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Late, late, late, etc. tax filing - 2020 using TurboTax Premier
Posted by: GeneH
Date: January 13, 2022 11:49AM
I'm up the creek using a "spaghetti paddle"! Help!

I'm doing a late, late, late, late, etc. income tax filing for year 2020 using TurboTax Premier. Things were going fairly well until I got to the "Investments" portion of the return. Trouble is my brokerage firm (E*Trade) no longer has the "formatted" version of all my trades that would be downloaded on the return. They just have an unformatted PDF version of that data available which I'll have to use and MANUALLY ENTER the items on the form!! A prohibitive task as I had a slew of options & stock trades for that year and it looks like an entry and printing nightmare!

Does anyone know of a piece of software that will format that PDF into something more manageable that IRS will accept? If you've used or seen a brokerage firm's handling of that portion of TurboTax data, you'll know what I mean.

I've thought of just giving IRS "unitemized" totals (total gains and losses) and let them "scream and holler and threaten", but there must be a more civil solution. Besides, they usually win these fights.

Anyone with "solutions" to this problem?
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Re: Late, late, late, etc. tax filing - 2020 using TurboTax Premier
Posted by: davester
Date: January 13, 2022 01:19PM
What do you mean by "unformatted"? Are you saying that it's an image file? Adobe Acrobat can use OCR to scan and render the pages as text which should be copy/pasteable. If that doesn't do a good enough job there are a bunch of other OCR apps that might help.

Or, do you mean something else?



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Late, late, late, etc. tax filing - 2020 using TurboTax Premier
Posted by: Paul F.
Date: January 13, 2022 01:44PM
Quote
davester
What do you mean by "unformatted"? Are you saying that it's an image file? Adobe Acrobat can use OCR to scan and render the pages as text which should be copy/pasteable. If that doesn't do a good enough job there are a bunch of other OCR apps that might help.

Or, do you mean something else?

I'm just guessing based on my use of a different product... but, one can download the trade-history for a year in several different formats to be directly importable into the tax software... like a .csv file, only all the fields line up and end up in their proper places without having to fiddle with it for hours.
Getting a page of text out of the PDF would not help...

GeneH;
Wish I had a solution for you! Just consider yourself lucky that eTrade even HAS a file compatible with your tax software! They don't support the one I use... (seriously considering jumping ship over that, too!).



Paul F.
-----
A sword never kills anybody; it is a tool in the killer's hand. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca c. 5 BC - 65 AD
----
Good is the enemy of Excellent. Talent is not necessary for Excellence.
Persistence is necessary for Excellence. And Persistence is a Decision.

--

--

--
Eureka, CA
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Re: Late, late, late, etc. tax filing - 2020 using TurboTax Premier
Posted by: davester
Date: January 13, 2022 01:52PM
Quote
Paul F.
Quote
davester
What do you mean by "unformatted"? Are you saying that it's an image file? Adobe Acrobat can use OCR to scan and render the pages as text which should be copy/pasteable. If that doesn't do a good enough job there are a bunch of other OCR apps that might help.

Or, do you mean something else?

I'm just guessing based on my use of a different product... but, one can download the trade-history for a year in several different formats to be directly importable into the tax software... like a .csv file, only all the fields line up and end up in their proper places without having to fiddle with it for hours.
Getting a page of text out of the PDF would not help...

I'm guessing that you're right Paul, but I also think that ship has probably sailed. Gene could try contacting the broker, but it seems unlikely that they would keep the old importable data files around once the tax year was long past and they had archived the data to pdf. That would just constitute an ongoing data management problem for them.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: Late, late, late, etc. tax filing - 2020 using TurboTax Premier
Posted by: GeneH
Date: January 13, 2022 02:46PM
Thanks Davester and Paul F for responding to my problem.

Davester, actually, E*Trade has the same type of data files for their clients going back to 2015 according to the E*T rep I talked to. The seven-year-rule"? And they're PDFs like the 2020 data I want to use.

And yes, "that ship has sailed" as you put it because in a couple of days, even year 2019 data will be PDFed to make room for 2021 data. They will only keep the current year (2022) and the previous one (2021) in a print image file for downloading to a tax return.

The data will list the following: security bought, buy date, buy price, buy total, sell date, sell price, sell total, profit/loss total. Or something along those lines. It's nothing more than a spread sheet. Which is what the IRS wants. And that sounds like the .csv file Paul F was referring to.

I've forgotten momentarily what PDFs are and how to use them, even though I've often saved files as PDFs, believe it or not. I guess they are print image (formatted?) files that only need Acrobat to scan and render them into a text format which would then be "copy/pasteable" to the tax return as you say and acceptable to the IRS. And that's essentially all I want at this time.

Now, is Acrobat "freeware" or is there some other "cheapo" software to do the same? I've forgotten as I've never had an occasion to print a PDF I've saved.
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Re: Late, late, late, etc. tax filing - 2020 using TurboTax Premier
Posted by: bhaveshp
Date: January 13, 2022 03:03PM
You can try using the online Adobe PDF to Excel tool for free and see if you can then massage the data into the format you need.

You do have to upload the PDF and create an account.

I tested uploading my Vanguard 2020 1099-B and it created a spreadsheet perfectly.

[www.adobe.com]
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Re: Late, late, late, etc. tax filing - 2020 using TurboTax Premier
Posted by: davester
Date: January 13, 2022 05:49PM
Quote
GeneH
I've forgotten momentarily what PDFs are and how to use them, even though I've often saved files as PDFs, believe it or not. I guess they are print image (formatted?) files that only need Acrobat to scan and render them into a text format which would then be "copy/pasteable" to the tax return as you say and acceptable to the IRS.

Pdf files can contain either text, or images, or both. However, whether there is any text in there depends on how the pdf was created. For example, if someone runs a paper spreadsheet through a scanner, the pdf created would likely be an image only. This is an annoying thing that some of our subcontractors do. We ask them for a file showing a bunch of data and then they take a perfectly good spreadsheet, print it on a piece of paper, and run it through a scanner (sometimes crookedly). It's exasperating!



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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