Skip to main content
Avalara Help Center

Avalara Returns Excise Software Terms

This article applies to:Excise

This document applies to all license types.  Content last updated 11/30/2015.
Help Center documentation is confidential and proprietary to Avalara clients.

Some terms and brief definitions to help you identify operations in Avalara Returns Excise.  


A return that amends the original tax filing.  Each amendment has an associated sequence, which is created after the previous one is marked as 'Filed'.  An amended sequence will have a value higher than zero.

Business Account

Type of business associated with a Business Entity: buyer, carrier, consignor, position holder or seller.  It contains ownership specific licensing information for the parent entry of Business Entity.  One Business Entity can have multiple Business Accounts.

Business Entity

Another company with whom your company does business.  The information is stored in a table that is common to all users within the same master Company Entity.  

Business Profile

Instructions to the software to adjust the default taxation based on conditions.

Calculation View

Used for amended returns to indicate whether only the current amended return values are included, or a full replacement of return values across all header sequences should be included.

Common Codes

Company Zero data table that provides values for dropdown lists and application functions.


The Company table holds the required information about your business.

  • Business, legal and trade names
  • ID Type - FEIN or Social Security Number, etc.
  • Main contact person
  • Physical and mailing addresses
  • Account information for jurisdictions and taxpayer types

Company Zero

Company Zero contains data built into the software. It is system defined and can only be changed via software release.  End users may not change Company Zero settings, though the software does allow for overriding some of its values with custom settings.  A few examples are:

  • Tax Rates
  • Products
  • Countries
  • Jurisdictions
  • Terminal locations

Context Menu

Allows operations to be performed on a record in the data grid.  Context menus are accessed with a mouse click on the data row in the grid display.  Options showing as grayed out are not available to the current user. 

Data File Import

The process of importing a formatted list of invoices or data records into Schedule Transactions.

Dual List Box

Allows for more than one item selection at a time.  A radio button on the box is selected to help filter the selection view, and the choices are moved from the left to right frame of the box.

Filing Period

The tax month and tax year for which a return is filed.  The Filing Period is a part of the Session.  It also can contain more than one Sequence.


Stands for Federation of Tax Administrators, a uniformity committee that promotes consistency in fuel tax reporting.

Grid Display

Lined grids are used to display data lists throughout the application.  Grid displays provide the ability to sort, filter and export data. 


An area subject to its own distinct tax regulations, such as state, city, county, municipality, etc.


A destination or origin.  There are two types of locations: Terminal or non-terminal.

Manual Entry

Entering records individually via the Schedule Transaction Update screen.

Product Code

Tax jurisdictions apply a unique code to each fuel product reported.  For example, gasoline is commonly given the product code 065, but this can vary between tax jurisdictions.  

Product Type or Category

A product type can include more than one product code.  For example, if the same taxes apply to gasoline as to gasohol, those 2 distinct product codes can share one product type.  Assigning the product type allows more than one product code to report on the same line on a tax return.

Query Wizard

A built in reporting utility that uses menu selections to build SQL queries of schedule transactions.


The prepared form used to calculate taxes.  Tax returns are specific to and typically supplied by the filing jurisdiction.


A release is a software update.  Each release has its own version number.  For SaaS clients, the update is applied automatically to the software.


User permission assigned to a list of application screens.  There are three types of role:

  • Edit
  • View
  • No Access


A unique combination of Transaction Type, Title Transfer Code, Origin Country/State, Destination Country/State, and product category.

Schedule Transactions

The data records imported or manually entered in a Session.


The original tax return for a session will have a sequence number of 0 and all subsequent amended returns for the original will have a sequence number one higher than the previously completed return.  The first amendment is Sequence 1, the second is Sequence 2, etc. 


Tax returns in this application are filed by session. All return data is organized by session (also called Filing Session or Tax Session).  A session is a unique combination of:

  • Company
  • Jurisdictions
  • Taxpayer Type and/or Terminal
  • Filing Period 
  • Year
  • Sequence (there may be multiple sequences in a session) 

Software License Type

Your license type is determined when you sign your contract with Avalara, and a key is issued accordingly.  The license key determines what options you will have in the software. The license types for Avalara Returns are:

  • Enterprise
  • Express
  • Pro
  • Self-hosted (deployed)

Taxpayer Type

The table in which the tax filing choices for each jurisdiction’s taxpayer type are saved.  

Transaction Validation

Provides information on critical errors, warnings, and informational messages for Schedule Transactions for a tax session.  Clicking on a record in the Validation Results will open the Schedule Transaction Update screen to allow data correction.

ZZ Schedule Transactions

Data records lacking the information to determine what Schedule should be assigned on import.  They can also be records intentionally entered that contain information specific to the tax filing.  ZZ Schedules Transactions are not reported on a return or eFile.

  • Was this article helpful?