QuickTax pulls a quick one

Downsizing is something you see often when it comes to packages of cereal or detergent. But it’s less common with software.

That’s why you might be surprised to buy QuickTax Standard for the 2007 tax year and find you could do only two returns for income over $25,000. Last year, you could do six returns. The price stayed the same, but you could apply for a $10 mail rebate if you filed your return electronically.

After I did a column last Saturday on Intuit Canada’s sneaky move, I heard from many people who had quit QuickTax and found alternative tax software.

Canadian Capitalist also has lots of comment has his blog, where readers talk about Ufile and StudioTax.

Author: Ellen Roseman

Consumer advocate and personal finance author and instructor.

42 thoughts on “QuickTax pulls a quick one”

  1. I too have been a CanTax and later QuickTax customer going back to the mid-1980s. I will not buy QT2007 in part because of this year’s changes. This is the last straw. Here’s what I wrote on Financial Webring Forum in commenting about Ellen’s column:

    Same price, but fewer tax returns
    Michael Yarde buys QuickTax software each year to prepare his family’s tax returns. But this year, he noticed a change. For the same $40 price, he could prepare fewer tax returns.

    QuickTax Standard for 2007 includes two returns for Canadians with more than $25,000 in income, compared with five returns in previous years.

    “The information was on the bottom of the box,” Yarde said. “I admit I should have checked the box first, but I think the change should have been displayed more prominently. I’m sure other consumers will buy the product based on the previous releases.”

    So far, so good. The change should have been displayed more prominently. At least Intuit didn’t do what a lot of packaged food makers do when they reduce the amount of contents without making any reduction in price: They place a big sticker on the front of the package that proclaims, “NEW! More convenient size!”

    But now the disingenuous bullshit explanation from Intuit.

    Cameron Moore, QuickTax product manager, told me that most people didn’t need to prepare five returns. “About 60 per cent of users prepare only one or two returns for $25,000+ in income,” he said.

    “We heard from customers who said: `I only do two returns. Why am I paying the same price as someone who does five?'” he said.

    So the 40% who need to prepare more than 2 returns will see a huge price increase and the other 60% who resented paying for 5 will continue to pay $40 for 2.

    Then there’s the $10 so-called “Eco-Choice” rebate.

    First, you file your 2007 tax return electronically through Netfile. Then, you get a confirmation number from the Canada Revenue Agency and enter it into QuickTax to get a claim form.

    You have to fill out the claim form and submit your application online by May 15.

    Most claims are processed within six weeks, Intuit says, but that doesn’t include the time it takes for the cheque to come to you in the mail.

    In my view, Intuit should lower the price on its downsized product. That’s better than offering a time-consuming rebate that won’t be redeemed in great numbers.

    In addition to Ellen’s objections, consider that for every rebate someone will have to spend 52¢ postage plus envelope (plus photocopies if they want to maintain proof that they made the submission.) Then there’s the environmental cost of getting it to Intuit, the costs of processing, the costs of sending the rebate cheque, the costs of taking that cheque to a bank, processing and clearing it, etc. And then there are the not uncommon costs of chasing after rebates that fail to materialize, the phone calls, the faxes, the mailing of photocopies, the blood pressure medication, etc.

    With companies like Intuit showing such great concern for their customers and for our planet we are surely all doomed 🙁

  2. I bought Quicktax before I realized there was a 2-return limit. Tired of the Intuit BS, I mailed it back to them and said I wanted a refund. To their credit, they mailed me a cheque.

    I just finished doing all of our tax returns with Studiotax (www.studiotax.com) at a total cost of $0. The software worked really well, and you can’t argue with the price. I’m going to send $10 to the authors of the software as a thank-you.

  3. Thanks for the mention.

    I used QuickTax for a few years and TaxWiz before that and I file two tax returns. This year, I bid adieu to QT because of the confusing message that I’ll have to get the Platinum version just to declare capital gains and losses. It turned out that I was mistaken and that all QT versions support all forms.

    I’ve downloaded and tried StudioTax and I am going to use it to file our taxes this year.

  4. Canadian Capitalist is right. He was mistaken and QT Standard at least allows for investment income and capital gains/losses. Maybe the Basic version doesn’t?

  5. Well, I just did a little experiment. I did my son’s income tax on QT the other night. He’s a student with T4 income and tips, T4s for bursaries and scholarships, tuition deductions and transfers (to me!). I got the same result, but I had to know what I was doing, especially with respect to tips and the tuition credit transfer. The former I had to look for. The latter took place automatically (like it knew that he wanted to transfer). What if he didn’t want to transfer?

    Give my QT any day! I normally do three returns over $25K and six below. For $40 and a $15 fee for the third over $25K, it works out to $6 per return with several under $25K to spare. The price is small. The satisfaction is priceless!

  6. I believe that we should get a free tax preparation software from Revenue Canada, not just a stamp-saving Netfile service. A lot more people have chosen to prepare and file their tax by computer. The costs of paper forms and distribution of them is a huge waste.

  7. I’ve been using Ufile for the last 4 years worth of tax returns, including this year’s, which I completed a few weeks ago – the refund is already in the bank.

    Without fail, it has worked perfectly year after year and it has an excellent interface. The best part of all: it’s completely online so you don’t need to purchase anything at all in order to use it, simply navigate to ufile.ca and follow the directions.

    As a Mac user, having an online version that isn’t dependent on my having a Windows based computer system is obviously a show-stopper feature for me, so Ufile fits the bill perfectly year after year.

  8. Too late Cameron. I’m gone. You’ve lost a customer of 20+ years.

    And as soon as I find a replacement for Quicken, I’ll be rid of that too. Again, I’ve been a Quicken customer since the DOS days.

    Intuit’s arrogance and incompetence (e.g. Quicken still doesn’t download stock and mutual fund quotes correctly) is simply too much.

  9. QuickTax 2007

    I had been a fan of Taxwiz for the past few years. I was not able to find it this year and had heard that Intuit had bought out the company so I purchased QuickTax.

    The first thing I noticed and have STRONGLY objected to, is the requirement to provide INTUIT with personal information in order to complete the installation of the program. I do not object to registering a program but do object to the company collecting personal information that is none of their business. Then, as I was completing my return using the “Interview” method, at least twice as I moved forward, I was interrupted with a “purchase other Intuit programs” page. Infuriating!

    I strongly recommend to anyone contemplating the purchase of an income tax program to avoid QuickTax! Intuit’s intrusive practices have turned me completely off their products.

  10. QuickTax e-mail support is terrible. It seems that the immediate objective of each technical support person is to dump the problem on someone else by sending any reply, however useless, within the 72 hour deadline.

    I was poking around on the Intuit Canada web page and found their job postings. Not only has technical support been moved to India, but it appears that software development is now done in Bangalore instead of Edmonton.

    I’ve had to override incorrect output from QuickTax twice since 2005. Now I use a combination of my own spreadsheet and Ufile.

  11. I really hope Intuit reads how many unhappy customers they have now. I too was a long time user of their product but their greed, yes greed, is showing. Next year, it will be Ufile for me.

  12. I too am very disappointed after purchasing my QuickTax. I have used the program and formerly CanTax for years to file four returns. This year, it was not until we installed the program that we discovered the two return over $25,000 limit.

    My actual return was under $25,000, but it worked out best for me to claim $2,000 of my husband’s pension on my return. Lo and behold, that savings will be eaten into with the purchase of my return, as now my income is at $25,000.

    I am going back to doing my returns by hand.

  13. I have been using QuickTax for many, many years. This is the last year I am using QuickTax. They have become a ripoff company, serving only the investors. Profits, profits that’s all what they are interested in.

    I purchased QuickTax Standard, not reading the changes that had taken place, assuming that it still would give me last year’s numbers of returns. What a surprise, and I accept responsibility for not reading the outside box, trusting QuickTax instead. No longer will I be a patron. Hopefully, others will do the same.

    In addition, QuickTax does not max out your pension splitting, a feature that is sorely lacking for pensioners like myself.

    Will I purchase QuickTax 2008? Absolutely not!

    Dissapointed Patron!

  14. The 2007 version of QuickTax seems to have a lot of bugs, with very poor tech support. There are a lot of technical problems getting it to run on my computer. It’s hard coded to Windows Explorer, and tech support blames it on my computer, but QuickTax is the ONLY program on my computer that is NOT working! QuickTax 2007 sucks.

    I am shopping for a replacement. And don’t forget to dump their stock, this one is going DOWN!

  15. I also used QuickTax for many years, and bought the 2007 Standard edition because I used it in the past. I read the small print on the box about the two returns limit, but I assumed that my return and my wife’s will count as one, as they are filled as one. To me, this is false advertising.

    But, even more annoying is that I found what I think is a bug in their software. This year I had to do something new: tuition transfer from a dependant. After reading through the help, and filling in the proper forms and schedules, I proceeded to verify the returns. For the dependant return, QuickTax did not raise any error, but for my return it raised two errors (which I believe are, well, in error):

    Error 1: It signals that I need to update my marital status?! It looks like QuickTax interpreted the transfer as being from/to a spouse, even though on the student’s forms I’ve checked the box that says the transfer is to a parent, and on my return I entered the student as a dependant.

    Error 2: It complains that the dependant does not qualify for it, being born before 1989 (i.e. the dependant is older than 18 years)??! If the tuition transfer was allowed only before 18, how many students pay tuition before 18? Plus, I asked CRA, and, of course, they confirmed there is no such restriction.

    The most annoying thing is that all my attempts to clarify this went to Intuit’s so-called “customer service” in India, and I wasted the past two weeks trying to make them understand the issues. They asked for screen shots first – I sent them. Then they asked me to send the tax return files themselves. Not only I am not comfortable with sending them personal info, but I really don’t see why they need it. It’s easy enough to test what I say using test data.

    I am not sure what I can do, but I believe this is blatant disrespect for customers, and I ponder about going to the media with the whole story.

  16. I have joined the ranks of the Quick Tax Malcontents, though for reasons different than many posting here. I agree with the comments about abysmal customer service.

    In response to six inquiries over the past 9 weeks, including the return of the product over two months ago requesting a refund, I am no further ahead. Perhaps the unresponsiveness of the customer service is intentional because Intuit figures people will just give up.

    The problem is described in the email excerpted below.

    Subject: Fwd: Problem with 2007 QuickTax re: new Federal Tax Amount for Children of Divorced Parents Sharing Custody
    03/08/08 4:17 pm >>>

    I am a user of your software who must override or otherwise manually change several line items, mostly notably Part B of T778 for Child Care Expenses.This is required for divorced parents who share custody of children equally [meaning the child or children reside with each parent 50% of the time]. For example, when there are two children, as in my case, I must only claim one-half of the $4,000 daycare deduction for each since daycare expenses are shared equally. I must override and then manually write this on the T778. This is the reason I cannot Netfile my return.

    This year, I have identified a problem with QuickTax with respect to the new federal tax amount for children – Line 367 – which prevents me from completing the complete return using your software.

    The line item for this new amount reads [exerpted directly from CRA website]:

    Line 367 – Amount for children born in 1990 or later. You can claim $2,000 for each of your or your spouse or common-law partner’s children who are under 18 years of age at the end of the year. The full amount can be claimed in the year of the child’s birth, death, or adoption. If the child resides with both parents throughout the year, either you or your spouse or common-law partner can claim this amount. If the child does not reside with both parents throughout the year, the parent or the spouse or common-law partner who claims the amount for an eligible dependent (see line 305) for that child can claim this amount.

    My ex and I decided we would proceed with the claim for this new amount, as we had been for the Equivalent to Spouse amount in Line 305. In other words, I am claiming one of our two children for both the eligible dependent and the new federal tax amount.

    However, when I was reviewing the Schedule 1, I noted that line 5, which represents Lines 366 and 367 of the Return, was wrong. The error could be traced back to the QuickTax Dependent Information Form.

    The Dependent Information Form provides the basis for a number of line items thereafter, including daycare expenses, camps, children’s fitness amount, etc.

    On this form, there are option buttons [Yes/No] in each child’s column for Child Lives with Parent. As in years past, based on advice from CRA, I must select Yes for both. Also, as in years past, there is an option button for the Eligible Dependent Claim: For one child, I select Yes. For the other, I select No. However, there is no Yes/No option button for the new federal amount, SO if you have selected Yes for Child Lives with Parent, the $2,000 amount appears automatically.

    This has ramifications for the line calculations all through Schedule 1 for Federal Tax, starting at item 5, which as already noted, represents Lines 366 & 367. While override of 366 is possible to adjust the number for “Children born in 1990 or later”, it is not possible to override line 367 to claim only one child because it is predetermined by the Dependent Information Form answer.

    What is then required is a line by line adjustment, down through to the amount for line 420, to be entered at the top of page 4 of the the General T1.

    It is not possible to cheat the system by changing the answer for Child Lives with Parent to show only one child living with each [which is inaccurate and could be construed as an offence anyway] because the values for all of the items mentioned above for that child are then automatically disallowed/deleted. Specifically, when I tried it, the child care expenses and the children’s fitness amount for that non-claimed child were eliminated.

    The end result is that I must prepare the Schedule 1 manually with the correct calculations and amend page 4 of my General T1 return accordingly.

    This is unsatisfactory, particularly because it seems like such a simple glitch to fix.

    You can be certain that I will be passing on this information to others in the same situation that I am in.

  17. Well, I was looking for a tax software/service and would like to thank all the listeners and people who submitted their views on QuickTax, which I was going to purchase. I went with UFile and am happy I stayed away from QuickScam, er Tax.

    Perhaps QuickTax should rebrand themselves for next tax season by calling themsselves, “UFO-Tax” and I ain’t speaking aliens here, folks. Johnny Carson best described UFO as “You @#&*Off”. I agree a far more apt name for a declining product and service.

  18. Here is another spin on the $10 rebate fiasco. Other colleagues of mine are in the same position where they have no record of our submissions.

    The kicker in my case is that I had purchased Quicktax Standard online from the Intuit Canada website. After various emails, Intuit is denying my rebate, saying I have an online product.

    How ridiculous, they don’t know the difference between Quicktax Web (online) and Quicktax installed program. I think Intuit (or as subcontractor) is doing their best to deny rebates.

    I’m only pursuing this out of principle, since $10 isn’t going to make any difference in my life.

    In fact, I think this is the last year I will use Quicktax after maybe 20 years of continuous usage. I still remember the DOS Cantax from way back when.

  19. So I see Quicktax 2008 is now allowing up to 8 standard returns (Big Font announcement on front of package).

    Too bad they lost a number of us long-in-the-tooth faithful customers last year to UFile and other customer friendly/much better online Canadian software.

    Keep trying QuickTax – maybe some day you’ll regain the stature CanTax established years ago.

  20. I also saw the new packaging of Quicktax 2008. Funny how the number of returns you can do this time is prominently advertised upfront. Like many others, I failed to read the fine print last year and bought Quicktax. It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed the two returns limit. As I had to do 3-4 returns I went out to buy UFile instead of buying extra Quicktax returns.

    Intuit’s other product, Quicken, has also deteriorated over the years. I cannot believe how they turned this wonderful money management tool they had in the 90s into this pathetic piece of software it is now.

    I’ve learned from my mistake and will never buy from Intuit again. Even after a year this fiasco still leaves a bitter taste in me. I’m using UFile again this year as I was pleased with its results last year.

  21. What a nice program. Bought it and installed, but it wants to verify by logging in to the Intuit site. Problem is, it can’t and when you try bringing up the Intuit site it’s under maintenance (great timing).

    Okay, no problem, there is an 800 number you can call to do the validation. Whoops. There is no service at that number (great timing II).

    Did something happen to the company and no one told us??

  22. I had the same experience as G Wong. I spotted the 2 return limit on QuickTax 2007, promptly returned it and bought UFile.

    This year, in bold, is the 8 return limit.

    Since I do returns for several family members, UFile was cost effective last year, but QT2008 along with an upgrade to Quicken H&B was a good saving, so I bought both together.

    Quicken has definitely degraded. The new version is full of cosmetic bugs that are irritating. It’s like getting Windows before the first service pack is out.

    QuickTax used to convert returns from other software, but that feature is gone, so I have to manually enter the information from the 2007 UFile returns.

    To Andrew…yes, Intuit thinks they are as big as Microsoft now.

  23. Another little piece of Quicktax scam… it will NOT import 2007 UFile returns. So if you left last year and wanted to return this year think again!!!!!!

    Fricking rip off company… and I am a user of Cantax/Quicktax since 1989!!!! No longer though!!!

  24. Good Morning,
    QuickTax for the 2008 income tax year has a terrible glitch that pertains to the “Quebec Income Tax return enabled” download.

    When the update is downloaded and applied, it corrupts the help files of QuickTax 2008 Standard. QuickTax tries to minimize and sugar coat the problem by stating that it only applies to a few cases, when in fact it is widespread.

    This problem is really a gift to H&R Block’s tax software program. Purchased H&R’s program because of the dubious response from QuickTax and their inability to correct the problem to date.

    Incidentally, have found H&R’s program to be superior to QuickTax in reliability and ease of use. Every dark cloud has a silver lining.

    as always

  25. Well, I see that QuickTax has tried, this year, to correct their stupid, idiotic ploy done last year to increase their revenues by decreasing the number of returns to 2 yet charging the same price.

    This, of course, seemed to backfire on them since it caused a whole lot of previously loyal customers to find alternatives, and pissed off the rest of the people who actually bought the 2007 version unknowingly.

    Even before the 2007 imposed limit of 2 returns, I had always wondered whether or not I should try alternative software, since the price of Quicktax has always been more expensive than say, Ufile.

    However, since I was already used to years of Quicktax, I continued to shell out the standard $40 a year to do my 5 returns. I figured familiarity was worth the price difference.

    Ah, but then, Intuit goes and pulls their low move of the 2 return limit, so forced me to switch to Ufile, just out of principle.

    Now, for the 2008 return, Quicktax has increased the number of returns to 8, even more than the 2006 limit, in a vain attempt to lure back customers they lost last year.

    Well, be forewarned, it doesn’t seem that Quicktax felt it necessary to work too hard to get their customers back since their software doesn’t seem to allow conversion of Ufile 2007 data into QT.

    So explain to me why I would again choose to pay double the price for QT that accomplishes the same task as Ufile, but would require me to enter more data this year and make me doubt the 2007 carryforwards?

    Too little, too late, Intuit. You’ll have to do a lot better if you want to reverse the negative, bitter taste you left in your customers’ (actually, ex-customers now) mouths.

    I hope others will continue to shun Quicktax, just on principle, for what they did last year. Let’s teach them a lesson that will hit them where they’re notice…their bottom line !

    Thanks, Ufile, for offering a comparable product at a more than fair price.

    Happy filing, everyone !

  26. Hello there!!

    My one question is on the 8 returns, that is over $25,000, right? And do they still have a whole bunch you can do under $25,000? An answer would be so greatly appreciated!! Thanks, guys!

    I want to figure this out as I do a lot of my neighbours’ taxes for them, disabled/retired, and don’t want to be severely limited. Most of them are under $25k.

  27. Hi Ellen, It’s nice to hear from you!

    I’m always happy to respond to your readers’ inquiries.

    Our consumer QuickTax desktop products for Tax Year 2008 all include 8 returns for individuals with over $25,000 in net income.

    Not only is this more than last year’s 2 returns, it’s also more than the 5 returns we were offering 2 years ago.

    As usual, any returns prepared for individuals with less than $25,000 in net income will not count toward those 8 returns, and are essentially “free”, meaning that you can prepare up to 12 additional returns under $25k.

    Please note, however, that the CRA has imposed a 20-return per computer limit on all NETFILE-certified software this year.

    Details about this policy can be found here:

    We’ve also added value for our customers in other areas this year, for example:

    – We have created a one-click pension splitting optimizer that makes it very easy for people with private pensions to maximize their tax refund by splitting just the right amount of pension income with their spouse.

    – We are offering Audit Defence to our customers, an additional service for $39.99 that offers peace-of-mind to Canadians who are concerned about a CRA audit.

    – The pricing of our online products has been reduced – QuickTax Standard online now starts at $14.99 per return.

    Details can be found at http://www.quicktax.ca.

  28. I’ve always used QuickTax, but I usually split the cost with my parents. Last year, because of the 2 return limit, I had to buy my own copy. I wasn’t very happy, but I didn’t have time to look around for a replacement.

    This year, I think I’m going to try StudioTax, since it’s free and seems to be a good replacement. My only concern is that their help system might not be as good, since I’m not very tax fluent.

    If it works out, then I’ll donate some of my tax refund to StudioTax. If it doesn’t, I haven’t lost anything, other than some time.

  29. Like others who have posted above me, I had been a faithful user of Quicktax for years until they pulled last year’s ripoff, which I first learned of through your website.

    Although my spouse and I only used Quicktax for our returns (two), leaving us unaffected by the reduction in returns, Quicktax lost me over sheer principle: While I had been paying more and more over the years, their sneaky limitation last year caused me to rebel and move to uFile in support of other consumers.

    When I saw this year’s version in stores, and noticed that they had seemingly learned from their mistakes, I was going to purchase it today. I returned to this website, only to read that uFile’s 2007 return can’t be imported into Quicktax.

    This would have been simple programming on Quicktax’s part, so they’ve now lost me for at least another year. I’m happy with uFile, so perhaps I won’t contemplate a return to QT at all next year.

  30. Okay, maybe someone can help me. I bought the 2007 QuickTax software (ya, I saw the stupid 2 tax form limit, sucks, but only needed two). No problem.

    This year, bought the 2008 version online (like I did last year). Worked well until a couple of days ago when my Windows Vista laptop (where I installed the QuickTax) told me that “QuickTax 2008 has stopped working” ?!? What?!? I didn’t have a problem with the previous QuickTax years and up to three days ago, QuickTax 2008 was working fine.

    I know it is not the computer, so what can I do to get QuickTax 2008 working again?

    Freakin’ Frustrated

  31. I got caught last year with the 2 return Quick Tax. And last year was my last year with Quick Tax. As for them ever winning me back as a Quick Tax user, never. They betrayed a basic trust; their sneaky marketing ploy of small print and big promises still irks me.

    I’m now using Studio Tax and by the sounds of things so are many others. As for the Quick Tax spokesman, where were you 12 months ago when your customers were being ripped off? Too little too late.

  32. In response to Jim’s technical problem above…

    I’m very sorry to hear about the technical difficulty you’ve run into.

    QuickTax offers indutry-leading support options, including email, chat and phone. Please go to the following URL and choose your product http://support.intuit.ca/quicktax/contact.php

    This will allow you to get in touch with our technical support team, who should be able to diagnose your the issue.

  33. There are definitely other options out there than QuickTax (now TurboTax), but often they are much harder (or more ‘clunky’) to use.

    It seems that most of the tax software companies are moving to online versions, which means ‘sharing’ a software package is not possible.

  34. I gave up on QuickTax when they end of life’d the version of Quicken I had.

    I cannot trust a company they will end of life a product by installing updates that turn the product into nag-ware and cripple existing features that were already paid for.

    It is clear they have reached an apex in organic revenue growth and will do anything they can to try and squeeze additional revenue from their customer base in the most unscrupulous of ways.

  35. I have been using QuickTax for quite some time now for my Marketing On Internet website and I agree with David that you can’t limit the usage on software you have already purchased. I am switching everything over as well.

  36. I agree with your comments totally. I used QuickTax in the past, but this year I bought Ufile Plus for $39.95 in a box (I don’t like my personal data sitting on somebody’s server) and I can do 16 returns.

    What I like about Ufile is that it is a Canadian outfit, whereas Quicktax is a sub of an American company. It is very easy to input information and their Maxback feature does a great job of splitting eligible pension income.

    Also, I can print all or selected pages of the return without it counting against the 16 allowable returns (unless you convert the file to a PDF format, which counts against the 16).

    You should let your readers know about Ufile – it is much more superior product than QuickTax.

    Keep up the good work.

  37. Hey article . I was enlightened by the info ! Does someone know where I might grab a blank 2009 NJ CN 10554 version to complete ?

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