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What's in a transaction?

This article applies to:AvaTax

Transactions in AvaTax are modeled after sales, purchase, return, and inventory transfer invoices. Although invoices vary depending on your business and invoicing software, most contain the same basic information. Here’s how the information is organized in AvaTax:

Document details

Document details include transaction information such as the document or invoice code, invoice type, date, and ship to and from addresses.


Required fields

At the document level, transactions must include:

  • Document code
    An ID for the transaction. This usually matches the invoice number assigned by your business application.
  • Document type
    The type of invoice the transaction represents.
  • Document date
    The reporting date of the transaction. This usually matches the invoice date from your business application, so the time zone used to determine this date should be the same as your business application time zone.
  • Customer/vendor code
    The ID your business application uses to identify a customer or vendor. These IDs are linked to exemption methods in your business application, AvaTax, or CertCapture.
  • Origin address and destination address
    The ship-from address and ship-to address; in U.S. states, these can also be latitude-longitude coordinates. Addresses are especially important for states with unique sourcing rules.
  • Tax code
    An ID that groups items (products, services, or charges) by taxability. Can be an Avalara tax code or a custom tax code.
  • Tax date
    The date tax is calculated. This is usually the same as the document date, but it may differ based on your accounting practices. For example, if you calculate sales tax on April 1, but don't commit the transaction to AvaTax until May 1, the tax date and document date will differ, and the tax rates could have changed.
  • Status
    The transaction's reporting status

Other fields

  • Discount
    The trade discount amount, which decreases the taxable or nontaxable amount. The discount amount must be a positive number to apply to line items with a positive dollar amount, and a negative number to apply to line items with a negative dollar amount.
  • Location code
    The sales location for the transaction. (For online marketplaces like Amazon or Etsy, this is likely the marketplace name.) 
  • Entity use code
    A code that corresponds to the reason you're exempting this customer from sales tax. Setting this allows AvaTax to determine if that type of customer is exempt in the transaction's jurisdiction.
  • Customer exempt number
    An exemption certificate number. Required for the Streamlined Sales Tax (SST) program.
  • Customer VAT number
    An customer ID for value added tax.
  • Salesperson code
    The salesperson for the transaction.
  • Purchase order
    The purchase order number for the transaction.
  • Currency
    The type of currency used in the transaction.

Line items

Line items include product or service information such as the tax rate, quantity, total sale amount, plus any discounts, overrides, or exemptions.

Line items for a transaction in AvaTax

Required fields

At the line-item level, transactions must include:

  • Total amount
    The total sale amount, listed per line on a transaction. 

Other fields

  • Item
    Item code or SKU associated with your products or services. Mapped to tax codes in either your business application or {{ATN}.
  • Item code
    An Avalara code that's mapped to an items to calculate tax.
  • Item description
    A description of the line item sold.
  • Quantity
    The number of items included. Used in certain cases to calculate sales-tax caps and thresholds. 
  • Avalara tax code
    A custom code used for items with special taxability.
  • Harmonized tariff code
    The code used for customs duty calculation in the ship-to country. Required for some international transactions.
  • Revenue account
    A code for the transaction's general ledger account.
  • Include this line item in discount calculations
    Select this check box to apply a Discount amount to the line item. The Discount amount is specified in the Document Details section.

Tax calculation

Each transaction includes a summary of how AvaTax arrived at a tax calculation. To get information on how tax was calculated: 

  1. In AvaTax, go to Transactions, and select the transaction you want to review.
    This displays an overview of the tax calculated on the entire transaction as well as by line item.
  2. Click the arrow next to a line item.
    This displays an overview tax calculations for the line item.
  3. Select Review These Calculations. 
    This displays the most detailed breakdown of how tax was calculated for that line item, including specific tax rates. You'll also get tips for what to do next if you don't agree with the calculation.
Does your company participate in the Streamlined Sales Tax (SST) program? If so, there are additional requirements for your transactions concerning tax codes, overrides, address validation, and more. See SST Transaction Requirements to learn more.


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