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Avalara Help Center

Request Documents from Customers

This article applies to:Avalara CertCapture

Store customer records and compliance documents in CertCapture. Use CertCapture to obtain new or updated documents through a single request or as part of a larger campaign.

After you successfully request documents from customers, run reports to monitor your records for missing or invalid certificates.

Send a single certificate request

When you need a compliance document from one customer, send a single document requestHoverTT.png.

Send a single request

To send a single document request:

  1. Use Search or Quick Search to find a customer.
  2. Click the Customer Number, and then click Send Document Request.
  3. Build your request using these fields:
    Field Description
    Client This field displays the company from the Company Hierarchy where the customer's record is stored. You can't change it.
    Customer # / Name The customer number is pre-filled because you started the request from a customer record.
    Cover Letter When you send your request, your customer receives a cover letter and a set of blank documents to complete and submit. The cover letter should explain what you need from your customer.

    Select a cover letter you already created the cover letter from this list to send with the request.

    If you haven't already written the cover letter, click Requests on the toolbar, and then click Email Templates/Cover Letters to start a new one. The new cover letter appears on this list after you create it.
    Delivery Method Choose how you want your customer to receive this request.
    • Download - When you complete the request, CertCapture creates a PDF of the cover letter and blank document templates. To download the PDF, go to Profile > Download Center. Find the request, and click Download. Print the PDF and mail it to your customer.
    • Email - When you complete the request, CertCapture emails your cover letter and blank document templates to the email address you specify. If you choose Email as the delivery method, an Email Address field appears.
    • Fax - When you complete the request, CertCapture faxes your cover letter and blank document templates to a fax number you choose. A Fax Number field appears if you pick Fax as the delivery method.
    Location If you're sending this request to a retail customer, pick the location from this list that makes the most sense. All locations you entered for the customer are on the list.
    Return Date

    Date the document is due back from your customer.

    Set a default Return Date for all requests in your Company Settings.

    Custom Message When you create a cover letter for your request, enter variables called template tags. A template tag pulls a piece of information from a customer record and puts it in your cover letter. If you included the Custom_Message template tag in your cover letter for this request, type a message here. 

    The cover letter replaces the Custom_Message template tag with the message you type here when CertCapture sends the request.
    Exposure Zones Pick the jurisdictions where you need a document from your customer to cover audit exposure. What you choose here helps CertCapture know which blank documents to recommend for your customer.
    Document Category Pick an exemption reason or another document category. What you choose here helps CertCapture know which blank documents to recommend for your customer.
    Document Templates Based on the exposure zones and document categories you picked, CertCapture recommends blank document templates to send your customer. Select each document template you want to send. 
  4. Click Generate Request.
    • If you chose Download as the delivery method, look in your Download Center for a PDF of the request
    • If you chose Email or Fax, the request is sent to your customer

Locate a single sent request

There are two ways to search for a single request: with a customer number or without one.

If you know the customer number:

  1. Use Search or Quick Search to find the customer.
  2. Click the Customer Number.
  3. On the Customer Details page, click Requests to view details for recent requests submitted to this customer. 

If you don't know the customer number:

  1. Go to Search > Customer Search.
  2. Click Advanced, and then click Campaign Criteria to expand the section.
  3. From the Has Requests drop-down, choose the type of date to search by.
  4. Set the Start and End dates, and then click Get Search Results. Requests that match the date range you selected display.

  5. Click the Customer Number to open the Customer Details page.
  6. On the Customer Details page, click Requests to view details for recent requests submitted to this customer.

Send multiple document requests at one time

When you want to ask several customers for compliance documents, create a campaignHoverTT.png  and request documents by sending an email, letter, or fax to many customers at once. After you send the campaign, Campaign Insights lets you easily view the status of your requests and discover how your campaign is performing.

Create a campaign

Campaigns must be created from search results. To create a campaign:

  1. Go to Search > Customer Search.
  2. Select the search criteria for customers to include in a campaign, and then click Get Search Results.
  3. Click the Perform Action On Results drop-down and select New Campaign

  4. Type a Campaign Title, and then specify which customers from your search receive a document request by selecting any of the following:
    Field Description
    Include Customers Already in Another Campaign Include customers who are part of an existing campaign. CertCapture sends a document request to a customer even if that customer received a request in another campaign.
    Omit Customers Already in Another Campaign Exclude any customers who are part of an existing campaign. CertCapture won't send an additional request to those customers.
    Missing Certificate Exposures Generate requests for exposure zones in which customers are missing certificates.
    Invalid Certificate Exposures Generate requests for exposure zones in which customers have invalid certificates.
    Expired Certificate Exposures Generate requests for exposure zones in which customers have expired certificates
    Include Soon To Expire Exposures Generate requests for certificates that are currently valid but will expire within a specified number of days
    Taxable Exposures Generate requests for customers who are classified as taxable or who have a taxable certificate
    Override (Send to All Customers from Search Generate requests for customers even if they have a valid certificate on file
    Billing Customers Include all billing customers in the campaign. This is the most common selection.
    Shipping Customers Include all shipping customers in the campaign
    Only Exposures from Search

    Only include customers in the exposure zones chosen in your search filter. Use this to create campaigns exclusively for customers in specific states or exposure zones. This option also includes customers with missing documents.

    This option is not available if you don't filter for an exposure zone in your search settings.

    Exclude Same-As Relationships Exclude customers in a same-as relationship with other customers already included in the campaign so that you don’t generate duplicate requests
    Expand Bill-to-Ship Addresses Show both the bill-to and ship-to address in the cover letter
  5. Select Exempt Reasons, and then click Prepare Exemption Certificate Campaign. The Edit Customer Certificate Campaign page opens.
  6. On the Round 1 tab, fill in the following fields:
    Field Action
    Send Date Specify the date when you expect to send the requests. This date merges into the cover letter if you use the correct tag in the cover letter template.
    Requested Return Date

    Date the document is due back from your customer.

    Set a default Return Date for all requests in your Company Settings.

    This date merges into the cover letter if you use the correct tag in the cover letter template.
    Generate Date Specify the date you want CertCapture to generate the request files. This field defaults to the day prior to the send date.

    This specifies how you send the request for certificates to customers.

    If you choose Postal Mail, you print a PDF to send to customers by postal mail. Contact your Customer Account Manager (CAM) to add Managed Services to your account and have Avalara mail the requests for you via USPS.

    Email Template / Cover Letter Select the cover letter you want to use for this request campaign. For help with cover letters, see create a cover letter template.
    Cover Letters Only Select to generate only cover letters, without exemption certificate templates.
    Include Most Recent Invalid Select to include a copy of the most recent invalid certificate you have from each customer with the requests.
    Cover Letters Only Select if you do not want to send blank documents for the recipient to complete.
    Include CertExpress access Select to send an invitation to customers to use the online form submission tool to create documents.
    Automatically Send Round

    Select to automatically send the request campaign on the send date you entered.

    If you don't select this option, use the Send Emails section to send the campaign.

    Notes Add notes about the request campaign. Your customers don't see these notes.
  7. Click Save Campaign Changes.
  8. From Select Customers, review the customers that will be included in the campaign.
    • Customers with checkmarks by their names are included in the campaign
    • Uncheck a customer to remove them from the campaign round
  9. From Preview, click Cover Letter Preview or Email Content to review the message that will be sent to recipients. 
  10. To add another round to your campaign and customize it, click the + next to the Round 1 tab, and then repeat steps 6 and 7. For example, create an email campaign for the first round, and then follow that with a mailing campaign several weeks later.
  11. Click Save Campaign Changes.
  12. To initiate your request campaign, click one of the following:
    • Print, and then click Create Printable File to create a printable file of the campaign documents
    • Send Emails, and then click Send Certificate Requests to send the campaign email to the email address on file for each customer
    • Send Faxes, and then click Send Certificate Requests to send the campaign letters using the fax number on file for each customer

Return to the Campaign Overview tab when you want to:

  • Check your campaign status
  • View campaign recipients and the exposures they are responsible for
  • Add or remove customers from the campaign using the checkbox beside their name
  • Export a .csv file with campaign information. Click Export Overview Data


Create campaigns by state

Create campaigns that are limited to a specific state or exposure zone. Use this feature when you have customers with multiple exposure zones, but want to limit campaign requests to a specific state. Customers in those exposure zones that are missing exemption documents are also included in this type of campaign.

Just like any other campaign, it must be created from search results.

  1. Go to Search > Customer Search.
  2. Under Document Criteria, add the Exposure Zone the campaign should be limited to. Click Get Search Results.
  3. Click the Perform Action on Results drop-down and select New Campaign.
  4. Check Only Exposures from Search. This setting ensures campaign recipients only receive requests for the exposure zones you specified in your search settings.
  5. Add a Campaign Title and Exempt Reasons. Customize other settings as needed, and then click Prepare Campaign.
  6. Only customers in the exposure zone you specified should be included. Use the steps for creating a campaign at step 6 to set up the new campaign round.

Request documents by retail location

  1. Go to Search > Certificate Search.
  2. Click Advanced, click Retail Location to expand section, and then type the criteria for your search.
  3. Click Get Search Results.  Retail locations that match the criteria you selected display.
  4. Click Export Report, type a name for your results file, and then click Export Results.
  5. Click your name in the Dashboard and select Download Center.
  6. In the Actions column for the search results file you want to view, click Download.
  7. Open your results file and copy the numbers from the Customer Number column.
  8. In CertCapture, go to Search > Customer Search.
  9. In the Customer Criteria section, paste the customer numbers you copied into the Customer Numbers field, and then click Get Search Results.
  10. Continue creating your campaign at step 3.

Clone a campaign round

Cloning copies the details from a previous campaign round. Use cloning to speed up the campaign process and expedite sending a new request, following-up on a previous round, or delivering a thank you note to your customers.

To clone a campaign:

  1. Go to Manage Documents > Campaigns.
  2. Campaigns are sorted as In-Progress Campaigns or Closed Campaigns. Find the campaign you want to clone, and then click Manage
  3. Choose the campaign round you want to clone and select Scheduling & Delivery. Under Actions, click Clone Round. A new tab is created with the same name as the tab you cloned, plus "clone.." (e.g., Round 1 clone).
  4. Double-click the Round tab to edit the name, then click Save Campaign Changes.
  5.  Use the steps for creating a campaign at step 6 to set up the new campaign round.

Track a campaign using Insights

Use Insights to monitor campaign progress and review the efficiency of campaign methods for a specific campaign, or across all campaigns on your account.

Campaign Insights are only visible after you've sent at least one campaign round. Campaign data updates every time a new document is uploaded to CertCapture.

  1. Go to Manage Documents > Campaigns > Insights. Keep in mind, the Insights tab won't appear until you've sent at least one campaign round.
  2. The Insights tab collects data from all campaigns on your account. Click Add a Filter to adjust your view of the campaign data.
  3. For data on a specific campaign, click the In-Progress Campaigns tab, locate the campaign you want to view, and then click Manage.
  4. The Campaign Insights tab contains data for every round sent in this specific campaign and offers more information than the Overview tab. 

Create a cover letter template

Cover letters let you explain your request to your customers. Cover letters include your logo, customizable template tags that you let do something like a mail merge, and a message from you. Creating a cover letter template lets you use the letter each time you send out a similar request.

Template tags let you insert variables into your cover letter. For instance, a template tag for customer names is replaced by the name of the appropriate customer when you use the template.

To create a cover letter template:

  1. Go to Manage Documents > Email Templates/Cover Letters.
  2. Click Add Cover Letter. The Add New Cover Letter Template page opens.
  3. Fill in the following:
    • Title: A title to quickly identify which template this is
    • Subject: A subject to provide a brief overview of the template
    • Description: A description that shows the difference between this template and another so you don't have to compare them directly
  4. Under Body, do one of the following to add text, and then use the formatting toolbar to add elements to your cover letter. 
    • Type your cover letter
    • Type your letter in Microsoft Word, copy it, and then, in CertCapture, click Paste as Plain Text. This strips out any unusual characters that Microsoft Word might otherwise paste into the cover letter
  5. To insert a template tag into your cover letter, click and drag the tag onto your cover letter. Template tag types you can use include:
    • Customer data tags import details about your customers and begin with CUST or CUSTOMER
    • CertExpress data tags import data  
    • Date reference tags import data about when you sent a certificate request or expect to receive a certificate
    • Certificate data tags import details about certificates
    • Your CertCapture account tags import details from your CertCapture user account and begin with USER
    • Your company data tags import details about your company begin with FROM
  6. When you’re finished customizing your cover letter, click any of the following:
    • Update Cover Letter Template - Save changes to your cover letter template
    • Preview - Download a copy of the cover letter as a PDF to see what it looks like before you print or email it
    • Reset - Reject all changes you made to your cover letter template during this session

Clone a cover letter

Start with one of your old templates, then clone and modify it to create a new version.

To clone a cover letter:

  1. Go to Manage Documents > Email Templates and Cover Letters.
  2. Next to any cover letter, under Actions, click Preview.
  3. On the Preview Cover Letter Template page, click Clone Template.
  4. On the Add New Cover Letter Template page, in Title, type a title for the new template.
  5. Edit the cloned template so it's appropriate for your new cover letter.
  6. At the bottom of the page, click Add New Cover Letter Template
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