Amolak Dosanjh’s father is an economics professor, but that faculty for numbers isn’t something he inherited.
It wasn’t until he was studying mechanical engineering in college that Mr. Dosanjh decided to file his own taxes. Having access to the latest online tax solutions certainly helped.
“It’s much easier to sit in the comfort of your home and go online to do everything on your own time. There are no appointments to be made, no transit involved,” says the 23-year-old Brampton, Ont. resident who graduated last year.
An international student who came to Canada from India in 2017 to study, Mr. Dosanjh says his education didn’t include a lot about finances or the financial system.
He knew very little about Canadian taxes when filing his return with TurboTax. Understandably, there was trepidation when he sent off the documents to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
“I was nervous about putting in something wrong and then dealing with the revenue department,” he says.
In hindsight, he says TurboTax was not only easy to use but accurate, giving him the confidence to continue doing his own tax returns.
“TurboTax knows they’re dealing with people like me who don’t necessarily have a lot of knowledge –and they ask you the right questions,” he says.
He uses TurboTax Free, which is designed for people who file simple tax returns. This year TurboTax Free includes new features such as the ability to import data from your previous year’s TurboTax return. Furthermore, this year Canadians aged 25 and under can select any version of TurboTax Online, Assist & Review or Full Service free of charge.
Mr. Dosanjh used to put off taking his taxes to an accountant. But now that he has set up his online account with CRA and can file himself, tax season is relatively easy, and there’s little procrastination.
“The step-by-step questions they ask make sense, and I just get going,” he says.
Using TurboTax has also taught Mr. Dosanjh about the different tax credits available.
“Before this, I would go to a chartered accountant who would ask me a few questions, and I would just answer them, pay the fee, and walk away,” he says. “Using TurboTax, you become aware of all the different options out there like tax-free savings accounts, for example. It opens the world of financial responsibility since you’re not just sitting back and letting other people take control of doing your taxes for you.”
For example, by using his tuition credits, Mr. Dosanjh says he’s received a larger tax return.
“I was a newcomer to the country, and I didn’t know how it all worked,” he says. “But with TurboTax, I became aware that I could claim those credits, and that’s what I did.”
A tax return is like a year-end bonus, he says. Last year, it provided a down payment for a car.
“It’s money that I’m putting away without knowing I’m putting it away,” he says. “With COVID, it’s been challenging to go places, but eventually, that will be my travel money.”
This article was originally published by The Globe and Mail – How an online tax solution helped this Canadian immigrant learn more about his finances