The best tax software in Canada helps you maximize your refund and many even allow you to file your taxes online for free.
A whopping 91% of Canadians who filed tax returns in 2021 did so by using electronic filling methods.
Of these, 32.6% used a tax software approved by the CRA for NETFILE, 58.2% used an EFILE service, and 0.2% of filers used File My Return.
Filing your income tax and benefit return using tax software is easy and you also get back any refunds faster. Compared to a traditional paper filing, your tax refund could be processed in as little as 2 weeks instead of 8 weeks or longer.
It’s no wonder that paper returns declined significantly from almost 5.4 million in 2015 to just over 2.7 million returns in the 2020 tax year.
As you prepare for the 2021 tax year season that opens this February, below are some of the best tax preparation software and programs you can use for your filing.
Best Tax Return Software in Canada
Tax software in Canada that have been approved by the Canada Revenue Agency to transmit data using NETFILE generally offer the following benefits:
- Auto-fill my return
- 100% accuracy and maximum tax refund
- Express Notice of Assessment (NOA)
- Up to 20 returns per account
They also offer various features and benefits that may vary depending on whether you are using a free or paid version of the tax program.
WealthsimpleTax: Best Free Tax Software in Canada
Wealthimple Tax (formerly SimpleTax) is a free tax return software that uses a pay-what-you-can model.
Designed by Canadians, this platform was recently acquired by Wealthsimple, a popular online financial institution.
You can use Wealthsimple Tax in your web browser or download the mobile app.
For a free tax filing software, this program compares favourably to the paid versions of TurboTax.
It supports simple and complex returns including self-employment income, investment income, and rental income. A refund optimizer helps you to utilize all the deductions and tax credits applicable to your situation so you get the maximum refund possible.
Also, our readers who sign up here and submit their returns get a $15 bonus (paid into your Wealthsimple Cash account).
If you have questions about your tax filing, you can get help by email or phone 7 days a week, including weekends and holidays.
For the 2021 tax year, Wealthsimple Tax is also offering free tax filing for crypto trades. If you bought or sold crypto, you can automatically import your trades from over 300 crypto exchanges.
The software calculates your capital gains and losses and includes them in your tax return filing.
Cost: Wealthsimple Tax is free. If you want, you can make a small donation after submitting your return to CRA.
Security: It uses encryption to secure your data. You can also enable 2-factor authentication to provide further protection.
Available in: All provinces and territories in Canada.
Pros of WealthsimpleTax
- $15 bonus
- Free tax software for Canadians
- It supports simple and complicated tax situations
- User-friendly interface
- CRA-approved for NETFILE
- Free tax filing for capital gains/losses from crypto and stock trades
- Audit support is available for a small fee
- Maximum refund guarantee
- Offer several free calculators
Cons of WealthsimpleTax
- No support for corporation tax filing
- A downloadable Windows version is not available
- Does not support the AgriStability and AgriInvest programs for farmers
Want to know more about WealthsimpleTax? Read our review.
TurboTax: Best Paid Tax Software in Canada
Turbotax is the most popular tax software in Canada. It is CRA-approved to use the NETFILE service and also supports Auto-fill my Return.
TurboTax is available on multiple devices including Android and iPhone devices. It also offers a downloadable desktop program.
It breaks down the tax forms into small manageable bits and offers guidance along the way so you don’t miss out on over 400 tax deductions and credits, and can maximize your tax refund.
This tax software offers multiple products that cater to simple and complex tax situations including investment income, self-employment income, personal and business taxes.
If you’d rather have an expert complete your tax return or want someone to review it before submission, you can use the TurboTax Live service.
Cost: Has a free version (TurboTax Free). The standard paid product is $19.99 and premium options are available, with prices ranging from $34.99 to $99.99, depending on your needs.
Is it safe? TurboTax uses TLS encryption to protect your data.
Available: In all Canadian provinces and territories.
Pros of TurboTax
- It is CRA-approved for NETFILE
- Offers a free version for simple tax returns
- Paid versions can handle simple and complex returns including investment, rental and business income
- Access to live support
- Audit protection is available
Cons of TurboTax
- Support is limited for the free version
- Premium versions are more expensive
For more details about this tax preparation program, read our TurboTax review.
H&R Block: Best For In-Person Tax Filing
H&R Block has been around on the tax filing scene since 1964. It offers online tax software as well as tax services at more than 1,000 retail offices across Canada.
The online version has three tiers of service depending on the level of assistance you want: Free ($0), Assistance ($19.99), and Protection ($44.99).
You can also opt for add-on services including an expert review (starts at $59.99), audit protection, and a last will and testament.
Cost: There’s a free online tax filing version and you can also choose from various paid products depending on your needs.
Available: In all provinces and territories in Canada.
Security: It uses several layers of security and policies to protect your data.
Pros of H&R Block
- CRA-certified to use NETFILE
- Offers support via chat and telephone
- Premium options including expert help and audit protection are available
- In-person tax service is available (drop off at an office)
Cons of H&R Block
- Support is limited for the free version
- Premium options are more expensive
- Does not support Form T1273, Form T1163 and Form T2203
GenuTax: Pay What You Want Free Tax Filing
This tax software is free to use. It works on Windows computers and you need to download and install the program to get started.
Similar to the other tax software on this list, you can use GenuTax to file for the 2020 tax years as well as previous years up to 2010.
It works for simple and complex taxes and can handle capital gains, rental property income, and small business taxes.
GenuTax does not support Form T2203 and Form T1135. Also, you won’t be able to use it if you are a participant of the AgriStability or AgriInvest programs, or when filing a pre-or post-bankruptcy claim.
For assistance or questions about your filing, you can send an email to [email protected].
Cost: Free. You can make a donation of your choice using PayPal or a credit card.
Security: Your tax information is stored on your local hard drive.
Available: Throughout Canada with restrictions in Quebec.
Pros of GenuTax
- It is certified by the CRA to use NETFILE
- Free tax preparation software
- Simple and user-friendly
Cons of GenuTax
- The limited support available via email can take up to two business days
- You can’t use it to file your Quebec provincial income tax return (federal filing available)
- Only available on the Windows operating system; no mobile or iOS versions
- It is missing a few forms
This Canadian-made tax software is newer and you can access it using your computer or smartphone.
CloudTax offers free online tax software for simple tax returns. A standard version costs $29.99/return if you have business, foreign or rental income; and there’s a Plus version that supports Corporation T2 returns.
You can also have your taxes filed by an expert for an extra $29.99.
Available in: CloudTax Free is not available in Nunavut, Quebec, Yukon, or the Northwest Territories.
Security: Your data is encrypted and only shared with the CRA using NETFILE.
Pros of CloudTax
- It is CRA-approved
- Audit protection is available as an add-on for $2.99 per month
- Free version available for simple tax returns
- User-friendly and intuitive platform
Cons of CloudTax
- The free version offers limited support and is not available throughout Canada
UFile has been serving Canadians for over 20 years.
It offers an online web-based version, a desktop installation file for Windows, and a free tax software version for eligible filers.
UFile is easy to use and the step-by-step format is easy to follow even for first-time users.
The free UFile version is available to students, newcomers to Canada who are filing their first federal return, and taxpayers with a total family income of less than $20,000.
The software supports self-employment, investment, and rental property income.
Cost: UFile has a basic free option. UFile ONLINE starts at $19.95 and UFile Premium starts at $29.95.
Security: It uses 128-bit encryption to protect your data
Available: Throughout Canada
Pros of UFile
- CRA and NETFILE approved
- Access to email and telephone support
- Has a version for corporation T2 filing
- Has a basic free version for eligible individuals
Cons of UFile
- The free version is not open to everyone
- It does not support Form T1273 and bankruptcy returns
- Audit assistance is not provided
StudioTax is another online tax filing program available to Canadians.
To use the software, you will need to download the .exe file and install it on your Windows or Mac computer. You can also download the mobile app from the App Store and Google Play.
While the interface for StudioTax looks dated, it is well-rated by users. Note that it does not support some tax forms, including Form T1273 Statement A, Form T2203, TP-22, and TP-25.
You can access Youtube tutorials and the support section of the website if you have questions about your tax filing.
Cost: It has a $15 license fee. If your total income is less than $20,000 or you live in Nunavut, Yukon, or the Northwest Territories, you won’t need a license.
Security: The software does not connect to the internet except when you update it.
Available in: All provinces and territories in Canada. The Mac version does not support the Quebec TP-1 return.
Pros of StudioTax
- It is CRA-approved for NETFILE
- Offers an Enterprise version (paid) for tax professionals
- A free option is available if your income is less than $20,000
Cons of StudioTax
- No direct support is available
- It does not have a web-based version
- It is lacking tax forms for non-resident returns and multiple jurisdiction taxes
- Audit assistance is not provided
Pros and Cons of Filing Your Taxes Online in Canada
When you file your taxes online using tax software that has been approved by the CRA (e.g. Wealthsimple Tax), you can automatically and accurately complete some sections of your return using the Auto-fill my Return tool.
The software program provides guidance on what to do and how to maximize your refund. It also does all the calculations.
After completing your return and filing it, you get quick access to your notice of assessment and if you are set up for a direct deposit, your refund is generally processed within 2 weeks.
Individuals with a complex tax situation or corporation tax returns may benefit from using an accountant vs. an online tax software.
A CPA is more familiar with tax planning and tax laws and they may be able to save you money over time.
You can also get professional advice by choosing a tax software that offers expert assistance and reviews.
Other Free Tax Filing Options in Canada
In addition to free tax software, some tax filers are eligible to file their taxes with the CRA for free.
File My Return: If you are eligible for this service, the CRA will send you an invitation letter containing information on how to proceed.
Free Tax Clinics: These free tax services are offered through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. They are available to low and moderate-income Canadians who have simple tax returns.
You can find a free tax clinic in your area here.
Income Assistance-Volunteer Program: This free program is available in Quebec and is offered to Canadians with simple tax situations and a modest family income.
TurboTax vs. SimpleTax vs. StudioTax vs. UFile
|Price||Free; can make a donation||Free option; standard version costs $19.99+||$15||Free option; standard version costs $19.95|
|CRA-approved and NETFILE ready||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Supports CRA’s auto-fill||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Support available||Email, phone, chat||Phone, email, chat||Youtube Tutorials||Email and phone|
|Audit assistance||Yes, for a fee||Yes, for a fee||No||No|
|Mobile app||iOS and Android||iOS and Android||iOS and Android||No|
|Guarantee offered||Maximum refund and 100% accuracy||Maximum refund and 100% accuracy||N/A||Best refund and accuracy|
|Availability||Canada-wide||Canada-wide||Canada-wide; Mac version limited in Quebec||Canada-wide|
|Optional add-ons||Audit and priority email support||Tax expert filing; review; corporation returns; desktop app||Desktop app||Premium version available|
|Learn more||Learn more||Learn more||–||–|
Best Tax Software in Canada FAQ
What is the best tax software in Canada?
The free best tax software based on my review of the various tax programs is Wealthsimple Tax (formerly SimpleTax). If you are looking for extensive live help, audit protection, and reviews, TurboTax is a good paid option to consider.
Is TurboTax really free?
Yes, the TurboTax Canada free tax software is free. That said, it is limited in what you can use it for as it doesn’t support some deductions, income, and expenses.
Who owns SimpleTax?
SimpleTax is now owned by Wealthsimple and it has been rebranded as Wealthsimple Tax.
Is Wealthsimple Tax certified by the CRA?
Yes, Wealthsimple Tax is certified and approved by both the CRA and Revenu Quebec for NETFILE tax filing.
How many returns can I file with TurboTax Free and Wealthsimple Tax?
You can file up to 20 returns per account with both TurboTax Free and Wealthsimple Tax.
What tax software does the CRA use?
Various tax software are approved by the CRA for filing 2021 tax returns including Wealthsimple Tax, StudioTax, GenuTax, CloudTax, TaxTron, and H&R Block Online.
Tax Updates For the 2022 Tax Season
For the 2022 Tax Year, you should take note of the following tax numbers:
Federal Income Tax Rates
- Up to $$50,197: 15%
- $50,198 to $100,392: 20.50%
- $100,393 to $155,625: 26%
- $155,626 to $221,708: 29%
- $221,709 and over: 33%
For Provincial tax rates and brackets, visit the applicable links below:
- Saskatchewan Income Tax Rates
- B.C. Income Tax Rates
- Alberta Income Tax Rates
- Ontario Income Tax Rates
- Manitoba Income Tax Rates
Tax-Free Saving Account
The TFSA Contribution limit for 2022 is $6,000, remaining at the same level it was in 2021.
Here are some TFSA investment options.
Basic Personal Amount
The basic personal amount in 2022 is $14,398 (compared to $13,808 in 2021). Individuals who earn a taxable income higher than $155,625 will see a gradual phase-out of the basic personal amount until it reaches $12,719.
The RRSP limit in 2022 is $29,210, increasing from the $27,830 dollar limit in 2021.
Canada Child Benefit
The base CCB amount for children under 6 has increased to $6,833 (from $6,765 in 2021) and for kids aged 6 to 17, it has increased to $5,765 (from $5,708 in 2021).
For a longer list of taxes and benefits that have changed, click here.