Review: UFile Standard 2007

I really have mixed feelings about DrTax Software Inc’s UFile Standard 2007. On one hand I welcome competition for Intuit’s QuickTax, especially considering how every year Intuit decreases the number of returns one can file while raising the price of the product. On the other hand, there’s a reason why QuickTax is a tax software leader in Canada — it’s a slick user-friendly product.

UFile Standard 2007 is not a slick user-friendly product. Actually, UFile is far from slick … it is a mess. Yes, UFile does get the job done. I successfully imported past QuickTax information, I successfully entered current tax information, and I found out I’m owed a small refund from the govvies. But here are some of the issues I faced along the way:

Getting Updates

Most tax software requires an update before starting a return. In fact, most tax software automagically starts looking for updates after it is successfully installed and registered. UFile is not very smart. After I installed and registered UFile, I followed the interview wizard screens and started my 2007 return.

When I tried to import my personal information from QuickTax using the UFile “CarryForward” feature, I was faced with a series of error messages stating I needed to download product updates. This was terribly annoying, as I was not offered an opportunity to update before the interview process began. I had to quit the UFile application twice to figure out how to update the software. After I was updated, I had no issue with importing my QuickTax info.

Update Error Message

 

Update Errors

Terrible User Interface

UFile’s user interface is poorly conceived. The interface is difficult to navigate, non-linear, cartoonish, does not employ many Windows standards, and is generally unattractive to view.

Confusing Interface

Unusual Icons

I actually got stumped several times just trying to perform simple Windows functions, like deleting an extra T4 slip by right-clicking it in the menu. Right-clicking does not work to delete in UFile. To delete the T4, I had to read the Online Help to find the special UFile delete icon. This drove me nuts, as deletion is a pretty standard Windows process. A simple X would have nicely identified a delete icon. Albeit, UFile went against standard Window’s icons in most of their functions … why I have no idea. Delete Icon is below:
Delete Icon

Terrible Translation?

The user interface and Online Help is poorly written and very verbose. It feels like UFile was written in another language, and then poorly translated into English. I struggled trying to find a sensible procedure on how to get something done. Everything is written in long paragraph form which prevents the user from quickly scanning the help and tip files, reading a listed procedure, and getting done with it. I honestly found it annoying to read endless poorly written interface instructions, tips, and help. Please UFile, hire a technical writer in 2008 and get some instructive help!

Click Here Must Die!

Another minor quibble I have with UFile’s interface is the abundance of “Click Here”. Just hyperlink to the noun you want the user to click!

Click Here Must Die

Medical Expense Entry

If you are like me and have a series of similar medical expenses to enter, you won’t like UFile’s medical expense interface. UFile groups dates and expense types into one box, forcing the user to perform mindless data entry without an auto-fill function. Auto-fill is pretty standard in Quicken and QuickTax. Furthermore, even after entering numerous dates and medical expense types, UFile still queried me for the date of my last medical expense. Why? Couldn’t the program do a check on my entered data and then verify this with me? Annoying, non?

No Autofill

Don’t Enter Zero?

While entering my T4 information, I couldn’t help but notice the number of times I was informed to not enter Zero. I recall being able to enter Zero numerous times in QuickTax without issue. In fact, a Zero can be a pretty darn standard entry in many people’s tax returns. I was intrigued with UFile’s inability to handle Zero and read the Online Help. Apparently, the smart analysts and programmers who designed UFile decided to use zero logic by allowing the program to calculate a Zero as anything other than nothing. BRILLIANT. There’s nothing like entering Zero in your return and having the whole thing miscalculate your taxes. This is abysmal and should be fixed. I shouldn’t have to understand the program’s suspect logic when doing my taxes. Entering a Zero should just work and calculate nothing, rather than “effectively telling the program that all EI premiums paid are overpayments that should be refunded to you.” Scary, non?

Zero
Zero Help

Conclusion

I wanted to love UFile. More importantly, I wanted to not miss QuickTax. This didn’t happen. Sure, UFile gets the job done. But I did not trust or enjoy the experience. O well. At least thanks to UFile, I know I’ll get about $250 bucks back from the govvies.

fox

Your two cents:

  1. John March 10th, 2008

    I used AceTax for a coupled of years and love it. It’s rightly priced and works like a charm. Here’s a link http://www.fredsoft.ca/acetax

  2. Me March 14th, 2008

    I AM REALLY FRUSTRATED WITH UFILE ONLINE VERSION! They have a software bug (I have worked around computers for 30 years so I should be somewhat credible).

    I’ve used Ufile Online for many years with no problems but this year they are driving me crazy. My problem is the property tax credit….it is transferring twice to the On 479 tax form (but only shows being entered once in interview section). Ufile responded today……….one week since I emailed them (they should be responding faster than this). Someone is lazy and isn’t looking at the actual tax forms! I have told them that the information in the interview section appears to be correct, from what I can see, but it’s the actual tax form On 479 that has the error. But I get a silly response back:

    “You[sic] property tax credits reported only once on Schedule On 479. You will find it in Tax return section of (my husband’s name)”.

    I’ve now sent them a clipboard copy of the particular page – On 479. I’ve paid for their service but I fear I will end up using some other software so I can finally Netfile our tax returns. (Good chance the people responding on help line probably earn barely over minimum wage, have very little computer knowledge, and don’t really care?)

  3. fox March 14th, 2008

    Me: I understand your frustration with getting help from tax software companies. I had issues a few years ago with an Intuit Quick Tax bug. It took several emails with Intuit support (and 2 weeks) to settle the issue. Please DO keep us posted with what happens regarding your UFile property tax issue. AND if you do decide to switch products, update us on your choice as well. I am certain others can benefit from your knowledge. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

  4. Rob March 18th, 2008

    I had some browser issues with Ufile.ca where the software ended up charging me for my trouble, turns out this was a glitch and mere moments after the charge showed up on my VISA it told me I qualified for free filing. So I make the (I thought) reasonable assumption that a few e-mails and the charge would be gone from my card. We’re now 3 weeks later, and I just wrapped up an e-mail where they offered me a voucher for this year… I ALREADY FILED FOR THIS YEAR, AND I COULD DO IT FOR FREE IN ANY CASE.

    The refund? They don’t do refunds, as it turns out, kind of ironic really, for a tax return software company

  5. fox March 19th, 2008

    Rob: OK, I am sitting here with my UFile information and it says you can return it using the “60-day satisfaction guarantee. Your satisfaction is GUARANTEED or your money refunded.”

    The package lists this blurb and address:
    If you are not fully satisfied, do not return UFile to your retailer. Send us your dated receipt and a brief explanation of your concerns within 60-days of purchase for a full refund of your purchase price. Our mailing address is UFile, 2348 Lucerne Road, Box 545, Montreal, Quebec H3R 2J8.

  6. ko February 25th, 2009

    I’ve finally switched to UFile for 2008 tax year and regretted! It’s not as user-friendly as Quick Tax yet it may be eaiser for dummies who don’t know the tax schedules. I’ve selected to transfer some tuition to spouse but the program doesn’t allow me to do, isn’t it stupid? It would even let me know what’s the difference! I’ll get Quick Tax next yr for sure even though it’s more expensive than UFile.

  7. Luis F. Flores March 18th, 2009

    I have not uses QuickTax yet. Do you know why? Too expensive, I used to have Taxwiz, it was good. Ufile is a bit annoying because it let you do the return only by interview, but it does its work. I think that the CRA should provide e free income tax return software for free.
    Don’t you think?

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