Tax Time – Do It Yourself or Hire Someone

Tax Time

Tax Time – Do It Yourself or Hire Someone

It’s that time again. Some people hate it some people love it. Tax Time, People either owe money or they are receiving it! They put that income back to work for them or go buy a new car, shopping spree or even go on a nice vacation. The Million dollar question I always ask at this time is….. Do It Yourself or Hire Someone.

Tax Programs

The past couple years I have been doing it myself, for our family. There are a bunch of programs out there you can download. TurboTax comes to mind. I love how you can just transfer your info from prior years taxes. For basic taxes and general know how you can file taxes for up to 4 people for around 15 bucks. Yes you can even e-file your return, which makes it super simple and seems to expedite the payment. (They claim in as little as 8 days)

This is a great way to go, but I always wondered if I missed a buck somewhere. I was actually debating signing up for a h and r block tax course that they offered in December. At the time things were hectic trying to get everything ready for the baby, so I passed on the course.

Snail Mail

If you are super frugal you can always go to the postal office get your tax forms, fill them out by hand and then mail them to the cra. This essentially wont cost you anything more than the stamps, but isn’t as simple and clearly takes a lot longer through snail mail.

IN and OUT Taxes

Before I started filing my taxes myself, I always went to one of the local tax franchise’s. Simply put you go in there with your taxes and pay a little fee and walk out with cash! This was the way to go. Of course there was always a nice lineup and the fees were higher. You could tell some employees didn’t know 100% what they were doing, and were probably only there for the busy season. It did the job and you could pay a fee for just the service, or you could pay a little more and get the cash from them instantly. Of course just like the majority of people I took the cash. Tom Cruise – Show Me The Money!!

Again there is nothing wrong with these service providers, they do the job and I have never had a error in the past resulting from their skills. Ultimately these days, I don’t need the cash instantly and would rather save the money not paying for instant cash.

Certified Personal Accountant

This year I saw a Certified Personal Accountant posting in our neighbourhood Facebook page. They wanted $50 per return which I felt was fair. Clearly this is a lot more than I normally pay, when  I pay like 20 bucks for the both of us. I wanted to see how much of a difference they can really make. I also had the private investment and the solar panels in the mix this year which complicates things for sure.

Me and the wife both felt the $100 was worth the shot to get a bigger return. The solar panels ended up being a non issue for tax year 2017. There really wasn’t much we could do this year tax-wise as we didn’t make a income until 2018 she stated. Ahhh well you learn. That why we hired her, shes smarter at this stuff than I am! Other than that we gave her our stack of papers. Our record of employments, the private investment stuff, childcare costs, donations, sports costs and certification costs for our jobs.

Tax Time

Free Loan To The Government

Ive heard before if you get money back at tax time you did stuff wrong and essentially lent the government money for free. Its true when you think about it. I definitely don’t want to give them a free loan. People are always giving the governments money! Heck they even ask if you want to donate your tax return to pay off the federal debt at the end of your taxes!

If you are getting money back without even contributing to your rrsp, you should lower the taxes that get taken off your paycheck’s to try to break even at tax time. I think we give our governments more than enough.

Personally the last couple years I have had to pay the government every spring. The government lent me money for free! I wasn’t taking advantage of rrsp’s or other vehicles to lower our tax burden and wasn’t getting taxed enough throughout the year.

This year we really stepped up our RRSP game and even took a loan out the middle of February to really take advantage and get our money working for us. Canada gives you until March 1st for RRSP contributions for the prior tax year. (I have no clue why, maybe someone knows)

Tax Time

You Win

Anyways that is not the case this year. Both me and the wife are getting a nice tax return. It is the first time in a long while, I do not have to pay! Mel Gibson – FREEEDOM! It is a great feeling. I knew we would be getting a bunch back based on our rrsp contributions, but we are getting quite a bit more. I’m sure the CPA had a lot to do with that. I was skeptic if it would really make that much of a difference but it seems to of have. Based on this I think its worth spending the extra bucks to hire a real professional.


It might be nice to get the tax program and punch in the numbers as I see them and really compare apples to apples. What kind of returns would I have gotten? Maybe Ill do this, just for curiosity. As for the tax return, $5000 is going to pay off the line of credit I used to contribute to our rrsps before March 1st. Some money will be used for something cool ie a nice dinner out or maybe another day at great wolf lodge or another indoor waterpark. The rest will be put to our tfsa to bring in even more money for us!

So to finalize I think a CPA is a great option come tax time that could generate a bigger return. The choice is yours, I hope your tax returns are simple and full of dollar bills.

What do you do for your taxes? Do you have plans for the money you will get back?


14 Responses

  1. Hi Rob, I’m a DIY when it comes to taxes. Tax software makes it manageable. Of course, I’m a CPA so I don’t have an excuse. When it comes to other stuff like being a handyman, I gotta hire that out cause I’m worthless. Tom

    • Rob says:

      Haha nice Tom. Of course your a little biased! Im the same i can do alot of handy work but other things are worth hiring out.

      Times like this i wish i was a cpa.


  2. MrSLM says:

    Unfortunately we have a complicated tax return, since we worked for a couple years in the US and I still have vesting stock from then. Gotta pay out the nose for a cross-border accountant. I might be able to do it myself, but there’s so much money on the line that I’d rather leave it in the hands of an expert.

    Next year will be the last year we need to do that, and then I’ll go back to using ufile.

  3. Leo T. Ly says:

    I have been using the UFile tax program for about a decade now and it works well for me. I would never do the manual paper filing again as it’s not worth my time and I can’t carry my info forward. I just buy the software and it more than pays for itself.

    Filing your own taxes is not as difficult as one may think. All you need to do is ask the right questions when you use an accountant. If you know what questions to ask, then most likely, you can do a search and file the item using a tax software. Most people’s tax situation and the tax rule don’t change very often. Even if it does changes, all you have to know is the incremental changes. Does it affect you?

    I am often very curious about any new tax rules so I read up on it. This makes tax time a lot more fun. Especially when you get a sizeable refund. I know I am giving the CRA a free loan, but it doesn’t bother me.

    • Rob says:

      Hey Leo

      Great points. I dont use an accountant but that would surely help with taxes. Great to see you keep up with the new tax rules. How do you read up on them? Any websites in particular?

      Hope you get a fantastic return!

  4. Glad it worked out for you and you are actually seeing some money back. I have done my own taxes for a while now but I am kind of lucky because a few of the people I know. My mom works for H&R Block and one of my good friends is a CPA even though he specializes in corporations. Still nice to be able to bounce ideas off them to see how it would play into my taxes.

    • Rob says:

      Hey geek

      Sounds like you got some sweet connections! Unforetunately i dont have those kind of hookups.

      It worked out for me. Maybe next yr ill do one of those courses though!

      Cheers man

  5. I did my own taxes for years – and still do taxes for most of my family….that said once my wife started her business – and we had the kids – we decided to get my wife’s accountant uncle to do our taxes. We are lucky – he does them for free 🙂

    I’d say if you have a simple return – a t4, some rrsps, charitable deductions – do them yourself…once there are businesses, multiple credits, and more involved…might want to look at getting a pro to dig in….

    • Rob says:

      Nice Jordan

      Always nice knowing a pro who will do them for free!
      I agree once it becomes too complicated its worth hiring a pro..

  6. I’m a big fan of Turbo Tax. I used to go to H & R Block, but when I started investing in stocks, they wanted too much money. Even though I didn’t make a profit with stocks, because they had to deal with the subject matter, the fee was way higher. Then I gave Turbo Tax a try and I’ve been using them ever since. I do like the fact that they save last year’s data. But I really like the fact that I learn various ways to save on taxes. Rather than just turning over my documents and let somebody take care it’s of things, doing it myself helps to educate me on tax rules and give me the confidence to know that it’s being done right.

    One of these days though, I’ll compare Turbo Tax to a professional and see if that makes a difference.

    • Rob says:

      Hey port.

      Luckily for me at the moment All my stocks are in registered accounts. So its claiming the rrsps we put in.

      I hired her hoping the solar panels would of been a factor. Maybe next yr ill try again!

      Its true by doimg them yourself you learn more.

      Cheers port

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