Friday, 20 April 2007

Review: #2 CuteTax Web Tax Software

Here is my review of the CuteTax package that came out number two in my testing of web-based Canadian tax preparation packages with a score of 8.5.

I've included a screen capture of the program to give an idea of its look.

What I Liked About CuteTax
  • it has a clean, simple look which makes it easy to find one's way around a page; data entry boxes are a different colour so it's easy to know where data can be entered
  • the left-hand menu shows all parts of the return so it is possible to easily and quickly go back and forth between different forms and sections, which I always find myself needing to do
  • the Direct Message link on the top right allows one to send a message to the support team; I tried it because I found something the program did different from several other packages I tried and I thought it was an error. To my delight and surprise, the folks at CuteTax, a) responded within a day (3 hours to be precise), a major customer service plus in itself; b) provided a detailed answer with a reference to a CRA publication supporting its position. If one keeps in mind that right now is the extreme busy point of the year, I'm doubly impressed by this experience. (Can anyone with a tax accounting background confirm that if you do not need the foreign non-business income tax credit on Schedule 1 line 431 to reduce your taxes because, for example, your personal exemption is sufficient to eliminate any tax liability, that same T3 box 34 amount can be entered on line 232 to reduce Net Income?)
  • the program responds very quickly and there is little noticeable delay refreshing screens
  • Help is reasonable with links to CRA website documents
  • free filing for income under $25k
  • modest pricing at $8.98 for one return
What I Disliked
  • one cannot use accented characters, e.g. in a French name
  • typing in lowercase in the identification section produced lowercase in the final pdf but on the screen this info looked ok as it was displayed all uppercase - I prefer WYSIWYG
  • pages spill off the bottom of the screen a little more than I would have hoped, requiring extra time to keep scrolling down when that happens
  • Help not as extensive and embedded everywhere as UFile

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