Skip to main content
Avalara Help Center

Request Documents from Customers

This article applies to:Avalara CertCapture

In the best of worlds, your customers send you completed compliance documents promptly and without reminders. More often, you need to reach out and ask for them. CertCapture automates that process. Send out document requestsHoverTT.png to one customer or hundreds; make it even easier for them by providing access to the web portal. CertCapture's document campaignHoverTT.png features help you make sure you get the documents you need to stay tax compliant.

In addition to automating the request process, you can provide customers with the forms they need to fill out. Then, as the forms arrive from customers, upload the documents into CertCapture.

Send single certificate requests

When you only need a compliance document from one customer, use CertCapture to send out a single document requestHoverTT.png to just that customer.

Send a single request

Only need to track down one document? Find the customer and quickly send a document request.

  1. To send a request to a single customer, select the appropriate company and client in CertCapture.
  2. On the CertCapture toolbar, click the Requests tab and select Send Request from the drop-down.
  3. On the Send Single Request page, type the customer number you would like to send a single request to. If you do not know the customer number, use the Search tab or the Quick Search bar to find the customer record.


    If you have an Enterprise account and subscribe to the Retail Module, you can also select one of your customer's specific retail locations from the Location drop-down that appears beneath the Client field (as seen in the image above).

  4. Once you've entered a customer number, use the Cover Letter drop down to select the document you want to send. If you need to create a cover letter, go to Requests > Email Templates/Cover Letters and click the Add Cover Letter button.
  5. If you intend to send the cover letter by itself, click the Cover Letter Only checkbox above the Cover Letter drop-down.
  6. Use the Custom Message field to create a personalized message for your customer. This message is displayed above the “Dear Sir or Madam” line. For Standard Request letters, the content appears at the very top.
  7. From the Delivery Method drop-down, select one of the following options:
    • The Download option creates a PDF that is saved to your Download Center. To access it, click your name in the upper right of the Dashboard and select Download Center in the drop-down.
    • The Email option generates an email that is sent to the email address entered beneath the drop down menu. The email content is an uneditable version of the cover letter you selected (and a PDF version of the cover letter is added to the email as an attachment)
    • The Fax option generates a faxed message sent to a fax number you'll designate in a field underneath the dropdown menu (when the fax option is selected
  8. If you selected the Cover Letter Only checkbox in Step 5, verify that the content of your request is correct and click Generate Request. CertCapture will either render a PDF download or send the request via your selected delivery method. If you plan to attach a document template, proceed to the next step.
  9. Select the exposure zones you would like to cover in this single request by clicking the checkbox next to the state names or by using the blue menu options at the top of the Exposure Zones table.


    If you have an Enterprise account, you have an additional option to add an exposure zone if a desired location does not populate in the table. To do so, click the Add ShipTo State/Zone button and choose the location you would like to add.

  10. Select an Exempt Reason from the drop-down. You may select one or all of the reasonsHoverTT.png available. After you make your selection, the appropriate certificate template appears under Exemption Certificate Templates
  11. Select the templates you would like to send the customer.


    If you have a Pro account, the certificate templates are selected automatically based on your exposure zone and exempt reason.

  12. Once you are satisfied with the contents of the single request, click either of the Generate Request buttons (located in the upper right and lower left corners of the screen). CertCapture either renders a PDF download or sends the request via your selected delivery method.

Locate a single request after it is sent

Once you have created a single request, locate that request using the Has Requests drop-down menu in the Campaign Criteria search tab.

  1. On the CertCapture Dashboard, go to Search and click Customer Search in the drop-down.
  2. On the Customer Search page, click the Advanced search button.
  3. Scroll down and click the Campaign Criteria tab.
  4. In the Has Requests drop-down, choose to search by either exact or relative dates. Then in the Start and End fields type the date range you want to search.
  5. Click the Get Search Results button beneath the tab.
  6. On the Customer Search results page, click a Customer Number to see Customer Details.
  7. On the Customer Details page, click the Requests tab.
  8. On the Requests tab, view details for recent requests submitted to this customer.

EnterpriseFeatureLaurels-Orange-48x40.pngHoverTT.png Create fax email addresses

Add or edit email addresses for customers who fax over the web.

  1. On the CertCapture Dashboard, click Company Settings, and then click Company Details.
  2. On the Company Details page, at the lower left, click Manage Fax Emails.
  3. In the Manage Client Fax Emails dialog box, click Add.
  4. In the Manage Client Fax Emails dialog box, fill out the following fields:
    1. Under Fax Email, type a new email address where customers can email faxed certificates.
    2. Under Priority, select a priority (Low, Normal, High, or Critical).
    3. Under Visibility, select Internal or External), and then click Save.

Create a document request campaign

When you have multiple customers from whom you need compliance documents, create a document request campaignHoverTT.png to reach them all at once. Campaigns include tracking data so that you can easily view the status of your requests.

Create a campaign to request compliance documents

Request documents by sending an e-mail, letter, or fax to many customers at once.

For help with search, see search for certificates and customers.
  1. On the CertCapture Dashboard, on the Search menu, click Customer Search.
  2. On the Customer Search page, select the search criteria for customers you'd like to include in a campaign, and then click Get Search Results. When search results are returned, use the Perform Action On Results dropd-down, and select New Campaign.
    A - Customer Search Results.png
  3. In the Prepare Customer exemption certificate Campaign page, type a Campaign Title.
    B - Prepare Campaign.png
  4. To specify which customers from your search receive a document request, select any of the following fields:
    • Include Customers already in another campaign: Click to include any customers who are part of an existing campaign. CertCapture will send a document request to a customer even if that customer received a request in another campaign.
    • Omit Customers already in another campaign: Click to exclude any customers who are part of an existing campaign. CertCapture will not send multiple requests to the same customer.
    • Missing Certificate Exposures: Click to generate requests for exposure zones in which customer are missing certificates.
    • Invalid Certificate Exposures: Click to generate requests for exposure zones in which customers have invalid certificates.
    • Expired Certificate Exposures: Click to generate requests for exposure zones in which customers have expired certificates.
    • Include Soon To Expire Exposures: Click to generate requests for certificates that are currently valid but will expire within the specified number of days.
    • Taxable Exposures: Click to generate requests for customers who are classified as taxable or who have a taxable certificate.
    • Good Certificates (Non-exposures): Click to generate requests for customers with a valid certificate on file.
    • Billing Customers: Click to include all billing customers in the campaign. This is the most common selection.
    • Shipping Customers: Click to include all shipping customers in the campaign.
    • Exclude Same-As Relationships: Click to exclude from the campaign all customer records that are the same as the customers you selected for this mailing so that you don’t generate duplicate requests.
    • Expand Bill-to-Ship Addresses: Click to show both the bill-to and ship-to address in the cover letter
  5. At the bottom, choose Exempt Reasons, and then click Prepare exemption certificate Campaign.
  6. In the Edit Customer Certificate Campaign page, in the Round 1 tab, select the following fields:
    C - Edit Campaign.png
    • Send Date: Specify the date when you expect to send the requests. This date is merged into the cover letter if you use the correct tag in the cover letter template.
    • Requested Return Date: Specify the deadline for customers to send the certificate to you. This date is merged 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 for email, print, or tax delivery. This field defaults to the day prior to the Send Date.
    • Method: This specifies how you request certificates from customers. You have three choices:
      • Postal Mail: Select to print a PDF for you to send requests to customers by postal mail. Contact your Customer Account Manager (CAM) to add Managed Services to your account where we mail the requests for you via USPS.
      • Email: Select to send requests to customers by email
      • Fax: Select to send requests to customers via fax
    • Cover Letter: Select the cover letter that you want to use for this request campaign. For help with cover letters, see create a cover letter template.
    • Cover Letters Only: Click to generate only cover letters without any exemption certificate templates.
    • Include Most Recent Invalid: Click to include with the requests a copy of the most recent invalid certificate that you have from each customer.
    • Include Web portal access: Click to send an invitation to customers to use the certificate web portal to create certificates.
    • Automatically Send Round: Click to automatically send the request campaign on the Send Date you entered. If this option is not selected, you will have to manually launch the campaign by clicking the Send Emails tab on the bottom of the page.
    • Notes: Add notes about the request campaign. Customers will not see these notes.
  7. On the lower half of the page, click any of the following tabs.
    D - Edit campaign lower.png
    • View Cover Letter: Click to see the cover letter selected for the campaign.
    • View Email: Click to edit the campaign email. Some content of the email is automatically generated and cannot be edited.
    • Select Customers: Click to see which customers will be included in the campaign. To manually remove any customer from the campaign, click the check-box next to the customer number.
      You may not be able to access all of the tabs. Access to the tabs depends on your campaign selections. And some tabs can't be accessed until you save your campaign changes.
  8. If you want to add another round to your campaign, click the + next to the Round 1 tab, and then repeat steps 7 and 8.
    You can add multiple rounds to a campaign. For example, create an email campaign for the first round then follow that with a mailing campaign several weeks later. Each round can be customized.

    E - Add Round.png

  9. When you are finished editing your campaign, click Save Campaign Changes.
    F - Save campaign.png
  10. To initiate your request campaign, on the lower half of the page, click one of the following tabs:
    • Print: Click this tab, and then click Create Printable File to create a printable file of the campaign documents.
    • Send Emails: Click this tab, and then click Send Certificate Requests to send the campaign email to the email address on file for each customer.
    • Send Faxes: Click this tab, and then click Send Certificate Requests to send the campaign letters using the fax number on file for each customer.
      G - Send requests.png

Request documents by retail location

When creating a campaign to request certificates from your customers in CertCapture, you have the option to filter your campaign by retail location.

  1. On the CertCapture Dashboard, click Search and then select Certificate Search.
  2. On the Certificate Search page, click the Advanced button.
  3. Scroll to the Retail Location section, click to expand, and type the criteria for your search.
  4. Click the Get Search Results Button.
  5. On the Certificate Search results page, click Export Report.
  6. In the Export Results dialog box, type a name for your results file and click Export Results.
  7. Click your name in the upper right corner of the Dashboard and select Download Center from the drop-down to retrieve the exported search results.
  8. In the Actions column for the search results file you'd like to view, click Download.
  9. Open your results file and locate the Customer Number column in the spreadsheet. Copy the column of numbers.
  10. On the CertCapture Dashboard, click Search, and then select Customer Search from the drop-down menu.
  11. On the Customer Search page, in the Customer Criteria section, paste your column of customer numbers into the Customer Numbers field. Then click the Get Search Results button.
  12. Continue creating your document request campaign.

Clone a campaign

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

  1. From the CertCapture Toolbar, click Requests and select Campaigns.
  2. On the Campaigns page, choose either the In-Progress Campaigns or Closed Campaigns tab to find the campaign you want to clone. Then click Manage to open that campaign.
  3. On the Edit Customer Certificate Campaign page, select the tab for the campaign round you want to clone. Then under the Actions column to the right, click Clone.
  4. A new tab appears named for the tab you chose + "clone." Rename the tab for your new campaign round and click Save Campaign Changes.
  5.  Follow the instructions in create a campaign to request certificates to complete setting up this new campaign round.

Track a campaign

After creating a campaign, track its progress to see which customers have responded to your document requests.

  1. From the CertCapture Toolbar, click Requests and select Campaigns.
  2. On the Campaigns page, view a list of your In-Progress Campaigns. The Progress column illustrates what type of solicitation was included in a campaign, how many solicitations have been sent, and details if there are multiple rounds​. Next to the campaign you want to track, click Manage to open that campaign for more details.
  3. On the Edit Customer Campaign page, click the Overview tab.
  4. The Overview tab provides a number of details about your campaign:
    • In the data table, each Customer Number and Name is listed along with their Completed Exposures percentage (i.e. how many requests they've returned certificates for)
    • Click the + symbol next to a Customer Number to open an expanded view of the Exposure Zone(s) that your customer is responsible for, their Exempt Reason, and the Status of your campaign request to them. Status indicates which round a request was sent in for each exposure zone.
    • Hover over sections of the pie chart to display the specific number of customers represented by that section of the chart. The pie chart displays the following statuses:
      • Pending Validation: We've received a certificate from your customer included in the campaign, but it is currently in data entry awaiting validation.
      • Valid Document in Round ‘x’: A valid document was received from your customer in a given round.
      • Invalid Document in Round ‘x’: An invalid document was received from your customer in a given round.
    • Campaign data updates every time a new certificate is received via the web portal or uploaded in data entry.
  5. To manually add or remove customers from future campaign rounds, click the checkbox next to their customer number before that round is sent. Then click Save Campaign Changes.

Request using the web portal

Make it easier for your customers to fill out compliance forms - add web portal access to your campaign.

Send a document request to a customer and invite the customer to use the web portal to create a new document. The web portal fills in parts of the form with your customer's information so that there's less chance that they'll make a mistake in creating a document. Your customer verifies the information, adds additional information, and then sends the certificate to you.

The following steps demonstrate what a customer will see when using the web portal. After you complete the steps above to send a request to one customer and select Email as the delivery method, your customer will receive an email that looks like the one below.


To complete the form, make sure your customer follows these steps:

  1. Click the link in the email message above to go to the WebPortal and login using the credentials provided.
  2. On the Verify your information Step 1 page, provide contact information on the right pane, and at the the lower left, click Continue.
  3. On the Manage your Certificates Step 2 page, under Exposure Zones List, click Fill Online to fill out the certificate online.
    1. On the Create Your Certificate Step 3 page, select a reason for the exemption and then click Next.
    2. On the Create Your Certificate Step 3 page, fill in the information on the form.
    3. Use your mouse to sign the form, then in the lower left, click Create Certificate. The certificate is automatically sent to CertCapture for processing.
  4. To download, fill out, and then upload the form that you received in the email message from CertCapture, and then follow these steps:
    1. On the Manage your Certificates Step 2 page, under Exposure List, next to any certificate under Options, click Upload PDF.
    2. In the Upload PDF dialog box, clock Browse, and navigate to the certificate form that you received in the email message from CertCapture.
    3. Click Upload Certificate, and then click OK. The certificate is automatically sent to CertCapture for processing.

Cover letters

Customize your communications to your customers by creating certificate request cover letters. These are saved in CertCapture and can be reused or edited for future requests and campaigns.

Create a cover letter template

Create a letter with customizable tags, like a mail merge. Then, use it each time you send out a similar request.  With the release of CertCapture 6.6, some of the template tags used for cover letters are being updated

  1. On the CertCapture Dashboard, click Requests and select Email Templates/Cover Letters.
  2. On the Email Templates/Cover Letters page, click Add Cover Letter.
  3. On the Add New Cover Letter Template page, type 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, type your cover letter, and use the formatting toolbar to add elements to your cover letter. This works like the toolbar of any web-based word processing program such as Microsoft Word web app.
    Use the Paste as Plain Text button to paste in text from Microsoft Word. This will strip out any unusual characters that Microsoft Word might otherwise paste into the cover letter.
  5. Use the Template Tags to the right to dynamically link to data in CertCapture and automatically import that data into your cover letter. To insert any of these in your cover letter, place your cursor where you’d like to insert the tag, and then click the plus sign (+) next to the tag. Or just click and hold the tag while dragging it to the desired location in your cover letter. When you print or email your cover letter, they’ll automatically import the following kinds of data into the cover letter:
    • Customer Data: These tags import details about your customers and begin with CUST or CUSTOMER.
    • Web Portal Data: These tags import data about the CertCapture portal.
    • Date Reference: These tags import data about when you sent a certificate request or expect to receive a certificate.
    • Certificate Data: These tags import details about certificates.
    • Your CertCapture Account: These tags import details from your CertCapture user account and begin with USER.
    • Your Company Data: These tags import details about your company begin with FROM.

      Your company logo is automatically imported into all your cover letters.  You can move, remove or replace this logo as needed.

  6. When you’re finished customizing your cover letter, at the bottom, click any of the following:
    • Update Cover Letter Template to save changes to your cover letter template.
    • Preview to download a copy of the cover letter in portable document format (PDF) so that you can see what it looks like before you print or email it.
    • Reset to reject all changes that you made to your cover letter template during this session so that it will appear just as it did before you began working on it.

Clone a cover letter

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

  1. On the CertCapture toolbar, on the Requests menu, click Cover Letters.
  2. Next to any cover letter, on the right, under Actions, click Preview.
  3. On the Preview Cover Letter Template page, on the right, click Clone Template.
  4. On the Add New Cover Letter Template page, in the Title text box, 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.