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

January 21st, 2010 by

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.

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53 Responses to “Can You Use UFile Standard Edition for Self-Employment Income?”

  1. Joanne says:

    A bit of clarification is needed here. The UFile Standard box does in fact indicate that it can be used for ALL kinds of tax returns.

    Our support statistics indicate that self-employed users are more apt to require telephone support. We needed to find a way to encourage them to choose the PLUS version so they can take advantage of this valuable feature, available only to UFile Plus users.

    I am pleased to know that you like do not feel the need to upgrade to the Plus version which is offered at only $29.99 — more economical than other products offered by competitors for self-employment returns being sold at a much, much higher price.

  2. Rodney says:

    Micheal – THANKS FOR THE POST !!! I had the same question. Reading the box does give you the impression you need to upgrade. Joanne is right the box might say “All Returns” but not listing it as it is on the PLUS counter acts that. I did send a message off to support as well asking. They also only state the GST rebate on the Pro as well. I wonder if that is misleading as well??

    I also agree with your comment “This is rather deceptive marketing on the part of UFile, don’t you think?”

  3. Donald says:

    Yes, thanks for the post. I, too, was mislead by the packaging when I was in a shop this evening. Although I read somewhere online that the standard version handled self-employment income, when I took a look at the UFile products in a store it appeared that I needed the “Plus” version for $10 more. I am a first time user and was nearly suckered in to unecessarily shelling out a few more bucks! Not now.

  4. Ed says:

    I am interested in trying UFILE rather than Quicktax. However, a feature I appreciate in Quicktax is the “running total” or tab that shows and updates your return amount as you go through the process. This was lacking in earlier versions of UFILE – is it a feature in this years Standard version?

    • Michael Kwan says:

      No, not exactly. When you’re in the “interview” portion, you can click on save and then on “results” to see what your refund/owing would be, but it doesn’t keep a running total. It has to calculate it each time, but this only takes a second or two.

  5. Manny says:

    Thank you for this post, Michael. I had bought the “Plus” edition precisely because I was mislead by the lack of self-employment income checkmark on the box of the standard edition.

    Since the box is still sealed, I’ll be returning it.

    To the UFile people, telephone technical support statistics do not justify making it look as though the standard edition is missing a feature that it’s not. If you want to encourage business customers to get the edition with phone support, say that. Don’t make it look like the other editions aren’t for business at all. What a shady company.

  6. Sam says:

    I have moved from Quicktax (geeting pricey). After the initial difference in entry mode, I found data entry not too bad. However, I found that not everything is imported from a Quicktax file (specifically unclaimed capital costs). I was able to fix it manually. However, I asked tech support for a list of features that won’t be imported and they refused (or could not) give me one. That is not good. I would like to know what doesn’t work so I can be vigilant about what needs a manual fix/entry so I do not miss anything.

  7. Alan says:

    I concur with Manny and others such as you, Michael, who were misled by the omission of self-employment income on the back of the box of the standard edition of UFile. I have my boxes of the Standard edition from previous years and checked them. The self-employment income is specifically mentioned and checked off as being included in the standard edition. This almost led me to purchase the plus edition, thereby spending an extra $10 I did not have to.

    Fortunately I decided to check online first before purchasing and found this web page. Incidentally, there is no indication on the UFile web page that the standard edition includes the self-employment income on the return. I looked there too.

  8. [...] it may be easy enough to complete the tax return on your own. There is software out there, like Ufile Standard Edition that can easily handle self-employment income. Don’t be fooled into buying the [...]

  9. Craig says:

    Thanks for the confirmation. I found it rather confusing as well. Off to FutureShop to buy standard right now.

  10. James says:

    Ufile has done it again! I didn’t know about this and went into Futureshop and bought the 2010 ufile plus because I was convinced by the information on the packaging of each version that the self-employment portion had been stripped from the standard version. Too bad I had already opened the package before I located this webpage! If the 2010 standard version does include self-employment income, then I have spent an extra $10 as a result of MISLEADING advertising.

    • Joanne says:

      Hi James,

      We do not recommend the Standard version for self-employment returns as we find that these types of taxpayers need the telephone support that the only Plus product offers.

      UFile’s Standard product reads: Ideal for all kinds of personal tax returns.

      I regret the confusion and respectfully ask you contact me directly at joanneatufile@gmail.com to discuss a refund.

      • James says:

        The potentially misleading part to a self-employment consumer trying to decide which version of Ufile they may require is when they compare the checklist at the back of the box of each version.

        The checklists are under the heading: “Ufile can do all kinds of tax returns – including yours!”

        Standard Edition checklist: No mention whatsoever of self-employment income and rental income being included features.

        Premium/Plus Edition checklist: Has the same checklist of features AND self-employment income and rental income.

        The Premium/Plus Edition states on the front of the box: “Right for all kinds of personal tax returns” and “Ideal for small and home-based businesses.”

        The Standard Edition states: Ideal for all kinds of personal tax returns and does not mention anything about small and home-based businesses who require self-employment income return forms.

        Why is the Premium/Plus considered “Ideal for small and home-based businesses?” You state this is due to the added feature of free telephone support, which is not included in the standard edition. While that may be true, I suggest that reason is not clearly evident and another reason is evident. An average consumer might believe that the reason the Premium/Plus version is “ideal for small and home-based businesses” is because such businesses require the self-employment income feature and since such is specifically acknowledged as a feature in the Premium/Plus edition and specifically omitted as a stated feature in the Standard edition.

        Solution: Ufile Standard and Ufile Premium/Plus should use the same back of box checklist including self-employment income and rental income. Any differences in the checklists between the two versions should only be “true” additional features i.e. 16 vs 8 returns, free telephone support vs. not free telephone support.

        Consumers can then fairly determine what features are different between the two versions and decide whether or not they would like to pay $10 more for telephone support or an additional 8 tax returns.

        Ufile did not fix this issue after it was brought to their attention last year. I hope Ufile will consider providing clearer packaging information next year.

  11. I’m at a Best Buy looking at the boxes in Feb 2012 and that was my exact question. Hope it’s still true for tax year 2011. Cheers.

    …Dale

  12. Patty says:

    I just bought both editions because it wasn’t clear that the standard edition did rental income, and I knew I had used the standard every other year. Now when I look at the box from last year I see that it does not indicate rental income. Tyring to find out on the ufile website is impossible….it does not say under their “which product is right for me” the differences, other than the # of returns and phone support. So, I’m going to assume after reading this thread that the editions are the same and return the premium one, since I only need to do 2 returns. They really need to be more clear on their packaging though!

  13. Joanne says:

    Hello all and thanks for asking about UFile for Windows Plus.

    Small business is only listed on the Plus box because we recommend that those preparing small business returns be able to take advantage of the free telephone support only available in that product.

    • Michael Kwan says:

      That’s still a very deceptive practice. Small business can be completed with the standard edition and should be indicated as such. The telephone support is a separate feature.

      • Joanne says:

        Hi Michael,
        I am sorry you feel this way. The front of UFile Standard packages clearly state that it can do ALL KINDS of tax returns.

  14. Gennadiy says:

    Shame on you, UFILE!
    The only reason I bought PLUS because of tax return for self-employed. For 3 years using UFILE I’ve never used phone support. And it’s me to decide if I need it. Your packaging information is misleading.

    • Joanne says:

      Again, I am sorry you feel this way. I will take your comments back and see if we can make this more clear on the Standard and Plus boxes for 2012. Thanks for the feedback. J

  15. Phil says:

    Yesterday, we bought the Plus version from Best Buy only because the box recommended it for self employment income. However,the packaging for the standard version was conspicuous by the absence of the same.This fact was pointed out by my teenager son, who unlike me thoroughly scrutinized the packaging and recommended that we buy the plus version.
    After reading the above comments I was absolutely not surprised…. using misleading and deceptive practices seems to be the hallmark of a majority of retailers at one point or the other.
    I am glad there are forums available, where consumers can get their message herd.
    Hope U file makes it crystal clear on their packaging for 2012 tax year.

  16. Lawrence says:

    Thanks for the info, I bought UFile Plus last year thinking it was the only version that supported self-employment income. This year, I made a mistake and bought UFile standard. Turns out I made a better investment and this will do everything I need! But you’re right a little deceptive with the marketing I think.

  17. JJ says:

    Wow! Words can’t even describe how thankful I am for finding this forum. This really epitomizes the term “misleading marketing.” The only defence UFile can make is that, yes, the “Plus Edition” does, in fact, include telephone support as opposed to the “Standard Edition.” However, why is this not clearly described on the packaging as the reason for the increase in price? Rather, consumers are (mis)lead to believe that in order to get the greatest refund fir their self-employment – or to file a tax return for self-employment at all – is to purchase the “Plus Edition” when they apparently do not. This is nothing more than a simple and crafty way for a company to increase their profits. But hey, if the extra money for telephone support is worth it, then one should absolutely buy the “Plus Ediditon,” otherwise it is a complete and utter waste of money.

    Sorry to rain on your parade, Joanne, but simply admitting the wording on the packaging is a touch misleading would be noble of you. Rather than saying “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

  18. Joanne says:

    Hello JJ, No where on the UFile box does it say anything to the effect of “in order to get the greatest refund fir their self-employment – or to file a tax return for self-employment at all – is to purchase the “Plus Edition”” In fact, all UFile packaging clearly indicates UFile does ALL KINDS OF TAX RETURNS. I will admit that leaving self-employment off the list may be seen as “a touch misleading”. This is done for a very good reason. We want purchasers who prepare small business returns to have the advantage of telephone support. I am sorry that contributors here feel that it is misleading and, as I have written in the past, I will see if that cannot be made more clear in future.

  19. David says:

    Can you combine a self employment income with a spouse who has a regular employment income? This is our first year trying UFile. After entering both incomes, in the results only the regular income shows up. The self employment income does not show up at all although going back through the interview all the figures are there.

    • Michael Kwan says:

      I’m in the process of doing my own taxes and I don’t seem to be encountering the same issue as you. I have self-employment income, while my wife has regular employment income. Both figures appear just fine in the results with appropriate amounts (medical expenses, donations, etc.) transferring where they can be best utilized.

  20. Jason says:

    I’m glad and thankful that I found this forum: I have just bought the Plus version only because the box clearly indicates that it can do self-employment income but the Standard version can’t (with self-employment not even included in its feature list). Fortunately I have not opened it yet. I would have to agree that this is deceptive marketing from UFile (the argument that the packaging has indicated that it is ideal for all personal tax returns simply does not hold).

  21. Gordon says:

    I am a self-employed management consultant doing program evaluation. I used NAICS code 541619 and UFile says this is an invalid code. Last year I successfully used 541610. This year that doesn’t work either. I can’t netfile without fixing this.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

  22. Joanne says:

    Hello Gordon,

    Your code 541619 should work based on the information we are given by Stats Canada, that is a valid code.
    At UFile, we refer to the following http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/12-501-x/12-501-x2012001-eng.pdf
    Have you contacted CRA’s NETFILE desk?

    • Gordon says:

      Hello Joanne,
      I have talked to CRA’s NETFILE desk this morning and they suggest that since I have got this invalid code message from UFile without ever going into the NETFILE system, it can not be anything to do with NETFILE.

      They are currently checking to make sure the code I used is correct, but regardless,as you say, the code I used is one that should work, based on the codes you use in UFile. Looks like there may be a glitch in the UFile program.

      I would appreciate it if you would have someone check that.

      • Joanne says:

        Hi Gordon,

        I have passed your question through our support department. This is their reply:
        Without reviewing his file, here is an answer I could provide.

        “The NAICS codes have been revised by CRA for 2011.

        In your case, the NAICS code 541610 is invalid for 2011 and the 541619 is the valid one.

        How many self-employment incomes do you have in your file?
        If you have entered more than one self-employment income in your file, please review the other NAICS codes as well. It could be the second or third NAICS code that is causing the error message.”

        Please contact me through joanneatufile@gmail.com.

    • Val says:

      I’m having the same problem. Ufile will not accept the code for forging, which is 332113 on the new list. It will not allow me to netfile.
      Please help. Thank you

      • Marilyn says:

        I had two businesses on my ufile and the warning note directed me to the correct code… it was the second business that had the incorrect code. So mine worked after changing the business to the new code!

  23. Disappointed says:

    Seems that now Ufile wants everyone to purchase the mote expensive plus 29.99 version. They no longer sell the ” standard” 19.99 versions in any Toronto future shop or best buy I have stopped into. All stores say that this is the only version that Ufile provided them to sell.

    Screw Ufile! I’m switching to turbo tax after 5 years just because. Yes it’s more money but atleast they don’t lie to everyone like Ufile.

  24. Joanne says:

    Disappointed should certainly not be. It is absolutely untrue that UFile is no longer selling the standard version in the stores.

    It could be that one or two stores have run out of the Standard version but even that is highly unlikely.

    Readers, please email me at joanneatufile@drtax.ca if you are unable to find UFile Standard at your local Future Shop or Best Buy or at their online stores.

  25. Gail says:

    I just bought UFile Standard in Etobicoke on the weekend. there were plenty at Future Shop. The guy in front of me had one too.

    • Joanne says:

      I did a survey of all the Future Shop and Best Buy stores today. The only stores where stock was low are in Quebec but there was still plenty of UFile Standard on the shelf.

      They keep selling and we keep restocking!

      • DS says:

        I think FS and BB are putting the turbo tax closer to the front door. You guys should talk to them to get your product up front.

        FS and BB probably dont worry about the placement, they just find a spot, but you should talk to them about positioning.

        If sales go up, I want I free box next year :)
        This could be a game changer, I say free boxes for everyone on this forum.
        -ds

  26. Diane says:

    I called for some of TurboTax’s free tax advice. Their advice was to call CRA. This is my last year with those guys.

  27. [...] the last couple of months, this has become very apparent in my post on Ufile tax software. People are in the middle of preparing their income tax returns and several are purchasing that [...]

  28. [...] visitors carries on and on and on. A page on Michael’s site, for example, has become host to a discussion of tax software. My favourite is probably this one where 101 commenters have shared their weird, creepy tales of [...]

  29. Johar says:

    I am unable to determine as to where I need to enter this NAICS code. I am using ufile plus and getting invalid NAICS code error. I am using it for the last 2+ years so not sure if it is pulling from previous years. However, i can not locate a spot where i can enter the code.
    Please help

    • joanne says:

      Hi Johar,

      The CRA changed the codes this year so if you are using the same code as you have the last 2 years, it won’t work. You can email UFile at support@ufile.ca notifying them of which code you require, and support will be able to provide this for you. If you email the support team, include a screen print of the error message and they can verify if that’s the problem

      • Johar says:

        Hi Joanne,
        Thanks for your quick reply. However, could you please re-read my comments. My main question is I do not even know what field to key in the so called number. I checked and checked but failed to find a field to key in the code even. Once the field is known I will then key in the number.
        Thanks,
        Johar

      • Johar says:

        Problem resolved. I located the field and entered the correct number.
        NOW my next question:
        1) I have business losses and ufile is suppose to optimize by carrying losses forward and reducing or eliminating my non-refundable tax credits. However, ufile is making my income zero by applying all the losses for 2011 and thus I am not even able to use my personal deductions. How can I make ufile optimize this for me.
        Thanks,
        Johar

    • Gordon says:

      Hello Johar.

      I entered the NAICS number on the T2125 – Business Identification page in the Self-employment section. It is one of four Required Entries on that page.

      Gordon

  30. Joanne says:

    The entry field for the NAICS has a red asterisk meaning you cannot save the page without it. It is found on the ID page of your business just under the address.

  31. Johar says:

    I have business losses and ufile is suppose to optimize by carrying losses forward and reducing or eliminating my non-refundable tax credits. However, ufile is making my income zero by applying all the losses for 2011 and thus I am not even able to use my personal deductions. How can I make ufile optimize this for me.
    Thanks,
    Johar

  32. Joanne says:

    Hi Johar.
    If you cannot get a satisfactory response to the losses question using our new virtual agent, found on our website, please contact our support team by email or by phone.

  33. Aytisi says:

    Joanne, from reading this and another Ufile forum I see you as helpful and honest, so please tell those like myself who bought Ufile Plus for its telephone support what number we should call. That number is not on the box, in the software, or on your website. I need Ufile’s advice because the CRA rejected a deduction that Ufile calculated automatically. I think this happened because Ufile has no category for US Social Security income on which the US didn’t charge any tax, so it assumes the US charged 15% or 50% and claims that as a deduction.

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