Kenji Pliszka has a lot on his plate. The 27-year-old works full-time as a security guard at a Toronto condo building and is taking some continuing education courses that he hopes will help him get into Ryerson University’s accounting program next year.

Sometimes, items on his ‘to-do’ list fall through the cracks.

“I recently had to do back-year taxes from two previous years that I forgot to do,” he says, including sourcing past employment forms from a fire-damaged apartment. “I shouldn’t have left it.”

Mr. Pliszka used to spend hours labouring over his taxes until he heard about TurboTax, the income tax solution produced by Intuit. It was a huge relief.

“It was simple to use. It didn’t overload my brain,” he says.

Like many Canadians, Mr. Pliszka has also had to grapple with two years of a pandemic, including a changing financial situation and confusion over what he can and can’t claim on his taxes.

Many are confused about the different COVID-19 benefits provided by the provincial and federal governments, and how to report additional income from different jobs they’ve taken on to help make ends meet during the pandemic.

Thankfully, Mr. Pliszka says TurboTax helps remove a lot of the guesswork, paving the way for a stress-free filing.

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 OnlineAssist & Review or Full Service free of charge.

In particular, he likes the various checklists embedded in the solution that help users ensure they are claiming the proper expenses and have the right forms required to file their taxes.

“The checklist made it so I wouldn’t forget anything,” says Mr. Pliszka.

TurboTax also alerted him to the various tax credits he could apply for. “The climate change one: I had forgotten about that,” he says.

Mr. Pliszka also likes that it calculates whether he could expect to receive a refund or have taxes owing, depending on the deductions and credits he inputs. The information helped with his budgeting, particularly while he saves to obtain his accounting degree.

He expects to pay a small amount of taxes this year, “but knowing that expense is coming helps me plan for how to pay it,” he says.

Perhaps his favourite part is the time he doesn’t have to spend figuring out the different deductions and credits available to him.

“I used to do research,” he says, spending hours searching the Internet for the different tax credits he might qualify for.

This year his plan is to read up on the various tax-deduction programs that are available on the TurboTax website. He’ll also reach out to the TurboTax customer service team through the chat function if he needs help.

“Now I don’t do research: I just trust TurboTax to tell me what I qualify for. It’s easy,” he says.

 

This article was originally published by The Globe and Mail – How this part-time student filed stress-fee taxes