Being an accountant my friends always ask me to prepare their returns for them. While, I have access to top level commercial grade tax software, the cost of these programs is out of the reach of the average Canadian (and not worth the cost for the higher income earner).
I’ve heard about many tax software programs over the years and as far as I’m concerned, if the CRA certifies them and my calculations are the same as the software then it really makes no difference who made the software. I had used TurboTax in the past because it was reasonably priced and easily obtained.
In 2008, I heard about a program called Studio Tax. I was a little sceptical because it was being touted as free. Anyway, I decided to check it out and down loaded the program and entered the tax information. The program was relatively easy and simple to use. My calculations checked out and I was satisfied that the program was suitable for a basic tax return.
The program is tailored to most personal tax situations and you should review their home page and restrictions to see if the software is right for you. If it is, then it’s priced well for the average Canadian with a few tax slips.
If you are self-employed, on commission, have rental income or significant stock trades, you should consider the value of an accountant. While users of retail software programs can input rental income, business income, capital gains and losses, they cannot replace the forward looking advice an accountant delivers.
The developers of the program are supported by Google’s Adsense ads (so Studio Tax is not what you’re looking for perhaps one of the Google ads shows something that is!) or by a donation via PayPal.
Update January 2011. Studio tax is still a great alternative to other paid software.