I just finished a daunting task that we all have to tackle once a year. I filed my taxes.
I do it myself, and this year I used H&R Block’s free online service to file. Obviously I like that it is a free service, but it’s also nice that it walks you through the process step by step so you can get the best return possible. Just to test that theory, I decided to run my numbers through two other online tax services (I could input my numbers for free, but not file the return without paying) to see what the results were. Interestingly enough, I had different results with every service. I checked and double checked my numbers and they were the same on all services, but I had the best result from H&R Block. I believe that the other services were missing some of our new tax breaks, which resulted in the difference in results (that is just my assumption based on the forms and the questions in each service).
Clearly I chose to file with H&R Block.
When I reached the end of entering my information, I had a couple of errors that had to be fixed prior to filing. I tried to find the corrections myself but when I couldn’t locate all of them, I called the help line. I waited on hold for approximately five minutes before connecting with a person who asked for the error codes and told me she would return in a few minutes with the solutions. She did, and she walked me through the steps to solve my problems. It was quick and easy, and then I was able to file.
I ran into other issues that had nothing to do with H&R Block, and I thought it could be helpful to some of you self-employed individuals if I shared my advice.
Before sitting down to enter your information online, gather and total the following:
- All of your T4 slips. I realized we were missing an important one of my husband’s once I got started.
- A tally of your business income.
- Tallies of all of the business expenses that you have receipts for, and what type of expenses they are.
- Add up all of your investments and donations for the year.
- Have your mortgage payments, taxes and interest totaled and ready to enter.
- Find your RRSP limits from the prior year.
- All home office and vehicle expenses.
Don’t try to total things as you go because the online program will time out if left too long. However, if you find that you are stuck and can’t enter something immediately, you can save your progress and come back later. Overall, H&R Block Online made an unpleasant task fairly painless, and I will use it again.