Friday, February 26, 2010

Canadian tax software and Linux

Well, it's tax time again!

This used to be the part of the year I would dread. Not because I feared how much income tax I would need to pay, but because I knew I would have to get Windows running in a VM or on a spare computer in order to use tax preparation software.

I would get heartburn from wondering if the new flavour-of-the-day copy-protection mechanism the software used would actually work in a VM, and if it would let me open up my files again after reinstalling it if something went wrong. Top that off with the fact that trusting your important data to Windows is like locking your safe with duct tape, and I'd be popping Rolaids like candy.

Are all the security updates installed?
Every time I open "Windows update", it manages to find some more.

Is my antivirus software properly installed and working?
What if I got malware while purchasing the antivirus software online, before I installed it? Which one do I choose?

Oh great, the new version of the tax software uses Internet Explorer to update itself.

Luckily, a couple of years ago I discovered UFile.ca, a web-based tax preparation application. They even officially support Linux! It's quite refreshing to see a Tux logo right next to the Windows and Mac logos. It's even easier to use than the software I was previously purchasing!

Of course, it's web-based, so it's up to you to decide if you're willing to accept handing over your tax information to a third party. In my case, the decision was easy: I get to decide who can see my tax information, which is a lot better than hoping no one could see it.

Goodbye heartburn!

5 comments:

Sergio Fraga said...

Fortunately, here in Brazil "Receita Federal" (our IRS) provides us their own software, Windows-native or Java-based. I can use the second in my Ubuntu notebook with no worries. It almost makes me happy for paying taxes... :-D

Alan said...

I used cutetax.ca, also online. It does not seem to care what OS one is using.

Erik said...

Which Linux Distro do you use?

LM said...

How about this? Using a Windows VM, and set it up so that the VM CANNOT connect to the Internet (i.e. disable networking). Prepare your taxes offline, then submit the file to the CRA.

The Geeks said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)