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Avalara Help Center

Importing Files - Frequently Asked Questions

This article applies to:Avalara AvaTax

Here are the answers to some of our frequently asked questions about importing files:

What types of records can I import?

You can import six types of records in Microsoft® Excel® or Comma Separate Value (CSV) format:

Once imported, records are managed in the Admin Console in the same manner as any other record.

What are the different import file formats?

Save time and increase the accuracy of your records by using predefined import file formats for each record type. For more information on the predefined import file formats for each record type, see:

How long are imported files available?

Imported files are available for 60 days. After 60 days they may be deleted and will no longer be available.

What is a CSV file?

CSV files may be either single-byte ASCII text or Unicode single or double byte formats. CSV files must include a header row containing a comma separated list of the columns. Columns must be in the order used in the import template.

Comma Separated Value (CSV) is a text-based file format that uses:

  • Comma characters to delineate columns
  • Line breaks to delineate records

How do I format a CSV file?

The use of the provided file import templates is strongly recommended.

Text columns should be double quoted. Using double quotes is optional except when the string contains commas. In the following example, the first string is quoted because it contains a comma.

"Avalara, Inc.",100 Ravine Lane NE,Suite 220,Bainbridge Island,WA,98110

The recommended best practice is to quote all strings. For example:

"Avalara, Inc.","100 Ravine Lane NE","Suite 220","Bainbridge Island","WA","98110"

Numeric columns should not be quoted nor contain thousands of separators. The period (.) should be used to separate the decimal portion of a number. Negative numbers should use the negative symbol (-) rather than parentheses.

Dates should be in yyyy-mm-dd or mm/dd/yyyy format. For example:

2009-08-27 or 08/27/2009

Optional columns, if not used, should be left blank. Spaces should not be used to fill optional columns. For example:

"The following column is empty",,

  • Text columns
  • Numeric columns
  • Date columns
  • Optional columns

Example of a CSV import file

The format of the first few columns of each record type is shown below.

Item,ItemDescription,TaxCode

"37-10032","4 Drawer Locking File Cabinet","AF447"

ECMS Cert ID,Issuing Country,Issuing Region,Exemption No,

1,"US","WA","56-98123",

CompanyLocationId,LocationCode,Description,

1,"BainbridgeShop","Shop in Downtown Bainbridge",

TaxRuleId,ProcessCode,TaxRuleTypeId,TaxRuleSubtypeId,Country,

4117,1,3,,"US",

ProcessCode,DocCode,DocType,DocDate,

3,5710,1,08/27/2009,

How can I edit CSV files?

CSV files are best edited with a text editor. Spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel may misinterpret column formats. For example, a text column of ZIP/Postal Codes that contains "00243" may be interpreted as a number column containing 243. File import templates are provided in Excel format as an alternative to the CSV file format.

What does the status of a file import indicate?

On the Import Status screen, an imported file can have one of several statuses:

Completed Importing and processing the file finished without error.
Deleted The imported file was marked as deleted and doesn't appear in the Import Status List by default.
Completed with Errors Importing and processing the file finished, but errors were found in the imported records.
Errors Importing and processing the file failed due to errors in the imported records.
Waiting (Importing) AvaTax is waiting for the file upload to finish before processing individual records.
Processing (xx.xx) AvaTax is processing the file import and is xx.xx% complete.

How can I view an imported file?

  1. On the Tools tab, click View Imported File Status.
  2. On the Import Status screen, select a company.
  3. Filter the Import Status List of imported files as desired.
  4. Click a File Name hyperlink to view the original imported file.