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AvaTax for Communications acronyms and term definitions

Use this table to find definitions for terminology and acronyms you find when using AvaTax for Communications and Avalara Returns for Communications. 

Term Definition
ARC Access Recovery Charge
AvaTax for Communications Bundler This is for clients who offers bundled services (i.e. phone, internet, TV). It allows clients to group their transactions into a single Transaction/Service type. The individual transactions in a bundle are broken down by a percentage of the entire bundle so AvaTax for Communications can recognize each portion of the bundle and return the proper individual taxes. 
AvaTax for Communications Viewer Desktop version of AvaTax for Communications used to lookup taxes on individual transactions.

If a tax or fee is Billable, the tax or fee will be passed on to the user as a line item on their bill and will be returned from AvaTax for Communications in the .ssf file. If a tax or fee is non-billable, the tax or fee is a compliance only item used for filing and should not be pass on to the user as a separate line item on the user's bill. Non-billable items will be returned from AvaTax for Communications in the .nba file and will not appear in the .ssf file.

Build The monthly update of AvaTax for Communications that includes changes to rates, logic, jurisdictions, etc. as well as other software enhancement or feature additions.

The customer receiving the services of a carrier is recognized as a business client. When this flag is checked in the logic, the customers is identified as a business customer will be taxed at the business rates.

By Merits If a Sales & Use item has attributes attached to a specific Transaction/Service pair, the attribute can be taxed on its own (by merits), or it can follow the taxation rules of the underlying T/S pair.  Setting the By Merits value to Yes or True means that the attribute will be taxed (the underlying T/S pair has no effect on taxation).  Setting the By Merits value to No or False means that the attribute will follow the taxation rules of the underlying product or service.
Calculation Type The method used in calculating the tax of a specific transaction in a specific jurisdiction. Examples include Rate, Per Line, Per Minute and Fixed.
CASF California Advanced Services Fund
CASS Coding Accuracy Support System. A certification system from the United States Postal Service (USPS) for address validation.
CDR Call Detail Record
Centrex Centrex systems have phone lines leading from the business site to the service provider’s location as opposed to an on-site central exchange. The service provider houses the switching equipment and maintains the connecting and directing of calls for their customers.

Competitive Local Exchange Carrier. Companies selling services over lines competing with an Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC).

Company The company within Returns for Communications that tax compliance is being determined for.

Compliance flag indicates that a tax or fee is a tax compliance item. This flag is used for the reporting utilities to generate compliance or billing reports correctly. If a tax is marked as non-compliant, that tax will not be generated on compliance reports. All existing taxes currently in AvaTax for Communications are compliance taxes or fees.

De Minimus Latin for "of minimum importance" or "trifling." Essentially it refers to something or a difference that is so little, small, minuscule, or tiny that the law does not refer to it and will not consider it. In a million dollar deal, a $10 variance is de minimus.  In compliance, this is a threshold below which no tax filing is required.
DoR Department of Revenue
DoT Department of Taxation

The carrier is delivering the service over tangible facilities owned by the company.

FCC Federal Communications Commission
FDOTM First Day Of The Month
FET Federal Excise Tax

Services are being sold pursuant to a franchise agreement between carrier and jurisdiction. If this flag is checked the companies will pay a franchise fee, if they have a franchise agreement.

Frequency Time period for return.  i.e. yearly; quarterly; monthly; bi-weekly; bi-monthly; semi-annually
FUSF Federal Universal Service Fee
Geo for Communications Address scrubbing product. Provides pinpoint jurisdictional information. Returns an AvaTax for Communications Pcode along with a CASS certified address.

Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier. The companies that are selling the service over company owned lines and equipment.


The customer receiving the services of a carrier is recognized as an industrial client. When this flag is checked in the logic, the customer is identified as an industrial customer and will be taxed at the industrial rates.

IXC Inter Exchange Carrier. Traditional wireline long distance provider.
IPTV Internet Protocol Television. Video services that are provided over IP.
ITAC Illinois Telecommunications Access Corporation
LATA Local Access and Transport Area. A geographic area covered by one or more local exchange carriers.

Identifies customers who are subscribing to Lifeline service. Lifeline service is part of the Universal Service Program designed to provide affordable telephone service to low-income households.

Local Loop Refers to the line that carriers a call from the local switch to the end user's location. Often referred to as the 'last mile'.
Log Zero Tax

Places transactions that generate no taxes into a separate log for verification of revenue sent to AvaTax for Communications. Later this log can be used to report revenue that did not generate taxes. Simply output the transaction record out to a file if no taxes are generated. Use the file path specified for the tax log. There is an option in the AvaTax for Communications.cfg to turn on logging to a No Tax log. The default will be off. At minimum, the transaction, service, charge, customer number, invoice number, service level and optional fields should be outputted to a text file. The path and filename of the No Tax log can also be specified in the AvaTax for Communications.cfg file. Another design option on specifying the path of the No Tax log would be to use the path to the normal log file instead.

Logic Information other than the tax rate that is used to determine the proper tax outcome of a transaction. (i.e. Customer type, Company info, Sale v. Wholesale, etc.)
Mapping Refers to the matching of products and services of a client to an AvaTax for Communications transaction/service pair. This is typically done during a client's initial setup by the client with the help of a tax research analyst.
MCTD Metropolitan Commuter Transportation Mobility of New York
MHA Multi-jurisdictional Housing Authority
MRC Monthly recurring charges
NBA Non-billable taxes. Taxes that cannot be billed to customers.
NCA Non-compliance taxes. Taxes that are not required to be reported to the taxing jurisdiction on a return.
NCR National Contribution Regime

The carrier delivering the service does not have tangible facilities owned by the company.


The services being sold are not subject to a franchise agreement between carrier and jurisdiction. If this flag is checked the companies will not pay a franchise fee.

NPANXX The first six digits of a telephone number in North American or the Caribbean. The first three numbers (NPA) indicating the area code while the second three numbers (NXX) indicate the exchange. The NPA/NXX can be used to indicate the jurisdiction in AvaTax for Communications but, this is typically not recommended with the ease of number portability in today's services. 
NRC Non-recurring charges
PBX Private Branch Exchange system is a multichannel system used by businesses in which the PBX switch is located on-site. 
PBX Private Branch eXchange
PCode PCodes are permanent jurisdiction codes AvaTax for Communications provides that allow AvaTax for Communications users to populate their databases with jurisdiction information.  With PCodes, AvaTax for Communications clients can populate their customer records with jurisdiction information and never worry about changes of jurisdiction codes.  If a jurisdiction code changes, AvaTax for Communications re-maps the PCodes so clients are not affected.  This allows AvaTax for Communications clients to populate client records with a PCode and forget it.
PEG Public Education and Government
PICC Presubscribed Interexchange Carrier Charge. Charges paid by Long Distance providers to Local Exchange Carriers for carrying their call on the local loop or "last mile"
PIU Percentage of Interstate Usage
POTS Plain Old Telephone Service. Basic analog wireline service.
Prim LD

Primary Long Distance. THe Prim LD provider is a carrier which meets an over 50% rule in gross business activities, in Long Distance revenue.

Prim Local

Primary Local. The Prim Local provider is a carrier which meets an over 50% rule in gross business activities, in Local service revenue.


The AvaTax for Communications pro-rate functionality will allow a percentage of a tax or fee to be applied to a transaction. For example, 50% of a per line tax could be applied to a transaction if service was provided for half of the month. Some taxes are not allowable to be assessed on a pro-rated basis. A flag in logic designates if a tax is allowed to be pro-rated. Tax Research - Tax research will need to investigate to find which taxes can be marked as pro-rated. Database conversion will default all taxes as not allowing pro-rating. New pro-rating functions would send in pro-rated percentage that is used to calculate taxable amount on rate tax and calculate percentage of the line, location and fixed amounts. These functions would check the pro-rated logic flag on to determine if percentage is allowed. If pro-rating is not allowed, the full amount is taxed.

PSC Public Service Company
PSTN Public Switched Telephone Network. A collection of telephone networks that are commercial and government owned, providing infrastructure and services for public telecommunication.
PUC Public Utility Commission

Indicates the telecommunications company and its services are regulated by the regulatory commission in the state of the service.


This is for companies that provide products and services to other companies that sell to consumers. i.e. wholesale transactions


The customer receiving the services of a carrier is recognized as a residential client. When this flag is checked in the logic, the customer identified as a residential customer will be taxed at the residential rates.

Return Profile A collection of settings associated with a jurisdiction and tax type(s) which control the creation and aspects of a return.
Return (or Filing) A tax form with the appropriate tax and jurisdiction data associated.
RLM Rate and Logic Modifier. This can be used to change how taxes apply, what taxes apply to, when taxes apply, at what rate taxes apply among other changes.
RSPF Residential Service Protection Fund
RTA Rural Transportation Authority 

This is for companies that sell products and services to the consumer of the products and services.

Senior Citizen

In some states, different tax rates are given to consumers qualifying as a Senior Citizen. States vary on the qualifications, this is to identify the transaction as being allowable.

Service Bureau     A company that files tax returns for one or more other companies.  Service bureau information is sometimes required on tax forms and Returns for Communications contains a configuration section to specify frequently used service bureau information.
SLC Subscriber Line Charge
TAF Targeted Accessibility Fund of New York

Transaction Amount Multiplier. The transaction amount multiplier (TAM) specifies the percentage of the transaction amount that will be taxed. For example, a value of 0.5 indicates that only 50% of the transaction amount should be taxed. The value of the TAM must be greater than or equal to 0 and smaller than or equal to 1.

TAP Telecommunication Access Program
TAS Transaction Amount Subtraction. TAS specifies a fixed amount that will be subtracted from the transaction amount before the transaction is taxed.
Tax By All Others

A Logic flag to indicate that this tax will be taxed by all other taxes. Federal USF, Federal TRS or Federal Carrier Cost Recovery fees are added to the charge if the transaction is interstate or the service is FCC Subscriber Line Fee. Federal USF and TRS Cellular fees are added to the charge if the transaction is cellular. Federal USF and TRS Paging fees are added to the charge if the transaction is paging. Federal USF School fee is added to the charge if the transaction is interstate or intrastate or the service is FCC Subscriber Line Fee. The federal taxes are computed first, so these taxes are going to be taxed by all other taxes on the transaction.

Tax Jurisdiction  Taxing body that has the authority to assess a tax.  The jurisdiction for a tax is typically the jurisdiction that the tax is filed to, but it is not always. For example, county taxes may be filed with the state. 
Tax Level
  • 0: Federal
  • 1: State
  • 2: County
  • 3: City
  • 4: Un-Incorporated
Tax on Tax This refers to the tax amount returned by a specific tax or fee being subject to and therefore part of the taxable amount of another tax. For example, the FUSF amount returned by AvaTax for Communications will typically be subject to a jurisdictions sales tax based on state statutes that define "sales price" or "taxable amount" to include, "any fees or charges on the service provider that are passed on to the end user." Tax on tax also refers to taxes in certain jurisdictions that are self-taxing. 
Tax Type The identifying data related to the type of tax from a jurisdiction. (i.e. Tax Type 1 - Sales Tax, 2 - Business & Occupation Tax, 3 - Carrier Gross Receipts, etc.)
TDAP Telecommunications Devices Access Program
TDL Telecommunications Development Levy
Tier At Trans

This logic flag would indicate that tax would be calculated using graduated tax brackets on a transaction basis instead of a customer invoice basis. An example is Tennessee sales tax on a product. This tax applies tax brackets based on single product transaction. This is an exception and the default is not Tier At Transaction.

Tier on Total

Tier On Total is application of tax brackets where a total transaction amount is taxed at the rate of the bracket the total falls into. An example of this is in Connecticut where the state E911 tax is applied at a certain rate dependent on the total charge or lines. As an example, if a customer has 7 lines, all 7 lines would be taxed at .10 with total tax of .70.

TIMF Telecommunications Infrastructure Maintenance Fee
TRS Telecommunications Relay Service. A telephone service that allows persons with hearing or speech disabilities to place and receive telephone calls.
UDR Usage Detail Record
Un-incorporated Outside the city limits. An area close to an incorporated jurisdiction, which provides services such as police and fire protection. Usually collected by the county and redistributed.

Indicates the telecommunications company and its services are unregulated by the regulatory commission in the state of the service.

USF Universal Service Fund. A program designed to bring affordable nationwide telephone service to high-cost areas, low-income households, rural health care providers and eligible schools and libraries.
UUT Utility User Tax
Valid Transaction/Service Pairs Identifies to AvaTax for Communications the product or service being sold by the seller. A valid pair will return the appropriate tax application (which could result in no tax) while an invalid pair will cause an error and never return tax.
VAT Value Added Tax. An indirect tax on goods and services implemented in a majority of foreign countries. Unlike the U.S. sales tax, which implements reseller exemption certificates, a VAT is applied at every level of production (i.e. supplier, manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, etc.).
VoIP Voice over Internet Protocol. Interconnected VoIP will connect with the PSTN allowing a VoIP user to connect to landline and cellular users. Non-Interconnected VoIP is a VoIP to VoIP connection that travels strictly over the internet and does not connect to the PSTN. Non-Interconnected VoIP is typically a free service while Interconnected VoIP is not.
Voucher  Vouchers are a type of paperwork used to make payments related to a return. Vouchers often involve estimated payments. These payment amounts are used on the actual return to calculate the remaining tax required for the related period. Vouchers are similar to forms in Returns for Communications in that they potentially have tax payer information, bureau information, payments must be generated from them, and they must be sent to the appropriate jurisdiction.
WATS Wide Area Telephone Service. A specialized form of fixed-rate long-distance telecommunication service.
Zero Dollar Return (Also: 0$ Return) A return that is created despite the fact that there is no tax due.  Some jurisdictions require that a return is filed even if no tax is due. This is typical once you register and begin to file in a jurisdiction and then subsequently no longer have customers or provide service in that particular jurisdiction.
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