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I try to import 2020 HR Block tax pdf file into 2021 Turbotax(*). I get the error message

"This import was unsuccessful" "No problem - we'll help you enter the information and continue with your return."

Does anyone know what is the underlying problem? Or how to find a logfile with some more useful error messages? The pdf was generated on win10 from hrblock using the "Microsoft Print to PDF" printer choice. All printer settings are normal (black and white, letter-size paper, etc).

I have of course searched for answers, but nothing specific to be found.

(*) Please don't ask why 2020/2021, but I need to redo 2021 in turbotax. And there are some details that I do not trust I can import correctly by hand.

UPDATE: It does not make any difference (same error occurs) if I use the File.Save-As-PDF rather than the File.Print menu (or the internal Print button inside the main window). It should be noted that the File.Save-As-PDF method generates TWO files called Your-Name-2020-Tax-Return_T20_For_Records.pdf and Your-Name-2020-Tax-Return_T20_For_Filing.pdf, and that I tried importing from both of these, getting the same error as before.

UPDATE2: From hr2019 to tt2020 I had no problem using either type pdf file to import. I was however underwhelmed by the amount of info that got imported. Only name+address and AGI. No prefilled lists of banks for 1099-INT, or anything like that got transferred. I did this as an experiment to see whether pdf import USED TO work before. I guess it sort of did.

UPDATE3: None of the pdf files I am using are password protected.

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  • 1
    HR Block for 2020 has a "Save as PDF" function, which is different from printing into a PDF file.
    – littleadv
    Mar 13, 2023 at 22:28
  • Good suggestion, but it did not make any difference to use a pdf made from save-as-pdf menu rather than from the print menu. Same error message. I'll update the question with this info.
    – Der Kire
    Mar 14, 2023 at 0:03
  • Is the pdf file password protected? That can cause complexities when importing data from a pdf. Mar 14, 2023 at 12:28
  • I do not know anything about the operation of Turbo Tax. However, when I used to use Tradelog, it often wouldn't DL info from my broker. Eventually, I realized that the size of the data file was overwhelming Tradelog and if I tried a month or two at a time, it worked. Note that this was for importing trades rather than EOY tax documents. Mar 14, 2023 at 16:43
  • The pdf files I use are NOT passwrd protected. Adding this to my original question, UPDATE3.
    – Der Kire
    Mar 14, 2023 at 19:53

1 Answer 1

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This is not really a technical forum, but I suspect that the "PDFs" that are supported for input into TurboTax require the original PDF files that can pull the actual structured text from the PDF data, not a return that has been printed to PDF using your computer's "Print to PDF" driver.

If you can download a PDF of your return from H&R Block instead of "printing" it, that would have a better chance of getting imported.

PDF scraping is not a standardized process - TurboTax would have to know the exact structure of the underlying data to import it. It's possible that the structure of the PDF has changed since 2020 and is no longer known by TurboTax.

Or it may try to to an OCR scan that is by no means fool-proof.

You'd have to contact TurboTax support to see if they have specific recommendations for this publisher.

In any case, I would probably just enter the information manually.

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  • Extremely likely. Probably needs searchable PDF at least (a PDF that also contains a textual version of the content, mapped to the corresponding points on screen).
    – keshlam
    Mar 13, 2023 at 23:07
  • I'm using the Desktop/windows version, so there is no pdf to download from H&R Block website(?). Also note my UPDATE above about using the File.Save-As-PDF menu rather than File.Print menu to generate the pdf. It makes no difference, same error message. Any other ideas?
    – Der Kire
    Mar 14, 2023 at 0:15
  • If it was not clear, neither suggestion of this answer works, at least not for me. Same error message, or not applicable.
    – Der Kire
    Mar 14, 2023 at 4:58

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