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Avalara Help Center

eFile Basics

This article applies to:Excise


This document applies to all license types.  Content last updated 4/12/2018.
Help Center documentation is confidential and proprietary to Avalara clients.

► A WalkMe tutorial is available for this topic.

Many, but not all, jurisdictions require an an electronic file or eFile instead of or in addition to a paper return. Avalara Returns Excise will create your eFile when you follow these steps. A few jurisdictions are prepared to accept direct transmission of your eFile from our software. Most have their own method for you to send your eFile.

Create a new eFile

  1. Click eFiling > eFile Creation.
  2. Click Add New Record on the eFiles tab.
  3. Confirm or select the Country, Jurisdiction and the ending date of the Taxpayer Session.
  4. The eFile Version will be automatically selected to the correct one based on the Country, Jurisdiction and Taxpayer Session.
  5. A new filing is always set to E-Filing Option: Original. If you are creating an eFile for an amended session, see Amend a Tax Filing.
  6. On the Tax Sessions tab, check mark the Taxpayer Types box to include all types, or check them individually.  The Form Status must say Passed.
  7. If changes were made to your schedule data, and a new return not generated, you see a Warning.  Changes made without generating a new return will not be in the eFile until you regenerate the return.
  8. Click the Settings tab to verify the Contacts and the Test/Production Indicator are correct.  ​The Control Seed Number is auto-generated by the software.  
    • Contacts appear in the dropdown when they are added under Maintenance > Taxpayer Contacts.
    • Do not manually change the Control Seed Number unless specifically instructed by your tax jurisdiction or Avalara Customer Support. 
    • There may be other required fields on this tab, like Sender Code or Security Information.  These are obtained from your tax jurisdiction.
  9. Click Generate.
  10. When the file has successfully completed, you will see Passed in the Status column.
  11. Save your eFile - click the row and then click Download from the Tax Sessions tab.

Send your eFile to the Jurisdiction

  1. Go to eFiling > eFile Creation and click the row of the eFile you want to send.
  2. If the third button says Mark as Submitted:
    • If you haven't already, save the file using the Download button. 
    • Follow the jurisdiction's instructions to send in your eFile.
    • Some jurisdictions require a specific file name. Be sure to ask about file name requirements when getting the jurisdiction's instructions.
  3. If the third button says Transmit,
    • The jurisdiction is prepared to accept direct transmission from our software.
    • See eFile Transmit Option for eFile transmission instructions.

Mark eFiles as Submitted

Protect your eFile with Mark as Submitted - it prevents accidental overwrites when creating eFiles.

  1. Click eFiling > eFile Creation.
  2. Click the grid row for the file you want to mark as submitted.
  3. Click Mark as Submitted.
    Note: Jurisdictions where you can use the Transmit button automatically do the Mark As Submitted function for you.
  4. The file will now be shown in the eFiling > eFile Submissions menu and no longer in the eFiling > eFile Creation menu.

Other eFile tasks

Recreating an existing eFile

A tax session that is marked as filed needs to be un-filed before creating an eFile. See File and Unfile a Tax Return for details.

  1. There are instances when you might make changes to your tax return after the eFile has been created.
  2. The existing file will be overwritten.  The software keeps only the latest eFile generated.
  3. You may get a warning Tax Return should be regenerated due to recent data change.  You can still recreate the eFile, but it is recommended you generate a new return first.
  4. You will see a warning that Taxpayer Type is already associated with an existing eFile.  Selecting this Taxpayer Type will destroy the prior file.
  5. If you want to keep the existing file, you can download it to your computer before generating a new one.  If the eFile that is incorrect and not yet submitted to the tax jurisdiction, it is typically OK to overwrite it.  
    • You can also mark the file as submitted, as outlined below, to keep it from being overwritten.  Usually only the file that is actually sent to the tax jurisdiction is saved in the submitted files, and not incomplete files.
  6. Click Generate to create a new file.

View the eFile

  1. Click the Viewer tab to see the file.  The example below is in EDI format.  Excel and encrypted XML files will not display in the viewer.  You must download them to view.
    Note: To prevent errors, if you open eFiles in another program, be sure to close it without saving changes.
  2. If your jurisdiction accepts direct transmission of the eFile from Avalara Excise Returns, you will see a Transmit button on the Tax Sessions tab.  Click here for eFile transmission setup instructions.
  3. Transmitting the file moves it from  eFiling > eFile Creation menu to eFiling > eFile Submissions.
  4. To view the submitted file, click eFiling > eFile Submissions and click on the grid row.

eFile formats

There are 5 types of eFiles created in Returns Excise:

  • CSV -  Comma Separated Value
  • EDI - Electronic Data Interchange
  • EXCEL - Microsoft Excel compatible file
  • TEXT - Plain text document
  • XML - Extensible Markup Language

Returns Excise will create the eFile in the correct format. You can also view the format created in an Express View report.

  1. Click Reporting > Express View from the main menu.
  2. Select eFile Version Taxpayer Returns and Types for the Data Source.
  3. Select Company if you are licensed for more than one.
  4. Click Execute.
  5. Use the grid options to hide columns, group, sort or filter the results.
    Tip: You'll probably want to filter by Country > Jurisdiction > Taxpayer_Type (or Taxpayer_Return_Code) and Taxpayer_Return_Effective_Date

The Taxpayer Return Frequency Type abbreviations are:

A - Annually

B - Mid-Year Annually

D - Variable Calendar Month

F - Bi-Monthly: First Half

L - Bi-Monthly: Last Half

M - Monthly

N - March to February Annually

O - On Demand

P - Annual October to September

Q - Quarterly

U - Custom Quarterly

V - On-Demand, Variable Length

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