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Add or Import ECMS Exemption Certificate Entries

This article applies to:Avalara AvaTax

After you enable ECMS, add ECMSHoverTT.png exemption certificate entries to AvaTax. Add ECMS exemption certificate entries one at a time, or import multiple certificate entries at once.

If this is your first time using ECMS to exempt customers from sales tax, collect a list of exempt customers with their customer codes, address details, and certificate information. After you add all of your exempt customers to AvaTax, run an Exemption Certificate Export Report and compare the results with your list of exempt customers to confirm you created an ECMS exemption certificate entry for each of them.

After you add them, manage ECMS exemption certificate entries.

Add an ECMS exemption certificate entry

To create a new exemption certificate entry in AvaTax:

  1. On the Organization tab, click the Exemptions button Picture of the Exemption Certificate button for a company.
  2. On the Exemptions screen, click New.
  3. On the New: Exemption Certificate screen, fill in the following fields, and then click Save:
    Field Action
    Customer Code Enter a unique code referencing your customer. Typically, this is the same as the unique customer identifier used in your accounting software.
    Customer Name Enter the name of your customer.
    Country, Address 1, Address 2, Address 3, City, Region, Postal Code Enter the primary business address of your customer, including the country.
    Certificate Type Select the type of exemption certificate for this entry.
    Invoice / PO number If you chose Single for the Certificate Type, enter the number of the invoice or purchase order associated with this exemption certificate entry.
    Issuing Country Select the country that issued the exemption certificate.
    Effective Date

    Enter the issue date of the exemption certificate.

    This date can affect how AvaTax processes transactions for the customer, because transactions occurring before the date entered may not be exempt.

    Add Picture of the Add button Add an exemption certificate entry detail.
    Business Type

    Select the business type that best matches your customer.

    If you select Other, the Business Type Description field is also required.

    Business Type Description Enter a description of the type of business in which your customer is engaged.
    Exemption Reason

    Select the specific reason your customer is exempt. Not all exemption reasons are applicable for all business types in all regions.

    If you select Other, the Exemption Reason Description field is also required.

    Exemption Reason Description Enter a description of the exemption reason.

Add an ECMS exemption certificate entry detail

Exemption certificate entry details record and display information for each issuing region.

  • You must add at least one exemption certificate entry detail before saving the exemption certificate entry.
  • You must add an exemption certificate entry detail for each issuing region, even when using one exemption number for multiple regions.

To add an ECMS exemption certificate entry detail:

  1. On the New: Exemption Certificate page, in the Certificate Information section, click the Add button Picture of the Add button.
  2. Fill in the following fields:
    Field Value
    Issuing Region The region (state, province, or territory) that issued the exemption certificate.
    Exemption No The unique identifier of an exemption certificate.

    If the issuing region is an SST state, enter any of the following in place of the exemption number:

    • Taxpayer ID: The unique identification number assigned to your customer for tax reporting.
    • FEIN: The federal employee identification number (FEIN) of your customer.
    • Driver's License Number: The driver's license number for the individual claiming exemption.
    • Foreign Diplomat Number: The number assigned to a representative of a foreign (non-US) government agency residing in the U.S.
    Exemption No Type Type of identifier displayed in the Exemption No field.
    End Date Optional The end date forces an exemption certificate entry to expire on a particular date. The end date is optional and defaults to 12/31/9999 if not entered. While the effective date applies to each issuing region, the end date allows you to specify individual end dates for the exemption certificate entry in each issuing region.
  3. Click the Save button.
  4. Repeat these steps for each issuing region.

Import exemption certificates

Use an .xls, .xlsx, or .csv file to upload multiple exemption certificate entries directly into AvaTax. Batch importing allows a combined line total of 100,000 lines in each import file.

Format the exemption certificate import template

In the import file, you must use the column heading labels exactly as shown below. The templates in the Import Exemption Certificates Toolkit use the correct column headings. The individual data fields must conform to the type and size restrictions listed in the table. The Use column tells whether a column is required in the import file.

Column Column heading Type (size) Use Description
A ECMS Cert ID Integer Required

A unique number you assign to identify an individual record. We recommend using sequential numbering for this field.

This number:

  • Is not imported; AvaTax assigns a unique value to each imported record.
  • Is used to identify records that fail to import. If you leave this field blank, AvaTax still generates the Error.csv file for failed imports, but it's harder for you to know which records failed. 
B Issuing Country Text (2) Required The country that issued the exemption certificate.
C Issuing Region Text (2) Required

The two-character abbreviation of the region (state, province, or territory) that issued the exemption certificate.

Use CA for Canada (GST) to create country-level exemptions when Canada is the issuing country.

D Exemption No Text (50) Required The exemption certificate number associated with the issuing region. If you include dashes in the number, AvaTax removes them when they're imported.
E Exemption No Type Text (50) Optional The type of exemption number. If this field is blank, AvaTax treats it as the taxpayer ID.

TIN - Exemption number or taxpayer ID

FEIN - federal employee identification number

DLN - Driver's license number

FDN - Foreign diplomat number

F Eff Date Date (10) Required Effective date of the exemption certificate in yyyy-mm-dd or mm/dd/yyyy format.
G End Date Date (10) Optional Expiration date for the exemption certificate in yyyy-mm-dd or mm/dd/yyyy format.
H Customer Code Text (50) Required Unique customer code. This is matched with the customer vendor code during tax calculations to locate an exemption certificate entry.
I Cert Type Integer Required Type of certificate:

0 = Blanket certificate
1 = Single use certificate, for a single purchase order or invoice (requires Invoice/PO No)

J Invoice/PO No Text (50)

Conditional if Cert Type = 0

Required if Cert Type = 1

Purchase order or invoice number.
K Business Type Integer Required Type of business:

1 = Accommodations and food services

2 = Agricultural, forestry, fishing, and hunting

3 = Construction

4 = Finance and insurance

5 = Information, publishing, and communication

6 = Manufacturing

7 = Mining

8 = Real estate

9 = Rental and leasing

10 = Retail trade

11 = Transportation and warehousing

12 = Utilities

13 = Wholesale trade

14 = Business services

15 = Professional services

16 = Educations and healthcare services

17=  Nonprofit organization

18 = Government

19 = Not a business

20 = Other (requires Business Type Desc)

L Business Type Desc Text (255)

Conditional for most Business Types

Required if Business Type = 20

Description of business type.

M Exemption Reason Text (1) Required Reason for exemption. If an exemption reason is only applicable in one country, that country's name is displayed beside the exemption reason.

A = Federal government (United States)

B = State government (United States)

C = Tribe / Status Indian / Indian Band (both)

D = Foreign diplomat (both)

E = Charitable or benevolent org (both)

F = Religious or educational org (both)

G = Resale (both)

H = Commercial agricultural production (both)

I = Industrial production / manufacturer (both)

J = Direct pay permit (United States)

K = Direct mail (United States)

L = Other (requires Exempt Reason Desc) (both)

N = Local government (United States)

P = Commercial aquaculture (Canada)

Q = Commercial fishery (Canada)

R = Non-resident (Canada)

N Exempt Reason Desc Text (255)

Conditional for most Exemption Reasons

Required if Exemption Reasons = L

Description of exemption reason.
O Customer Name Text (100) Required Name of the customer on the exemption certificate.
P Address 1 Text (50) Required Address line 1 for the customer on exemption certificate

All address information should identify the customer’s primary business address.

Q Address 2 Text (50) Optional Address line 2 for the customer.
R Address 3 Text (50) Optional Address line 3 for the customer.
S City Text (50) Required City name for the customer.
T Region Text (3) Required The two- or three-character region (state, province, or territory) ISO code.
U Postal Code Text (10) Required ZIP or postal code for the customer.
V Country Text (2) Required The two-character country abbreviation for the customer. If this field is blank, AvaTax assumes US.
  • US = United States
  • CA = Canada

If you're importing exemption certificates, the two-character country abbreviation is required. A list of supported abbreviations for other countries are found on the ISO website.

Import a file of exemption certificate entries

To add multiple exemption certificate entries at once: 

  1. On the Tools tab, click Import Data.
  2. On the New: File Import screen, from the Type list, select Exemption Certificates.
  3. To use the Import Toolkit, click Download, extract the files, and fill in one of the blank templates.
  4. On the New: File Import screen, click Next, and then select the company the items are for.
  5. Click Choose File, browse to select the file you want to import, and then click Open. Import files with .xls, .xlsx, and .csv extensions only.
  6. In AvaTax, click Upload. The file uploads and the Import Status screen opens, displaying the status of the import.

Troubleshoot file imports

If the Status column for the file displays Error, fix any errors  before you try again.

To fix import errors:

  1. On the Import Status screen, in the File column for an imported file, click the Error hyperlink. The Error.csv file downloads.
  2. Open Error.csv and view the error message in the last column for each record that failed to import.
  3. Make the necessary corrections to the records, and then delete the last column (the one with error messages).
  4. Save the file with a new name and import it.