With tax season in full swing, Matteo spends his days fielding calls from frazzled corporate clients. The 37-year-old accountant from Woodbridge, Ont. says he rarely stops between January and June. But it’s in the weeks before the federal tax deadline that business really picks up. “February is crazy,” he says.
Matteo walks his clients through their filings, offering his expertise on a variety of issues, from HST remittance and payroll deductions to tying up fiscal year ends. But last year, before starting his accounting business, he did like many Canadians who rely on online tax solutions to file their taxes: he turned to TurboTax.
“It’s a great system,” says Matteo. “The way it presents things and guides you, it’s much better than what you [typically] see on the market right now.”
Matteo says that if it weren’t for TurboTax, he wouldn’t have known about the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP), which helped him purchase a two-bedroom condo with his wife in 2020.
The HBP allows first-time home buyers to withdraw up to $35,000 from a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) towards the purchase of their home, provided it’s a principal residence and they pay the amount back within 15 years.
“It has a section dealing with all the information you need for your taxes,” he says of TurboTax’s blog.
What he found most appealing was the platform’s easy-to-understand approach to explaining how the HPB works. TurboTax also imports each filer’s tax information from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), prompts annual HBP payments and tracks past payments.
“It’s so simple,” he says, adding that he used TurboTax’s Self-Employed version. “You can decide what you want to pay back.”
Matteo says TurboTax saved him a lot of money by letting him know his RRSP could help fund the deposit on his home. He says he now relies on the blog for information about a variety of tax issues, and has directed some of his clients to it as well.
“If you Google something relating to taxes, 75 per cent of the time the first answer is TurboTax’s blog,” he says.
Despite joking that TurboTax makes him lose clients, Matteo is confident in recommending it to others. He says it provides critical financial education on a wide range of investment topics, helping Canadians become more educated about what financial vehicles exist – and how best to use them.
For instance, it offers several Assist & Review products that can guide users on how to maximize their tax credits, as well as provide advice about medical expenses, donations or investment income from rental properties. TurboTax’s Audit Defense option can also assist filers should they be audited by the CRA.
And because TurboTax’s interface only presents easy-to-follow instructions – rather than complicated tax forms – it’s simple to navigate.
“Even people who have no knowledge of taxes can use it,” Matteo says, adding that it removes the anxiety many Canadians have during tax filing season.
He’s coined a new motto for the platform, borrowed from his favourite book, The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
“It should be ‘don’t panic,’” he laughs. “TurboTax helps you out a lot.”
This article was originally published by The Globe and Mail – How a good tax solution helped this accountant buy a home and support his own clients