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Install and Configure Avalara AvaTax for QuickBooks

After you activate AvaTax and set up your company profile, install and configure AvaTax for your accounting software. During configuration, customize your setup to fit your unique business needs for things like:

  • Tax calculation settings for various tax types
  • Exemption settings if you have exempt customers
  • Product taxability settings

Update these settings when your business needs change.

If you've previously installed the integration, learn how to upgrade to the latest version.

Download AvaTax for your accounting software

To connect your accounting software to AvaTax, download your integration software. 

  1. In AvaTax, on the Home tab, click Get Started.
  2. In the Download and Install Your Integration Software section, click Download Software. Avalara Account opens in a new tab.
  3. Download the version of the connector you need.
  4. In your Downloads folder, right-click the .zip file and extract the installation folder or file (.exe or .pdf or .msi).

Install AvaTax for your accounting software

  1. In QuickBooks Desktop, on the File menu, click Switch to Single-user Mode.
  2. Right-click the installation file you downloaded from AvaTax, and select Run as administrator.
    • If prompted, click Yes to allow AvaTax to make changes to the computer.
    • If prompted, click Yes to allow AvaTax to perform an upgrade.
  3. In the Upgrading the Avalara AvaTax for QuickBooks and the Destination Folder dialog boxes, click Next, and then, in the Installation succeeded! dialog box, click Finish.

Connect QuickBooks Desktop to AvaTax

You must be an Admin user in AvaTax to connect QuickBooks Desktop to AvaTax.

To connect QuickBooks Desktop to AvaTax:

  1. On the Windows Start menu, right-click QuickBooks Desktop, and select Run as administrator.
  2. Log in to QuickBooks Desktop as an Admin user. The QuickBooks Desktop - Application Certificate dialog box opens.
  3. Select Yes, whenever this QuickBooks Desktop company file is open, click Continue, and then click Done. The setup wizard opens.
  4. In the Connect to AvaTax window, do the following, and then click Next
    1. In the Username and Password fields, enter the AvaTax username and password sent to you from Avalara Support (, in an email with the subject line AvaTax Account Login.
    2. To set an extra level of security, click Advanced options, enter your AvaTax credentials (sent to you in an email with the subject line: "Important! Your AvaTax Production Account Number & License Key"), click Save.
  5. Select the AvaTax company you want to connect to QuickBooks Desktop, and then click Next
  6. Select the items you want to assign to AvaTax, select Create an Avalara test customer if you want to create a test customer, and then click Next.


Configure AvaTax for your accounting software

To configure AvaTax for QuickBooks Desktop:

  • Go to File > AvaTax > Preferences, complete the fields on the following tabs, and then click OK:
    • The Connection tab:
      Section Field and description
      • User Name and Password: Select Development if you have an AvaTax development account or Production if you have an AvaTax production account.
      • Advanced options:
        • Account and Key - Use the information provided in an email from Avalara (sent to the email account you used to activate your account). It must match what's saved in AvaTax.
        • Sandbox and Production - Select Development if you have an AvaTax development account or Production if you have an AvaTax production account.
      • AvaTax Company: The company code you entered when you activated your AvaTax account. Here's some help if you can't find your company code in QuickBooks Desktop.  
      • AvaTax company status: Displays the AvaTax for QuickBooks Desktop integration status.
      Settings Import
      • Company: AvaTax settings for the QuickBooks Desktop company selected in the General section.
      • Import Settings: Click to import the selected QuickBooks Desktop company settings. To access this utility directly, go to File > AvaTax > Preferences > Connection > Setting Import.
      • Check AvaTax Setup: Click to confirm AvaTax Update is correctly and completely installed.
      • Troubleshooting options: Choose logging and session data preferences.


    • The Tax Calculation tab:
      Section Field and description
      • Optional: Validate addresses before tax calculation: Enable to force an address validation of the sales or billing document prior to tax calculation. This setting is recommended only if you enter ship-to addresses as you work during the QuickBooks Desktop sales transaction entry process. Enabling this setting could increase your usage of Avalara services. Check with your Customer Account Manager (CAM) if you have any questions or concerns.
      • Optional: Resume Tax calculation on Address Validation failure: If you select Validate addresses before tax calculation, enable this to have AvaTax calculate tax using the address you entered, even if address validation fails. 
      • Optional: Use lat / long coordinates for tax calculation if available: Enable to calculate tax based on latitude and longitude coordinates without including an address.
      • Optional: Open Sales document after tax calculation: Enable to open the document and view the tax amount calculated for the transaction after AvaTax calculates tax.
      • Optional: Always display tax details: Enable to show the tax details for a transaction.
      • Optional: Include Job Name with Customer Name: Enable to send the combination of customer name and job name from QuickBooks Desktop to AvaTax as the customer code. If this option is disabled, only the customer name is sent as the customer code.
      • Optional: Turn off error list option: Enable to turn off the error list that displays every time you open QuickBooks Desktop.
      • Map Fields to Item Name and Description: Controls mapping fields to items and their descriptions.
      Tax on Purchases
      • Assess Consumer Use Tax On Vendor Bill: If enabled, your accounting software uses AvaTax to calculate consumer use tax on vendor consumer use tax transactions.
      • Consumer Use Tax Liability: Select the account to which you want to credit your vendor use liabilities.
      • Debit Account Option: Select the account from which the consumer use tax accrual amount is to be debited.
      • Consumer Use Tax Debit GL: Select the account to which the consumer use tax accrual amount is to be debited.
      • Vendor Paid Tax Line Item: Select the line item for which vendor use tax is to be configured. If you don't enter an amount for this line item when you create a return invoice, the vendor charged tax is 0.
      • Select Vendor for Use Tax Assessment: Click to select the vendors, registered in QuickBooks Desktop, for whom you want to calculate consumer use tax. In the Select Vendor for Use Tax Assessment window:
        • Select the vendor(s) for whom you want to calculate the consumer use tax, and then click Save.
          • If you want to select all the vendors from the list, click Select All.
          • If you want to deselect all selected vendors, click Clear All.
      • Optional: Disable automatic tax calculation: If tax calculation is disabled, transactions are placed in an error list to be calculated in the future.
      • Optional: Transactions to exclude: If selected, tax isn't calculated for these memorized transaction types.


    • The Address Validation tab:
      Field and description
      Optional: Validate all addresses: Click to validate all types of addresses to ensure that the address is formatted correctly for AvaTax to calculate tax accurately.
      Optional: Validate customer addresses only: Click to limit address validation to customer addresses.
      Optional: Validate vendor addresses only: Click to limit address validation to vendor addresses.
      Optional: Return Results in Uppercase: Select to save all address validation results in uppercase format.
      Validate company address: Click to confirm the company address is formatted correctly for AvaTax to calculate tax accurately.


    • The Taxability tab:
      Section Field and description

      Under Assign Freight Tax Codes to Shipping Terms, select Shipping Terms and Freight Tax Code to set the standard freight tax code for all items assigned the selected shipping term, and then click Add.

      Tax Codes
      • Manage Special Taxability: Controls the tax codes to which items are assigned.
      • Optional: Export: Click to export the current item tax code mapping list.
      • Optional: Import: Click to import an existing item tax code mapping list.

      Optional: UPC field: Select the item code you want to map.

      International Tax ID

      BIN field: Select the business identification number you want to use.


    • Optional: The Customer Exemptions tab:
      Section Field and description

      Use Entity / Use Codes: Enable to map entity/use codes for your customer addresses to flag them as exempt from sales tax.


      Manage certificates for customer exemptions. These fields are compatible with CertCapture.


    • The About Avalara tab contains technical information about your connector/integration and your AvaTax account.

Configure QuickBooks Desktop to send a UPC to AvaTax

Instead of using Avalara tax codes, send the model number or the UPC from your accounting software to AvaTax. If the UPC isn't available, the model number is set as the default and sent to AvaTax. To customize taxability for specific products, items need to be mapped to UPCs and model numbers. 

To send a UPC to AvaTax, you need to configure the UPC in QuickBooks Desktop.

To configure a UPC:

  1. In QuickBooks Desktop, go to Lists > Item Lists and select the item.
  2. In the Item Details window, click Custom Fields
  3. In the Custom Field for Item window, click Define Fields.
  4. In the Setup Custom Fields for Items window, for a new custom field, type the Label and select What kind of Data.
  5. In the Setup Custom Fields for Items window, click Ok.
  6. In the Custom Field for Item window, click Ok.

Now that QuickBooks Desktop is configured to send a UPC, map items to a UPC.

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