Free tax filing online?


The NDP is the new consumer advocate for Canadians. First it was challenging banks over the charging of ATM fees in Canada. Now the NDP have set their sights on Canadians filing their taxes.

The NDP point out that in order for Canadians to file their taxes over the internet, they must purchase commercial software or have their taxes prepared by a private organization (i.e. H&R Block). The NDP note that there currently is not a no cost way to file personal income taxes.

The Revenue Minister, Carol Skelton, says Canadians already have access to free software via the Canadian Revenue Agency’s website. Try navigating this particular website to find the free software to download or file your tax return via the web browser. If the software is there, it is hard to find even for a person with two university degrees. So how is the average Canadian supposed to navigate the website in order to file their taxes online?

Perhaps the real need is to make the website less about announcing and promoting the new tax incentives for transit and for seniors and more on providing a user friendly free way for the average Canadian to file their taxes. Or perhaps a seperate user friendly website with a seperate easy to remember URL should be created so the average Canadian can file their taxes online. This new website should be advertised on television during tax season.

The website, the NDP contends, would save thousands of Canadian trees as taxpayers would more likely file their taxes online rather than having to read and fill out reams in a paper edition. In fact the Revenue Agency would save money in not having to print so many paper editions.

But of course, being a government agency, the Canada Revenue Agency, like the banks, wouldn’t be able to come up with anything user friendly that would also save people time and money.

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5 thoughts on “Free tax filing online?

  1. Interesting meme, Michael. In the US – because of our weird and convoluted tax laws – I couldn’t trust an IRS on-line tax filing program to give me all the available options thus minimizing my ultimate tax bill. I’d rather pay a private vendor a small fee each year – which is partially deductible anyway – to ensure I remit to the government the least amount legally possible.

    This would probably not hold true for you, I understand, because your government is so much more responsible and forthright than mine, so I’m just commenting on my own perspective.

    Cheers

  2. Wow! I guess I need to hone my ironic knife. Went right over everyone’s head, apparently. (Slowly shaking head from side to side).

  3. The UK gov’t tax website is great. easy to use, free and recommended by all small business advisors. Actually they prefer us to use the online form than the paper one as it calculates the tax automatically, there is no “it’s in the post” issues and it’s cheaper for them to process.

    Of course, only a tiny minority of UK workers have to use it – everyone who is employed gets it all done by the employer. Life’s easy here:-) But I send mine in each yer, when the TV reminds me to, and usually get a few £’s back pretty quickly:-)

  4. “In the US – because of our weird and convoluted tax laws – I couldn’t trust an IRS on-line tax filing program to give me all the available options thus minimizing my ultimate tax bill. I’d rather pay a private vendor a small fee each year – which is partially deductible anyway – to ensure I remit to the government the least amount legally possible.”

    Hmmm….yes the IRS laws are convoluted. Why do you have to file seperate state and federal claims and mail these forms to two seperate addresses (at least in New York State). In Canada the provincial and federal forms all go into the same return and mailed to the same address (i.e. Revenue Canada).

    Second party to do your taxes? I full understand. I’m actually having mine done by a third party. But this reminds me of a story I read last year (???) about H&R Block being nailed for missfiling their corporate taxes. I found this funny since H&R Block, you would think, would be experts at filing tax returns.

  5. michael asked:“Why do you have to file seperate state and federal claims and mail these forms to two seperate addresses”.

    I can only guess at the answer – but would not be surprised if it were for two reasons. 1. Each state has different tax rules and rates; and 2. The feds would likely want to charge the states a fee to collect and forward the returns and payments, and the states do not want to pay the fee.

    Yeah, we don’t use HR Block, either. We use a common software program for both returns each year, and to date have no regrets.

    Cheers.

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