Can You Use UFile Standard Edition for Self-Employment Income?

While you don’t have to start compiling all of your receipts and other forms just yet, it is probably a good idea to start getting your ducks in a row in preparation for income tax season. If you choose to complete your own income tax return rather than rely on an accountant, you probably want to go buy the appropriate computer tax software at this point too.

Is Standard Good Enough?

The tax software that I have personally been using the last few year is called UFile. Originally, I was using the online version of the software, but I have since moved on to a local installation for its improved cost-effectiveness. The UFile Standard Edition is usually enough to satisfy my particular needs, but it seemed like the 2009 tax year version presented me with a hurdle.

When I walked into my local Future Shop location to buy the software, I noticed that the Standard Edition of UFile made no mention of handling self-employment income. My freelance writing business is a still a sole proprietorship, so that means that I do not need to fill out a corporate tax return. Regular old “self-employment income” is just fine.

Plus Premium Does the Job

Concerned by this omission, I took a look at the UFile Plus Premium Edition. This version costs $10 more, but the back of the box makes explicit mention of handling self-employment income. The front of the box also says that it is “ideal for small and home-based businesses.” That sure sounds like what I need, but I had used the Standard Edition in years past and it could take care of self-employment income (and tax writeoffs) just fine. Did I really need to spend the extra ten dollars?

I asked one of the sales associates in the store for clarification and he told me that the only difference the he knew was the number of returns each version could complete. UFile Standard Edition can submit up to eight Canadian income tax returns whereas UFile Plus Premium Edition could submit up to sixteen. He said they were otherwise identical, which is what I suspected in the first place. They can both take care of everything from charitable donations to RRSP contributions.

The False Appearance of Added Features

Installing the software on my computer confirmed my suspicions. The two versions of the software are the same, except for the number of returns they can submit. The back of the UFile Standard Edition box did not have a checkmark next to “self-employment income,” but it did not have an “X” next to it either; there is no mention of self-employment income at all. This is rather deceptive marketing on the part of UFile, don’t you think?

So, what’s the take-home lesson? Don’t be fooled into an unnecessary upgrade. Ask questions, get clarification, and make an educated decision.