Sign Up

Why sign in to the Community?

  • Submit a question
  • Check your notifications
or and start working on your taxes
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
New Member

How to setup new pc with prior years turbotax

how to set up new pc with prior years turbotax
4 Replies
Level 15

How to setup new pc with prior years turbotax

You would have to install the TurboTax software for the prior tax years. 


The TurboTax tax data files for the prior tax years, which have a file extension of .taxyyyy, where yyyy is the tax year would also have to copied to the Documents folder on the new PC, eg .tax2021 for tax year 2021.

The tax data files can be located in the Documents directory and the TurboTax folder from the old PC or where you saved the files as a backup.

See this TurboTax support FAQ for moving tax data files to a new computer -

Level 15

How to setup new pc with prior years turbotax

@kylin5 - if you properly backed up your computer, the data files from prior years all end in *.taxYYYY where YYYY is the tax year.  the actual tax returns are in *.pdf files


if you purchased the software from Turbo Tax originally, you can download each year from your account on their website:


note that you really can't set up the software for 2018 and prior on a new computer.  1) Turbo Tax does not maintain them on your account and b) if you have the original CD's, there is no way to download the updates from TurboTax.  




Level 15

How to setup new pc with prior years turbotax

Only 2018 and newer years have full upgrades (and state downloads) available in order to read the .taxyyyy datafiles you may have.  So if your old computer is still working, make sure you create a) a filing copy PDF for that year, and b) a second full PDF file with all worksheets of those years (certainly 2017 and earlier...I thought 2018 was still available now..but might disappear by October) Then just transfer those PDF files to the new computer for those early years.....the PDFs will not be editable/workable, but at least you will be able to read all your data at any time. You will likely not be able to get a fully working copy of the 2017 and earlier software that works with your data files, even if you can install that year's software (There can exceptions for some folks, but it depends on the situation for each person...i.e not having a state to file, AND already having a late/fully updated copy of the installation software.)


____________*Answers are correct to the best of my knowledge when posted, but should not be considered to be legal or official tax advice.*
Level 15

How to setup new pc with prior years turbotax

Do you need to move all the programs or just your returns?  Your returns are not in the program but in separate files.


You only need the file ending in .tax2020 to transfer into 2021.


Your tax files end in .tax or .tax2017, .tax2018 or .tax2019 or .tax2020 etc.  They should be in your Documents in a Turbo Tax folder.  You should also have the pdf files of each year.  Or search your computer for all files ending in .tax.  Also if you haven't done it,  I would open each year in the program and save it as a PDF file, go to File-Save to PDF so you don't need the program installed to view or print your return in the future like to get a mortgage or loan, etc.


What I would do is just copy the whole Turbo Tax folder that is under your Documents.  That should be where the .tax files and pdf files are stored.  Copy that folder to a flash drive or best yet is to burn it to a CD or DVD and then you will have a backup of them.   Then on the new computer copy the folder (or files) from the flash drive to your Documents folder.


The programs need to be installed from the CD or download them again.  You don't need to install them unless you need to amend or open a return.  They only support the last 3 years so you might not be able to update older years or download any state programs you need.


After you get the program installed the first thing to do before you open your tax return is to update the program and install any state programs you had. Then open your file. So you first might need to start a fake return to be able to download the state program (go to File-New Tax Return).


Then go to FILE -Open and find your return.


 See this article on how to move your tax return to another computer…….

Dynamic AdsDynamic Ads
Privacy Settings