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Avalara Help Center

Avalara Returns - Frequently Asked Questions

This article applies to:Avalara Returns

Here are the answers to some of our frequently asked questions about Returns.

What is the Returns monthly timeline?

1st—5th: The online sales tax liability worksheet is automatically generated for the previous month, summarizing all committed transactions for each state or province and displaying return level liabilities for each jurisdiction. If you are participating in Streamlined Sales Tax (SST), then the sales tax liability worksheet will also summarize the transactions for the SST states.

  • The top row for each state summarizes your total sales, your exempt transactions, your taxable sales, and your tax liability for that state.
  • Expanding a particular state’s row will display information about each jurisdictional return on your filing calendar for that state.

5th—10th:  Customer reconciliation and approval: Compare and reconcile the sales tax liability worksheet to your accounting application’s sales/sales tax reporting. The liability worksheet is locked on the 10th at 5 pm Pacific time, after which financial amounts are no longer available for adjustment.

  • The prior payment, pre-payment, vendor discount, and other adjustment fields are hyperlinked to display the return payment and discount detail edit window in which you can record prior payments, prepayments, or consumer use tax amounts that need to be included in the returns calculation.
  • When you have confirmed that the returns for a state on the liability worksheet are correct, you then set the Filing Status menu to Approved and click Save near the bottom of the Liability Worksheet. This action locks all of that state’s transactions. States not flagged as Approved are set to a status of Pending on Behalf. Avalara processes all states with a status of Pending Filing or Approved on Behalf.

11th—14th The tax liabilities are funded based on the tax liability funding option selected on the returns Funding Power of Attorney (POA) form.

11th—20th  Returns processing occurs during these days for the majority of returns due. Avalara prepares, submits, forwards the returns and remits the funds to the applicable states. Note that some filing due dates extend to the last day of the month.

25th—28th  The Returns service fees will be invoiced and posted to the Admin Console for customer viewing.

During the first week following the month that the tax filings are prepared,  you can view confirmations on the Tax Returns tab by clicking Filing Archive.

 What are my first time filing dates?

Returns Timeline.png 

How do I change my filing frequency?

To change your filing frequency, edit your filing calendar prior to the end of the shortest filing period involved.

  • Change from Quarterly to Monthly: If you need to start filing monthly effective Q3, the changes must be made to your filing calendar prior to July 31
  • Change from Annually to Quarterly: If you need to start filing annually effective Q2, the change must be made to your filing calendar prior to the end of Q1
  • Change from Monthly to Quarterly: If you need to start filing quarterly, the change must be made to your filing calendar prior to the end of the the last month you are filing monthly

How do I get my liability worksheet unlocked?

Your liability worksheet locks automatically at 5pm PST on the 10th of every month. If you need to add or modify transactions after that time, you must request that your liability worksheet approval be revoked by contacting Avalara Support.

This request will be considered as long as filing hasn't been initiated by our Compliance team. If approved, there is a fee associated with this request. The fee varies and will be communicated by the compliance team after reviewing your request, but prior to execution.

If you know before the 10th that you will need more time to finalize your liability worksheet, you can contact Avalara Support to request an extension. There is also a fee associated with this request, though generally lower than when re-opening an already locked liability worksheet.

How do I rebuild my liability worksheet?

You can rebuild your liability worksheet any time up until 5pm PST on the 10th of the month. If you've made additions or edits to your transactions and want to see those changes reflected in the liability worksheet, follow these steps to rebuild it. Rebuilding may take 30-60 minutes depending on how many transactions there are to process.

  1. In the Admin Console, go to Tax Returns > Liability Worksheet.
    Tax Returns-LWS.PNG
  2. Click Please Select Jurisdictions for Rebuilding and select the states/jurisdictions you want to rebuild.
  3. Click Rebuild Worksheet.

Once the rebuild process is completed, your updates are reflected in the liability worksheet.

Do I have to approve my liability worksheet?

While we recommend approving your liability worksheet, it is not required. Avalara approves the liability worksheet on your behalf if it has not been approved by 5pm PST on the 10th of the month.

All jurisdictions that you have selected nexus for in the Admin Console, or where you've had sales occur, appear in the liability worksheet and are available for approval. We automatically approve any state/country that is not approved by the end of the day on the 10th, but we only file returns where they are scheduled as per your filing calendar.

What are the icons/symbols on the liability worksheet?

The symbol before the form column name in the liability worksheetHoverTT.png indicates how frequently that form is filed per an agreement during registration with the state or jurisdiction. Additionally:

  • A yellow yield sign caution.png indicates that nexus has been turned on, but no registration information has been provided, so Avalara cannot file the return(s).
  • A green checkmark green checkmark.png means you have registered nexus jurisdictions in this state.
  • A SST icon sst.pngmeans this is an SST state.

What is the difference between SST and Returns states?

SST states are those states participating in the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP)HoverTT.png. A current list of SST states can be found at http://www.streamlinedsalestax.org/.

Returns states are all the states and territories that are non-SST states.

Why are non-nexus states appearing on my liability worksheet?

Your liability worksheet displays states/jurisdictions for all transactions within that period regardless of nexus settings. AvaTax includes all states where transactions occur because some returns require reporting of gross company sales not just the gross sales for the jurisdiction.

  • For those states where nexus is enabled and the jurisdiction is included on the filing calendar, the total sales, including liabilities, are displayed.
  • For states where nexus is not enabled, only the total gross sales in those locations are displayed.

Why does my liability worksheet say processing in orange?

Processing means that your liability worksheet is rebuilding. It does this automatically 4 times a day or when you initiate the rebuild yourself. Rebuilding may take 30-60 minutes depending on how many transactions there are to process. Around the 10th of the month, when many companies are all processing their liability worksheets at the same time, processing may take even longer. However, if the "processing" appears stuck you can restart the rebuild to resolve it.

  1. In the Admin Console, go to Tax Returns > Liability Worksheet.
    Tax Returns-LWS.PNG
  2. Click Please Select Jurisdictions for Rebuilding and select the states/jurisdictions you want to rebuild.
  3. Click Rebuild Worksheet.

Why don't I see all the transactions I expect in my liability worksheet?

If you do not see the correct totals or all the transactions you expect in your liability worksheet, there may be a number of reasons for this.

  • It may be that recent changes you've made have not yet updated in the liability worksheet. You can rebuild the liability worksheet to update it with your recent changes.
  • If there is still a discrepancy, take the time to reconcile the transactions in your Admin Console with the data you are seeing on your liability worksheet. Make any necessary edits or adjustments and rebuild your liability worksheet again.