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Returning Member

Switching from TT online to desktop after finished online

I have used TT online for years, but am thinking of purchasing a desktop version for PC to save money.  I have several questions I couldn't find answered (easily) in the community:


1. I have nearly completed my 2020 taxes in TT online.  I see that I can perhaps save this as a file to import into the desktop version, but I can't find any discussion as to how cleanly this works.  Will I still have to do a lot of re-entering of data the first time I use TT desktop? Will it carry over W2 and downloaded 1099 info for example?  I've spent many hours entering info online and don't want to have to redo it all!  Also, does the desktop remember all of your basic info, SSN etc from year to year?


2. It isn't clear to me if you have to buy a new desktop program/license every year? Or do you buy it just once, say through Costco, then it updates each year for free?


3. I do download 1099-div and 1099-int forms, which online seem to require Premier, but some posts mention the desktop deluxe version might be able to do this too (div, int, stock sales)?


4.  It seems that e-filing the state return costs an additional $20 - is this done through the TT desktop software (it takes your money and handles the transmission), or do I have to to upload some sort of file to the state (CA)?


Thanks for any answers!

4 Replies
Expert Alumni

Switching from TT online to desktop after finished online

First of all, if you are only going to file one tax return (your own), you probably won't save any money by switching to TurboTax Desktop.  The way you save money is if you file multiple tax returns, say for yourself and several other family members.  I will address your questions:


1.  You can create tax data file in Online, and open it in Desktop.  You won't lose any information, and won't have to re-enter any data.  For instructions on how to make the switch see the following TurboTax Help Article:  How do I switch from TurboTax CD/Download to TurboTax Online?


2.  You have to purchase TurboTax Desktop each year.  The software isn't "updated", it's a new program each year.


3.  You can import 1099-DIVs and 1099-INT using any version of Desktop


4.  Desktop comes with one free state, you can download others for a fee.  Desktop also includes five free federal e-files, state e-filing is $20 (currently).  The e-file process is pretty much the same as with Online.


Desktop has some features that I (being a CPA) think make it worth the cost, even if you only file a single return.  Desktop has a "Forms" view where you can enter data directly on forms, schedules, and worksheets.  You can see your return without having to print it.  But you can't access your return from any device with an internet connection.  It resides only on your hard drive.

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Returning Member

Switching from TT online to desktop after finished online

I bought the downloaded version last year to do myself, my wife, and my mother. This year I purchased the online version and forgot you have to get the downloaded version to do more than one.  Is there a way to switch to the downloaded version

Level 15

Switching from TT online to desktop after finished online

Yes.  You can move your Online file to the Desktop program and continue without paying for Online or needing to reenter your info.


To continue in the desktop version see this…….


After you get the program installed the first thing to do before you open your tax return .tax file 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).


You can buy the CD/Download here,



Expert Alumni

Switching from TT online to desktop after finished online

Yes, there is a way to switch to the Desktop version. Follow the instructions in this link to change from the Online Version.

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