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Get Started with Avalara AvaTax Update

This article applies to:Avalara AvaTax Update

Log in to AvaTax Update, change your password, and set up your company profile to begin using Avalara services.

To get started: 

Log in and change your password

  1. Log in to AvaTax Update. Your AvaTax Update user name and password were sent to you in an email.
  2. The first time you log in, you have to change your password. Enter your old and new passwords, and then click Change Password.

Next, set up your company, including where you collect and remit sales tax. 

Fill out your company information

Add your company information, including your Taxpayer ID.

The Taxpayer ID Number (TIN) is also known as a business tax identification number, federal tax identification number, or Employer Identification Number (EIN). It's a 9-digit code used by US companies for tax reporting.

The Business ID Number (BIN) is a business identification number, such as the Canadian BIN or European VAT identification number, assigned to a non-U.S. company. It's not required.

The Company Code links your accounting software to AvaTax Update. We suggest a code for you based on your company name, but you can change it. If your accounting software defines a company code, enter that company code as part of your company information. 

Tell us where you collect tax

We use your address to set up your company's first collection authorityHoverTT.png. Add the regions and local authorities where you collect and remit tax. This is how AvaTax Update knows where and when to calculate tax for your company. It's important to register with the collection authorities in each location to avoid compliance issues down the road.

What if I'm not sure?

Contact Avalara Professional Services, an accountant, a tax attorney, or other qualified tax professional to conduct a nexus jurisdictions analysis. Nexus, also known as significant physical presence, determines if your business is obligated to collect and remit sales tax in a particular region.

How does AvaTax Update use this information?

For companies conducting business in the US, AvaTax Update assumes:

  • Transactions in regions where you've told AvaTax Update you collect tax are taxable according to the taxability rules for that collection authority
  • Transactions in other regions are non-taxable (and thus receive a 0.00% tax calculation)

For companies conducting business globally, the country in which the transaction takes place is the one AvaTax Update uses for tax calculation. Other factors affecting the AvaTax Update tax calculation are the type of good sold, whether that good is taxable or exempt, and whether it is sold to a business or a consumer.

Add where you collect tax

Your company is set up to collect and remit tax in the region for your company address. If you collect and remit sales tax in other places, you need to add more regions. If you don't want to do this now, you can do it later under Settings > Manage where you collect and remit tax.

To add additional places where you collect and remit tax:

  1. Click Add more regions.
  2. Select the check box next to the regions where you collect and remit taxes. 
    • Selecting Canadian provinces and territories turns on the calculation of Canadian Goods and Services Tax (GST)HoverTT.png and/or Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) for products or services delivered to Canadian customers. If you're a GST/HST registrant, you must select the 5 participating HST provinces: New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island. For more information, see what is GST/HST.
  3. Click Add these collection authorities.
  4. Verify the tax types for each US region and change them, if necessary. If you're not sure right now, do this later under Settings > Manage where you collect and remit tax.
  5. After adding your collection authorities, click Done with tax collection.

Add locals

Some regions have optional local collection authorities that aren't included when you select the state. If you select a state with optional local collection authorities, you're prompted to add these authorities from a list or by address. It's important that you select local authorities so that AvaTax Update can accurately process a transaction in a county, city, or special tax jurisdiction within these regions. It also helps ensure taxes are tagged properly for reporting and filling out returns. If you don't collect tax for the local authorities, your customer may be responsible for paying use tax. 

Select locals by address

  1. Click Select locals by address.
  2. Enter the address.
  3. Click Validate address.
  4. A list of applicable collection authorities appears below the address. Click Add authorities to add these authorities.
  5. If Tax Type is shown for the region, make sure it's correct. For more information, see about tax types.
  6. Change the Begin Date or End Date for any of the collection authorities, if you need to. Click the pencil icon next to an authority to change the dates.
  7. Click Done with region.

Select locals from a list

  1. Click Select locals from list.
  2. A list of local collection authorities for the state appears. Select the check box next to each local collection authority where you're registered to collect and remit tax.
  3. Click Add these collection authorities.
  4. If Tax Type is shown for the region, make sure it's correct. For more information, see about tax types.
  5. Change the Begin Date or End Date for any of the collection authorities, if you need to. Click the pencil icon next to an authority to change the dates.
  6. Click Done with region.

What does Automatically Update Authorities do? 

If you select all of the optional local collection authorities for a region, you have the option for AvaTax Update to automatically update your authorities. Set Automatically Update Authorities to On to have AvaTax Update maintain all optional local collection authorities. AvaTax Update updates your local authorities for any boundary adjustments or new local authorities that are added to this region. AvaTax Update applies tax to transactions in all local collection authorities. If this option is On, it's important to register with all of the local collection authorities to avoid compliance issues.

Set Automatically Update Authorities to Off to maintain the optional local collection authorities yourself. This is generally the best option. AvaTax Update only applies tax to transactions in the local collection authorities you select. You update your selections, if necessary, when there are boundary adjustments or new local authorities added. 

If this option is On, turn it off to edit or remove any local collection authorities for the region.

What if I don't need to add local collection authorities?

If you don't add local collection authorities, you'll only collect tax at the state level. If necessary, add local collection authorities later under Settings > Manage where you collect and remit tax. To collect tax in Alaska, you must add local collection authorities. 

If you don't need to add local collection authorities:

  1. Click I don't need to add locals.
  2. Click Add these collection authorities.
     

 

Activate your company

On the Activate page, click Activate company. A company must be active for AvaTax Update to process transactions.

Connect your company to AvaTax Update

If you need to connect your accounting software with AvaTax Update, click Get your connector. This will open Avalara Account in a new tab. See Find Your Integration to learn how to install and configure your connector. After you install and configure your connector, go back to AvaTax Update. If you still have AvaTax Update open in a separate tab, switch to that tab. If not, just log back into AvaTax Update

If you don't have an integration, import your transactions into AvaTax Update. If you're developing an API, start with our workflow and best practices.

Start using AvaTax Update

You're finished with your initial company setup in AvaTax Update. Click Get started with AvaTax to start using AvaTax Update.

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