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Avalara Help Center

Upload and Validate Compliance Documents

This article applies to:Avalara CertCapture

You’ve set up your company and added customer records. Now it’s time to upload compliance documents, make sure they're correct, and attach them to your customers.

Upload and process all your customers' documents when you initially set up CertCapture. As you continue to do business and receive new exemption certificates, develop a routine for regularly processing incoming documents. Also monitor CertCapture for expiring documents, so you can ask for new ones.

Add customer documents

Documents arrive to CertCapture when: 

Documents submitted by customers, fax, email, or integration are added to CertCapture and must be validated before they can be attached to customers. To process documents that way, skip to Process Documents.

When you upload a new certificate in CertCapture to replace an existing certificate, the new document doesn't automatically replace the existing one. Understand the difference between active and historical certificates to learn how CertCapture uses a set of rules to determine which certificate is active.

Upload documents

  1. Go to Manage Documents > Validate Documents, and then click Upload Document.
  2. In the Upload Documents dialog:
    1. Click Choose File. Find and select a file or zipped folder you want to upload, and then click Open. Make sure the file or zipped folder contain the file types listed above. If you include a zip file within your zip file, it won't be processed.
    2. Use the Priority drop-down to flag important documents for earlier processing.
    3. If you upload a file with more than one certificate image in it, and if every certificate is only one page long, select Auto-Split so CertCapture automatically separates certificates into unique documents. 
    4. Place a check in the Claim Document box to send the file to your profile so others can't access or process it. Leave the box blank to send the file to the general processing queue so anyone on your team can claim and process it.
    5. If you use CertCapture to manage more than one kind of document, you may see a Document Type drop-down. If so, choose the document type you're uploading.
    6. If you upload a single file with only one certificate in it, use the Exposure Zone drop-down to digitize the certificate's jurisdiction. Otherwise, skip this step, and digitize exposure zones later.
    7. If you upload a single file with only one certificate in it, use the Document Category to digitize the document's exemption reason. Otherwise, skip this step, and digitize document categories later.
  3. Click Upload Stack. Your documents are uploaded and ready for processing.

Process documents

Go to Manage Documents > Validate Documents. Documents are processed in phases.

  • First, split files with more than one certificate image into separate documents. This is called merging.
  • Next, validate each certificate, digitize its information, and link it to a customer record.

The Stage column in the processing queue marks the status of each document. When a document enters the queue, it's marked Ready for Merge. When merging is complete, it's marked Ready for Validation. When validation is complete, the document leaves the processing queue.

Navigate the processing queue

What you see in the processing queue depends on the view you select from the Available Documents drop-down.

As documents enter the processing queue, they're sent to one of these views: Available Documents, My Unfinished Documents, or Documents Claimed by Others.

  • Pick Available Documents to see the general queue. Everyone on your team can see these documents. Anyone can claim and process documents from this list.
  • Pick My Unfinished Documents to see documents you've claimed. These documents are taken out of the general queue, so others don't claim and process them. Your team members only see these documents if they pick Documents Claimed by Others.
  • Pick Documents Claimed by Others to see documents other team members have claimed.


Within the My Unfinished Documents processing queue, for any document that’s marked Ready for Merge – and that you’d like to begin merging – click its Certificate Id to initiate the merge workflow. A modal (separate) window opens.  View and adjust the format of your documents.

  1. On the My Unfinished Documents: [Your Company Name] page, click the Certificate Id of any document stack you'd like to begin merging.
    1. If there is only one compliance document within the imported stack, use this area to define the document type, identify the exposure zone associated with the document, or to specify an exempt reason. You can also rotate, flip, increase contrast, decrease contrast, and delete pages from the document here.
      • At the top, click Release Stack to send the stack back to your company's repository in CertCapture so someone else in your company can work with it.
      • Use these image tools to adjust the appearance of uploaded documents.
    2. If the document stack contains more than one form, click Mark Split Here between each separate form, to identify where one document ends and another begins. 
      Document stack pages that precede and follow a Split marker will be treated as separate compliance document records in later processing phases – and can be linked to different customer records.

  2. Once you’ve adjusted the appearance of documents and have separated them into individual document records, either click Submit, which will make the documents available for the next phase of processing – or click Release Documents, which will return documents to the Available Documents queue within the Validate Documents screen.

Validate, copy data, and link a document to a customer

When documents have been merged and submitted, they become available for validation. During the validation process:

  • Review documents to make sure they're complete
  • Digitize the document information, so CertCapture can store the information and you can search it later
  • Link documents to customer records

To validate documents:

  • Access documents that you have claimed and that are available for validation. On the CertCapture toolbar go to Manage Documents > Validate Documents. From the Available Documents drop-down, select My Unfinished Documents
  • Access all documents available for validation, no matter who else may have prepared them for validation. On the CertCapture toolbar go to Manage Documents > Validate Documents. From the Available Documents drop-down, select Available Documents.
  1. To begin the validation process, click any document that's marked Ready for Validation within the document processing queue - or begin validating multiple documents by placing check marks in the boxes beside each document you want to validate. When you've selected a document or stack to validate, a separate validation pane appears.

    If the document you're validating is a multi-jurisdictional exemption certificate (one form that records a customer's exempt status in more than one jurisdiction), the Certificate ID for the document at this stage is the Id that was assigned during upload. Once you've validated the document, each of the certificate's jurisdictions assumes a new Certificate ID. For example, if the original document you uploaded has a Certificate Id of 500, once you validate the document and indicate that it's multi-jurisdictional, each jurisdiction is stored with a separate Certificate Id. The first jurisdiction keeps the Certificate Id of 500. Other jurisdictions are stored with next sequential Certificate Ids, like 501, 502, and 503.
  2. Within the Data Entry document validation pane, enter all relevant information about the document. If you decide to stop work while processing a document, click the Release button to return the document to the Available Documents area of the processing queue.
    Field Description

    Attach your document to a customer.

    Search for an existing customer record or use the blue plus sign button to add a new customer record.  

    Exempt Reason

    Select an exempt reason. The reason you select should match the exempt reason on the document you are validating.

    Created Date The day the document was first uploaded to CertCapture. Not editable.
    Effective Date The day the document begins exempting the customer. The date should match the date specified on the document.

    If you use CertCapture Retail, select the Retail Location related to the exemption.

    If you do not use CertCapture Retail, skip this field.

    Single Use

    Check this box if the document you are validating should only apply to a single purchase order. 

    If this box is checked, PO Number is required.

    Exposure Zone The state or territory where your company must collect exemption documents. This field should match the state or territory specified on the document.
    Invalid Reason

    If the document is invalid, specify the reason it is invalid.

    Select a reason or search for one.

    Customer Attributes If you track customer attributes such as Business Closed, Address Change Needed, etc. assign those attributes here
    Certificate Attributes If you track document attributes, such as Multi-Jurisdictional, Drop-Ship, etc. assign those attributes here
    Validation Fax / Email Updates To notify someone that the document has been validated, add a fax number or email address.
    Notes Notes are attached to your document and can be reviewed after validation.
    PO Numbers If you checked the Single Use box above, provide the purchase order with which the document should be associated.
    SST Information

    This field appears if your Exposure Zone is set to a state that is in compliance with the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement.

    If the state is in compliance with the agreement, Tax Number Type and Business Number Type are required in order to validate the document.

  3. If you complete data entry for a document, click Validate. The document is no longer a part of the Validate Documents queue, and the information you’ve entered is now searchable.

    If you click Release during validation, the document returns to the Available Documents view where another user can validate it. Release does not process the documents further or move them to complete status. If you close the validation window without completing or releasing a document, CertCapture automatically assigns it to you for later. You can find it again under the My Unfinished Documents view.

Escalate certificates for review

If at any point during the validation, digitization, and customer-linking phase you find a document to be problematic, click the Escalate button at the top of the Data Entry document validation pane. The document is returned to the Available Documents view of the Validate Documents screen, marked as Ready for Validation (Escalated).

  1. While processing a document, click the Escalate button.
  2. In the Escalate Certificate dialog box, click Select Reason, and do either of the following:
    • Select No Customer Number.
    • Select Other, and in the text box below, type a reason why you’re escalating the certificate for review.
  3. Click Escalate.
  4. Continue validating any other certificates in the stack. If you need to escalate any other certificates, repeat these steps.
  5. Escalated documents are moved to the processing queue within the Validate Documents screen - and are marked as Ready to Validate (Escalated)

Reprocess documents with errors

    For a small number of documents, errors can occur during the upload or merge phase. If you've uploaded a document and it's failed to process correctly, try re-processing it.

  1. On the CertCapture toolbar go to Manage Documents > Validate Documents. Look at the document processing queue to see a list of all uploaded documents. Each document is a line-item with its stage displayed. For documents that either failed to upload correctly, or that failed to process correctly during the merge phase, the stage label is Error: Re-Process Document.

  2. If there are many documents in the processing queue, use the search options at the top of the screen to limit your processing queue to documents with errors. Click the Stage drop-down, and select Error: Re-Process Document to filter your queue.

  3. In your queue, click the check the box next to any of the failed documents you want to re-process. Then click Action > Re-Process Document.

  4. You can attempt to re-process documents this way three times. If the document fails to process correctly after the third attempt, the stage for the document in the queue is Failed to Process, and you need to upload the document again.