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If you can't locate the previous year return files within the program, you can look on your computer with Windows Explorer or Windows search. The default location for return files created using the TaxAct consumer programs is a subdirectory of the [My] Documents folder of your Windows user account.

The return files will be saved in the folder named for the year of the return file (e.g., "TaxAct 2016," "TaxAct 2017," etc.). If you have saved your return file to another location manually or have changed the default location of your return files, you may search for files with an extension of ".taX" where "X" represents the last digit of the year (".ta6" for 2016, ".ta7" for 2017, etc.).

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows logo key + E (press both keys at once).
  2. Depending on your version of Windows:  Make sure you have "Local Hard drives," "My Computer," "Computer," "This PC," or the C:\ drive selected as the location. The search bar may have dimmed text telling you the scope of the search, for example "Search Computer." You want to search your whole C drive, or the computer.
  3. In the search bar, type:
         *.taX ("X" represents the last number of the tax year, i.e., *.ta8 to find 2018 returns.)
    If the search doesn't start automatically, you may have to press the Enter key or click "Find Now" or "Search Now."
  4. Once your return file is located, double-click on the return file to open it within the TaxAct software.

If you are unable to locate your return file, backup files may be saved containing your return. These files have an extension of ".baX" (same naming convention applies for the tax year). You may search for these files using the Windows search function and then restore them using the TaxAct program:

  1. Click File > Restore Backup.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to locate the backup and then name the new file.
  3. Click File > Open Return to open the newly restored file.
  4. Returns created with the TaxAct Desktop program do not save or copy to TaxAct servers, so TaxAct does not have copies of your return files. If you are unable to locate your return file and are unable to restore from a backup, there is no copy of your return to be printed. 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.


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