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Prior year tax returns and Turbotax non-support

Seems that Intuit leaves its long-time users in the lurch when it comes to accessing old returns.  You cannot open an old return with the current version of TT, period.  You must use the version of TT that was used to create the return to access it.  Never mind that hardware or software changes may have made this impossible--as long as Intuit has your money, they don't care if you can access the returns created just a few years ago by their software.  Even if you have kept the software for the year in question (as I have), it may not run due to changes in Windows, computer hardware, or other factors. Even if it works, you must garbage up your computer with multiple versions of the same program in order to cover yourself for the possibility of audits or other need to access old returns.

You would think that they would either provide the ability to open and read an old return (even if you couldn't edit it) within TT or offer a utility that would do so.  But no, just pay up and forget about accessing old returns in case of an audit or other need. Very poor support for their customers.
12 Replies
New Member

Prior year tax returns and Turbotax non-support

I AGREE!!  I have used TT for many, many years and have even saved every single disc (when one used to have to purchase the software and install it manually instead of a download), but I cannot access their "system" for my prior returns--even though I see them in the system!!  Arggg.  Very frustrating.  I think I'm going to start using another program to do my family's taxes.

Prior year tax returns and Turbotax non-support

I don't understand your problem.  If you used the Desktop Software you don't need to "access their system" to get your returns.  You should be saving your return each year as a pdf file in addition to the .tax data file so you can view it anytime you want without needing the program installed.   What do you mean you see them in the system?  You can only open your return with the same year program.  Or if you have the pdf file saved you don't need the program.

Prior year tax returns and Turbotax non-support

TurboTax does have a program that can convert your .tax file (2004 - 2010) into a PDF file so you can open the return in Adobe Reader to view or print (no charge).  See the following link :Convert your 2004-2010 TurboTax data file to PDF (you upload your .tax file to them & within a minute or two you receive your PDF file)

Each tax year has different forms, tax laws, calculations etc so it would be hard to open a prior year return in the current software, it would not show correctly or have the right calculations. For the future when you use the desktop version you can also save your return as a PDF file in case you do need to open/view/print your return without the software being installed (you can also save an online return as a PDF).

To save Desktop file as a PDF file:
- Open your tax return
- File menu - choose Save to PDF

Also, you can get a free transcript of your return from the IRS (up to 10 years), you can order the transcript online, see the following

Or, you can manually fill out the form & mail it

For more information on ordering a transcript

Prior year tax returns and Turbotax non-support

For just the reasons you mention you should always print a complete copy of your tax returns (all forms, schedules and worksheets) to be tucked away with supporting documentation - receipts for charitable donations with worksheets showing how amount was determined, details of security sales, particularly how you've determined basis, all "informational" returns like 1099's, Schedule K-1's, etc.  You just can't depend on being able to open a file several years down the road.

Tom Young
Level 15
Level 15

Prior year tax returns and Turbotax non-support

TurboTax provides a free service called Tax-to-PDF that converts your old tax return to a PDF. It currently handles returns from 2004 through 2010. You send your tax return data file to the Tax-to-PDF service, and it sends back a PDF of your return in less than a minute. See the following links.

Convert your 2004-2010 TurboTax data file to PDF

TurboTax Tax-to-PDF

Prior year tax returns and Turbotax non-support


Prior year tax returns and Turbotax non-support

I have already saved all my TT files to PDF. The question I have is what if you have to file an amended tax return from a previous year but don't want  to do it manually. I would rather have TT do it. I've been audited b4 and I want to have this capability, "Just in Case."  I have every disk from 2002 and I need to get rid of some.
Thanks, BT

Prior year tax returns and Turbotax non-support

boilerbill0:  If you needed to amend your return & you did not want to fill out the form manually you would need the desktop version for that year & your .tax file with all your original information in order to prepare the amended return.  If you did not have your .tax file you would have to enter all your original information first then do the amended return.

In order to calculate a correct amended return you would need the desktop software for that year (each year tax laws, forms, credits etc change).  If you install a desktop software older than TurboTax supports for updates (fours prior years plus the current year) then your amended return may not prepare correctly.

Prior year tax returns and Turbotax non-support

Agreed - I am being audited - first time.  The audit protection service that I paid for when purchasing TT is asking for an electronic copy of my 2009 and 2010 returns.  Why can't they retrieve the data through their partner, TT?  I already authorized and paid for the service.  You would think that the services work together.

The files are no where to be found on-line.  No help from TT.  I can't believe that they have no electronic record of data that they processed.

To make matters worse, there are no records of saved files on my hard drive either.  Perhaps user error, perhaps software glich - regardless, I'm lost and TT support is non-existent.
New Member

Prior year tax returns and Turbotax non-support

Disappalled-Are you saying that they will not accept a pdf file of your return?  You can, of course, always access your prior returns and save the pdf to your desktop.  You also have the  option every year, to save your .tax file to your desktop if you use the online product.  If you use desktop, the files are saved on your own computer.  Support is always available to help you search for prior year saved files on your computer or to help you find your prior year returns.  TurboTax works like every other tax software in existence.  You cannot open prior year files in the current year because the tax laws, forms, etc., for that prior year would change according to the current year tax laws.  Prior year tax laws are only available in that year's program and you can always request a free copy to open your saved data file.  It is indeed true that computer systems change and can become incompatible with old software applications, and that's why it's always best to have a full print out of that prior year return and your worksheets.

Prior year tax returns and Turbotax non-support

Does Intuit/TurboTax still offer the tax2PDF service for 2004-2010 returns?  The link that was posted no longer works.



Prior year tax returns and Turbotax non-support

No they don't.   You could try the TaxPrinter service to convert a .tax file to pdf at

They might be expensive and it is probably not safe to email tax returns back and forth. They are not related to Turbo Tax. I don't know if they can do State.

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