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Avalara Help Center

Upload and Validate Exemption Documents in CertCapture

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. All documents that are added to CertCapture must be validated before they can be attached to a customer. 

As you continue to do business and receive new exemption certificates, develop a routine for monitoring CertCapture for expiring documents and asking for new ones.

If you're an AvaTax Update user, manage your exempt customers with AvaTax Exemption.

PLAY-BLUE-30px.png Add Documents | Avalara CertCapture

How documents get to CertCapture

Certificates and other exemption documents are added to your CertCapture account when: 

  1. Documents are manually uploaded using the Upload button found at Manage Documents > Validate Documents
  2. Customers respond to document requests
  3. Documents are submitted by fax or email
  4. Documents are submitted by CertCapture for Retail users or customers interacting with the eCommerce SDK during an online transaction

When a new document is uploaded to replace an existing document, the old document is not automatically replaced. Review the differences between active and historical certificates to learn how CertCapture uses a set of rules to determine which certificate should be active.

Upload documents

  1. Go to Manage Documents > Validate Documents, and then click Upload Document.
  2. Click Choose File. Find and select an individual file or a zipped folder containing multiple files, and then click Open.
  3. Use the Priority drop-down to move important documents to the front of the processing queue.
  4. Select Auto-Split if your file has multiple certificates and each certificate is on a single page. CertCapture automatically separates those certificates into individual documents. 
  5. Check Claim Document if you want to validate the new document yourself. 
    • Leave the box blank to send the file to the general processing queue so another user on your account can validate it
  6. Use the Exposure Zone drop-down to set the certificate's jurisdiction. This may also be set later.
    • This field is only available when uploading a single file
  7. Use the Category drop-down to set the certificate's exempt reason. This may also be set later.
    • This field is only available when uploading a single file
  8. Click Upload. We'll send you an email when the upload is finished and your files are ready to be validated.


Merge or separate new files

Click the Available Documents drop-down to switch between processing queues.


  • Everyone on your team can see, claim, and validate documents in the Available Documents queue
  • Only you can see and validate documents in the My Unfinished Documents queue
  • Other users on your account can see documents in the Documents Claimed by Others queue, but they can't validate them
  • New documents are Ready for Merge
  • Documents that have been processed are Ready for Validation

Merge Documents

Before a new upload can be validated and attached to a customer, merge it to make sure no pages are missing.

  1. Go to Manage Documents > Validate Documents.
  2. If your file's Stage column says Ready for Merge, click the file to open it in a new window.
  3. Use the menu on the right to rotate pages, adjust the contrast, or delete pages.
  4. If your file is a single document, set the Document Type, Exposure Zone, and Document Category.
  5. If your file contains more than one document, click Mark Split Here to identify where one document ends and another begins. 
    • The pages before and after the Split marker are treated as separate compliance documents and can be linked to different customer records
  6. Click Submit to make the documents available for the next step.
    • Click Release if you want another user on your account to process the file

Validate documents and attach them to customers

Now that your documents have been uploaded and processed, they're ready to be validated and attached to customers. 

  1. Go to Manage Documents > Validate Documents.
    • From the Available Documents drop-down, select Available Documents or My Unfinished Documents to view the documents available to you
    • Documents Claimed by Others are the files being validated by other users on your account
  2. If your file's Stage column says Ready for Validation, click the file to open a new window.
    • Check multiple files if you want to validate them all in one session
  3. The validation window is where you enter all relevant information about the document. Use this table to complete the required fields:
    Field Description

    Link this document to a specific customer in your account.

    CertCapture suggests customers as you type the customer's number or name. Select a customer to link them to the certificate. Likewise, click the + to search for individual customers by their name, address, or phone number.

    If you need to link a single certificate to multiple customers, repeat the above for every customer you want to add. Users typically link multiple customers to a single certificate when working with a customer that has multiple store locations, since those customers often have unique customer numbers in billing systems. 


    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 listed on the document.

    After you add an Exposure Zone, Tax ID and Expire Date become available fields. 

    Tax ID

    The Tax ID specified on the document. This field appears after you select an Exposure Zone.

    Click the Tax ID field to view formatting requirements for Tax IDs in that state.

    Certain states also include a link to verify the Tax ID with that state's Department of Revenue.


    Expire Date The day the document stops exempting the customer. The date should match the date specified on the document.
    Invalid Reason

    If the document is invalid, specify why. 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 their fax number or email address.

    If you want this to field to automatically fill with the email address of the customer you added to this document, turn on Populate Customer Email in Validate Documents in your Company Details.

    Notes Notes are attached to your document and can be reviewed after validation.
    Attach File or Add Comment

    Add additional files, such as extra verification or forms, and make comments that you can review later. These are attached to both the customer and the certificate.

    See Add Files and Comments to Documents or Customers.

    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.

  4. When you're done, click Validate. The document is no longer in the Validate Documents queue. Use search to find the new information.
    • Click Release to return the certificate 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 assigns it to you and saves it for later. Find it again under the My Unfinished Documents queue

How multi-jurisdictional certificate IDs work

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 while you're validating it 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: 

  • 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 ID number, such as 501, 502, and 503


Escalate certificates for review

If you find a document to be problematic, click Escalate. 

  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

If you've uploaded a document and it's failed to process correctly, try re-processing it.

  1. Go to Manage Documents > Validate Documents. Click the Stage drop-down, and select Failed to Process to filter your queue.

  2. 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.

  3. You can attempt to re-process documents this way three times. If the document fails to process correctly after the third attempt, it's added to the Failed to Process stage and you need to upload it again.    

Customize email notifications and email addresses

Email notifications may be sent after validating a document. Certain email notifications can be customized or disabled.

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