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ECMS - Frequently Asked Questions

This article applies to:Avalara AvaTax

Here are the answers to our frequently asked questions about ECMS.

What is an exemption certificate?

Among other things, an exemption certificate is a document certifying a business or an individual is exempt from a tax liability and records the:

  • Customer to whom the certificate is issued.
  • Taxing jurisdiction granting the exemption.
  • Reason the taxing jurisdiction grants the exemption.
  • Dates during which the certificate is valid.

Exemption certificates provided by your customers are stored and managed in physical or electronic form in a "system of record". Certs is a" system of record" integrated with AvaTax. Accounting applications, databases, and paper or electronic filing systems can also act as a "system of record", but are not integrated with AvaTax.

What is an exemption certificate entry?

Exemption certificate entries are a set of related fields in AvaTax that accurately represents the data on an exemption certificate.

An exemption certificate entry contains enough data to correctly exempt customers from tax and is used in place of the actual exemption certificate.

Exemption certificate entries for both ECMS and Certs services are stored in the Exemption Certificate Management System (ECMS) of the Admin Console.

Note:
ECMS is not a "system of record" and does not store or manage the actual exemption certificates themselves.

It is your responsibility to maintain a "system of record" for exemption certificates and ensure they represent valid exemption reasons for your customers.

Why should I use ECMS?

ECMSHoverTT.png is the Exemption Certificate Management System in AvaTax. ECMS enables you to manage customer-related exemption certificate entries for all companies in your AvaTax account. ECMS can handle both ECMS and Certs exemption certificate entries.

Apply an exemption certificate entry once it is recorded. AvaTax automatically applies exemption certificate entries when processing transactions.

  1. ECMS enables you to manage customer-related exemption certificate entries for all companies in your AvaTax account. ECMS can handle both ECMS and Certs exemption certificate entries.
  2. ECMS can either supplement or replace the use of exemption numbers or entity use codes sent from your accounting, ERP, e-commerce, m-commerce, or POS application.
  3. ECMS also fulfills the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP) requirement to record, apply, and report on all customer-related exemptions and the exemption certificate of the issuing state. However, you do not need to be an SST client to use ECMS.

Two types of customer-related exemption certificate entries can be recorded:

  • Entity: The exemption is based on the type of business activity.
  • Use: The exemption is based on how a product or service is used

Who must use ECMS?

Customers participating in the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP) must use ECMS to manage exemption certificate entries for SST states. ECMS is required for both ECMS and Certs subscribers.

Using ECMS is optional for:

  • Customers not participating in the SSTP.
  • Customers participating in the SSTP for non-SST states.

What happened to partial and complete exemption certificate entries?

Exemption certificate entry statuses of partial and complete are no longer used. Exemption certificate entries with these statuses now have a status of active.

For more information, see about exemption certificate entry statuses.

What is the applied check box on the exemptions screen?

The applied check box indicates an exemption certificate entry was used to process one or more transactions.

ECMS exemption certificate entries that have been applied cannot be edited or deleted.

Certs exemption certificate entries can only be viewed in the Admin Console.

What is different between blanket/single exemption certificate entries?

A blanket exemption certificate entry can apply to all transactionsHoverTT.png for a specific customer. A single exemption certificate entry applies only to a transaction with a specific invoice/PO number.

Where does the certificate ID come from?

AvaTax assigns a sequential ECMS Cert ID to each new ECMS exemption certificate entry added in the Admin Console or imported from a file. The Certs ID for exemption certificate entries updated from Certs is the Certificate ID of the exemption certificate in Certs.

The Certificate ID cannot be edited.

Why are the menu choices different when I click the action button?

The menu choices displayed for an exemption certificate entry depend on its status and whether the exemption certificate entry has been applied to a transactionHoverTT.png.

Why can I not edit an exemption certificate entry?

Only ECMS exemption certificate entries with a status of active that have not been applied to transactionsHoverTT.png can be edited.

Revoked, expired and exemption certificate entries that have been applied to transactions are part of the transaction history maintained by AvaTax and cannot be edited. For more information, see editing an ECMS exemption certificate entry.

What is the difference between exemption certificates and entries?

These are two related but distinct terms used in AvaTax. Understanding them is important to correctly exempt customers from tax.

Among other things, an exemption certificateHoverTT.png is a document certifying a business or an individual is exempt from a tax liability and records the:

  • Customer to whom the certificate is issued.
  • Taxing jurisdiction granting the exemption.
  • Reason the taxing jurisdiction grants the exemption.
  • Dates during which the certificate is valid.

Exemption certificates provided by your customers are stored and managed in physical or electronic form in a “system of record.” Certs is a “system of record” integrated with AvaTax. Accounting applications, databases, and paper or electronic filing systems can also act as a “system of record,” but are not integrated with AvaTax.

An exemption certificate entry is a set of related fields in AvaTax that accurately represents the data on an exemption certificate. An exemption certificate entry contains enough data to correctly exempt customers from tax and is used in place of the actual exemption certificate.

Exemption certificate entries for both the ECMSHoverTT.png and Certs services are stored and managed in the Exemption Certificate Management System (ECMS) of the Admin Console.

Note:

ECMS is not a “system of record” and does not store or manage the actual exemption certificates.

It is your responsibility to maintain a “system of record” for exemption certificates and ensure they represent valid exemption reasons for your customers.

Why is my multi-issuing region exemption certificate entry expired?

An exemption certificate entry for multiple issuing regions is set to a status of expired when the earliest end date for any issuing region passes.

Review all expired exemption certificate entries by clicking the Expand button next to the customer name to view details for each issuing region. Determine what, if any, action you need to take based on the exemption certificate entry, its details, and the actual exemption certificate itself.

What can I do with an ECMS exemption certificate entry?

Many of the actions you can perform on an ECMS exemption certificate entry depend on its status and whether it has been applied to a transactionHoverTT.png. "X"'s in the table below indicate actions that can be performed.

ECMS EXEMPTION CERTIFICATE ENTRY STATUS

 

Active

Revoked

Expired

 

Not Applied

Applied

Not Applied

Applied

Not Applied

Applied

Apply

X

X

 

 

X

X

Edit

X

 

 

 

 

 

Revoke

X

X

 

 

X

X

Revoke & Copy

X

X