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|