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Glossary of terms for Avalara products and services


An alphabetical listing of terms and their definitions for all Avalara products.

A variety of accounting programs into which the AvaTax service is integrated, such as ERP, ecommerce, mcommerce, POS, and shopping carts.

An AvaTax feature that verifies addresses against the USPS database, correcting or reformatting them as necessary.

A category of reports with information about users and logistics within a CertCapture company.

Application programming interface. A set of rules and tools that allow programs and websites to communicate with each other.

A piece of information that identifies, describes, and might determine behaviors of and policies around the item, customer, certificate, or other element you apply it to.

A secure website that provides fast, easy, accurate, and affordable sales tax management services.

A browser-based compliance tool for managing compliance documents.

A browser-based document collection tool connected to CertCapture. Lets your customers create and submit compliance documents online. Can also store your company’s compliance documents.

Automated sales tax return software that helps you file accurately and on time.

Codes that categorize items to determine their taxability by jurisdiction. Each code is associated with tax rules in AvaTax that define its taxability. Individual codes represent one of hundreds of different products, services, or charges.

A transaction that's uploaded to AvaTax after the period has ended.

The currency label used for reporting purposes in AvaTax. The default is US Dollar (USD).

In an AvaTax transaction, the percentage of the sale price that is taxable.

In AvaTax, a user role that has permission to review invoices and billing quotes.

Certificate that provides a seller the authority to exempt all of a buyer's transaction from tax. Typically attached to the original invoice at the time of sale. Contains the company name, effective date, reason code, and purchaser’s exemption or registration number.

In AvaTax, the business identification number assigned to a non-U.S. country. This is the Canadian BIN or European VAT.

The gross receipts tax imposed on the value of products, gross proceeds of sales, or gross income of a business.

In CertCapture, a request for compliance documents from multiple customers, sent by email, fax, or physical mail.

A digital version of a compliance document and its significant fields and characteristics, attached to a related customer record in CertCapture.

The CertCapture tool for identifying customer records by filtering for stored fields and characteristics.

In CertCapture, a PDF composed of multiple certificates.

The CertExpress tool that guides your customers through the process of creating and sending a compliance document.

A company that can inherit its tax profile from a parent company in AvaTax.

To take control of certificate stacks so you can process them further.

Jurisdictions where you’ve registered to collect and remit tax.

In accounting software that works with AvaTax, the code the software uses to identify itself to AvaTax.

An identifying image attached to a company within the CertCapture company hierarchy.

Software that helps your accounting software communicate with AvaTax. Also called an integration.

Transactional taxes paid by purchaser.

A customizable message you can send from CertCapture as part of a document request or campaign. It can include variables, so each recipient’s letter includes personalized language.

Reports generated from customer or certificate searches, based on filters you select. You can schedule CertCapture to automatically email them to you each day, week, or month, or you can download them as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and retrieve them in the Download Center on the Dashboard.

Any tax code you add or import into AvaTax.

In CertCapture, a digital record of a customer’s contact information and their relationship to your business.

A CertCapture tool for filtering, displaying, maintaining, and reporting on customer records.

The home page for CertCapture that includes an account overview and utilities.

The taxing agency that creates, controls, and collects tax for a state. Some DORs have different names.

In AvaTax, the unique identifier number for an invoice, credit memo, or return.

A feature of CertCapture that aggregates downloaded reports and resources.

Transaction in which the seller of goods passes the customer's order and shipment details to a 3rd party who then sends the goods to the customer. Also called drop shipping.

Enterprise resource planning. Software for managing corporate assets, including financial resources.

A potentially exempt business type correlated to an industry.

A custom value that links customers to a specific tax rule, usually tied to exemptions.

In CertCapture, the process of setting aside a compliance document within a stack to review it separately.

A tax, fixed rate tax, or duty levied on the sale or importation of specific goods, such as gasoline or motor fuel.

A buyer who’s exempt from sales and use tax.

The process by which a person or business is excused from paying sales tax (exemption eligibility is determined by taxing jurisdiction).

A document issued by a controlling taxing entity that certifies a business or individual is exempt from a tax liability.

Exempt transactions that don’t have an exemption certificate.

A unique identifier for each exemption certificate document.

The reason a person or business is requesting tax exemption. May be based on product type, business type, or the purpose of the purchase.

The audit risk associated with work flow and compliance gaps.

A report that shows failed requests from other software programs to CertCapture for a selected time period.

The field values in a filter bar used to restrict the records that display in a list.

Process of assigning latitude and longitude to a street address.

Request sent by your accounting software, through a connector, instructing AvaTax to calculate tax.

A federal-level tax on the supply of goods and services in Canada. Businesses charge GST on all goods and services, except zero-rated and non-taxable goods and services. In some provinces, the GST is combined with the PST to create the HST.

A tax used by some provinces in Canada to replace both the GST and the PST. Applied on the same basis as the GST.

States with localities that have chosen to administer and collect their own sales and use tax. Among the states that have locally administered taxes, some localities follow the taxability rules of the state, but some enact their own laws. These self-administered localities perform their own collections and conduct their own field audits. The four main states that have self-administered localities are AL, AZ, CO and LA.

Software that helps your accounting software communicate with AvaTax. Also called a connector.

A unique identifier for an item (product, service, or charge).

A transaction in which the origin and destination are in different states.

A transaction in which the origin and destination are in the same state.

A geographical area in which certain taxes must be paid.

A feature in AvaTax that changes the jurisdictions associated with an address or zip code.

Transactions that were invoiced before your accounting software was connected to AvaTax.

A unique combination of letters and numbers, specific to your account with Avalara, that allows you to access the solutions you’ve purchased.

In AvaTax, a record of the physical presence of a company or its personnel.

In CertCapture, the process of splitting stacks into individual certificates; deleting unneeded PDF pages; and rotating, flipping, and adjusting contrast on PDF pages for readability.

A CertCapture feature that displays user-generated and system-issued account alerts.

A connection between a business and a taxing jurisdiction that creates a legal requirement for the business to register and remit taxes within the jurisdiction. In AvaTax, a setting you configure to identify jurisdictions where you're registered to collect and remit tax.

A notification from a tax jurisdiction informing you of a requirement, adjustment, or error involving your tax account.

A tax call or request from your accounting software to CertCapture or AvaTax.

The physical location where a purchase of goods takes place.

A selection of default reports that summarize helpful CertCapture data. These reports characterize customer and certificate data without the need to create a custom search.

Whether the products and services you sell are fully taxable, partially taxable, or non-taxable. This varies based on the product or service type, amount, and quantity; the transaction date; and the jurisdiction. Sometimes just referred to as taxability.

A tax on the retail sales of goods and services charged in some provinces in Canada. Charged in addition to GST.

In CertCapture, a tool for quickly finding and displaying customer and certificate records.

The process of ensuring that the data captured by AvaTax matches the information maintained by your accounting software.

In AvaTax, an on-screen display or file generated to convey specified information in an orderly manner. In CertCapture, an on-screen display or PDF file of customer or certificate search results.

Instructions you send to customers, from CertCapture, to guide them in submitting the documentation necessary to prove their tax exemption.

Transaction associated with a sale requiring value-added tax (VAT). The reverse charge moves the responsibility for the recording of a VAT transaction from the seller to the buyer of a good or service. The buyer makes the declaration of both their purchase (input VAT) and the seller’s sale (output VAT) in their VAT return. The two entries cancel each other from a cash payment perspective in the same return. It’s commonly required in the European Union (EU) to facilitate intra-EU, cross-border, business-to-business trade without requiring the supplier to register in all EU member states.

In a CertCapture campaign, a batch of communications sent to multiple customers, requesting compliance documents. A single campaign might contain multiple rounds.

A domestic transaction tax in the U.S. on retail sales of goods and services. Collected and remitted by an in-state seller with a location in the taxing jurisdiction.

A period during which a state exempts certain goods and services from sales tax. Visit each state’s Department of Revenue website for more information.

In CertCapture, a search you previously created and saved so you can easily repeat it.

A jurisdiction with local taxing authorities that collect and administer sales or use tax independently from the state.

A domestic transaction tax in the U.S. on retail sales of goods and services. Collected and remitted by an out-of-state seller with nexus, but no physical location, in the taxing jurisdiction.

Stock keeping unit. An identification code applied to products or services you offer, created for ease of identification and record keeping.

An effort undertaken by state governments, with input from local governments and the private sector, to simplify and modernize sales and use tax collection and administration in the US. Includes tax rate simplifications, uniformity of definitions, more efficient administrative procedures, and emerging technologies to substantially reduce the burden of tax collection.

Connect and share information between two programs, such as AvaTax and CertCapture.

An accounting application, database, paper filing system, or electronic filing system used to store and manage important documents. CertCapture is a system of record for exemption certificates.

Whether the products and services you sell are fully taxable, partially taxable, or non-taxable. This varies based on the product or service type, amount, and quantity; the transaction date; and the jurisdiction.

An entity (usually a government) that has the authority to collect taxes inside a geographical boundary. In the United States, sales tax authorities can include states, counties, cities, districts, transit authorities, stadium zones, and more, leading to overlapping boundaries and complex sales tax calculation.

An alphanumeric code in AvaTax associated with certain items to identify which tax rules apply to those items.

A unique, nine-digit identifier assigned to U.S. companies for tax reporting purposes.

The collection of jurisdictions, tax codes, tax rules, and items that define the taxing policy of a company.

A custom rule you can set up to change AvaTax's standard calculation.

The record of an invoice, credit memo, or return.

The invoicing information sent from your accounting software to AvaTax for calculation and accrual tracking.

A category of user with defined permissions.

In CertCapture, the process of verifying the exemption information on a certificate and attaching it to a customer record.

Value-added tax. A type of general consumption tax that is collected incrementally, based on the value added, at each stage of production. Usually implemented as a destination-based tax, where the tax rate is based on the location of the customer.

The way products and services are taxed at different rates in different jurisdictions.


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