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Understand Certificates, Affidavits, and Requests in CertCapture

This article applies to:Avalara CertCapture

In CertCapture's Exemption Matrix, there are three types of documents to which you can map exposure zones and exempt reasons - Certificates, Affidavits, and Requests. All three document types can be saved to CertCapture via direct upload, by fax, and through the Web Portal, E-Comm SDK, or Retail Module. Below are descriptions for each type and explanations of when to use them in your compliance process.

Use document types in CertCapture

Certificates

In CertCapture, certificates are defined as fillable forms that collect required buyer and seller information and create an exemption certificate that is active for the period defined by the Exemption Matrix. They're saved and associated with your customer's account.

Affidavits

Affidavits are defined as fillable forms that enable a buyer to agree to the requirements of exemption, and may define additional forms/documents that they also need to submit. They're active for a period not defined by the Exemption Matrix, but by you in your CertCapture settings. They're saved and associated with your customer's account.

In other words, affidavits act like temporary certificates. If a customer would like to transact with your business but they do not have a document present, you may issue an affidavit as a “temporary exemption” for a designated grace period.

Requests

Requests are defined as a set of instructions that provides a buyer with all the information they need to submit the state or federal supplied document necessary for exemption. They can be used as a cover sheet to help auto-associate the submitted form with the Buyer account.

In other words, requests are documents with instructions on submitting additional documentation. They can be provided to the customer at the point of sale, but do not grant immediate tax exempt status.

Find document types in CertCapture

All three document types -- Certificates, Affidavits, and Requests -- are found in the Exemption Matrix where you can map them to specific exempt reasons and exposure zones. To locate these document types, follow the steps below.

  1. To open the Exemption Matrix, on the CertCapture Dashboard, click Company Content and select Exemption Matrix from the drop-down. The Exemption Matrix opens in a new tab.
    CompanyContent-ExemptionMatrixmenu.png 
  2. In the Exemption Matrix, click the cell that corresponds to the exempt reason and exposure zone you want to map.
    ExemptionMatrix-ChooseCell.png
  3. In the Manage Certificate Collection window, click Certificate Template. The drop-down displays suggested documents for your chosen exempt reason and exposure zone. Requests all say Request in the document title and Affidavits all say Affidavit in the document title. All other documents are Certificates.
    ExemptionMatrix-ManageCertificateCollection-CertificateTemplatedropdown-RequestsAffidavits.png
  4. Select the document that best fits your needs, and set an Expiration Timeframe. Then click Update Tax Code.
    ExemptionMatrix-ManageCertificateCollection-UpdateTaxCodebutton.png

FAQ about document types in CertCapture

The table below provides answers for commonly asked questions about documents in CertCapture and compares those answers across document types.

Question Certificate Affidavit Request
Does the document grant tax exempt status? Yes, if valid. Yes, temporarily. Expiration determined by the setting. No.
Is the document defensible in an audit? Yes, assuming it is valid. No. No.
Is the document saved with the customer record? Yes. Yes. No.
Does the document receive a Cert ID? Yes. Yes. No.
Is the document stored in customer history? Yes. Yes. No.
Can the document be validated/Submitted to Stack? Yes. Yes. No.
Does the document require a signature for submission in Retail/E-Comm? Yes. Yes. No.
Is this template available in the Exemption Matrix? Yes. Yes. Yes.
Can the document be attached to a single request/campaign? Yes. Yes. Yes.
Is the document available in the E-Comm SDK, Retail, and the Web Portal? Yes. Yes. Yes.
Is the bar code functionality available for this document? Optional. Optional. Optional.
Does this document require two or more interactions with my customer? No, unless the certificate is invalid. Yes. Requires follow up documents. Yes. Requires follow up documents.
Does the document have information on next steps? No. Yes. Yes.
What rules drive the exemption of the document? Exemption Matrix. Expiration determined in Company Settings. None. Does not act like a certificate.