TurboTax FAQ
TurboTax FAQ
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What's the difference between the tax data file and the PDF file?

TurboTax can save your tax return as a tax data file (also called a tax file, data file, or a .tax file) and as a Portable Document Format or PDF file.

In a nutshell, your tax data file can be read and edited in TurboTax, whereas your PDF file is a non-editable "snapshot" of your tax return that can be opened, viewed, and printed in a PDF viewer program.

Tax Data File PDF File
Can be amended Yes No
Can be transferred Yes Very limited
Can be edited Yes No
Can be used for troubleshooting Yes Very limited
Is saved to your computer (TurboTax software) By default Optional
Is saved to your computer (TurboTax Online) Optional Optional
Is saved to our secure server (TurboTax software) No
Is saved to our secure server (TurboTax Online) Yes
Ongoing, year-round access (TurboTax software) Yes If you saved a PDF copy
Ongoing, year-round access (TurboTax Online) Requires a paid 2018 TurboTax Online product, or adding PLUS to Free Edition
Can be opened with TurboTax software Adobe Reader or other PDF viewer