To follow up yesterday's summary rating of various web-based tax preparation software packages for Canadian taxes, here is what I liked and disliked about the best of the lot - UFile.ca, which scored 9.5 out of 10.
I've included a screen capture of the program.
What I Liked:
- the left-side menu shows everything that has been entered so far and provides easy navigational access back and forth
- the font choices, sizes, colours, use of white space, box reference numbers are clear and easy to read
- the ubiqitous ? mini-button beside virtually every conceivable spot where one might have a question is better by far than what any other package has and the help it leads to is complete; often there are direct links to the CRA website so one can read the original source for oneself.
- the program is so well organized I did not need to refer to the Tutorial at all, though it's there for re-assurance
- the explanations and guidance are well written - no awkward phrases, no grammar and spelling mistakes as seen in some of the other programs
- the program response is extremely fast, almost as good as working on a home PC with an installed package; those 10-15 second waits for the server to refresh the screen can add up and make the tax entry exercise slow and frustrating; to me, this is a major element, fast response is table stakes
- there's even a free-form notes and reminders-to-self section - good for doing the return over a number of days to mark where one got to or to note missing receipts for later follow up; little touches like this are a sign of a mature program where all the basics work fine and they have time for extras
- if your line 150 Total Income is under $25k, it's free; same goes for students as the Canadian Federation of Students has a deal with UFile.
- pricing is a bit strange with $15.95 for an individual return or $24.95 for a whole family; I have university students dependants who have income and this means I will have to pay the $24.95 (instead of $14.95 for my return alone), though individually each student would be under the $25k free limit and so would be free.
- it's the second priciest after QuickTaxWeb
- maybe they could add a "this is your Payable/Refund" monitor to amuse us as we go along entering data?