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Returning Member

deleted .tax file -- how to recover historical data

Hello all:


Backstory: In updating my Windows software, all of my user data was erased and is (mostly) unrecoverable. To make matters worse, all of my meticulous backups on Google Drive are password protected by a long, complex password I neither remember nor have access to (the PW was stored on the PC with the erased data). The backups are encrypted with this key in 256 bits, so there's no way I could guess / hack the backups. The Microsoft data recovery tool did not work.


I was able to recover a .tax file for year 2015, but nothing later. 


I need the worksheet, depreciation, capital loss and other carry-forward data from the 2018 tax year to file the 2019 return. 


Is there a way to recover the data stored in the .tax file either from the IRS or some other source?  I understand the IRS charges $50 for a previous year's tax return, but does that return in data or printed form?  Does it contain the data I need to prepare and file my 2019 returns?


What does the IRS do with the data file transmitted to it from Trubotax? Is that file/data useful and recoverable from anywhere?


I have the free tax transcript from 2018, but it is in PDF form and doesn't contain what I need. 


Product used was Windows desktop Turbotax Premier for year 2018.  I have the software CD, but not the .tax file and did not make a printed copy of the return.


Please and thank you.

1 Reply
Level 15

deleted .tax file -- how to recover historical data

by updating, I assume either a reinstall or upgrade to a new version. if you upgraded to win 10 from win 7  it might be possible to undo the update.  no guarantee.  depending on the type of hard drive - mechanical or SSD, the data MAY be recoverable using software available on the web.  for most free or cheap software the key is that no part of the file can be overwritten by another file.   more sophisticated software (meaning much more expensive) can recoverable even SOME over-written files.  there is no guarantee. 

easiest might be to go to IRS website and get transcripts of those prior returns  


by the way as a suggestion store a backup of passwords on a thumb drive. this too can be encrypted and password protected. since there are so many hacks of online data I never use google drive or any other website to store passwords.  I use a book title which I don't have among my many books.