There are very real reasons why filing online is a challenge for some—namely, they don’t have access to a computer or they aren’t eligible to use NETFILE—but there is a lot of misinformation floating around the web. We want to set the record straight.
1. “They want you to give permission to take money out of your bank account.”
Banking information is never transmitted with your tax return and, unless you sign up for direct deposit, you’ll still receive your refund by cheque. If you do opt for direct deposit, it’s the same as receiving your pay from your employer; you get your money faster, you can skip the trip to the bank, and there’s no risk that your payment will be lost or delayed.
2. “There is a greater possibility of fraud with online systems.”
Anyone can fill out a paper return and put it in the mail, but when you file online, you need to provide your date of birth and SIN before your return will be accepted. Your name is also never transmitted with your return.
You can’t change your name, address, or banking information on your tax return. This means that your notice of assessment and your refund are always sent to the address and/or bank account the CRA already has on file.
3. “Those who rely entirely on online tax filing are, I believe, less likely to understand their options and take advantage of all exemptions available.”
Unlike paper, tax software not only helps you avoid mistakes, but can identify deductions you may not be aware of. For example, using SimpleTax’s Add Anything search box, you can type in “student” to see all the related deductions. Before completing your return, we also check to see if there are other deductions you may be entitled to.
4. “The move to eliminate paper is basically a downloading of documentation costs onto the individual.”
It’s no secret that the CRA is looking to save money. Printing and processing paper returns is expensive. On top of that, the CRA reports that 1.3 million paper tax packages went unused last year. That’s not only wasted taxpayer money, but wasted trees.
We think you’d agree that there are better ways of putting your tax dollars to work.
5. “I tried a couple of programs a year or two ago, and found the mechanics of operation confusing.”
Switching from paper can be intimidating at first, but it’s not as different as you may think. We also recognize that many of those who prefer paper don’t want a software product that is a black box—they don’t want to just do their taxes, they want to understand them. That’s why we’re transparent about what’s happening under the hood—you can see the paper forms at any time.
6. “Why should I have to pay someone, or buy software to file my taxes?”
We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we made SimpleTax.