• Tax Freeway

    TaxFreeway is a Canadian tax software with almost all the features of the ‘premium’ versions from TurboTax and H&R Block but not quite as user friendly. Unlike most other tax software which are migrating to online-tax filing, Tax Freeway allows you to download your software whether you’re using a Mac or PC. What’s more is that they’ve created an iPad app to file your taxes directly on your iPad! This makes Tax Freeway the first software available on the iPad for Canadian Tax filing!

    Price: Windows – $9.95, Mac – $14.95, 3-in-1 (Windows, Mac & iPad) – $19.95

    Operating System: Windows, Mac and iPad.

    Usability: Overall it’s not the most user friendly but manageable. The idea behind the software is that it provides you with an interview style format (similar to TurboTax) while showing your the Canada Revenue Agency tax forms at the same time. It definitely does this but this requires you to have to go through the forms, reading small font, and filling out the details.
    taxfreeway screenshot

    The other usability issue I have is adding Forms, Deductions, Credits, etc… You have to click a small little “plus” button. This button can often be missed or clicked twice which means you have to go back and fix your return later. Or even worse MISSING a credit/deduction.
    taxfreeway moving expenses

    Support: There might be support through email. The software also provides a ‘question mark’ over areas which might be confusing. Once you click the ? it will lead you to the explanation page.

    Ability to find deductions: Yes. With the interview style format deductions are typically easier to find. It provides a list of deductions as shown below.
    tax freeway tax credits

    Bells and Whistles: RRSP optimizer and Pension Income Splitter. As mentioned at the start there are bells and whistles but they can possibly be missed in some cases. TaxFreeway also has a Medical Expenses Planner and Donations and Gifts planner which can calculate the best way to split your medical expenses and donations when filing a joint tax return. (Thanks for Tom for this information).

    Overall: Overall, Tax Freeway is a great piece of Tax software and does provide a viable alternative to the two big tax software options. For the money it is one of the Top Canadian Tax Softwares available.

    Screenshots of Tax Freeway

    Here are a few screenshots of Tax Freeway to show you exactly what the software looks like.

    Personal Review
    A complaint that I have, as with most lower-budget tax-software (ie: not TurboTax) is that the software seems “dated”. The webpage, logo and software looks very dated and not new and inviting. I realize this is just aesthetics but that goes a long way with some buyers and could be a deterrent for quite many people especially dealing with something as up-to-date as taxes. Furthermore, their website is very confusing to use and navigate! You select the software you like on the homepage but to actually download the software you need to click a very small piece of text at the top of the website. This should be a large button in the middle of the screen after the homepage…. but again, it’s just aesthetics and not a reflection of the quality of the software.

    Advantages

    • Interview style question format with CRA forms at the same time.
    • Handles almost all tax situations
    • File up to 20 Tax Returns
    • Download and try it for free – Only pay to file or print
    • Lower cost than some of it’s competitors ($9.95 – $14.95 per return)
    • Only pay if your total family income exceeds $20,000.

    Disadvantages

    • No Quebec provincial returns
    • No Online option
    • Poor website
    • Usability could be improved
    • No French version

    Pricing:

    • Tax Freeway for Mac : $14.95
    • Tax Freeway for PC/Windows: $9.95
    • Mac, iPad, and Windows combined: $19.95

    My suggestion is that if you’re looking for an alternative tax-software to TurboTax or H&R Block at home give Tax Freeway a try and see if you like it. It’s free to try and you only pay when you submit the return through NETFILE.

    Comments

    8 Responses to “Tax Freeway”

    1. Tom on February 29th, 2012 12:29 pm

      I have been using TaxFreeway since it came out and TaxCel, its Excel add-on predecessor beforehand. I know it well but not the others.

      I rather like its CRA-style form-based user interface because of the direct relationship to the paper forms and the CRA-published Guides. The visual similarities helps one to refer back and forth between paper and screen.

      I have been satisfied by their support via email, both to “how do I” questions and by their responsiveness to bug reports I made on the early version.

      Under Bells and Whistles, you could also note that it has two Tax Planners other than the two you mentioned: “Medical Expenses Planner” and “Donations and Gifts Planner”, all of which can calculate the best amounts or spousal splits for maximum joint tax credit.

      Under Advantages, you should say “Only pay to file by Netfile or print, if total family income exceeds $20,000″.

      Under Disadvantages, point out there is no French language version. Your opinion that “Usability could be improved” is highly subjective; I might say the same about your obvious favourite – both of us suffering from a bias of familiarity when looking at an unfamiliar product.

    2. admin on February 29th, 2012 3:32 pm

      Thanks for your comments Tom. I’ve updated the post under Bells and Whistles, advantages and disadvantages. I do agree that ‘usability’ is a highly subjective category. However, when I did my reviews I tried to look at it as if I had zero tax knowledge or software knowledge. Which is a bit of a stretch so I’ve added a small note saying that usability is subjective in the post. However, I do think a few tweaks and a bit of graphical design could make it much more user friendly.

    3. Naira on March 8th, 2012 7:58 pm

      I cannot create Netfile using the Tax Freeway.
      The option is gray. Any suggestion?

    4. Gordon Thomas on March 15th, 2012 11:20 am

      I have been used QuickTax/TurboTax on the PC for a number of years and had great results with it, however this year I have a Mac. I have tried the online version of TurboTax, but I am getting into problems with errors and not recording some federal tax credits correctly. The technical support people are not very good at solving problems and don’t understand much about tax.

      I work in Quebec and live in Ontario and therefore have the Quebec Releve 1 and a T4. Does tax freeway handle this?

    5. Karen on April 17th, 2012 11:25 am

      I used TaxFreeway for the first time this year. I have a Mac and am so glad to be able to store my tax information on my own computer. I have used tax software for years and I think this program is every bit as easy as the rest and certainly a lot cheaper.

      Nice to see that someone cares about us Mac users: we number in the millions and are not all “fun” users – many of us use our Macs for work.

    6. Jim on February 6th, 2013 5:02 pm

      I have used Tax Freeway each year since 2005 and find it easy to use and it has been very accurate. I recommend it highly to everyone!

    7. ROGER CORMIER on February 25th, 2013 10:56 am

      I HAVE ORDERED TAXFREEWAY ON FEB.11 2013 I HAVENOT RECEIVED AS OF25 FEB .IS NORMAL?.thanks

    8. glencbowers on February 25th, 2013 9:44 pm

      taxfreeway is a good program

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