Friday, March 4, 2011

Tax return: to Netfile or Not?

I have a teensy dilemma: Do I file my taxes for free using the trusty old paper and pen method, or shell out a bit of cash to Netfile, and get my refund back faster?

The average wait time for a paper refund is about six weeks. Filing electronically can apparently put your refund in your account in as little as eight days (though my experience has been about two weeks).

I'm not sure whether this is a strictly Canadian conundrum (?), but our government requires taxpayers to use special software to generate a return that can be submitted electronically. This means either pay for software or a web-based service to generate a return, or file the old-fashioned way.

This article outlines the various options and pricing for different types of software. Web-based services start at about $8.99 for a single return. Software starts around $19. Note: You may be eligible to generate your return for free with some services if your income is under $20,000.

So, is it worth it for me? While I hesitate to part with a single penny the government owes me - ever - I did pre-spend about half my anticipated $825.00 refund on a fancy dress. I put this on my credit card and need to pay that off ASAP to avoid interest charges.

There’s also something to be said for the OCD types such as myself who like to know that their return has been received / submitted and where it is in the bowels of the Revenue Canada machine. Just sending an envelope of off into the ether kind of freaks me out. Odd, I know...

How are you filing your taxes this year?

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