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Manage Exempt Customers Using AvaTax Exemption

This article applies to:Avalara AvaTax Update

Some transactions are tax free, or exempt. Apply exemptions to transactions and communicate with exempt customers by using AvaTax Exemption. First, add customers, and then add information about the exemption. Finally, send a request to your customers to get new copies of their exemption documents.

AvaTax Exemption is included with AvaTax Update, allowing you to store up to 25 exemption documents for free. Upgrade to CertCapture to store more documents or to automate customer communication.

Add an exempt customer

  1. Go to Exemptions, and then click Add an exempt customer.
  2. Enter your customer's information:
    Field Action
    Customer Name Enter your customer's name as it appears on exemption documents.
    Customer Code A unique code to identify your customer. A customer code is automatically generated based on the customer's name. If your accounting software uses a customer code, use that instead.
    Customer Type Your customer's business or industry.
    Customer Description This field is only required when Customer Type is set to Other. 
  3. Enter your customer's address and click Validate to verify the correct jurisdictions are applied.
  4. Click Save.

Import multiple exempt customers

  1. Go to Exemptions, and then click Import Exempt Customers. Download the exempt customer toolkit.
  2. The toolkit is a zip file with template spreadsheets. Open the CertCapture Customer template and add customer information to it using the table below as a guide.
    • Do not modify the Column headings of the template
    • The Use column indicates required info
    • Each imported file may contain a max of 100,000 lines 
      Column Column heading Type (size) Use Description
      A Billing Customer Number Number Required A unique code to identify your customer. This is matched with the Customer/Vendor code during tax calculations to locate an exemption certificate entry.
      B Billing Customer Alternate ID Text (2) Optional An alternate ID for locating a customer, only applicable to CertCapture users.
      C Billing Customer Name 1 Text (50) Required The customer's name. First and Last names can be entered in this field. This field is merged with Billing Customer Name 2.
      D Billing Customer Name 2 Text (50) Optional This field is merged with Billing Customer Name 1 (Ex: If Billing Customer Name 1 is John and Billing Customer Name 2 is Doe, the name will be John Doe in AvaTax Update).
      E Billing Customer Attn Name Text (50) Optional The Attn name used for the customer, not used in AvaTax Update notifications.
      F Billing Customer Address 1 Text (50) Required The first line of the customer’s primary business address as it appears on the exemption document.
      G Billing Customer Address 2 Text (50) Optional Address line 2 for the customer.
      H Billing Customer City Text (50) Required The customer's city.
      I Billing Customer State Text (2) Required The two-character abbreviation of the state, province, or territory that issued the exemption certificate.
      J Billing Customer Country Text (2) Required The two-character country abbreviation for the customer. If this field is blank, AvaTax Update assumes US.
      • US = United States
      • CA = Canada
      K Billing Customer Zip Numbers (10) Required The customer's zip or postal code.
      L Billing Customer Phone Numbers (10)


      The customer's primary contact number.
      M Billing Customer Fax Numbers (10) Optional The customer's primary fax number.
      N Billing Customer Email Text (100)


      The customer's primary email address.
      O Billing Customer Contact Text (100) Optional An optional contact name, only applicable to CertCapture users.
      P Shipping Customer State Text (2) Required The two-character abbreviation of the region (state, province, or territory) where the customer should be exempt. All address information should identify the customer’s primary business address.
  3. Save your spreadsheet and return to Exemptions > Import Exempt Customers if you did not leave the browser open. Drag the file into the upload field or click Browse Instead to select the file for upload. 

Refresh the page if your new customers do not appear in the list.

Add exemption information to a customer

  1. Go to Exemptions, locate your customer, and then click Add an exemption.
  2. Enter your customer's exemption information:
    Field Action
    Issuing Country Choose the country where the exemption is being issued.
    Entity Use Code Choose the option that matches the customer's exemption information. Entity/use codes are applied based on government laws.
    Exemption Description This field is only required when the Entity Use Code is set to Other.
    Issuing Regions States, regions, or territories where your customer is exempt.
  3. Click Next and enter additional exemption details:
    Field Name
    Exemption Number The exemption number as it appears on the exemption document.
    Exemption Number Type

    The exemption number type, typically a Tax ID Number.

    Foreign Diplomat Number, Driver's License Number, and FEIN may be used for certain entity use codes.

    Effective / Expiration Date The duration of your customer's exemption.
    Exemption Type

    A blanket exemption applies to all transactions. 

    A single exemption only applies to transactions that match the Invoice or PO Number provided in the next field.

    PO / Invoice Number This field is only required when the exemption type is set to Single Exemption, and should match the PO / Invoice number as it appears on the exemption document.
  4. If you have a document to attach to the user, click Upload Document. Finally, Click Save.

The exemption has been added to your customer and is now active in AvaTax Update based on the effective and expiration dates. On the Your Exempt Customers page, click View Exemptions to review that customer's exemption details.

Ask customers for exemption documents

Ask your customers for exemption documents when their current exemption has expired or one is needed for an audit. 

  1. Go to Exemptions, find the customer, and then click Request Exemption.
  2. Enter the customer's name and email address.
  3. If you want, add a few words to the beginning of the email, and then click Send Request.

The customer gets an email from AvaTax Exemption with a secure link and instructions to submit a new exemption document.


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