This article was sponsored by TurboTax.
Filing your taxes can feel like a no win situation…
Paying an accountant to do it for you can be quite expensive (been there) while doing it by pen and paper is a tedious error-prone chore (done that).
Tax software to the rescue, right?
It’s true, there are quite a few options out there today when it comes to tax software with many of them seemingly racing to the bottom trying to offer the cheapest possible price for multiple returns, or sometimes even free.
Honestly, using software is way better than wrestling with pencil, paper, and a calculator.
But, I’m a pretty financially savvy guy and I have to admit that I still struggle filling in all the fields correctly. I’m often reduced to scratching my head, desperately combing through poorly formatted help documents, searching madly online, and scouring the CRA website to find answers to my questions.
For someone who cares much less about money than I do, I can imagine it must be considerably more frustrating even with the help of software. That’s where TurboTax has picked up the ball and run with it.
TurboTax Holds Your Hands So You Can Stop Wringing Them
When you land on the TurboTax website, you’re immediately asked to “Choose Your TurboTax”. And, the amount of options can seem overwhelming at first.
But then I realized they have one of the best websites I’ve ever seen for helping guide you to a custom-fit solution that is right for you no matter what your financial knowledge is.
I checked out all their Canadian competitors, and most of them offer a choice between an online or downloadable version of their software along with basic help pages, email, or (maybe) phone support depending on the package you choose.
A Wide Array Of Support and Tax Filing Assistance Options
TurboTax bucks that trend, and has focused in on providing you with the best support options so you can always get the help you need quickly and easily.
They offer all of the following (depending on the version you choose):
- TurboTax AnswerXchange – an online community where you can ask questions and find existing answers from other users to all your tax-related questions.
- Live Help with SmartLook – you can connect with a tax specialist live via the TurboTax software with 2 way audio and 1 way video so you can see them but they can’t see you.
- Assist & Review – personalized tax advice and support from a Tax Expert that will help guide you through filing your taxes with TurboTax and do a full review of your tax return before filing to make sure it was done right.
- Full Service – your taxes fully prepared and filed for you at rate that is significantly less than most full service accountants charge. Simply use the SimpleTax online tool to upload your ID and necessary documents and they will take care of the rest.
Keep in mind most of these easier-than-usual options are only available through the online version of TurboTax. If you’d rather stick with the downloadable software, then you can still get access to AnswerXchange and traditional telephone support.
Click here for a comparison of all the TurboTax Online options.
More Than Just Forms On A Screen
Another big advantage to TurboTax over other tax software is you have the option of a simple interview style Q&A format for completing your tax return much like you would experience if you met with a tax accountant face to face.
This means you don’t necessarily need to know what forms or the exact type of information you will need to enter before you start the process. The software will do its best to ask you questions that will trigger your memory to think of deductions or details you might otherwise have glossed over or completely forgotten.
All In One Suite of Tax Tools
Successfully filing your taxes is more than just entering pre-existing data into a form. It’s also a decision making process that allows you to optimize your deductions and personal finances for the current and future tax years.
TurboTax comes with an integrated suite of tax tools that help with:
- Deciding how much to contribute to your RRSP to maximize tax efficiency.
- Keeping track of your refund amount in real time as you complete your return.
- Finding extra deductions with interview questions and their Deduction Toolbox.
- Easy downloading and importing of past data from the CRA or e-slips.
- Splitting your pension properly to maximize your discount.
Live Help Using SmartLook
This is a great new feature just added to TurboTax in 2018 that I think deserves a lot of credit.
Live chat has become really popular everywhere you go these days, but Smartlook is different in that you can chat by voice with a live agent and there is 1 way video integrated right into the online version of the software.
That way you can see and hear the agent as they provide support to you so you don’t have to type furiously back and forth with them or be frustrated because they can’t see what you’re seeing. They can even guide you by drawing on your screen in real time to show you exactly what to do and where to go.
Not only will this be a great way to help customers, but it will also be a great way for them to see what’s working and what isn’t so they are bound to improve the user experience based on all the live feedback they will be getting.
All you do is click the Help button as you’re using the software and the option for SmartLook will come up. You can get online with a support agent right away, or you can schedule a time for them to call you back.
Related: 5 Ways Families Can Get a Tax Break
Is TurboTax Worth The Extra Money
Like many, TurboTax has a free option for simple tax returns, but I think they are really separating themselves out as the premium tax software option that provides a lot of value for the money.
You’re still going to save money over going with an accountant as well as time and frustration over doing it yourself with limited help – but it will cost you a bit more. Do you think that extra value is worth it?
If you’re not yet sure, the good news is that you can fully complete your tax return in the online version without paying a cent. You can even compare it to other software to see which ones saves you more money. Then, only when you’re ready to file or print your return, you are asked for your payment details.
Why not give TurboTax a try? (Save 20% with this link.)