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The 2021 tax season is around the corner when Canadians are required to file their income and benefit returns for the 2020 tax year

Tax season means different things to different people. For some, it is an opportunity to get a nice tax refund and have extra cash to spend on their New Year’s resolutions.

For others, tax season is that dreaded time of the year when they have to shuffle hundreds of receipts, payment slips, and tax documents and worry about missing deductions or getting audited by the CRA.

2020 has been a significant year for many reasons. The pandemic forced many to work from home and decimated the global economy. It also led to a rise in gig workers and freelancers, as some areas of the economy (such as food delivery) grew at a record pace.

What options are available to you this tax season if you are needing expert help with your taxes?

Whether you are an independent contractor, freelancer, self-employed individual, or small business, an affordable online tax service such as TurboTax Live can help.

Even if you don’t fall into these categories, this service is useful if you’d rather avoid the hassle of doing your own taxes or you are looking to avoid errors and maximize your tax refund.

This TurboTax Live review covers its features, benefits, cost, downsides and more.

TurboTax Live Canada

TurboTax Live is one of the tax preparation services offered by TurboTax. It is managed by Intuit, the same company that owns QuickBooks and Mint.

TurboTax products and services have been used by millions of Canadians over the last decades.

The company recently introduced its TurboTax Live product (Assist & Review) & service (Full Service) which essentially provides access to tax experts who assist you with filing your tax return.

Unlike meeting an accountant in-person, this service is a lot cheaper and you can complete your taxes from the comfort of your home. But like an accountant, their experts have years of tax experience.

Also, it is secure and offers guarantees that we will cover later in this article.

Related: Work From Home Tax Deductions in Canada

How TurboTax Works

TurboTax offers a good number of tax preparation software you can use to prepare your tax return. These include:

  • A free online tax software you can use for basic and simple returns
  • Standard package for students, family, and individual returns
  • Premier tax software package for those who have investments and rental income to report, and
  • Self-employed tax return filing for individuals who are reporting self-employment income.

You can get a 15% discount off any of these TurboTax products here.

All three paid packages are available on a do-it-yourself basis with access to some support via email, phone, and chat.

They also offer step-by-step guidance to help you complete required tax forms and take advantage of applicable tax deductions.

That said, everyone’s tax situation is different. In some cases, you may want a tax expert to help you figure out how to:

  • Reduce your tax burden
  • Treat business income
  • Write off business expenses
  • Complete a GST/HST return
  • Take advantage of recent tax changes

These are just a few examples. If you will need expert advice to complete your return or prefer someone else to do it, TurboTax Live can help. The main TurboTax Live offerings are:

TurboTax Live Assist & Review

With TurboTax Live Assist & Review, you get access to unlimited tax advice from a tax expert.

When you have completed your return, they perform a complete review before you file to endure nothing is missing.

This service is also available to self-employed individuals.

  • Cost for personal return: $79.99 per return
  • Cost for self-employed return: $99.99 per return
  • You can get a 15% discount on this service here

TurboTax Live Full Service

What TurboTax Full Service does is to have an expert complete your taxes on your behalf.

You answer a few questions, and they optimize and complete your return, review it with you over the phone, and file it with the CRA once you have signed off.

A TurboTax expert does all the work so you don’t have to worry about anything.

The TurboTax Live Full Service is also available for self-employed individuals and includes “Audit Defence”. If you are audited by the CRA, a TurboTax expert will represent and defend your tax return to the CRA at no additional cost.

  • Cost for individual personal return: $129.99 per return
  • Cost for self-employed return: $199.99 per return
  • You can get a 15% discount on this service here.

Benefits of TurboTax Live

1. Access to tax experts with an average of 10 years of experience.

2. Peace of mind that you won’t miss out on deductions, tax credits, or have errors in your return

3. Fixed cost no matter how complicated your tax situation is

4. Easy access to advice with hours of operation running from 9 a.m to 12:00 midnight, 7 days a week during tax season.

5. Convenience since you don’t need to leave the comfort of your home. Communication is done via phone or one-way video chat.

6. Protection from auditing. If something goes wrong, TurboTax will communicate on your behalf with the CRA.  

You also enjoy the guarantees that come with TurboTax products and services including:

  • Maximum refund
  • 100% accuracy, and
  • Data and account security

Downsides

TurboTax Live Full Service is not currently available in Quebec.

Also, it costs $79.99 – $99.99 for the TurboTax Live Assist & Review Service, and $129.99 – $199.99 for the TurboTax Live Full Service.

Related: Is CERB Taxable – What You Need To Know.

Is TurboTax Live Worth It?

TurboTax is one of the world’s most popular online tax preparation services.

If you need expert help with completing your individual or small business return, this service can help you to maximize your refund while utilizing all available deductions and tax credits.

Access to unlimited expert advice means you won’t have to fret about making mistakes. And, with the Full Service, someone else does all the work.

GET TURBOTAX LIVE

Have you used TurboTax Live for your tax filing? Let us know about your experience in the comments.

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TurboTax Live Review
5

Summary

TurboTax Live offers expert tax advice and assistance to help you file your tax return in Canada. This TurboTax live review covers its online tax software service, benefits, costs, downsides and more.

Pros

  • Access to tax experts
  • Peace of mind
  • Maximum refund
  • Convenient
  • 100% accuracy guarantee

Cons

  • The Full Service is not available in Quebec