This article is sponsored by TurboTax. The thoughts and opinions are my own.
Let’s face it, “tax time” might very well be the most anxiety inducing phrase in the English language — but it doesn’t need to be.
There are a few specific myths about tax time that inflate everyone’s anxiety. Let’s take a look at how TurboTax helps to tackle these myths. I don’t think we’ll ever be able to make tax time fun, but it doesn’t need to be stressful either.
Myth #1: You need to know a lot to file your own taxes
Some people run to an accountant or a professional tax person. Professionals can definitely help with complex tax situations, but they can be quite expensive and you’d be surprised at how easy it is to file taxes on your own. Also, tax professionals still require you to find a lot of forms and provide a lot of numbers on your own, so there’s a surprising amount of work involved even though you’re paying someone else.
Doing taxes yourself can be intimidating. You might feel like you don’t know enough to do that. The truth is, you probably don’t — that’s where tax software like TurboTax can help you.
As someone who has used TurboTax for a number of years, I can tell you from personal experience that they do an amazing job of giving everyone the information they need to do their own taxes. You’re not left fumbling around through a mountain of paperwork on your own. Instead, you’re taken on a guided journey that helps you file your taxes in a remarkably quick time.
I’m able to handle my day-to-day tax items, like the T4 I get from work. However, I still get thrown for a loop every time I come across something new — and as I get older the new things seem to come up more frequently. This is natural. Maybe you get married, or you buy a home, or have a child. Each of these things impacts your taxes, but none of them are a reason to panic.
The ability to serve people at all levels of tax knowledge is where TurboTax really shines for me personally. I can go directly into the tax forms themselves and put in the numbers I know how to handle, or go through the guided questions and get help on the items I don’t know as well.
Even though I’m a nervous tax person who checks their numbers at least twice, with the help of TurboTax, I can file my taxes in an afternoon. Even if you know nothing about taxes at all, the process is surprisingly pain-free. Check out TurboTax’s Canada income tax calculator and quickly estimate your federal taxes, provincial taxes and your 2017 income tax refund at TurboTax.com.
Myth #2: Filing your taxes can take a long time
I think movies and the media have ingrained in us the idea of people with calculators and stacks upon stacks of documents. That’s nowhere near the experience I had. To start with, there were no stacks of papers, I just ordered a pizza and grabbed a slice.
In order to give this a good run-through, I went through the Easy-Step interview process. Through a series of questions about my job and life, TurboTax got all the information from me it needed to calculate my return.
Start-to-finish, the entire process took me about an hour — and that included a number of runs to the kitchen for extra slices of pizza. By the end of that time, I spent 15-20 minutes double-checking my return, and then I would have been ready to file (if I wasn’t still missing one tax slip).
In total, I spent less time doing taxes than I did watching Netflix that day, so I can’t honestly say that it took much time at all. I spent more time stressing about doing my taxes than I actually did doing them — a lesson for me to remember in the future!
Myth #3: All tax programs are the same
This can be an easy myth to fall for. Most Canadians probably think of their taxes for only a day or two each year, so we might not spend a lot of time thinking about our tax filing software — but we definitely should. The program you use to file your taxes can make a big difference in determining everything from how easy the experience is to how much money you get back.
There are several software programs that let you file your taxes, but TurboTax brings a lot of extra value for Canadians in the additional features that they offer. Whether it be life change profiling, pension splitting, RRSP optimization, or a number of other features, TurboTax has your back.
From the moment you go to the TurboTax website, you get an experience that will be a perfect fit for you. Their tax packages are tailored so that you can get exactly what you need for your tax situation. For example, if you own rental property, run a small business, or want a tax expert to review your return, then TurboTax has the package for you. If you have a relatively simple tax situation like I do, don’t worry, they have us covered too. You can even file for free online with TurboTax.
Once you’ve chosen a tax package for yourself and start running the software, TurboTax has a deduction toolbox of 400 different tax deductions that they check against your taxes. Everyone is unique, and everyone’s tax situation is a bit different. Checking 400 deductions is a great way to ensure that your tax return says “vacation” and not “large fries.”
One of the things I like the most about TurboTax is that they put their money where their mouth is when it comes to supporting Canadians. They offer a number of important guarantees:
- Maximum refund: If you get more money with another tax software, they will refund you what you paid, and if you used the free version they’ll still give you $9.99 back. That says a lot about their confidence in what they do.
- 100% accurate calculations: If they get the math wrong, they can reimburse you the amount of the penalty and interest.
- 100% satisfaction: If you’re not happy, they aren’t, and they’ll give you your money back.
- 100% accurate advice for TurboTax Live customers: If you speak with one of their tax experts for advice and they get something wrong based on the info provided, they’ll cover the penalties and interest.
Guarantees like that make me feel like TurboTax is confident in the features and function of their product, which makes it easier for me to be confident doing my taxes with them.