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Avalara Help Center

Add or Import Items

This article applies to:Avalara AvaTax

An item is a label that represents an individual or group of products, services, or charges. Add items one at a time or import many at once to map them to tax codesHoverTT.png in AvaTax.

As you import them, map items to tax codes. Tax codes group similar products, services, or charges together, and they tell AvaTax which tax rulesHoverTT.png to use when processing transactionsHoverTT.png. Tax rules determine taxability by jurisdiction. AvaTax treats items that you don't map to tax codes as tangible personal property (TPP), applying Avalara tax code P0000000, which is fully taxable everywhere.

You can also map items in your accounting software. Not sure where to map the items? Use this flowchart to help you decide.

Add an item

To add a new item to your AvaTax account:

  1. On the Organization tab, click the Items button for a company.
  2. On the Items screen, click New
  3. On the New: Item screen, complete the required fields. To comply with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA), Avalara now requires all transactions sent to AvaTax to include an item description. Missing item descriptions may be due to the use of an undefined item code or the absence of the item description in your accounting software. To correct this, access the items from your accounting software and add the descriptions. If you're maintaining items in AvaTax, you may need to add or revise the item codes and item descriptions there. Blank, freight, shipping, and handling codes are included in this requirement. Review these items as well to make sure you have an item description sent from your accounting software to AvaTax for every item sold.
  4. Click Save. The Item appears on the Items List. A message indicating the "The operation completed successfully." displays above the Items List.

Import multiple items

Add a group of new items to your AvaTax account by importing them all at once. Import a large number of predefined items and the tax codes to which they're mapped by uploading a file with the item information. Import items in one of these file formats: .xls, .xlsx, or .csv (comma-separated values). Use the template from AvaTax for best results. The maximum number of lines allowed in one import file is 100,000.

A full list of the Avalara tax codes is available for the item-to-tax code mapping in the toolkit.  You must assign a tax codeHoverTT.png to every item you import. If you leave an item's tax code field blank during import, AvaTax assigns tax code U0000000. Items with a tax code of U0000000 should be properly mapped to a custom tax code or an Avalara tax code.

If you want to update items already in AvaTax, upload a file with the new item description or tax code. If you leave one of these fields blank, the old item description or tax code is retained.

Format the item import template

You must use the column heading labels exactly as shown below in the import file. The individual data fields must conform to the type and size restrictions listed in the table. The table below also indicates, in the Use column, whether a column is required in the import file. Currently, all fields are required on item import files.

Column Column heading Type (size) Use Description
A Item Text (50) Required A unique identifier for the product, service, or charge.
B ItemDescription Text (255) Required A comment associated with an item that describes the product, service, or charge.
C TaxCode Text (25) Required

An Avalara tax code or custom tax code indicating the category of product, service, or charge.

Every item imported must have a tax codeHoverTT.png assigned to it. If an item's tax code field is left blank during import, AvaTax assigns tax code U0000000. Items with a tax code of U0000000 should be properly mapped to a custom tax code or an Avalara tax code.

Import a file of item information

To import a file of item information: 

  1. On the Tools tab, click Import Data.
  2. On the New: File Import screen, from the Type list, select Items.
  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.
  7. If the Status column for the file displays Error, fix your item import errors.