meanwhile, UFile Windows 4 allows you to file four returns for $24.99, but without free telephone support. An update to UFile Windows 12 offers up to 12 returns with phone support for $39.99. All options come with a triple guarantee for accuracy, satisfaction and the best tax result.

UFile Pro and UFile T2 are also available, catering to professional and corporate tax filings, respectively. UFile, with its varied plans and robust features, competes effectively with other tax software like TurboTax and Wealthsimple Tax. 

Additionally, It offers benefits like auto-fill features, security, reliability and the option to store tax returns online for nine years. It also aims to get your tax return in your pocket within eight days.

As other benefits, it has a portal dedicated to the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. This facilitates these helpers who guide low-income Canadians, or those with low financial literacy, through their tax filings.

While UFile has an excellent reputation for safety and securely storing information online, it does have some limitations. For example, it does not have a universally free option or audit protection. The software, however, excels in its triple guarantee and its local data storage option, making it a considerable choice for tax filings in Canada.

Pricing: Free for students, families with incomes of less than $20,000, first-time filers, and simple returns, otherwise it’s $19.95 to file online; $24.99 for four returns via Windows or $33.99 for 12 returns via Windows 

Provincial Availability: In every province and territory

EachTax: Seniors Over 70 Years Old

Best Tax Return Software in Canada for Seniors

EachTax emerges as a highly user-centric tax software, particularly beneficial for seniors. Its simplicity, broad compatibility with Windows, Mac and Linux and functional design. These features make it accessible and easy to use, especially for those who are less tech-savvy and prefer straightforward interfaces.

Seniors over age 70, new Canadians, and individuals earning $25,000 or less annually can use EachTax’s services for free. This inclusivity allows seniors to navigate their tax filings effortlessly. New customers also get their first return done at no cost.

The software, focused on practicality, integrates features like auto-filling, swift notifications and error checking to optimize the tax-filing experience. The ability to print, review and modify returns multiple times is particularly reassuring for seniors. This allows for meticulous review for utmost accuracy in submissions.

Continuous accessibility permits users to prepare and review multiple returns in one account, without the need for frequent registrations. In case of audits, EachTax provides indispensable support, offering assistance and thorough guidance. Users get supported by priority email responses, reassuring users in navigating tax regulations.

Despite its basic design and unavailability in Quebec, EachTax offers a commendable choice for those seeking user-friendly, reliable tax preparation. Further, it does not process returns related to the AgriStability/AgriInvest Program or across multiple jurisdictions. 

Its commitment to user satisfaction makes tax filing accessible and comfortable for diverse user groups. In essence, EachTax’s comprehensive approach makes it a reliable partner in the tax preparation journey for seniors and other individuals. It combines convenience and support seamlessly within a simplistic yet effective framework.

Pricing: Free for first-timers, new Canadians, seniors over age 70 and people with incomes lower than $25,000; for others, $6.99 for the first return and $3.99 each for subsequent ones

Provincial Availability: In every province and territory, but only offering the federal portion of tax returns to Quebec residents

Choosing the Best Tax Return Software in Canada For Your Needs

When it comes to filing your taxes in Canada, choosing the right software can make life much easier. With numerous options available, seek out the one that caters to your specific needs. These key considerations help you make the right choice.

1. NETFILE Certification

Primarily, check to see whether the software qualifies as NETFILE certified. NETFILE allows you to send your tax return directly to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) securely. Afterward, you’ll receive a notification confirming its receipt. Although many software options come with NETFILE certification, confirm this status before starting your tax-return process.

2. Availability of a Free Version

Many tax software programs, like Wealthsimple Tax and TurboTax, offer both free and paid versions. For simpler tax situations, using a free version suits the average person. Meanwhile, more complex scenarios – such as self-employment or a lucrative side hustle – might necessitate a paid version with advanced features. Evaluate your needs against the software’s offerings to determine the right fit.

3. Capability of the Free Version

The scope of features in free versions can vary significantly. Some can handle only the most basic returns and might not accommodate complexities, such as green-energy or investment-property income. Before diving in, ensure the software can manage all aspects of your return to avoid stumbling upon limitations halfway through.

4. Auto-Fill Capability

If you register with CRA MyAccount, consider software with auto-fill capability. This pulls data directly from the CRA and populates your return, minimizing manual data entry from different tax slips. Not every program, particularly the free ones, offers this feature, which drastically streamlines the process.

5. Ease of Use

For those without a background in taxation, opting for user-friendly software saves time and frustration. Choosing software with a guiding wizard can simplify the process by aiding in the selection of necessary tax forms/ As a result, users without specialized knowledge can navigate their tax filings with ease.

6. Operating System Compatibility

Lastly, ensure that the software works with your computer’s operating system. While Windows users generally have a wide array of compatible options, Mac users may find their choices somewhat limited. Therefore, verifying compatibility beforehand ensures a smoother experience.

Heidi Unrau is a senior finance journalist at Hardbacon. She studied Economics at the University of Winnipeg, where she fell in love with all-things-finance. At 25, she kicked-off her financial career in retail banking as a teller. She quickly progressed to become a Credit Analyst and then Private Lender. This hands-on industry experience uniquely positions her to provide expert insight on loans, credit scores, credit cards, debt, and banking services. She has been featured in publications such as WealthRocket, Scary Mommy, Credello, and Plooto. When she's not chasing after her two little boys, you'll find her hiding in the car listening to the Freakonomics podcast, or binge-watching financial crime documentaries with a bowl of ice cream. Fun Fact: Heidi has lived in five different provinces across Canada and her blood type is coffee.