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As you might have surmised by the fact that you are wearing the same pajama bottoms you put on five days ago, we continue to live in strange times. (At least you put on a button-up for those video calls, good for you.) And maybe you’re thinking this could be the perfect year to try using tax software instead of paying someone to do your taxes for you. Because sitting in a windowless office with a stranger doesn’t sound so great. Because watching every show on every streaming service is getting old. Or maybe your income took a hit and this doesn’t feel like the moment to pay someone a few hundred dollars to do something that you could do at home for a fraction of the cost. (The official price of using Wealthsimple Tax is: pay whatever you want.)
And yet, here you are reading an article about doing your taxes with super easy software instead of just doing it. Why? Because doing your own taxes seems daunting if you’ve never done it before — and maybe even more so if your 2021 looked a little different from an ordinary tax year. Maybe you started trading crypto or stocks, and that just seems like a lot to figure out. And surely there are some tricks that your tax preparer knows that some piece of almost-free software doesn’t know, right? (There probably aren’t.)
So here’s what we’re going to do: even though Wealthsimple Tax is built to be so intuitive you don’t need any help at all, we’re going to take you through the process, so you can decide if doing your own taxes is a good choice. (For almost everyone, it is.)
Step one: take a look at yourself and ask, “Do I look like a corporation in these pants?”
All you need is a computer, a smartphone, or a tablet and you’ve got what you need to use Wealthsimple Tax. It works whether you’re single or married (or have a common-law partner), or whether you’re filing jointly or separately. (Wealthsimple Tax will automatically sniff out ways for couples to save on taxes, like recommending the best way to split pension income.) It works for pretty much any Canadian who pays taxes, whether you’re a full-time employee, a member of the gig economy, a small business or rental-property owner, or a Canadian who works or invests outside the country. In other words: basically everyone can use it except non-Canadian residents. And corporations. If you’re a corporation, you can’t use Wealthsimple Tax. There are a few other exceptions, which you can triple-check here.
Step two: make sure you have about an hour.
What’s Wealthsimple Tax? It’s is an interactive website where you fill in some blanks and answer a series of questions. Think of it like filling out a personality quiz on BuzzFeed, except at the end you don’t find out which Disney princess or “Friends” character you’re most like; instead, you’ve done your taxes and the government sends you back some money if you’re eligible. If you have a simple return, the whole process takes, on average, about 30 minutes and just about everyone finishes in about an hour.
Step three: get all those documents you’d normally bring to your tax guy's office.
This includes your T4s, T4As, T5s, RRSP receipts, etc. (See our handy checklist here!) Also, having last year’s Notice of Assessment might come in handy.
Step four: log into Wealthsimple Tax.
This one’s easy. Go to wealthsimple.com/tax. If you’ve never used it before, you’ll just create an account (we’ll guide you through it), or you can log in with your Wealthsimple username and password, if you’ve got one. Next, you’ll be invited to fill in your basics — name, address, social insurance number, marital status, and whether you have any dependents.
At any time, you can log out and we’ll save what you’ve already entered.
Step five: decide if you want to autofill your forms or if you want to be your own guide.
Wealthsimple Tax can autofill most of your slips for you. (It’s a free country, so you can fill in all those little boxes yourself if you really want to.) It will also connect with and import slips from your CRA My Account, from Revenu Québec, and from your Wealthsimple Invest and Trade accounts. Also, for the first time this year, Wealthsimple Tax has a tool that can import up to 500 of your transactions at no charge from 300 popular crypto exchanges and wallets, then calculate your gains and losses and how much tax you owe. All that autofilling and info-importing will get you way closer to finishing your taxes.
Step six: if you get confused at any point, you can ask for help.
We know the whole point of using this software, besides saving a few hundred bucks, is that you don’t have to interact with anyone. But if you need some guidance, you can search our FAQs. Still not sure what to do? Email our team of actual humans at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are located right here in Canada and they’ll respond ASAP.
Step seven: let the computer brain tell you if you’ve made a mistake.
When you’re all done with your return (or think you’re done), click the “Review & Optimize” button. Wealthsimple Tax will scan your return and suggest possible ways to save money — for instance, if you don’t need all of your RRSPs this year, it’ll carry them forward for you instead of using them. It’s up to you whether you want to adopt or dismiss any of these suggestions.
Step eight: file instantly and get your money sooner.
When you click “Submit tax return,” your return will instantly hurtle through the internet tubes straight to the CRA and your (hopefully) sweet refund will land in your bank account soon. (And by soon we mean if you’ve set up direct deposit with the CRA, you can expect your refund in about two weeks; if you haven’t, it’ll take four to six weeks.) You’ll also have the option of downloading a PDF of your return for your files.
Step nine: decide how much to pay Wealthsimple Tax.
Once you’re finished, Wealthsimple Tax will ask you how much you want to pay them for doing such a bang-up job on your tax return. Unlike with an accountant, the fee isn’t fixed, and it isn’t based on how much time it took. Even though it’s an honour system, most users end up paying something for it, so they must be happy.
Wealthsimple uses technology and smart, friendly humans to help you grow and manage your money. Invest, save, trade, and even do your taxes in a better, simpler way.
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