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Understand Certificates, Affidavits, and Requests in CertCapture

This article applies to:Avalara CertCapture

In CertCapture's exemption matrix, three kinds of documents can be mapped to exposure zones and exempt reasons - certificates, affidavits, and requests. All three document types can be saved to CertCapture via upload, fax, online form submission tool, API, or retail app. 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

If you want to exempt your customer from tax when they can't give you an exemption certificate, have them sign and submit an Affidavit. An affidavit acts as a placeholder exemption certificate and when processed as part of an in-store or eCommerce transaction, provides a temporary exemption for your customer. You define how long affidavits are valid in your CertCapture settings. When your customer submits an exemption certificate to replace the affidavit, add it to your customer's record in CertCapture. 

Requests

If your customer asks to be exempt from tax and can't present an exemption certificate, you might refuse and ask them to submit an exemption certificate. Use CertCapture to set up a set of instructions called a Request that outlines the forms you need from your customer. Have CertCapture present the instructions to your customer as part of an in-store or eCommerce transaction. 

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 toolbar, 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.

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 by CertCapture for Retail or API? 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 API, CertCapture for Retail, and CertExpress? 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. Doesn't act like a certificate.