I’ve used UFile from Dr. Tax Software Inc. in the past to file my taxes, and the 2007 edition again proved to be a quick and painless way to prepare and file my relatively straight-forward tax return.
The edition I tested was UFile Plus Premium Edition, which retails for $39.99. Available exclusively at Future Shop and Best Buy, it most closely compares with the Standard edition of QuickTax, which I also reviewed. Both are priced the same and have similar feature sets, but Quick Tax lets you prepare two returns while UFile Plus comes with 16, a plus if you’re preparing multiple returns.
The user experience with UFile was user friendly, beginning with the install. A 16-character activation code is provided on the CD sleeve, but it’s broken into groups of four characters to make it easier to read. Also, the code doesn’t need to be checked against an Internet database, so I was able to get up and running without going online. Installation took less than two minutes. Registration is optional, and once online I downloaded the latest updates for the application.
In the welcome screen you’re presented the chance to run a tutorial which walks you through the program, explaining how to navigate the windows and how to use some of the features. While the software is pretty intuitive, it’s a nice feature for first-time users.
As you begin your return UFile supports automated carry forward from both TaxWiz and QuickTax, as well as of course past editions of UFile. After filling-in your personal information, you’re asked to click categories of possible income and deductions, such as rental income or political contributions, to build the questions you’ll be asked through the interview process.
I found the window for entering my T4 information to be easier than other programs I’ve used, with each box listed with its name and number, making it easier to identify each one. All the windows are designed with a lot of colour to make things stand-out and easier to read.
While you work in the main window, the QuikClik Navigator window down the side of the screen lets you follow your progress through the preparation process, as well as easily click directly back to any part at any time. There’s also an interview box in the top corner, scrolling over it at any time will give you a list of help topics.
Other features include a MaxBack Refund Analyzer, which offers optimization hints in case you missed any deductions. All it told me was I made too much money to claim the property and sales tax credits, unfortunately there were no deductions missed.
UFile also has a tool called Retirement Analyzer, which examines your RRSP savings vs. your expected income in retirement to see if you’re saving enough to meet your goals, and what RRSP contribution to make. It seems like a nice tool, I couldn’t make much use of it because, alas, I have no savings. Since I won’t live forever though, this feature at least reminded me I should probably get on that.
One thing that UFile doesn’t offer which would have been nice is a running total of your refund or balance owing as you prepare your return. Instead, you don’t get a figure until you’ve completed the data entry and pres results. It’s a minor point, but it is nice to see that refund figure rise as you enter different deductions.
Most tax software is really pretty similar. And, indeed, I ended up with the exact same refund with both UFile and QuickTax. With similar feature sets and usability with both, given the easier install process and the 16 included returns instead of 2, I need to give the edge to UFile.