An image of a Black man using a laptop, using TurboTax Self-Employed software to do his taxes.

TurboTax Self-Employed

A Great Way to Do Your Taxes RIGHT This Year!

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Last updated on January 31st, 2024 at 12:37 am

Many of us dream of owning our own businesses, being able to call the shots and feel like we’re working by our own priorities instead of anybody else’s. The idea’s appealing—there’s little in life like getting rewards that measure up to the effort you put in—but you’re sorely mistaken if you expect it to be a cakewalk. You soon discover that owning a business involves a lot of responsibility—keeping track of expenses. Paying wages. And it all comes to a head around this time each year when we have to account for it all and pay our self-employed taxes. But TurboTax Live Full-Service Self-Employed will help to guide you along the way and give your business the little lift it deserves this tax season.

Taxes Aren’t SUPPOSED to be Fun, but They Don’t Have to be HARD. Enter TurboTax Self-Employed.

Owning a business can seem overwhelming—you suddenly have to do all this stuff on your own that other people or entire departments would do for you if you were an employee. Paying employment insurance and Canada Pension Plan contributions for your employees. Keeping track of your business expenses and knowing which ones apply to your claims and deductions. It really challenges you to be as organised as possible so that tax time’s a smooth transition when you need to make sense of it all.

That said, my tax approach isn’t always the best it could be, but I’ve learned some things from it that I want to help you avoid when preparing your return.

Casey Palmer’s Tips in How NOT to Prepare Your Taxes.

  • I keep an envelope with my paper receipts (when I remember to file them away, anyway), and get my other expenses from my PayPal, email and credit card statements as needed
  • Then, I start categorising them on paper, reviewing tax instructions to see what applies as an expense and what doesn’t
  • Now, fairly confident in the numbers I’ve put together, I copy them over to a spreadsheet with the relevant calculations to know what to input in my submission
  • Also worth mentioning is that because my business is based out of my home, I need to keep my home office’s dimensions on hand so I can figure out what portion of my house I use, and with it, a portion of the electricity, water and internet

…so as you can see, it isn’t exactly simple. I mean, yes, it gets the job done, but is it really the best way to do it? People hand their returns off to tax experts for a reason, and just because I can do taxes on my own doesn’t mean that I should.

With personal taxes, it’s usually so straight-forward. How much did you make? How much did you save? Did any money go towards a charity? But self-employed taxes are as varied as the number of businesses out there, and if you’re not someone who dives into them every day, you may very well miss something when it’s time to bring it together.

But there’s good news—you don’t have to go it alone! TurboTax has put together a full suite of products and services to match wherever you’re at in your self-employed tax journey, and I’ll tell you all about it.

What IS TurboTax Self-Employed?

First things first—TurboTax Self-Employed comes in three different flavours for the 2020 tax season:

  • TurboTax Self-Employed, for self-employed individuals or sole practitioners who like to do it themselves,
  • TurboTax Live Assist & Review Self-Employed to get access to experts who’ll help you as you fill it out,
  • and TurboTax Live Full Service Self-Employed with experts who’ll do your taxes for you so you have more time to handle everything else your business needs.

Any option could be the right one for your self-employed tax needs, but you need to know both your comfort level in taxes and what you hope to get from your experience.

No matter which way you do it, TurboTax Self-Employed is meticulously designed to help you do your taxes right, but let’s see which one’s right for you:

TurboTax Self-Employed Feature Comparison Chart

What You Need to KnowTurboTax Self-EmployedTurboTax Live Assist &
Review Self-Employed
TurboTax Live Full Service
How it Works
Do it yourself!TurboTax helps you!TurboTax does it for you!
How Much Does it Cost?
Key Benefits & Features
  • File your personal and self-employment taxes online
  • Answer easy questions about your income & expenses
  • Claim self-employment deductions for your unique work situation
  • Maximize self-employment deductions across diverse industries
  • Everything in TurboTax Self-Employed, plus:
  • Unlimited access to real experts to help with your taxes
  • We’ll help you get every deduction you quality for
  • Your tax return will be reviewed line by line to make sure your taxes are done right
  • TurboTax Live Experts can prepare, optimize, and file your taxes for you
  • Frees up more time for your work
  • They defend your tax return to the CRA in case of an audit
  • They’ve got it all covered, from your income tax to your GST/HST return
  • Always one price, guaranteed
How Your Taxes Are Done
A Business Interview guides you through filing your self-employed income and expenses and automatically finds relevant deductions.A Business Interview guides you through filing your self-employed income and expenses and automatically finds relevant deductions.Get a little lift from TurboTax Live Full Service Self-Employed experts who will assist you in getting your maximum refund, guaranteed.
Not available in Quebec

And whether you’re filing from a mobile phone or tablet on iOS or Android, or a Mac or Windows computer, you can seamlessly start, stop, and continue your taxes across devices!

That’s All Nice, But How Was TurboTax Live Full-Service Self-Employed, REALLY?

“Now, Casey,” you’re probably thinking, “That’s an awesome list of features, but how was your experience with the product?”

Well. TurboTax Live Full-Service Self-Employed is a comprehensive product, and handing your documents over to an expert who can fully optimize your return makes tax filing much easier. TurboTax Live Assist & Review Self-Employed is another great option, and it too provides access to a tax expert! However, rather than doing it all for you, they will simply answer questions and review your tax return before you file.

Here’s how it works:

TurboTax Live Full-Service Self-Employed: Because Time is Money and I Don’t Have Any to Waste!

When Intuit invited me to try out TurboTax Self-Employed for the 2020 tax season, they said I could try whichever one I wanted, so you know I tried TurboTax Live Full Service Self-Employed!

In seven years of self-employment, I’ve realised that I can’t do everything myself—self-employment takes a whole lot of time, and good help is so hard to find. So when someone offers to take something as time-consuming as my taxes off of my hands, I’d be an utter fool to say no!

At TurboTax, they have dedicated experts with an average of 10 years of experience who understand your unique situation and make sure you get every dollar you deserve. Their team of experts will:

  • Listen to understand your unique situation
  • Answer your questions
  • Give you unlimited tax advice
  • And help you get your biggest possible tax refund

But while TurboTax Self-Employed and TurboTax Live Assist & Review Self-Employed present you with a Business Interview that guides you through filing your self-employed income and expenses and automatically finds relevant deductions, TurboTax Live Full Service Self-Employed works a little bit differently…

How TurboTax Live Full Service Self-Employed Works

1) You Set It Up!

  • You sign up, complete your profile, and grant TurboTax authorization with the CRA, which allows them to receive your documents directly.

2) They Get It Done.

  • Your tax expert then starts working on your return, and you’re notified when it’s ready for a joint review.

3) They Get It Filed and Give Your Business a Little Lift!

And here’s where the real magic happens.

  • You can connect with your tax expert by phone at a time that suits you and review your return.
  • The tax return is then filed online to the CRA by the tax expert, and you are notified that it’s been submitted.

And unless you’re a tax expert yourself, I can almost guarantee that you’re going to find additional value from the conversation that you have. You have to remember—self-employed taxes are considerably more complicated than personal taxes, and there are things to consider that you normally wouldn’t otherwise. The tax expert helped me to understand the percentage of my house I use for my business so I could attribute costs for water, electricity and internet accordingly. And they can also help you understand what you can deduct and how much, which subtly change with every passing year.

In short, the TurboTax Live Experts will walk you every step along the way to make sure that nothing’s missed when it comes to filing your taxes. But that process is just the beginning—the continued support after tax filing is what sets TurboTax Live Full Service Self-Employed Full Service leagues apart!

What Makes TurboTax Self-Employed Full Service Different?

  • Customers can get year-round tax advice, fine-tuned for their tax situations—TurboTax Live Full Service does not close its doors on June 15th!
  • Audit Defence puts a tax expert in your corner, who will represent you, defend you, and handle all correspondence with the CRA on your behalf. You get this service as a part of your purchase, so you can rest assured that they’ve always got your back, even after they’ve finished your tax return!

So even if you’re skilled with your taxes, time is most definitely money, and you never know when you’ll need some to spare. You can find deductions in the most peculiar places—sometimes you just need an expert who can point them out!

Don’t Let Taxes Stress You Out! Let TurboTax Self-Employed Help You TODAY.

The world’s changed because of the pandemic, and things like taxes don’t always take top-billing when we’ve got so much going on. But they still need to get done, and I’m glad to have access to experts smarter than me to do it. When you’re on your own, taxes are hard to prepare for—I’m all for anyone making it easy!

So whether you started a side hustle in the last year and you’re starting to get a little extra money, or if a slow year has you looking for a cost-effective way to do your taxes and make sure they get done right, TurboTax Self-Employed has a solution for you!

With the world the way it is right now, every penny counts. Let TurboTax make sure you get every deduction that’s coming to you!

Until the next,

The second logo for Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad


I wrote this post in collaboration with TurboTax Canada and received compensation in kind. They also gave me access to tax specialists to help me do my taxes much faster this year, so I am not complaining. (My opinions remain my own as always, though!)


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