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Calculate Consumer Use Tax

This article applies to:Avalara AvaTax

The consumer use taxHoverTT.png enhancement allows accrued tax amounts to automatically flow to the liability worksheetHoverTT.png and AvaTax reports. After approving the tax amounts, use the transaction data to file your taxes with Returns.

Even if you aren't filingHoverTT.png your taxes using Returns, this tool can help you assess your consumer use tax liability. Downloading a file of the consumer use tax calculated on your transactions can minimize audit risk by giving you better information about your liability.

Calculate consumer use tax

Follow these steps to calculate consumer use tax on purchases by importing transactions into AvaTax. To begin, click a step.

1. Download the transaction import template

The import toolkit contains the spreadsheet template you use to upload transaction data into AvaTax. To save yourself time, download the blank template in the Import Transactions Toolkit, rather than in the Admin Console. Here is an example file of a completed template: example-file.csv

  1. Go to the Admin Console, then click the Tools tab. In the Import section, click the Import Data link.
    AvaTax Import Data.png
  2. On the New: File Import screen, do one of the following:
    • If you already downloaded the template, click Next.
    • If you have not downloaded the template, select Transaction Import, then click Download.
      File import - step 1b - Type transaction import.png
  3. After the file downloads, open the zipped folder, which contains three files. Open the file called ImportTransactionsTemplate.csv. The consumer use tax tool uses comma separated value (.csv) format for transaction imports. Don't save the file in Excel (.xlsx) format; if saved as an Excel worksheet, the system won't import the data.

2. Add transaction information to the template

  1. Enter your transaction information into the ImportTransactionTemplate.csv file.
  2. Add one item per line of the spreadsheet. Some of the columns in the spreadsheet require data, you must enter information into those columns. Other columns are optional and don't require data. Many of the columns in your import spreadsheet will be left blank. To determine which columns require data and which don't, use the two tables below:

Required data for consumer use tax imports

Column Column Heading Data entry
A ProcessCode Enter 5.
B DocCode

Enter an invoice number, credit memo, return number, or another identifier of your choice. 

Each line must be unique.

C DocType

Enter 7 or 3.

D DocDate

Enter the invoice date.

Dates must be in mm/dd/yyyy format.

F CustomerCode

Enter the vendor code, or other vendor ID number, used by your accounting system.

H LineNo

Enter a number for the transaction. 

It's recommended to number the lines sequential, for example, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 . . .


M Qty

Enter the quantity of items purchased.

N Amount Type 0
Q Ref2

Enter the tax amount charged on the line item.

If no tax was charged on that item, enter 0. If you have one lump-sum tax amount for multiple items, enter that sum for one item, then enter 0 for all other items.

V DestRegion

Enter the destination (ship-to) state or province (two letter abbreviation).


W DestPostalCode

Enter the destination (ship-to) postal code.


AA OrigRegion

Enter the origin (ship-from) state or province (two letter abbreviation).

AB OrigPostalCode

Enter the origin (ship-from) postal code.

AD LocationCode

Enter the sales location for the line item. 

If you don't know the sales location, enter the destination address.

AP TotalTax Enter the amount of the use tax

Optional data for consumer use tax imports

Column Column Heading Description
L Description Enter a description of the line item.
Y OrigAddress Enter the origin (ship-from) street address
Z OrigCity Enter the origin (ship-from) city.
AF PurchaseOrderNo

Enter the purchase order number.

3. Upload the completed template

Once all data is entered, save and properly name your import file to prepare it for upload. When you finish adding transaction information, save the template. Save the file someplace where you can find it.

  1. In the Type menu, select Transaction Import,  and then select your company from the drop-down list.
  2. Click the Choose File button and find your completed template file (in .csv format).
  3. Click Upload to import your transaction data.
    New file import - step 2 - upload file.png
  4. After clicking Upload, you'll see the Import Status screen. To see if your file uploaded correctly, look at the Status column. If it says Completed, your file has been uploaded; if it says Waiting, refresh your browser to see the status.
    Import Status.png

4. Verify the tax calculations

After uploading your import file, view the file in the Admin Console in order to review and verify the calculations.

  1. In the Admin Console, click the Tools tab. In the Imported file management section, click the Consumer use tax batch verification link.
    AvaTax-tool-imported file management.png
  2. Find the file you uploaded (on this screen, the file name is displayed without the assess prefix). Click Verify Now.
    CUT Verification Tool.png
  3. After clicking Verify Now, you'll see a list of the imported transactions with the calculated consumer use tax. Accrual is the difference between calculated tax and charged tax (it might be negative). Whether or not you approve the accrual depends on your specific accounting and audit situation. You can enter a different accrual amount if necessary. Otherwise, click either Approve or Decline for each transaction. Or to quickly approve all transactions, at the bottom of the page, click Approve All.
    CUT calculation page.png
  4. Once you have verified all the transactions, click Save & Review.
    CUT calculation page-save and review.png
  5. After you verify the tax calculations, click Save to AvaTax. Once you save the transactions, you can submit them along with the rest of your taxes when you file using Returns.
    CUT-save to avatax.png

Review and download consumer use tax data

Once consumer use tax has been calculated, review or download the transactions at any time by viewing a report or downloading a transaction spreadsheet.

View your consumer use tax report

Once transactions are imported and the calculations approved, go to View Report under the Consumer use tax batch verification link to see a summary.

  1. To view a report of your consumer use tax calculations, go to the Admin Console and click the Tools tab.
    AvaTax-tool-imported file management.png
  2. Then click the Consumer use tax batch verification link, find the file, and click View Report.
    CUT view report.png
  3.  The report shows both overpaid and underpaid invoices. 
    CUT report summary.png

Download your consumer use transaction data

Use the following steps to download your consumer use transaction data from AvaTax.

  1. In the Admin Console, click the Tools tab.
  2. Then, under the Import section, click the View Imported File Status.

    AvaTax-View Imported File Status.png
  3. On the Import Status screen, you'll see two versions of your .csv file. The Verified file is a spreadsheet containing both your original transaction data and the consumer use tax data from the AvaTax calculations. (The other file is your original transaction import file).
  4. Click the Verified file to download the spreadsheet.

    Download verified transactions.png


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