The Poor Man's Accountant
A Method

Here's the deal...   I make a humble living using my own software (since 1995) to knock out T1 General tax returns for Canadian residents. Using my own customers as guinea pigs, I've tested and bulletproofed and souped up this baby to the point where now she's just wasted on the likes of me. For some strange reason I like writing software, and so I've now got 28,000 lines of code buried in over 80 forms, and every time-saving trick I can think of. Maybe you can use a tool like this?
But of course there is a catch: you have to mail in the return. Taxman is unique from the competition in that it's a full-featured database but without Netfile — and that's a good thing. Without having to follow all the Netfile rules, Taxman is as simple and as flexible as it gets. Taxman only has to play by the anything-goes paper-return rules, and hence is a fundamentally different tax experience. With Taxman you are free to override the program and create any return your heart desires.
Also, Taxman doesn't interview you. So you have to go to the post office and pick up the T1 General guide and forms (you'll need the envelope), and flip through them during the commercials. With Taxman you're working with the same CRA forms as described in the guides — except, instead of being lifeless pieces of paper, you get them fully electrified. If you didn't have to do the math, could you fill in a paper return?
I designed Taxman to check for all the mistakes I'm likely to make, and to save me from actually having to do any work. She tends to fill in things by default and assumes that I will know when we're dealing with some weird exception to the rule. If you know what you're doing, there's no faster, easier, more fuel-efficient way to do a tax return. If you need help, I can offer you a plan of attack, but with Taxman — You da man! The forms are CRA approved, fill them in any way you want and mail them off — let some poor soul in the bowels of the CRA check things over for you. Do you think you can do it?
Surely we Canadians can show the world we don't need to give away our money each year to some multinational corporation because we're too stupid to figure out how to do our own taxes? No matter what tax software you're going to use, you're still going to have to have a rough idea of how to fill in a tax return. And if you're all that clever then surely it's a small step to working directly with the tax forms themselves — just like back when people used to do their taxes at the kitchen table. Were they all smarter than us?
Now is the time to cash in on that high-school education! With Taxman you get the gun and holster I use to make a living — for free! There are no restrictions or limitations. What more could you want? (Oh ya, I got a small business program too!)
Taxman sits entirely on your hard drive and will never try to connect to the internet. It has no hidden spyware — no gimmicks whatsoever. The only way I'm going to get money off you is if you send me a cheque (Bless your little heart!). Just use the program and I can dream I have your unconditional love. How could I hope for a greater reward? Every year at tax time I get to supplant the dog and become your best friend! (Who knows, maybe in the future, I might need a friend on the jury.)
Now, I know using something free off the internet is beneath the dignity of many Canadians. Why would you stoop so low when you can steal a copy of the latest commercial software off your brother for nothing? But I'm telling you, if you have half a brain, this is a better way. Who would you bet on? a barroom full of hired guns? or Shane?

Taxman to the rescue!

Need a fully-loaded Canadian T1 General income tax program? (no Netfile)
Tax year 2018:       Go to Taxman 2018...
Tax year 2017:       Go to Taxman 2017...
Tax year 2016:       Go to Taxman 2016...
Tax year 2015:       Go to Taxman 2015...
Tax year 2014:       Go to Taxman 2014...
Tax year 2013:       Go to Taxman 2013...
Tax year 2012:       Go to Taxman 2012...
Tax year 2011:       Go to Taxman 2011...
Tax year 2010:       Go to Taxman 2010...
Tax year 2009:       Go to Taxman 2009...
Tax year 2008:       Go to Taxman 2008...
Tax year 2007:       Go to Taxman 2007...
Tax year 2006:       Go to Taxman 2006...

Maybe a deluxe bookkeeping program that manhandles the GST?

  Accounts:   the small business solution...

the only free one — everyone else really wants your money

Pension splitting, child care, multiple businesses/rentals/farms, foreign taxes, loss carryback, employment expenses, GST/HST rebate
— it even plays Sudoku!

And if Taxman doesn't have the forms you need? Just fill in CRA's forms by hand and add them to your Taxman return. As long as you are a Canadian resident, nothing should stop you from using Taxman's T1 General. You need the CRA guides to know what you're doing, but Taxman will crunch the numbers and make you look a whole lot smarter than you really are.   

Read heartwarming testimonials...

Or maybe you fancy yourself a Sherlock Holmes?...

  Taxman! Astounding Attributes

  • Moron-simple: Designed to be as intuitive as possible because I know no one is going to read the Help file. All the forms are just like CRA's, only better.
  • More than an adding machine: Taxman is full of clever code to save me from repeatedly making the same silly mistakes. With Taxman riding shotgun you get the experience of all the goof-ups I've ever made. And I've made plenty.
  • Built-in tools: There's a dozen pop-up tools and every line on the tax form works like a mini-calculator (type 1+1 and you get 2). If you want to know what was entered on last year's return, just press F12 (perfect for the really lazy!).
  • Work-saver: I used to do tax returns by hand, now I double-click. You only have to type it in once. Taxman copies data between forms, taxpayers and even between tax years. Check the bottom status bar for shortcuts that only an indolent accountant would come up with.
  • Total control: Both program and data sit securely on your hard drive, nothing happens over the Net. Taxman doesn't interview you, you get to fill out the return any way you like (but if you need a plan?). And you can override anything the program calculates — verboten for netfile programs — which adds another chevron to Taxman's uniqueness.
  • Pension splitting to the penny: No program on the market pension-splits like Taxman. There's no restriction that spouses live in the same province and Taxman doesn't just give one number as an answer. You get to see the entire search displayed in a table, all the inner workings, showing exactly how tax payable changes with every penny transferred.
    Whatever program you're using, get a second opinion. Compare and see if Taxman's method can't get you a bigger refund.

¿ Frequently Asked Questions ?

Taxman used to work, now it doesn't!
Assuming you've rebooted the computer and you know that Taxman can only be run from its shortcut icon on your Desktop, all I can suggest is to re-install any full Taxman program. If the re-install doesn't work then, other than prayer, I don't have any tricks up my sleeve.
I've got a new computer/system, how do I bring in my old Taxman stuff?
You have to re-install one full Taxman program, then re-install the upgrades for whatever other years you want. If you're installing over top of your old files, then everything should now work. If you've installed into a new folder, then you have to replace the two newly-installed data files with your old data files (i.e. for 2015 you would bring in your old 15tables.mdb and taxbiz.mdb).
Isn't there a bug with the CPP at Line 308 and/or the overpayment at Line 448?
You must fill in CPP Earnings on the Worksheet correctly (read the Help guide), then all you have to do is hit the Update button. CPP contributions at Line 308 will be set and any difference from Line 308 and the total CPP contributions on the Worksheet will be entered at Line 448. CPP is all figured out on Schedule 8, but you don't even have to go there because the Worksheet fills it all in for you.
EI overpayment at Line 450 on Page 4 doesn't look right?
As with the question above, you haven't filled in Worksheet correctly. If you fill in EI Earnings for one T4 then you must fill it in for all T4s. If there is nothing on a T4 for EI Earnings, then you assume that all earnings are EI Earnings. Read the Help guide for more.
Problems with the latest Windows operating system?
There shouldn't be any. The latest full version of Taxman should install on any version of Windows and then any upgrade for any year will work.
To work correctly Taxman needs to run as an administrator. You can manually check on this by right-clicking the Taxman shortcut on your Desktop and then choosing Properties and then finding the Run as Administrator checkbox. Make sure it's checked off. Problems with Windows usually emanate from the User Account Control, which can be turned off.

If you're using pre-Taxman 2007 programs on Windows Vista or later, then the help file won't open unless you go to and search for winhlp32.exe and download the free upgrade.
When transferring data, if you get Error 3163 ("field is too small") see 2011 Bugs for possible cures.
Mac/Linux version?
Taxman needs Windows and Windows will run on a Mac — there's a utility called Boot Camp. As for Linux, I know nothing.
Printer problems!
On the menu look for Print\Page Setup where you can change printers and margins. Other than that, the program just puts out a call to print the page and then it's up to the operating system and the print spooler and the printer to get the job done. I've had problems too, but they've never been the program's fault.
Any Taxman programs for the years before 2005?
Sorry, no.
But why not Netfile?
As a tax professional I can't use Netfile which is limited to 20 returns. I have to use efile which you can't use. Plus, with electronic filing not all returns are permitted and you have to enter in more data than is demanded by a paper return. It all seems to me a ton of work with absolutely no reward.
How can I be sure Taxman won't steal my identity or financial information?
Once you download the program everything runs on your computer and Taxman will not link to the internet or try to email someone or mess with your computer. Your tax data is stored only on your computer. You run the show. There is no hidden way I'm making money off you.


Some crazy fools have actually emailed and wanted to send me money! I immediately suspected something was up and have always refused their offers. But after suffering seven years of famine, it has occurred to me that maybe there are those who are wracked with pangs of guilt. Maybe the immense debt they owe me prevents them from getting a good night's sleep? And if that were so, it would be heartless of me not to allow these poor souls to lessen their load. So if you feel inclined, then be sure to make all cheques payable to G. Thompson, and mail to 1424 Craddock St., Victoria, BC, V9A 5K2 (don't send cash in the mail, you can't trust those postal workers). I promise to spend the money only on Scotch and cigars — nothin' wasted.

And if you write me, rest assured I'm not adding your name to a list of potential suckers. I just record the donation as income for me (so it's maybe an Accounting for investments expense at Line 221 for you?) and nothing else enters my computer. That way your identity survives another day, and I can't get sued. Everyone's safe and all I have to do is cash the cheque — the perfect plan! (Trust me, if I get $10 off of you, I'll consider you picked clean.)
But sadly, this perfection comes at a price. Even though each and every one of you deserves a big thank-you card from me, I am forbidden else I risk your personal security. I must remain mute even though my heart skips a beat every time I get a little present in the mail. Free money is always guaranteed to make my day! And it warms my soul to know that out there in the ether someone loves me, and it hasn't all been a pitiful waste of time.

All donors receive Free Tax Advice for as long as I'm in business. Just email me your question (no attachments, they won't be opened, and huge emails will be deleted before they get to my computer). And don't for a second think that my magnanimity holds no bounds, it's unlikely I'll be inundated by a deluge of emails — the sad fact is I'm lucky to get nine donations a year. I'm going to have to keep working for another hundred years before I get a thousand donations. And by that time most of my donors will already be dead.

Warning!    The ads that may appear on my website have in no way been sanctified by me. With income tax you can deal directly with the government and you don't have to work with a bunch of crooks. If you have a disability that "markedly" restricts your daily activities, then get RC4064 and have a doctor fill in the enclosed T2201. You then mail the T2201 to CRA and wait for the reply. If you are accepted and the disability began in the past you must then write to CRA and tell them to add the disability credit to those years. That's all there is to it — but be forewarned, you have to be near dead to get this credit.
There are also scams where you give to one charity and it then gives to another charity and in the end you get a refund larger than your donation. In one case, for every $1 donated you got back a refund of $1.15! If everyone did it the government would go broke — it has to be shut down. Unfortunately it takes the government three years to get around to it and by then your money is sitting in a bank in Cyprus. And there is only one reason why a Canadian outfit would be in cahoots with a bank in Cyprus. That money ain't coming home — back where you're stuck getting audited by CRA. You'll have to pay it all back plus interest and your life will be made a living hell. I'm all for lying on your tax return, but trying to make a profit from charity is asking for it.

Any comments, problems, or features you'd like to see: Email the Taxman
In the email's subject enter "Taxman" and don't try to con me into opening any attachments — Mama didn't raise no stupid children! If I don't answer you and I should, just email again, I'm a bit trigger-happy when it comes to deleting emails.

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