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Filing taxes electronically

03/27/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Canadian

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2007/03/27/laytontaxfile.html

Last year I decided that I'd had enough of paying quite a lot of money to an accountant to do my taxes. I'm less than convinced about the "Tax Experts" of H&R Block, and thought that that yearly purchase of a package like QuickTax or UFile seemed like a bit of a waste. So, in the end I went with one of the online systems as suggested by Revenue Canada. For some people with more complex returns, I can see that any of the above make sense, but mine tend to be a T4, a couple of charitable deductions, maybe an RRSP contribution if I got around to it, but that's about it. Anyway, the one I chose worked just fine and took me marginally less time than filling out the paper equivalent. I plan to do the same again this year.

However, that's neither here nor there. What I was thinking at the time was given that a tax return is mandatory and that the Canadian Government already supplies the forms free of charge, and that all the pieces of software have to be validated by the Revenue Canada in order to be allowed to submit via eFile, why didn't the government just make an online tax submission system? Y'know, buy one of the various online systems and make it capable enough for most normal Canadian filers, and offer it as part of the process.

Well, I guess someone's trying. The link above is to a CBC story where the NDP's Jack Layton is suggesting something along those lines. I can only hope that "Canada's New Government" (how long do they get to keep that slogan for?) steals his idea. It's a good one and there's not much partisan about it.


1 comment

Comment from: Bryan Ewert [Visitor]
Bryan Ewert

For a time I chose to TeleFile my taxes. This still required that I fill out the various forms myself, but it was convenient to phone in the results, and it saved me a stamp.

Unfortunately, TeleFile is only accepted for very simple returns. Recently there’s been some extra boxes filled in on my T4’s, and as soon as one of these has a non-zero value TeleFile reneges on your data entry and hangs up.

Therefore, for the last few years I’ve maintained my own spreadsheet that reproduces all of the calculations required by the various tax forms. Each year I simply adjust the various deductions and percentages, transcribe my T4s and T5s, and it fills in all of the blanks. I relent to the stamp to submit the results snail-mail, but I don’t have to shell out for any of the “official” software (my spreadsheet is free - I use OpenOffice) or online services.

04/07/07 @ 17:43
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