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Avalara Help Center

News Flash

News Flash items describe upcoming product changes that could have an impact on your business.

6/4/2020

The News Flash dated 5/20/2020 incorrectly stated that Avalara would be changing the IP routing for sftp.billsoft.com. The correct URL is ftp.billsoft.com. The News Flash has been updated to reflect the correct URL, and we apologize for any confusion.

6/2/2020

A UPR has been released and provides updates for the 2006 release of AvaTax for Communications. The UPR software downloads will be available on the Communications Customer Portal.  An email will be sent containing the updates once the UPR is released.

5/21/2020

The June 2020 monthly update (version AFC 2006.1) is now available. The software downloads can be found on the Communications Customer Portal. AvaTax for Communications Release Notes and Tax Changes are accessible here.
 
The next monthly update for the AFC software is scheduled to be distributed on June 24, 2020.

5/20/2020

The AvaTax for Communications SaaS Standard FTP service will undergo maintenance on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 at 5 p.m. PT/8:00 p.m. ET to -6 p.m. PT/9 p.m ET. You may experience brief periods of service interruption for tax calculations during this window, and we apologize for the inconvenience this may cause your business.

As part of this maintenance release, we will be changing our IP routing for the DNS ftp.billsoft.com. The URL ftp.billsoft.com will remain unchanged. If you have built file transfer automation using IP addresses, please note that is not best practice and you will need to update your configuration to use the URL ftp.billsoft.com. As we continue to strengthen our security procedures, we will be rotating our IP addresses as needed, which will cause a disruption of service if you continue to direct your traffic to a static IP address.

Avalara does not generally have planned downtime and we recognize the potential impact to your business. We have scheduled this at a time intended to minimize impact for customers. You will need to pause any jobs running during this period of time. If you continue to make AvaTax for Communications calls during this maintenance update period, you’ll likely run into errors or potentially lose any saved transactions.

Please contact communicationsupport@avalara.com if you have questions about this. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

5/8/2020

On Thursday, 5/28/2020, the Geo SOAP DNS entries will be updated. This had previously been scheduled for 4/26/2020.

All cached DNS entries will be invalid once this occurs. The Geo SOAP URL, https://ezgeoasp.billsoft.com, will remain unchanged. You will receive 404 status code errors if you continue to cache on this date.

  • The DNS that will become invalid on 5/28 is afcprodgeo-1346930027.us-west-2.elb.amazonaws.com
  • If you are caching, you will need to update the new DNS, which is prd-afc-geo-alb-494602631.us-west-2.elb.amazonaws.com

This does not impact REST Geo API. The DNS for that API will not be changed.

4/29/2020

SaaS Standard FTP maintenance

The AvaTax for Communications SaaS Standard FTP service will undergo maintenance on Tuesday, May 12th at 4 a.m. PT/7:00 a.m. ET to -5 a.m. PT/8 a.m. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause your business.

You may experience brief periods of service interruption for tax calculations during this window. Avalara does not generally have planned downtime and we recognize the potential impact to your business. We have scheduled this at a time intended to minimize impact for customers. You will need to pause any jobs running during this period of time. If you continue to make AvaTax for Communications calls during this maintenance update period, you’ll likely run into errors or potentially lose any saved transactions.

Please contact communicationsupport@avalara.com if you have questions about this.

We appreciate your patience and understanding.

SOAP Reporting update

The ability to generate Explorer reports is now available for AvaTax for Communications SaaS Pro (SOAP) customers. Reporting data is currently being migrated and we expect it to be complete by Thursday, 5/7.  We recommend waiting until then to generate reports to ensure data sets are complete. Reporting data will be available for transactions dated 1/1/2020 and later.

4/13/2020

Reporting updates

The Explorer reporting delays referenced in the 4/8/2020 News Flash have been resolved, and the reporting data is now current.

SOAP API maintenance

The AvaTax for Communications SaaS Pro SOAP service will undergo a scheduled maintenance on Saturday, April 25, 2020 from 5:00 p.m. PT/8:00 p.m. ET to 8:00 p.m. PT/11:00 p.m. ET. This will impact the following services:

  • AvaTax for Communications SaaS Pro SOAP

You may experience brief periods of service interruption for tax calculations and reporting during this maintenance window, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause your business. Avalara doesn’t generally have planned downtime and we recognize the potential impact to your business. We have scheduled this at a time intended to minimize impact for customers. You’ll need to pause any jobs running during this period. If you continue to make AvaTax for Communication calls during this maintenance update period, you’ll likely run into errors or potentially lose any saved transactions. 

Please contact communicationsupport@avalara.com if you have questions about this.

We appreciate your patience and understanding.

4/10/2020

The AvaTax for Communications SaaS Pro Rest service will undergo maintenance, and you may experience brief periods of service interruption during the following times:

  • Sandbox: Friday, 4/10/2020 from 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET to 9:00 p.m. PT/12:00 a.m. ET.
  • Production: Saturday, 4/11/2020 from 7:00 p.m. PT/10:00 p.m. ET to 9:00 p.m. PT/12:00 a.m. ET.

We apologize for the short notice and inconvenience this may cause your business.

Due to a significant increase in traffic related to COVID-19, our systems require maintenance to keep up with such an unforeseen volume of transactions. We’re working to ensure uptime and stability of the platform, and timeliness of data availability for reporting.

You may experience brief periods of service interruption for tax calculations, portal access, and reporting during this maintenance window. Avalara doesn’t generally have planned downtime and we recognize the potential impact to your business. We’ve scheduled this at a time intended to minimize impact for customers. You’ll need to pause any jobs running during this period of time. If you continue to make AvaTax for Communication calls during this maintenance update period, you’ll likely run into errors or potentially lose any saved transactions.

Should you have questions, please contact communicationsupport@avalara.com. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

4/8/2020

Explorer reports are currently experiencing delays due to increased traffic tied to COVID-19. Avalara is actively working on resolving the issue. If you need reports with current data, open a support case. We are planning to apply optimizations on April 15, 2020, and we estimate data should be caught up by April 20,2020.  Please check back for updates. 

4/1/2020

Effective 4/1/2020, the following functionality has been disabled:

  • AvaTax for Communications FTP Server Port 21
  • Geo SaaS Standard

See the News Flash dated 12/16/2019 for more information.

3/25/2020

SOAP Reporting changes

Beginning 4/28/2020, Explorer reports will include data from the SOAP API. This enhancement is also being released to the sandbox environment on 4/6/2020.

Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) changes

Customer Update: Changes in the Federal Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) registration, reporting and remittance requirements, effective July 1, 2020. 1.

Summary: Currently, the cost of providing Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) is being supported by contributors to the TRS fund based only on their interstate telecommunications revenues. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has deemed this current funding mechanism to unfairly burden providers of interstate services. As a result, the rules for the support of IP CTS are being modified so that providers of intrastate voice communications services will be required to contribute to the TRS fund. In addition to current contributors to the TRS fund, intrastate-only telecommunications providers will now be required to contribute to the TRS fund based on intrastate revenues.

AvaTax For Communications (AFC) will monitor these developing rules to ensure that the appropriate rates and rules are applied to implement this new TRS fund contribution mechanism.

What you need to do: Expanding the TRS Fund contribution base to include intrastate revenue for IP CTS will require providers of intrastate telecommunications and VoIP services that are not currently registered with the TRS Fund administrator to register with the administrator. Please consult with your legal advisor to determine what registration requirements may apply to you.

Contributors to the TRS Fund will see two contribution rates, one for IP CTS and another for all other forms of TRS, but there will not be a change to how entities report their revenues on the FCC Form 499-A for purposes of contributing to the TRS Fund.

1. Federal Communications Commission FCC 19-118 Report and Order Released: November 25,2019

2/10/2020

Version 5.35.2 of the Communications Customer Portal includes reporting optimizations, and Explorer reports now generate significantly faster.

1/20/2020

The changes to Geo for Communications HTTP status codes referenced in the 1/9/2020 News Flash have been postponed indefinitely. There are no changes to the HTTP status codes planned at this time.

1/17/2020

Update: This change will now take place on 5/25/2020.

On Sunday, April 26 2020, the Geo SOAP DNS entries will be updated. All cached DNS entries will be invalid once this occurs. The Geo SOAP URL, https://ezgeoasp.billsoft.com, will remain unchanged. You will receive 500 status code errors if you continue to cache on this date.

  • The DNS that will be become invalid on April 26th is afcprodgeo-1346930027.us-west-2.elb.amazonaws.com
  • The DNS that will go live is prd-afc-geo-alb-494602631.us-west-2.elb.amazonaws.com

1/9/2020

The change to HTTP status codes for some Geo for Communications scenarios will be included in the 2001 release on 01/21/2020. The changes are:

  1. For all Geo for Communications endpoints, an HTTP status code of 500 will be returned for all internal system errors. The current HTTP status code for all error messages on https://ezgeoasp.billsoft.com/locatorservice.svc is a 200.
  2. When an invalid address is supplied in a SOAP call to the https://ezgeoasp.billsoft.com/locatorservice.svc/2.0 endpoint, a 4xx class HTTP status code will be returned.  Currently, this returns a 500 HTTP status code. 

In both cases, the error message text will remained unchanged.  Only the HTTP status code will be impacted.

1/7/2020

A UPR is scheduled to be released the week of January 7, 2020, and provides updates for the 2001 release of Avalara for Communications. The UPR software downloads will be available on the Communications Customer Portal.  An email will be sent containing the updates once the UPR is released.

12/19/2019

Avalara has changed the AFC SaaS Pro REST data retention policy.  Self-serve reporting options for uncommitted transactions are no longer provided indefinitely. Self-serve reporting data for uncommitted transactions is now retained for 60 days. If you need reporting for uncommitted transaction data after 60 days, you will need to submit a support ticket to communicationsupport@avalara.com. There are no changes to the retention policy for committed transactions.

12/16/2019

Beginning March 31, 2020, the AvaTax for Communications FTP Server Port 21 will be disabled and no longer used for transmitting data. Any attempt to use Port 21 will fail, and all transmissions will need to use the encrypted HTTPS or SFTP ports. This will impact any customers using ftp.billsoft.com with the legacy insecure FTP protocol. See this page for additional details.

Geo SaaS Standard will be disabled on March 31, 2020. This will impact customers who utilize the Geo SaaS Standard process of determining jurisdiction information via batch files uploaded to the AFC Geo FTP server. All customers using Geo SaaS Standard will need to switch to the new Geo Batch API endpoints on or before 3/31/2020. The following REST v2 Geo Batch API endpoints have been added to replace Geo SaaS Standard functionality:

  • Upload (POST): /api/v2/geo/batch/Upload - upload an address or latitude/longitude CSV file for geolocation processing.  Returns a Process Id to be used in the Status and Log endpoints
  • Status (GET): /api/v2/geo/batch/Status/{id} - check the status of the Process Id provided.  Get the links for the input and output file downloads
  • Log (GET): /api/v2/geo/batch/log/{id} - view the process log details for the provided Process Id

10/22/2019

Starting on November 20, 2019, if an invalid PCode is supplied in a SOAP transaction which would make tax determination impossible, an HTTP status code of 400 will be returned instead of status code 500.  The error message included in the response body will remain unchanged.  The error message is PCode not found.

This only impacts the following endpoints:


Production

Sandbox

10/8/2019

The 2002 release of Geo for Communications on 02/15/2020 will include changes to the HTTP status codes returned in some scenarios:

  1. For all Geo for Communications endpoints, an HTTP status code of 500 will be returned for all internal system errors. The current HTTP status code for all error messages on https://ezgeoasp.billsoft.com/locatorservice.svc is a 200.
  2. When an invalid address is supplied in a SOAP call to the https://ezgeoasp.billsoft.com/locatorservice.svc/2.0 endpoint, a 4xx class HTTP status code will be returned.  Currently, this returns a 500 HTTP status code. 

In both cases, the error message text will remained unchanged.  Only the HTTP status code will be impacted.

9/30/2019

A UPR is scheduled to be released the week of October 3, 2019, and provides updates for the 1910 release of Avalara for Communications. The UPR software downloads will be available on the Communications Customer Portal.  An email will be sent containing the updates once the UPR is released.

8/14/2019

The 1908 release of Geo for Communications is now available.  Jurisdiction updates are included in this release. For information about the changes in the upcoming release, see the Release Notes.

Geo for Communications  User Guides are now available online.

7/30/2019

Beginning with the AvaTax for Communications 1908.1 release, the following Transaction/Service Pairs are no longer available for use:

1/26, 1/28, 2/26, 2/28, 3/44, 7/23, 7/88, 12/6, 12/19, 13/26 and 14/25

7/25/2019

General Announcements

  • Beginning with the AvaTax for Communications 1908.1 release, Win32  users can once again use the software downloads available from regular download channels because backward compatibility with Windows 2003 Server has been restored.
  • Beginning January 31, 2020, the AvaTax for Communications FTP Server Port 21 will be disabled and no longer used for transmitting data. Any attempt to use Port 21 will fail. From now on, all transmissions must use the encrypted HTTPS or SFTP ports.
  • Effective August 31, 2019, data will no longer be sent to the legacy reporting system.
  • Legacy reporting will be deprecated on September 30, 2019.

System Maintenance

  • System maintenance is planned for July 27, 2019, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. EST,  which could affect Avalara AvaTax for Communications SaaS Pro (REST) sandbox customers. You could experience intermittent latency or errors. Please plan accordingly during this timeframe.
  • System maintenance is planned for Aug 10, 2019, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. EST, which could affect Avalara AvaTax for Communications SaaS Pro (REST) production customers. You could experience intermittent latency or errors.  Please plan accordingly during this timeframe.

7/1/2019

A UPR is scheduled to be released the week of July 1, 2019, and provides updates for the 1907 release of AvaTax for Communications. The UPR software downloads will be available on the Communications Customer Portal Downloads Page.  An email will be sent containing the updates when the UPR is released.

6/24/2019

The version 5.30 release of Version 5.29 of Communications Customer Portal and Avalara AvaTax for Communications SaaS Pro (REST) is scheduled for June 25, 2019.  For more information, see the Release Notes.

6/10/2019

A UPR is scheduled to be released the week of June 10, 2019, and provides updates for the 1906 release of Avalara for Communications. The UPR software downloads will be available on the Communications Customer Portal.  An email will be sent containing the updates once the UPR is released.

6/7/2019

AvaTax for Communications Portal - Explorer Reporting will be available with the 5.30 release.  Explorer will only be available for REST customers.  Check back soon for more details!

SOAP customers - continue to submit your reporting requests through communicationsupport@avalara.com.

5/23/2019

Avalara for Communications documentation is now available online.  The PDF documents are no longer be available in the 1906.1 release (May 23, 2019).

See Avalara for Communications Documentation for more information.

5/21/2019

The 1905 release of Geo for Communications is now available.  Jurisdiction updates are included in this release. For information about the changes in the upcoming release, see the Release Notes.

Geo for Communications  User Guides are now available online.

5/7/2019

Version 5.29 of Communications Customer Portal and Avalara AvaTax for Communications SaaS Pro (REST) is now available.  For information about the changes in the 5.29 release, see the release notes.

3/12/2019

The next release of Geo for Communications is scheduled for March 12, 2019. Jurisdiction updates will be made available at that time. For information about the changes in the upcoming release, see the Release Notes.

2/22/2019

Avalara AvaTax for Communications SaaS Pro (SOAP) entering into maintenance mode

Effective March 1, 2019, Avalara AvaTax for Communications SaaS Pro (SOAP) will enter into software maintenance mode.  No new versions are planned after March 1, and the current version won't be enhanced.  Tax rates and tax logic updates will continue to be updated as normal. 

New functionality and updates will continue to be added to Avalara AvaTax for Communications SaaS Pro (REST) v2.

1/25/2019

Unencrypted web traffic to SOAP Servers to be discontinued

Effective February 11, 2019, unencrypted web traffic to the Avalara AvaTax for Communications SaaS Pro (SOAP) servers will not be allowed. Existing, encrypted traffic will not be affected. 

In preparation for this event, make sure that your application is referencing the Avalara AvaTax for Communications SaaS Pro (SOAP) server endpoints that begin with https (not http).  Additionally, your development environment should use the https version of the WSDL.

Use these encrypted endpoints:

https://eztaxasp.billsoft.com/eztaxwebservice/eztaxwebservice.svc
https://eztaxasp.billsoft.com/eztaxwebservice/eztaxwebservicesausaleattributesexplicit.svc

12/21/2018

Possible updated release (UPR) files in January 2019

Avalara typically receives tax changes after the scheduled release in December that become effective on January 1.
In the event of late-breaking tax changes, Avalara will provide you with updated release (UPR) files. 

11/20/2018

Support ending for WS binding for Avalara for Communications Pro SOAP

Beginning February 4, 2019, Avalara is no longer supporting the WS binding for AFC Pro SOAP because of security concerns around using the unencrypted HTTP protocol. This change will enable Avalara to provide quality support for common alternative bindings.