**This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of TurboTax Canada. All opinions are my own.
It’s that time of year again: tax season. Which, for most of us, adds a lot of stress as we try to compile our documents and get everything organized. This year more than ever tax season has the potential to be stressful for many Canadians, especially those who received government benefits due to the pandemic or are short on time as they try to balance work and having children at home. However, before you stress yourself out too much let me fill you in on an affordable option to help: TurboTax.
I’ve discussed TurboTax on this website before and in this post, I’m going to dig into one of their newest options with: TurboTax Live Full Service. Here’s what you need to know to decide if it’s right for you.
TurboTax Live Full Service fees
Let’s get the big question out of the way: How much does TurboTax Live Full Service cost?
- $129.99 per return
I have to say, paying only $129.99 for your expertly-filed tax return is pretty amazing. You’re essentially getting professional advice at a reasonable cost. I personally find that to be a good value, especially since you don’t need to leave your home. Everything is done online.
Don’t let the low cost fool you though. These are tax experts with 10+ years of experience under their belts. They will do their best to get you every dollar back you deserve and are available to answer any questions you may have during the process. They will also review your return with you and provide tips for saving even more in years to come, while guaranteeing the accuracy of your tax return 100%.
Could you pay a lower fee, or no fee at all, for one of TurboTax’s other products and do it all yourself? If you feel confident doing your own taxes, sure. But sometimes you need to evaluate what is worth more; time or money. As a father, I’m pretty busy so I think it’s worth the value of my time. Plus, don’t forget, you only pay the TurboTax fee when you actually file!
TurboTax Live Full Service review
The biggest draw of TurboTax Live Full Service is that you have the work done for you without actually having to leave your home. So, how does this process work?
When you visit the TurboTax Live Full Service website (or use the mobile app) and click the orange button to start for free, you will be prompted to either log-in if you have used TurboTax in the past, or create an account. After doing this, you’ll enter some personal information, sign a document agreeing to share your information safely, which authorizes the TurboTax expert to securely access your documents from the CRA, and request a call from a tax expert (either within five minutes or at a scheduled time you choose). The call is a quick review as to how the program works and you will have to answer a few personal questions (employment, relationship status, etc.) to get started. After the call, everything can be taken care of online or via the app.
Your TurboTax Live Full Service page is divided into three categories: Next Steps, Documents, and Tax Expert.
Next Steps is where you will receive notification for, you guessed it, next steps. Think of this as your to-do list for your tax expert.
Under Documents, you will be able to download anything your tax expert sends you to fill out, and upload it again as requested. You will also be required to upload a copy of your ID at the beginning to get started.
The Tax Expert tab is where you can communicate with your tax expert. It’s an online messaging system that works similarly to email. You will send any questions you may have here to your tax expert. When you receive a response, you will get a notification by email and can come back to this tab to find the conversation. Again, they are there to help so feel free to ask any questions you may have.
While you are submitting your documents and filling out the required paperwork, communication will take place via the messages. However, once your tax expert has finalized your taxes, you can arrange a phone call, or a one-way video conference, where they will go over everything with you and give advice for future tax returns. Once that is done, you are ready to submit and file your taxes.
If by chance the CRA has any questions regarding your return, the TurboTax Expert will be able to reply on your behalf. If you’re worried about future audits, Audit Defence is included as part of the TurboTax Live Full Service package, meaning a TurboTax representative will be able to schedule and attend any meetings that the CRA requests.
Live expert advice
The way this year was going with customer service and call-centres being backlogged beyond belief, I was unsure how the live advice would go. To start, when they told me they would call within 5 minutes I said ok, then went to get a glass of water. In less than two minutes, I had already missed the call. While they did call back about five minutes after that, I’ll admit, I was impressed at how speedy that first call was.
After that first call, correspondence was through the email-type messages on the TurboTax platform. It wasn’t nearly as fast as the phone call and sometimes took a couple of days for me to get the next steps or an answer to my questions. I’ll admit, it did seem strange to be waiting so long for the process. It’s worth noting that I did reach out to TurboTax about this issue and they assured me that they’re working on some system improvements that should make replies much quicker.
That said, it’s not like I was sitting around waiting either. I received an email notification anytime I had something new to fill out or an answer to my question so I was able to go about my day-to-day activities normally and spend my time with my daughter until those notifications came in.
Since there’s always a human element involved, I would suggest not leaving your tax return until the last minute in case there are delays, similar to what you may expect when communicating with your accountant by email.
The entire process only took a few hours, but note that I’m a freelancer so I have more documents to gather than most Canadians. I would say that using TurboTax Live Full Service was quicker than when I did things on my own. The stress factor is definitely much lower when someone else is doing it.
Tax season is never fun, and this year brings about even more stress, especially if you are someone who received any Canadian government benefits for COVID-19 or, like me, are busy trying to balance work and taking care of children. If this is the case, then TurboTax Live Full Service might be a great option for you. You can’t go wrong with having a personalized tax expert do the work and answer your questions. Plus, the price point of $129.99 is really reasonable. I hope you enjoyed my TurboTax Live Full Service review. If you try it out, let me know what your experience was like in the comments.