Error 539 when opening or saving a tax return

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Error 539 when opening or saving a tax return

Error 539 can occur when opening or saving a tax return in the TurboTax for Windows CD/Download software.

There are two different root causes for this error:

  • When opening a tax return, the tax return file doesn't match the TurboTax program version
  • When saving a tax return, the tax file contains both federal and state info, but there is no state program installed

Error 539 when opening your tax return file from a folder is fairly common. We recommend opening your tax file from inside the TurboTax software.

  • If you're trying to open last year's tax file so you could transfer info into this year's TurboTax program, open the current version of TurboTax (for either Windows or Mac) and then transfer the file.
  • If you're trying to open an older tax return file (without transferring), open that year's version of TurboTax software and then open the tax return file. If you uninstalled that year's TurboTax, you'll need to reinstall it.
  • Open a personal (1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) tax file in TurboTax Business, or a business return in a personal version of TurboTax (like Basic or Deluxe) won't work. TurboTax Business cannot read personal tax files, nor the other way around.

This is common if you created your federal and state tax returns in TurboTax Online and transferred the file to the CD/Download software. Error 539 occurs if your state desktop program hasn't been installed yet.

  1. Open your CD/Download version of TurboTax, choose New Tax Return from the File menu. (Don't worry, you're not starting over. You're just creating a dummy file needed for the next step.)
  2. Download your state program(s). Select No if asked to save the dummy file.
  3. Open your original tax file by choosing it from the File menu. As long as you've installed all the state(s) that have information in that tax file, you won't get Error 539 when saving.

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