The correct procedure to transfer your files from one computer to another computer is to:

  1. Install a fresh copy of the TaxAct program, from download or the TaxAct provided DVD, on the new computer.
  2. Copy your return files from the old computer using a flash drive, external drive, DVD/CD or network connection.

You cannot simply copy the whole program from one computer to another because there are file associations and registry settings that are created during an install. You are always free to download again any previously purchased software, which eliminates the need to transfer program and installation related files.

Copying Return Files to New Computer

Use Windows' File Explorer to copy your return files to the correct location indicated below. On your keyboard use Windows logo + E to launch a Windows Explorer window. You must copy the files to the same directory on the destination computer once you have installed the software there. We recommend using the default installation locations for this reason among others.

For additional information on copying files, please consult help for Windows File Explorer.

Should you have difficulty opening a file once it is on the new computer, you should use Windows Explorer again to make sure that the Read-only attribute is not checked on your return file. File Attributes can be viewed by highlighting the file, right-clicking on the file to bring up the pop up menu, and choosing Properties.

Location of TaxAct Return Files

TaxAct tax return files have a file extension of .taX where X is the last digit of the tax year. Returns for 2014 have a file extension of .ta4, 2015 returns have a file extension of .ta5, and so on.

The location of these return files depends on the program type you are using (consumer or professional) and the tax year. Please refer to the information below:

TaxAct Desktop Consumer Users (Free Federal, Basic, Plus, Premium)

  • For 2008 and later returns, the return file is saved under the My Documents folder of the profile which created the return, in the TaxACT 20XX or TaxAct 20XX folder. For example, if your Windows sign-in name is JSmith, the 2014 return files would be saved in JSmith's My Documents in a folder called TaxACT 2014.

  • For 2007 and earlier returns, the return file is located in the program's installation directory: C:\Program Files\2nd Story Software\TaxACT 20XX.

TaxAct Professional Preparers:

  • For 2013 and after, return files are found at:

    C:\TaxACT\TaxACT 20XX Preparer's Edition\Client Data

    (For 2015 and after, this is "TaxAct" for any folder created only for 2015 or after.)

  • For 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, return files are found at:

    C:\2nd Story Software\TaxACT 20XX Preparer's Edition\Client Data

  • For 2008 preparers with Windows Vista, return files will be located at:

    C:\2nd Story Software\TaxACT 2008 Preparers - 1040 Edition\Client Data

  • For programs for tax years 2007 and before, the return file is located at:

    C:\Program Files\2nd Story Software\TaxACT 200X Preparers - 1040 Edition\Client Data

For the professional preparer software we suggest copying the entire contents of the Client Data folder, as it contains files for preparer information besides return files. You can do this by copying the entire folder or all the contents in the folder. Make sure you are following the same directory structure on the new computer. If you copy the Client Data folder, paste it to C:\TaxACT\TaxACT 20XX Preparer's Edition. If you copy the contents of the Client Data folder, paste to C:\TaxACT\TaxACT 20XX Preparer's Edition\Client Data. If you are transferring files for multiple years, make sure you are keeping the return files for each year separate and moving to the respective folder.


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