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

SOLVEDby TurboTax9005Updated January 04, 2022

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 FilePDF File
Can be amendedYesNo
Can be transferredYesVery limited
Can be editedYesNo
Can be used for troubleshootingYesVery limited
Saved on your computer (TurboTax software)AutomaticallyOptionally
Win | Mac
Saved on your computer (TurboTax Online)OptionallyOptionally
Saved on our secure servers
(TurboTax software)
Saved on our secure servers
(TurboTax Online)
24/7 access
(TurboTax software)
YesYes, if you saved the PDF
24/7 access
(TurboTax Online)
Yes, if you purchased a paid 2020 TurboTax Online product or added PLUS to Free Edition
Can be opened withTurboTax CD or downloadable softwareAdobe Reader or other PDF viewer

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