How Can I Check Whether My 2013 Tax Software Is OK with the CRA and NETFILE?

Before you buy or download software in 2014 to prepare your 2013 tax return for the Canada Revenue Agency you should make sure it’s certified for NETFILE if you want to file electronically: Here’s how.

What Does NETFILE Certified Mean?

Each year, the Canada Revenue Agency tests software. If it approves of it, it certifies the program as being acceptable for use with NETFILE . NETFILE is the system individual tax payers use to submit their income tax forms online.

Apparently the CRA has received some complaints about aspects of tax software that don’t directly impact the tax calculations or the transmission of files over the internet. You can tell because their website states:

  • The CRA does not verify spelling or grammatical errors within the tax preparation software packages; and
  • The CRA does not test it [the software] for user-friendliness

So don’t go whining to the CRA if your software insists on referring to you as the RaxPayer throughout all the forms and schedules.

For Which Platforms Does the CRA Test NETFILE Software?

The CRA lists software that has been tested on

  • Windows
  • Macintosh
  • Online (PC and MAC compatible); and
  • Mobile Devices – Apple and Android products

How Can I See a List of the Approved NETFILE Programs for my 2013 Taxes?

The list of approved software is posted on the CRA website at:

As of today, January 23, 2014, nothing is approved yet.
As of January 27 still nothing approved yet.
As of January 31, only one program is approved to date: TaxTron. It is not free unless you are a full-time student of have less than $31 000 total income. More programs should be approved quickly including some free ones. I’ll keep checking.

As of February 11, 2014 many products for Windows and MAC are now approved although none are listed yet for Mobile Devices.
Highlights for Windows include the free software StudioTax 2013, which survives by donations, and 2 free online only products which I have never used called AdvTax and SimpleTax.
Highlights for MAC include 2 free online only productds called AdvTax and SimpleTax, neither of which I have tested.

At this point I’m likely going to stop updating this list as you now know where to check for approved software and that there are some free applications available. Instead, I’ll turn to trying to get started testing some of the software and reporting my results.

If it’s like previous years, you won’t be able to NETFILE until the second week of February, anyway, so the delay, while annoying, is not actually costing you anything.

I’m watching because I’d like to test any free downloadable software if I have time before April 30. So I keep checking for updates.

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