How do I open my .tax files?
July 17, 2007 10:09 AM   Subscribe

Help me open my .tax files. I filed electronically (PC runing XP), the past few years and need to take a look at one of the returns. I unfortunately can't figure out how to open the .tax file. I think I may need quicken. Any suggestions on how to open it without using Quicken or how to get a Quicken demo for free? Thanks!
posted by hector horace to Computers & Internet (21 answers total)
Isn't that a TurboTax file? Did you use TurboTax?
posted by spakto at 10:35 AM on July 17, 2007

Pardon me, but this whole question sounds really, really suspicious.

"You" used this product for the "last few years", but not only do you not have anything but a .tax file to show for it, you also don't know what sort of program opens it?

Very odd.
posted by unixrat at 10:46 AM on July 17, 2007

You open the .tax file in the same program you used to create it. That's almost certainly TurboTax.
posted by majick at 10:53 AM on July 17, 2007

posted by interrobang at 11:05 AM on July 17, 2007

I've had this same problem ... Every year the new version of Turbotax won't open the old files except to import the data into a new return. For instance, say you wanted a copy of your 2003 taxes, and you used turbo/macintax that year. You are SOL - the 2007 version of the app won't open the old file, so unless you saved your old application CDs you are probably screwed.

Every year I print-to-PDF my returns and all other supporting documents so I have paper and data backups. I recommend doing this ALWAYS.
posted by luriete at 11:09 AM on July 17, 2007

I believe Quicken sells old versions of turbo tax for the cost of the media only, as it's useless once it's old.
posted by thilmony at 11:09 AM on July 17, 2007

.tax files are TurboTax. Quicken won't do a thing for them.

You need the version of the year you filed to open it. If not, you need to visit a site like this, which will charge to open and convert for you.

And seriously, print a copy of your return from now on. There's no reason not to have a copy ready for circumstances exactly like this.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:18 AM on July 17, 2007

Intuit does sell a few previous years' worth of install disks. Not really cheap, it's about the same cost as they were when new.
posted by jamaro at 11:18 AM on July 17, 2007

I have those files, and I file my taxes electronically in Canada too.

What you've got there is almost certainly a NETFILE data file, suitable for uploading to the CCRA's electronic filing website. There's really nothing else you can do with those.

If you filed using QuickTax or QuickTaxWeb (since you remember Quicken) then you should also have a .q04 or .q05 or .q06 etc. file (the number is the year) which would open in QuickTax.

TurboTax is American tax software, so it's probably not relevant here.
posted by mendel at 11:41 AM on July 17, 2007

Also: The NETFILE datafiles I have all begin with ISA*03*076 and end with my SIN when I open them in Notepad, so there's one way to verify whether or not that's what you've got.
posted by mendel at 11:51 AM on July 17, 2007

Response by poster:

unixrat, I used an online service, you just fill your info in. I don't have a program on my computer. Thanks for your concern though.
posted by hector horace at 12:20 PM on July 17, 2007

Response by poster: thanks mendal, yes it is a NETFILE data file. I've contacted the online service provider I used and hopefully they will have a solution. I was hoping someone else might know an easier way.

If worse comes to worse could I request a copy from Revenue Canada? ( I doubt I will have to but just in case).
posted by hector horace at 12:23 PM on July 17, 2007

Best answer: You should be able to view old tax returns via the CRA's website service area.
posted by mendel at 12:40 PM on July 17, 2007

You can also use TaxActonline to do your taxes in the future, for free.

And absolutely print up hard copies.
posted by misha at 12:51 PM on July 17, 2007

misha, TaxActOnline is American.
posted by mendel at 1:11 PM on July 17, 2007

Response by poster: And absolutely print up hard copies

I totally will! As usual, I had to learn things the hard way. I can distinctly remember thinking "screw it, it'll take tons of printer ink"
posted by hector horace at 2:03 PM on July 17, 2007

And absolutely print up hard copies

And PDFs too!
posted by misterbrandt at 2:05 PM on July 17, 2007

Response by poster: Hey Mendel, your suggestion was brilliant! The only problem is that in order to receive an EPass for access to my records, I need to enter my income as reported to Revenue Canada. Which is sort of the reason I need access to the files. Oh the humanity!!
posted by hector horace at 2:24 PM on July 17, 2007

For the future: Make PDFs. Zip/Rar them using strong encryption and password. Send them to you@gmail.
posted by meehawl at 2:37 PM on July 17, 2007

Best answer: hector horace: This may seem obvious, but: Do you have your notice of assessment (from your tax return, the letter the government sends you after you file) from this year or any previous year? Information from your file, including your income, is on there.
posted by nyxie at 5:33 PM on July 17, 2007

Response by poster: ok, so nyxie your answer was totally gold...I have access to my files, technically...I now have to wait 5 days until I receive a security password in the mail from the gov't.

rest assured the Canadian gov't is as vigilant as unixrat
posted by hector horace at 6:37 PM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

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