Avneet Singh likes tax season. At least, he does now.

The Toronto area software developer is a number cruncher and a planner. Since he started filing taxes for himself and his parents, he has enjoyed searching for deductions and credits that help him plan out the following year’s spending.

“It’s like going to Costco – you never know what you’re going to find there,” he says. “Honestly, I enjoy it because crunching numbers helps me understand what I can do for the following year.”

Familiarizing himself with tax rules and regulations – and then doing careful calculations – helps him figure out how much he will pay in taxes the following year and how to maximize benefits.

“I like doing the numbers, so I’m okay with tax season,” he says. “I don’t get the tax season blues.”

Mr. Singh uses TurboTax Premier, which is for more complex tax situations that may include income from investment. TurboTax Online has four products for users: Free, Deluxe, Premier and Self-Employed, each with specific questions for those four situations to ensure maximum returns.

He moved to Canada 10 years ago and began using TurboTax while temporarily living and working in the U.S. in 2017. He found the software made it easy to adjust to the different taxation regulations in both countries.

Mr. Singh said he started doing his own taxes after discovering a mistake made by a third-party filer on a past return. He prefers doing his own taxes now since he’s familiar with his own personal and financial situations.

“I had a couple of instances where the person just filed something which I wasn’t even aware of,” he says. “I found the mistake; I brought it up to them. But when you pay money and that is what you get, you don’t feel like trusting people.”

Once he began using TurboTax, Mr. Singh enjoyed exploring the calculations and predicting how to save money the following year. It’s features like those that have him reusing the software each year.

“You’re able to play around – like if you did this and you spent this much – you actually would gain this much in taxes,” he says. “These are the things which helped me with forward planning. It also makes me more informed.”

For example, his parents have a rental property: Using TurboTax Premier, he’s been able to explore which expenses related to the property can be deducted from their tax tally and which can’t. It helps them to plan big expenses such as appliance purchases.

It also helps him plan out registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) investments, determining in advance the deductions that come the following tax season.

And it does all that without the jargon, he says. “It helps by explaining in what I would say is more of a layman’s language,” he says.

He also takes advantage of the TurboTax online community, where he can ask other users if they have had similar questions.

“Honestly, I think one should not rely on other people to do their taxes,” he says. “Putting in the numbers helps you realize where your money is going and what you could do to save it. It’s easy… and once you develop interest, that is when financial planning kicks in, which helps you figure out how to make things better for yourself.” 

This article was originally published by The Globe and Mail – How an online tax solution helped this Toronto man look forward to doing his taxes