TurboTax FAQ
TurboTax FAQ
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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:

  • Error 539 occurs when opening a tax return, if the tax return file doesn't match the TurboTax program version.
  • Error 539 occurs when saving a tax return, if the tax file contains both federal and state information but there is no state program installed.

Solution for Error 539 when opening a tax return

Error 539 when double-clicking your tax return file to open is fairly common, which is why we recommend opening your tax file from inside the running program. To resolve, open your TurboTax program first, then open the tax return file.

Tips:

  • If you were trying to open last year's tax file so you could transfer the info over into this year's TurboTax program, open the current version of TurboTax and then transfer the file.
  • If you were trying to open an older tax return file (without transferring), open the prior-year version of TurboTax and then open the tax return file. If you uninstalled the TurboTax program that corresponds to that file's tax year, you'll need to reinstall it.
  • Were you trying to open a personal (1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ) tax file in TurboTax Business, or a business return in a personal version of TurboTax (Basic, Deluxe, etc.)? That's a no-no. TurboTax Business cannot read personal tax files, nor the other way around.

Remember, you need to open a tax file in the version of TurboTax from the same year to avoid getting Error 539.

Solution for Error 539 when saving a tax return

You may have created your federal and state tax returns in TurboTax Online, but later transferred the file over to the CD/Download version. Error 539 will occur if your state desktop program hasn't been installed yet. Fortunately, that's easy to fix:

  1. In the TurboTax CD/Download version, choose New Tax Return from the File menu. (Don't worry, you're not starting over; you're just creating the dummy file needed for the next step.)
  2. Download your state program(s). Click No if asked to save the dummy file.
  3. Reopen 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, there will be no 539 error when saving.

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