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The default location for return files for TaxAct Professional Editions is:

     C:\TaxAct\TaxAct [2018*] Professional [Preparer's**] Edition\Client Data\[Practice ID]

     *The year will correspond to that year's version of TaxAct.
     **Prior to 2016, the program was called Preparer's Edition.

If you don't find the file in the default location, try any of the steps below to recover your file.

Search your local computer or network

If you saved your return file to another location manually or have changed the default location of your return files, search that location. You can also do a general search for return files by using the file extension of ".taX" where "X" represents the last digit of the year (".ta7" for 2017, ".ta8" for 2018, etc.). For other return types:

     tcX = 1120
     tpX = 1065
     tsX = 1120S
     teX = 1041
     txX = 990

Search any other potential storage locations, such as another drive partition (for example, a D: drive), removable drive or media (for example, a USB drive), external hard drive or backup server, or a network or shared location if using the TaxAct Enterprise Edition (local option). If you switched computers, search the previous computer, if it is still accessible.

Restore from a backup

These files have an extension of ".baX" (same naming convention applies for the tax year). Use the Windows search function to find the backup file(s) and then restore the file(s).

The Auto-Backup folder by default is a subfolder of the Client Data folder. You can use the Restore function and choose the Auto-Backup folder to restore backup versions of a return.

You can also open auto-backup files directly from the Open Client Return command; however, you should use the Save Client Return As command to rename the file and remove the ".baX" backup extension.

Each return will have three versions, an auto-backup, a daily version and a weekly version. These files are synchronized at those intervals. Use Windows Explorer (Windows logo + E) to navigate to the auto-backup folder and check the "Date modified" of these files. If all files have the same date, it makes no difference which you open. If they have different dates, determine which date may be the best version to recover.

If you're using the TaxAct Enterprise Edition (local option), you can restore from an online backup if you have previously created an performed an online backup.

When all else fails

The TaxAct Professional Edition and Enterprise Edition local option are on your local computer and network and the returns are not automatically copied to TaxAct servers. If you are unable to locate your return file and are unable to restore from a backup, there is no return to restore.

Successfully filed returns can be obtained from the IRS by calling 800-829-1040.

Returns that have not yet been filed will need to be recreated.

Prevent future data loss

Perform regular backups of your client return files (as well as your preparer master information). Ideally, store backup files in more than one location, and keep PDF/hard copies of client returns for more long-term backup.

If you type over data in an existing return and save the return, the original data is gone and cannot be recovered. If you overwrite an existing return instead of creating a new one (for example, you enter a new primary taxpayer's first and last name), and then save the return, the new name will appear in the Client Manager and the original name will disappear. When you first save a return to a local computer (or network), the taxpayer name is used to create the file name. That file name will not change if you later type over the primary taxpayer name inside the file. For example, you could have a file named "John Doe's 20XX Individual Tax Return.taX" but the taxpayer name IN the file could be Bill Smith. Client Manager will only list Bill Smith as a client.


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