If you regularly sell to customers who're exempt from tax, you need to store their exemption certificates and consistently exempt their purchases. There's more than one way to exempt customers using Avalara products.
Use the Avalara Exemption Certificate Management System (ECMS)
If you use AvaTax, the Exemption Certificate Management System (ECMS) is a cost-free feature of your account. To exempt a purchase from tax using ECMS, enable ECMS in AvaTax, and then enter information from your buyer's exemption certificate into AvaTax. ECMS stores the information with your customer's AvaTax record, so their future transactions are exempt.
ECMS doesn't store a copy of your buyer's certificate. You need copies of all of your buyers' exemption certificates in case of an audit, so if you use ECMS to exempt buyers from tax, maintain organized records of your customers' exemption certificates.
Use exemption certificate numbers or entity/use codes
An entity/use code is a string of characters that tells AvaTax to exempt a transaction from tax. It's called an entity/use code because it flags a transaction with a reason for exemption, based on the kind of entity that's buying - or how the buyer will use what they purchase. An exemption certificate number is a unique string of numbers found on an exemption certificate.
If you use AvaTax and want to exempt a transaction using an entity/use code, choose a code from available options in your accounting software when processing a transaction. To exempt a transaction using an exemption certificate number, enter the number when processing the transaction. Your accounting software may not support entity/use codes and exemption certificate numbers, so check your accounting software documentation to confirm that it can pass these codes.
Passing an entity/use code or an exemption certificate number exempts a transaction from tax, but it doesn't attach exemption information or store a copy of your buyer's certificate. You need complete records to support tax exemptions in case of an audit. If you exempt transactions from tax with entity/use codes, maintain organized records for all exempt purchases. For a list of available entity/use codes and their taxability by state or matrix, see Exemption Reason Matrices for US and Canada (Entity/Use Code List).
Exempt a customer from sales tax with an exemption certificate number
To exempt a customer from sales tax using AvaTax for Stripe Invoicing, follow these steps:
- Log in to AvaTax for Stripe Invoicing.
- Go to Update Customer and select a customer. In Exemption Code, type the exemption certificate number for this customer.
- Click Update Customer. This customer is now exempt from sales tax.