UFile Review: A Solid Choice for Online Tax Filing
In the world of online tax filing, UFile is perhaps lesser known than other tax return software options, like TurboTax, SimpleTax, or even H&R Block’s DIY offering. But like those other well established brands, UFile allows you to complete your tax return quickly and accurately, from the comfort of your living room. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what UFile has to offer, so you can compare it with the other tax return software out there today, including the one you’re currently using. Ready? Let’s dive in!
Getting Started with UFile
To get started with UFile, you’ll have the choice of accessing the software directly online, or by downloading it onto your desktop computer via the internet or CD-ROM. I should point out that the online version can be accessed directly from a smartphone or tablet. Whichever version you choose, UFile will walk you through your return, providing tips and tools that will ensure you maximize your tax savings, and get the biggest refund possible. When you’re ready to file, you’ll be able to transfer your information securely to CRA using NETFILE. It’s all very seamless.
Most online tax return companies now offer free versions of their software for users who are filing fairly simple returns. UFile is no different, although they do have some unique criteria. For example, if you happen to have more than one employment income source, you’ll need to belong to one of the following groups to use the free version: students, new to Canada individuals (1st time filing a federal tax return), or a family income of less than $20,000. If you qualify, UFile Free should do the trick.
Paid Versions of UFile
In addition to UFile Free, you can choose from 2 paid tiers for added functionality, namely UFile Online and UFile Download. Let’s take a closer look at each option:
UFile Online comes as advertised, a cloud-based software that you can access online. At $19.99, it’s reasonably priced. A welcome feature of UFile Online is that it provides users with online tax return storage for a full 10 years. I love this option, as it means I don’t have to worry about using up hard drive space on my PC. I can recall them anytime, free of charge by logging into UFile. They also provide free telephone support, which can come in handy.
If you like the option of being able to work on your return while offline, you can download their software directly onto your computer’s hard drive from the UFile website, or by purchasing a CD-ROM in-store, the old fashioned way. If you’re a Mac user, you’ll need to stick with UFile Online, as UFile Download is compatible with Windows PC-only. Also, according to their website, as of January 14, 2020, UFile no longer supports Windows 7, so it’s highly recommended that Download users upgrade to Windows 10.
With UFile Download, tax returns are stored directly on your hard drive in case you need to access them at a later date. Email support is free, along with optional telephone support. Pricing for UFile Download is a very reasonable $22.99.
Students, new to Canada individuals, low-income families, and anyone with a basic return will benefit from UFile Free, which can be accessed from a mobile device as well as a desktop PC, a nice feature. Also, their pricing is affordable, when compared to TurboTax, for example. TurboTax’s fully featured Self Employed version is a whopping $44.99, while UFile Download is half the price, at $22.99, and is equipped to handle similar returns.
Summary of UFile Features
To recap, here is a list of UFile features and benefits, at a glance:
- NETFILE certified
- Easy to use
- Free version available for students, new to Canada, low-income families
- Simple returns also free (one employment income source
- Can handle most returns ie. self-employed, investment & rental income
- Auto-Fill My Return
- Best Refund tool for tax savings tips
- Available to Quebec residents
- Tax return storage for up to 10 years
UFile vs. TurboTax
You may be wondering how UFile compares with Canada’s most popular tax return software, TurboTax. When it comes to supplying the tools you need to complete your return with relative ease, UFile is a perfectly capable alternative to TurboTax. In fact, you’ll save money with UFile Online or Download ($19.99 and $22.99 per return, respectively), when compared to TurboTax’s top-end Self Employed version, which will set you back $44.99/return. That said, TurboTax appears to have more to offer when it comes to bells and whistles, with add-ons such as Audit Defence, and the ability to have your return reviewed by an expert.
Is UFile Safe?
UFile uses the same level of encryption that you’ll find most leading tax return software programs, which is important because your privacy is paramount anytime you’re disclosing your personal information online. Of course, always use your due diligence and take your own precautions by choosing a password that is secure, and never sharing it with anyone. UFile is NETFILE certified, meaning that CRA recognizes them as a trusted partner, making it faster and easier to file your return and receive your tax refund.
If you ask me, where UFile gives up some ground to competitors like SimpleTax is in the limitations they place on the free version of their software. For example, let’s say I make $60,000 per year, from two employment income sources. In this day and age, a lot of Canadians earn income from more than one job. I’m not a student, nor am I new to Canada. Even though my tax return may still be very straightforward, I’m unable to use the free version of the UFile software. I need to pay at least $19.99 to file my return. Or, I can head over to SimpleTax and file free of charge. Which option do you think I’m going to choose? The other drawback, although it’s a limited one, is the lack of Mac compatibility with the downloadable version of UFile.
Final Thoughts on UFile Tax Return Software
Upon review, UFile is a solid choice when it comes to Canadian tax return software. It’s built to handle just about anything you can throw at it, even more complex returns involving self-employment, or investment income. The free version of their software is available to most Canadians who are filing simple returns, although the multiple employment income exclusion is a bit of a disappointment. I really like the fact that UFile stores your returns for 10 years, long enough to provide some real peace of mind. Some of their competitors limit data storage to only 7 years. While my top choice for free software remains SimpleTax, UFile definitely gets the job done.