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Troubleshoot transferring from a prior year return

SOLVEDby TurboTaxTurboTax Windows593Updated January 04, 2022

First, ensure the following situations don't apply to you:

  • By design, TurboTax only transfers information from the previous tax year, it won't let you skip years when transferring.
    • In other words, you can't transfer your 2018 or 2019 data into your 2021 return.
  • TurboTax will only transfer information from a return that uses the same main form.
    • For example, you can't transfer data from a corporate (Form 1120) return into a partnership (Form 1065) or individual (Form 1040) return.

Errors such as Transfer Was Unsuccessful, Internal Error, or Unable to Read Data indicate possible file corruption. Carry out the following suggestions, in the order listed, until the issue is resolved.

  • Close TurboTax, restart the program, and try transferring again.
  • Make a copy of last year's return and then transfer from the copy:
    1. Close TurboTax 2021 and open TurboTax 2020.
    2. Open the 2020 tax file you are trying to transfer from.
      • The message Unable to Read Data means your file is damaged. Search for another copy of your file to transfer from. If you can't find one, you'll need to enter everything manually from a printed copy of last year's tax return.
    3. From the TurboTax File menu, choose Save As.
    4. Save that return using a new file name, for example by adding the word Copy to the file name.
    5. Close TurboTax 2020 and reopen TurboTax 2021.
    6. Try transferring from the copy you saved in Step 4.
  • Try reinstalling your prior year TurboTax software. If problems persist, reinstall the current version of TurboTax. Then, try transferring again.
  • If your information won't transfer, or the transferred data is so messed up that you don't even know how to begin fixing it, you can always start over. To start a new return in the Desktop Software version, you can either:
    • Reopen TurboTax and select Start a New Return on the first screen, or
    • Choose New Tax Return from the File menu. You may also want to delete the original file if you saved it.

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