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TurboTax 2019 and TurboTax 2020 requests license activation at every launch

SOLVEDby TurboTax270Updated December 19, 2023

If you're using TurboTax Desktop and have installed and activated the license number, you may receive multiple activation prompts, which results in TurboTax not launching.

Who's impacted?

You're impacted if you:

  • Are using TurboTax 2019 or TurboTax 2020 Desktop
  • Have successfully activated your license
  • Are prompted to activate every time TurboTax launches
  • Have a valid activation code
  • Never get TurboTax to open after activation


This error is caused by the internet connection being unable to resolve connection to our server for license activation.

One of the following methods should resolve this issue. If they're successful, TurboTax will skip activation and open the starting screen where you can begin or continue your return.

If TurboTax continues to prompt you for an activation code, the fix didn't work.

Disabling software that can block TurboTax from connecting to our activation server can quickly resolve this issue. You may also want to work with the provider of your software to assist in allowing TurboTax to connect to the internet.

This includes disabling proxy and VPN connections to the internet.

On Windows 10:

  1. From the lower left-hand corner of your screen, select the Windows icon.
  2. Open Settings.
  3. Select Network & internet.
  4. From the sidebar, select VPN.
  5. Choose the VPN you want to disable.
  6. Select Disconnect.

On a Mac:

  1. In the upper left-hand corner of your screen, select the Apple icon.
  2. Open System Preferences.
  3. Select Network.
  4. Choose the VPN you want to disable.
  5. Select Disconnect.
  1. Remove the power cord from the router and modem.
  2. Wait at least 10 seconds after all lights on the router have gone out.
  3. Reconnect the power cord to the router.

Disclaimer: These settings are typically the default settings for most users. If you're an advanced user and have made changes to internet protocol settings, follow these steps:

  1. Select Start and Control Panel.
  2. Select View network status and tasks under Network and Internet.
  3. Select Change adapter settings.
  4. Press and hold (or right-click) Local Area Connection and select Properties.
  5. Select Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) followed by Properties.
  6. Select Obtain an IPv6 address automatically, then Obtain DNS servers address automatically, followed by OK.
  7. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and Properties.
  8. Select Obtain an IP address automatically, then Obtain DNS servers address automatically, and OK.

Disclaimer: These steps should be completed by an intermediate to advanced user of Windows. If you aren't comfortable making these changes, consult an IT professional.

  1. Select Start, enter command prompt in the Search Programs and files box, press and hold (or right-click) Command Prompt, and select Run as administrator.
  2. At the command prompt, enter the following commands. Press Enter after each command.
    • ipconfig /flushdns
    • ipconfig /registerdns
    • ipconfig /release
    • ipconfig /renew
  3. Launch TurboTax.

If you're still experiencing issues after following these steps, contact a support technician for help.

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