Once you have downloaded and installed StudioTax 2012 on your computer, you can use it to calculate your 2012 taxes before the April 30 2013 filing deadline: for free! You can the use Netfile to submit your taxes online, also for free. This review is for employees filling out a tax return. I hope to do another review of using it for Business Income in the future.
UPDATE: I hope to test StudioTax 2013 soon. For now, this is the result of my use of the 2012 version.
To Calculate your 2012 Taxes Using StudioTax
If necessary, to start the program, click on the StudioTax 2012 icon on your desktop.
Click on the Create a New Return button.
The Quick Start Wizard will open. It is a tool to help enter the most common tax information. Data will be saved as it is entered. You can exit the Wizard at any time by clicking on Cancel.
Let’s try using it for a return for
- An employee with a T4
- A wife with no income
- 2 children
- The children took both arts and sports activities
- Charitable contributions
Start time 12:57
If you select Married, it asks if you want to link your return with your spouse’s return. I selected No. (You can change this later.)
You can use an approximate net income for your spouse and correct it later.
The Wizard gives a list of T and RL forms you may have received. You check the boxes beside them so it will prompt you with relevant questions. For example, I selected T3, T4, and T5. You have to click TWICE to select a checkbox. I did not check any RL forms.
By default, it will attempt to maximize the RRSP claim unless you de-select the check box. If you de-select the box you can reduce the amount of RRSP deduction you claim, if you want to carry forward an unclaimed balance to claim in the future.
For the Child Care Expenses form, first click on the Add button. You will be prompted to type in your child’s name. Then you can fill in all the fields about that child.
The Charitable Donations or Gifts screen is a bit confusing. It lists the amount from T slips. Then you can enter the amounts from other donation receipts. But it then lists the amount available to claim for 2012 return without including the amount from the T slips. Later on I was able to confirm that it claims the full amount including the T4 amount, it just doesn’t look like it on this screen.
Time when finished the Wizard part: 1:34 p.m.
Started again at 3:50 p.m.
WARNING: Although you have now completed your tax return, you have not yet sent it in to the Canada Revenue Agency! You must either print it and mail it in, or NETFILE it.
Even more importantly, if you owe money you MUST pay it before April 30, 2013, or the government will start charging interest on May 1 and may also charge a penalty. If you need a remittance form to fill in and take to the bank to pay your taxes you can print one from the CRA website at http://www.netfile.gc.ca/fq_rfnd-eng.html#balance_owing.
The CRA website has information about how to pay at
with links to various payment tools.
If You Have Additional Interest Income that Does Not Have a T5
You may have other interest income for which you did not receive a T5. For example, if you make less than $50 interest on a bank account or on savings bonds, you will not receive a T5. You still have to legally declare this income.
Normally, it is declared on Schedule 4.
The list of forms on the left hand side of My Studio Tax Return does not show a form for Schedule 4.
When I double clicked on line 121 Interest and Other Investment Income of the T1 Page 2, it opened a Schedule 4 and displayed it on the list of forms. This works if you know enough about your tax forms to know where to click, but isn’t so great if you don’t know.
It did not prompt me for Carrying Charges and Interest Expenses. I knew that our Safe Deposit Box charges go on Schedule 4. So I added them on the form. Again, you may have to be familiar with how to fill in your tax forms before using this program. (This won’t matter as much in 2013 as the safe deposit box deduction is being eliminated.)
How Long Does It Take to do Your Taxes Using StudioTax?
It took 57 minutes to fill in the taxes for an employee with a T4, 3 T3s, 3 T5s, some additional interest income, a wife with no income, 2 children who both took arts and sports activities, and who made lots of charitable contributions. (No child support; no business income; no medical expenses)
That includes some time to check a few things before typing them in and to read over the final tax report.
Who is StudioTax Best For?
StudioTax looks like it would work best for someone who has done their own taxes before and knows roughly what to expect. It might miss some small deductions or income sources if you don’t know to prompt it to open the correct forms to add the information.
StudioTax is great at getting rid of all the math and copying numbers from one page to another.
What’s the Best Way to Use StudioTax?
It’s best if you have a copy of last year’s return nearby to check against when you’re done. You may spot a line that you entered numbers in last year that is empty this year. Then you can check whether you should be adding more information to your return.
How accurate is StudioTax?
Well, this is really a subjective answer because I’m neither a tax accountant or employed by the Canada Revenue Agency. I did my taxes by hand using a pencil and a calculator. Then I did them again using StudioTax. StudioTax came up with the identical answer. So it seems good to me!
Please consider making a donation to Bhok It Software if you like the product so that they can keep offering this product.
- How to NETFILE a StudioTax 2012 Return Online to the CRA for Free
- How to Download and Install StudioTax Software to Calculate and File your 2012 Canadian Income Taxes Online for Free
- How to Use the Free StudioTax 2012 Program for a Simple Business Income T2125 and Personal Tax Return
- Using Free GenuTax Software to Calculate Your 2012 Taxes and NETFILE Online by April 30, 2013
- How to Download and Install Free GenuTax Software to Do and File Your 2012 Canadian Income Taxes
Do you use StudioTax? Have you been happy with this software? Please share your experiences with a comment.