As the calendar flips over to the new year, Canadians know exactly what is on the horizon: tax season. Filing your income tax should not be a stressful exercise, especially with how advanced technology is nowadays.
Canadians are becoming savvier when it comes to filing their returns: in 2022, nearly 92% filed their income taxes electronically.
If you are looking for a way to file taxes for free in Canada, look no further than CloudTax: a free online tax filing app made for Canadians by Canadians. CloudTax is a simple tax filing system that helps you gain the maximum refund that you are eligible for, all without hiring a professional tax expert.
Filing taxes has never been easier now that you can submit your return directly to the CRA online. In a market with limited options for online tax apps, CloudTax is looking to take the anxiety out of filing your income tax in the future.
CloudTax is a Canadian finance app that allows you to file your taxes for free online. The company was started in 2015 when Nimalan Balachandran realized there was a gap in the market for a reliable and free online resource for Canadians to file their income tax.
The app uses artificial intelligence to learn and remember your data entries and will save this information for future years. CloudTax focuses on the user experience by providing a step-by-step guided application, full customer support, and even a paid service that allows tax experts to file your taxes for you.
With this tax software, you can file your income taxes in Canada for free from your desktop or even using its mobile app. In this CloudTax review, we will cover the various subscription tiers it offers and the app’s security and compare it to other popular Canadian tax filing systems.
CloudTax is a free Canadian online tax filing system, but that does not mean it does not have a premium tier. There are two tiers for Canadians to choose from: a free basic filing and CloudTax Plus, which is a paid version that includes several premium features. Here is a breakdown of what each tier of CloudTax offers:
As its name suggests, CloudTax’s basic tier is completely free to use. In addition to filing your income taxes directly to the CRA through NETFILE, CloudTax offers the following benefits:
- Step-by-Step Guidance from CloudTax customer support
- Includes COVID-19 support
- Auto-Fill My Return (AFR)
- Smart Search
- Video Tutorials
- Unlimited technical help from tax experts
- File 2 Returns in one account
One thing to note is that CloudTax Free only covers basic filings. If you are self-employed or have rental income to report, then you will not qualify to use the CloudTax Free version.
Related: How to register and open a CRA My account.
The CloudTax Plus version of the app builds on all of the features provided in the basic CloudTax Free version. With a one-time payment at a reasonable price of just $29.99 CAD, users get access to the following:
- Everything included in the CloudTax Free version
- Unlimited live tax help from tax experts
- Customized tax tips for your scenario
- Includes Audit Protection for the primary account
- File up to 20 returns in one account
As you can see, the real benefit of CloudTax Plus is gaining access to live tax experts to help you through the process. You can also file up to 20 returns with one account, which is ideal for large families or small businesses.
The thing that will catch most people’s attention is that CloudTax allows you to file your income taxes for free. The free version is fairly robust compared to other paid Canadian tax filing services.
If you choose to upgrade to CloudTax Plus, you get an even more fulsome experience. Having live access to actual tax experts is invaluable and much cheaper than going to file your taxes in person.
Another advantage to CloudTax is that both versions are compatible with its Android and iOS apps. This means you can file and manage your taxes on any device, no matter where you are!
On the other hand, the CloudTax Free version is only usable by the most basic filings. It does not include self-employment income or rental income, which are usually included in most free filing services.
Another disadvantage of CloudTax is that residents of the Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Quebec are not eligible to use the service. This means that nearly 8.5 million Canadians cannot use the app.
Entering your private tax and financial information online can be scary for some. CloudTax uses the highest level of Google security and data encryption for its web and mobile apps.
The mobile version of CloudTax also allows you to utilize biometrics like face recognition ID or fingerprint ID to secure your logins.
On top of its technological security, CloudTax is licensed and regulated by the security standards of the Canadian government. The company also states that it will not sell any of your private data to third parties.
Finally, the company utilizes NETFILE to submit your return directly to the CRA. No need to be worried about some other company getting a hold of your data when submitting your taxes!
TurboTax is one of the more established tax filing systems in Canada. Like CloudTax, it has a free version that provides more than enough for most Canadians.
TurboTax also has several premium versions, including TurboTax Standard, TurboTax Premier, and TurboTax Home & Business. The paid versions come with the ability to search for hundreds of more deductions, so it can be worth the minimal cost.
CloudTax and TurboTax have no income limit for their free versions, unlike some of their competitors. Younger Canadians might decide to go with TurboTax since it offers any of its tiers for free to users under the age of 25.
TurboTax also has both desktop and mobile versions of its app. One caveat with the free version of TurboTax: you will have to re-enter your information each year from scratch.
Also, the free TurboTax plan is for simple tax returns (like CloudTax Free), which excludes employment expenses, donations, medical expenses, investment income and expenses, rental property income and expenses, and self-employed income and expenses.
One area where CloudTax excels over TurboTax is its support. The free version of TurboTax comes with access to AnswerXchange, which is basically an online forum for users. The paid versions come with live support from TurboTax, where you have access to support with CloudTax Free.
You can learn more about TurboTax in this detailed explainer.
Previously known as SimpleTax, the system was acquired by Wealthsimple in 2019 and renamed Wealthsimple Tax.
Like CloudTax, Wealthsimple Tax is also free but with a unique twist: it urges users to pay by donation. The suggested donation is around $19.00 CAD, which aligns it with most of its paid competitors.
For “free” software, Wealthsimple Tax is much more robust than CloudTax. It only has one version, which includes most of the premium features found in paid tiers for other apps.
These features include accepting self-employment, small business, and rental income, free support by chat, email, or phone, refund optimization, maximum refund guarantee, and even for filing cryptocurrency capital gains or losses from over 300 crypto exchanges or wallets.
Like CloudTax, Wealthsimple is NETFILE approved and meets the CRA requirements for encryption and security. But for a free system that most Canadians will be able to use, both systems are excellent options for basic filings.
Related: Wealthsimple Tax complete guide.
CloudTax is an online tax filing system that meets the criteria for most Canadian taxpayers. It has a simple and intuitive interface and provides more than enough functionality for Canadians with basic tax scenarios.
Here is how it compares to its competitors in Canada.
|Features||Turbo Tax||Wealthsimple Tax||StudioTax||CloudTax|
|AI-Powered Slip Scanning||No||No||No||Yes|
|Unlimited Technical Support Via Live Chat||No||No||No||Yes|
|Transfer Last Year’s Data||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|View PDF Prior to Filing with CRA||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Digital Return Storage||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile App for iOS an Android||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Price for Premium Tiers||Starts at $20.99||By donation, suggested $19.00||$15.00||$29.99|
|Availability||All Canadian Citizens||All Canadian Citizens||All Canadian Citizens||Not Currently Available in Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, or Quebec|
For basic Canadian tax filings that do not include self-employment or rental income, CloudTax is free. This means that for most Canadians, the free version of CloudTax will suffice.
Yes! CloudTax has the highest Google security and encryption features and meets the requirements of the CRA. You also get access to CloudTax’s customer support in both the free and paid versions.
If you meet the basic criteria for your income taxes in Canada, then using CloudTax is free. If you want additional features like audit protection or live tax advisors then you will need to pay for the premium version.
Using free tax filings software like CloudTax or Wealthsimple Tax is a simple and affordable way to file your taxes in Canada.
Related: H&R Block Review.