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Add or Import ECMS Exemption Certificate Entries

This article applies to:Avalara AvaTax

Before an ECMSHoverTT.png exemption certificate entry can be added, ECMS must be enabled. Add ECMS exemption certificate entries one at a time or import them in bulk.

If this is your first time using ECMS to exempt customers from sales tax, it is a best practice to collect a list of exempt customers with their customer code, address details, and their certificate information. Once you add all of your exempt customers, run an Exemption Certificate Export Report and compare the results with your list of exempt customers to confirm all of them have an ECMS exemption certificate entry.

For more information, see enabling ECMS or manage ECMS exemption certificate entry.

Add an ECMS exemption certificate entry

Create a new exemption certificate entry in AvaTax by following the step below.

  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, type a unique Customer Code referencing your customer. Typically, this is the same as the unique customer identifier used in the accounting, ERP, e-commerce, m-commerce, or POS application.
  4. Type the Customer Name of your customer.
  5. Type the primary business Address of your customer, including the country.
  6. In the Certificate Information section, choose the Certificate Type for this exemption certificate entry.
  7. Type an Invoice/PO number if the Certificate Type is Single. A certificate type of single requires the user to type the number of the invoice or purchase order associated with this exemption certificate entry.
  8. Select an Issuing Country for the exemption certificate.
  9. In the Effective Date, type the issue date of the Exemption Certificate. This date can affect how AvaTax processes transactions for the customer, as transactions occurring before the date entered may not be exempt.
  10. Add an exemption certificate entry detail.
  11. In the Exemption Reason section, select the Business Type of your customer from a list of business classifications. If you select Other, the Business Type Description field requires you to provide details.
  12. Type a description of the Business Type in which your customer is engaged, if desired or required.
  13. The Description field requires you to provide details.
  14. Select the specific Exemption Reason from a list of reasons. The exemption reason is based on the issuing country. If you select Other, use of the Exemption Reason Description field requires you to provide details.
  15. Type a description of the Exemption Reason, if desired or required.
  16. Click Save.

Add an ECMS exemption certificate entry detail

Exemption certificate entry details record and display information for each issuing region. At least one exemption certificate entry detail must be added before saving the exemption certificate entry. An exemption certificate entry detail must be added for each issuing region, even if using one exemption number for multiple regions.

  1. Click the Add button Picture of the Add button on the New: Exemption Certificate page.
  2. Complete the required fields at a minimum:
    • 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, this field can hold 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: Select type of identifier displayed in the exemption no. field.
  3. Optionally assign an End Date to the exemption certificate entry detail. 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.
  4. Click the Save button for the new detail.

Import exemption certificates

Import exemption certificate entries in either an Excel (.xls or .xlsx) file format, or a Comma Separated Value (.csv) file format. The templates in the Import Exemption Certificates Toolkit use the correct column headings. The maximum number of lines allowed in one import file is 100,000.

Format the exemption certificate import template

The column headings in the import file must use the labels exactly as shown below. The individual data fields must conform to the Type (Size) and Use restrictions listed.

Column Column heading Type (size) Use Description
A ECMS Cert ID Integer Required Numerical identification used as a unique key to facilitate the import of each row of data. This information is not actually imported, but is used to identify error records. A sequential numbering for this field is strongly recommended. AvaTax assigns a unique ECMS Cert ID to each record imported, distinct from the value of this column.

If this field is left blank, AvaTax still attempts to import the record. Any records that fail importing are listed in an Errors.csv file but without this unique identifier, it makes troubleshooting difficult.

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 Canadian (GST) to create country-level exemptions when the issuing country is CA (Canada).
D Exemption No Text (50) Required The exemption certificate number associated with the region identified in the issuing region. Any dashes in the TIN or federal employee identification number (column E) are removed.
E Exemption No Type Text (50) Optional The type of exemption number. If this field is left blank, AvaTax assumes taxpayer ID as the default.

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 0 = Blanket certificate
1 = Single use certificate (For a single purchase order or invoice)
J Invoice/PO No Text (50) Conditional Purchase order or invoice number. Required only if Cert Type = 1 (Single use certificate).
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 health-care services

17=  Nonprofit organization

18 = Government

19 = Not a business

20 = Other (requires business type desc)

L Business Type Desc Text (255) Conditional Description of business type. Required only if Business Type = 20 (Other).
M Exemption Reason Text (1) Required Reason for exemption. Exemption reasons for the United States and Canada are different.

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 Description of exemption reason. Required only if Exemption Reason = L (Other).
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 left blank, AvaTax assumes US as the default.
  • US = United States
  • CA = Canada

Importing exemption certificates requires the use of the two-character country abbreviation. A list of supported abbreviations for other countries can be found at the ISO.

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.