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Avalara Help Center

News Flash

 

 

 

This document applies to all license types.  
Help Center documentation is confidential and proprietary to Avalara clients.

This page contains announcements and late-breaking releases.  Click here for scheduled releases and highlights.

02/28/2018 ExSTARS New Product Codes

On Friday, January 26, 2018, the IRS sent an "ExSTARS UPDATES" email. One of the updates was the addition of 3 new Product Codes, 061, 301 and 302. Avalara Returns Excise customer can add these as described at Product Codes on this Help Center. Use this information to add the codes.

Country Jurisdiction Product Code Product Category Description Effective Date
USA US 061 16-Other Products Natural Gasoline 1/1/2018
USA US 301 16-Other Products Conventional Gasoline Blending Component (CBOB) 1/1/2018
USA US 302 16-Other Products Reformulated Blendstock for Oxygenate Blending (RBOB) 1/1/2018

Here's a filtered view of the result.

Add_Product_Code_ExSTARS_Blending.png

02/22/2018  Texas EDI Create Settings

The recent update included a new eFile version Texas EDI Version 4010 v3 to match the state's recent changes. The first time you create an eFile using a new eFile version, compare your Settings tab to the previous month. To do this:

  • Go to eFiling > eFile Submissions and click on the previous month's eFile.
  • Click the History Log and look for last month's eFile Settings; you may need to go to page 2.

TX eFile Submission History Log2.png

  • Copy the values in the red box (e.g. GS02GS02) to a temporary file.

When you create your new eFile in eFiling > eFile Creation, click on the Setttings tab and copy/paste the values from the previous month, if they are not correct.

Tips:

  • Make sure the Test/Production Indicator is set to Production.
  • Do Not change the Control Seed Number.

SnagIt1021.jpg

2/19/2018  Texas returns with new revisions (updated from 2/9/2018)

Since the News Flash from 2/9/2018, additional testing with TX has shown that the update they provided on 1/31/2018 required additional changes.  

Since then:

  • Georgia provided a password-protected eFilie template with  the correct rates (released in 5.31.22).  
  • Massachusetts updated their template for eFiling UST on 2/16/2018.

The anticipated release date is 2/21/2018.   


2/19/2018  Washington eFile Transmission Failures

UPDATE: Resolved 2/22/2018

Transmission to the state of WA is returning a Service Fault authentication failure.  The state made an authentication change, and we are working with them to get it resolved.  We will post an update here when the transmission is working again. 

2/15/2018  Georgia Distributor Motor Fuel eFile spreadsheet

UPDATE 2/16/2018  -- The fix has been applied to SaaS.  Deployed clients will be able to download the fix by end of day.

Georgia updated their rates effective Jan. 1, 2018.  We added the new rates and they are being used on the paper return.  However, the password-protected spreadsheet provided by Georgia for efiling still contains the old rates.  We will add the new spreadsheet in version 5.31.22, which is targeted for release on 2/16/2018.

The affected eFiles are:

  • DSTMF - Distributor Motor Fuel
  • DSTSF - Distributor Special Fuel
  • DSTLP - Distributor Liquid Petroleum
  • DSTAF - Distributor Aviation Fuel



2/9/2018  Texas returns with new revisions 

The following changes will be included in update 5.31.23 on or before 2/20/2018.  The actual release date is dependent on completion of testing.

 

Texas will implement the following changes:

  •  Changes apply to returns effective January 2018. 
  • The state increased the field length of the shipping document number (Bill of Lading number) from the current 9 characters to 20.  
    • The Avalara Returns Excise field character limit for Bill of Lading is 18 characters. 
      • Bill of Lading field length in Avalara Returns Excise will not be increased at this time, due to potential effect on other state eFiles / schedule validation.
      • Schedule validation checks on maximum length restrictions will be removed.
  • Add new MF-190 schedule (Gallons Subsequently Sold Texas Tax-Free Prior to Export).
  • The following returns are affected:

     
    • Supplier Diesel (SPLD)
    • Supplier Gasoline (SPLG)
    • Permissive Supplier Diesel (SPLPD)
    • Permissive Supplier Gasoline (SPLPG)
    • Distributor Diesel (DSTD)
    • Distributor Gasoline (DSTG)
    • Exporter Diesel (EXPD)
    • Exporter Gasoline (EXPG)
    • Importer Diesel (IMPD)
    • Importer Gasoline (IMPG) 

NOTE: eFile formatting is effective for all returns filed after February 2018, including amended returns for tax periods prior to 2018. 

  • Any reports filed after 4:30 pm CST on Friday, 2/9/2018 must be in the new format. 
  • Any files not meeting the new requirements will fail.
  • For returns effective prior to 2018 the new summary value for "gallons sold tax free prior to export" will be formatted, however, the values will be zero.
  • Check the Release Highlights for the most current information.

UPDATE - 2/1/2018 Massachusetts Underground Storage Tank Report

The state made additional template changes, and they have approved our test files.  The changes will be released in 5.31.20 today, 2/1/2018.

1/30/2018 - Massachusetts recently revised their Monthly Delivery Fee Report, effective January 1, 2018. We made corresponding changes yet customers are reporting that the state's website does not calculate matching values after uploading the eFile. 

We have been working with the State of Massachusetts Department of Revenue to verify those changes. At this time, 

  • We suggest that you contact the state and request an extension. 
  • We have changes included in tomorrow's release that we believe will resolve this issue.
  • We submitted a test file to the state from what will be tomorrow's release. 
  • Confirmation of our test files from the state are still pending. 

We apologize for this inconvenience. 

1/19/2018 Florida SCETS tax rate effective on 1/1/2018

Issue

Florida's State Comprehensive Enhanced Transportation Systems (SCETS) tax rate is not correct for 2018.

Actions

If you are not familiar with adding rates, click here.

  1. Login to the Avalara Excise Platform https://excise.avalara.net/
  2. Click Maintenance > Rates.
  3. Click the filter icon in the upper right of the display grid
  4. Add the following filters:

    Column

    Entry

    Operator

    Jurisdiction

    FL

    Equal

    Obsolete Date

    no entry

    Is Null

    Description

    Florida Local Option Tax Ineligible For Allowance

    Equal

  5. You should see just one row, with a rate of 0.074
    Florida Local Option Tax Ineligible For Allowance.png
  6. Click the row and then click the Copy tab on the new popup window.
  7. Change the Effective Date to 1/1/2018.
  8. Change the Tax Rate to 0.076
  9. Click the Insert button.
    • Clear the Obsolete Date filter to view the new rate grid row.
      Florida Local Option Tax Ineligible For Allowance Updated.png

This rate will be included in these upcoming releases:

  • 2018.01.25-53.3.20 Avalara Excise Content Preview on 1/25/2018
  • 5.31.20 Avalara Excise Platform Release 1/2/2018

Statement Regarding Spectre / Meltdown Vulnerabilities


Avalara is monitoring recently published vulnerabilities, widely known as Meltdown and Spectre. The flaws are found in most computer processors and have a near-ubiquitous impact on technology systems and industries.

The engineering teams at Avalara are actively monitoring and implementing remediation steps for any at-risk services. We have prioritized addressing these issues to ensure the safety of our customer’s data and the performance of our systems. Certain preventative measures may require brief, planned maintenance, which will be communicated through the usual channels.

1/4/2018  AvaTax Excise Georgia prepaid sales taxes effective 1-Jan-2018

This only affected AvaTax Excise from approximately 9:30 pm Central time last night until approximately 2:35 pm today.

If you see an orange tab in the upper right corner after logging in that says, “AvaTax Excise”, continue reading. If not, you can ignore this message.

Last night’s 5.31.10  release, included a change to the Georgia prepaid sales taxes at the State, County and City levels to make them activation based rather than automatically  active. Upon review, the change should have only affected the state level taxes and not the county and city taxes.

We apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your patience. 

SaaS (cloud) Customers

This was corrected for you at approximately 2:35 pm Central time today.

Self-hosted Customers Only

You can download the scripts and instructions from the Avalara Excise Support Center (login required). If you cannot apply SQL scripts as quickly as you can make profile changes, we have posted instructions that you can use to manually correct this --click here for the steps. If you need help with these steps, open a case with Avalara Excise Support and we will help be happy to you.

1/1/2018  Important information regarding rate changes effective

State Changes

  • Due to the Christmas holiday, the 2017.12.21-5.31.10 Avalara Excise Platform Content Preview was a few days earlier than usual.
  • These rate changes were published late enough that they did not get included in the Content Preview:
    • 1/2/2018 12:15 pm Central update: Illinois Prepaid Sales Tax – Biodiesel Blends 1-10% tax rate changed to 0.11 from 0.1 effective 1/1/2018.
    • Indiana Gasoline Use Tax Rate changes to .136 CPG
    • Nebraska Motor Fuel Tax Rate changes to .284 CPG
    • Vermont MFITA Tax Rate changes to .0422 CPG
    • New Jersey Sales Tax Rate changes to 6.625%
  • The above changes will be applied to our SaaS (cloud-based) servers on the evening of Wednesday, January 3, 2018 as part of the 5.31.10 release. Self-hosted customers can download this update that same evening.

Federal Oil Spill Fee expiration

  • The Federal Oil Spill Fee is set to expire on 12/31/2017
  • While a bill was introduced in Congress on 12/20/2017 to extend the fee until 12/31/2018, they did not pass the bill before their holiday recess.
  • Avalara set this fee to zero (0) effective 1/1/2018, in accordance with the law that will be in effect at that time.
  • Customers who expect that Congress will pass the bill in January and make the fee retroactive to 1/1/2018 may want to override the Avalara supplied rate.

Actions

  • AvaTax Excise customers may want to override the Avalara supplied rates from 1/1/2018 to 1/4/2018 (SaaS) or until they can apply the 5.31.10 Platform Release (self-hosted).
  • Returns Excise customers who can wait for the 5.31.0 release will not need to do this.
  • To learn how to override the above rates go to the Avalara Excise Help Center under Documentation > Maintenance > Rates.

12/21/2017  Content Preview - Self-hosted customers

Self-hosted customers must be running version 5.31.0 prior to applying the 2017.12.21-5.31.10 Avalara Excise Platform Content Preview released today, December 21, 2017.  If you attempt to apply the content preview on a servers running a version less than 5.31.0, the setup will fail due to new columns being added to the unit_of_measure_conversions table.  

This does not affect our SaaS customers who access Production services at https://excise.avalara.net or User Acceptance (test) services at https://exciseua.avalara.net.

Nebraska eFile Format

Any eFiles submitted to Nebraska having spaces or special characters in the file name will be rejected as a format problem.  Use only the naming convention supplied by the state in their instructions. 

Examples:

  • K 009333333.edi
  • K009333333(1).edi 

Tip: When you download your eFile from Avalara a second time, your PC will automatically add (1) if you choose not to overwrite the original file. 

11/30/2017  AvaTax Excise Optimizing System Performance

Applies to AvaTax Excise clients only.  Click here to view the configuration changes.

11/8/2017  Support Case Requirements

A new document is added to help the Support team resolve your case faster by listing specific required information.  All users, please review it.  Either click here or navigate from the home page of Avalara Help Center using the side bar Shortcut link.
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9/15/2017  Louisiana Motor Fuel Delivery Fee Report (LA UST / LA UST2)

In 5.30.0 the Louisiana UST2 return was added as a replacement to the Louisiana UST return.  Based on issues that customers have had with this return, the obsolete date for the Louisiana UST return is being changed from 6/30/2017 to 12/31/2017 in the 5.30.1 release.  The 5.30.1 release will be provided on or before 9/18/2017 - prior to the due date of 9/25/2017.  This will allow customers to immediately use the existing Louisiana UST form for filing tax sessions through 12/31/2017.  In addition a change to the schedule type for schedules in the Louisiana UST2 form will be included in the 5.30.1 release.  A future change in 5.30.10 will provide additional schedule validation messages for the required locations (this change is not required to use the LOUISIANA UST2 form at this time).

Click here for further details about filing.

 

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