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Import external data source transactions

This article applies to:Avalara Returns for Accountants

If you work with clients who are not using AvaTax to calculate their taxes, you must add their transactions from an external data source into Returns for Accountants. The easiest way to do this is to use the import template. You can also use the import template to adjust any existing transactions, using special process codes that override tax calculations, add tax credits, calculate consumer use tax, or void transactions.


Example: The process code you enter in column A determines how AvaTax processes the import, such as whether AvaTax calculates tax and what tax rules it applies.

Before you begin

  • Make sure the transactions you want to import have no more than 40,000 combined lines or rows.
    Each transaction is limited to 15,000 rows in the import file.  
  • If you're adjusting existing transactions, make sure the transactions aren't locked. If the transactions are locked, you'll need to unlock the liability summary before adjusting the transactions.
  • Keep in mind that importing transactions doesn't update the transaction information in your clients' business application. To stay synchronized, make sure the transactions in your clients' system match the transactions you imported or adjusted in Returns for Accountants.


  1. In Returns for Accountants, go to Returns > Transactions.
  2. Select the Import transaction batch button.
  3. Open your transaction import file:
    • If you're using the standard Avalara default template, select Download default Avalara transaction template to download a new copy of the template.
    • If you're using a custom import template, go to Settings > Transaction input file config if you need to confirm the columns in the custom template.
  4. Prepare the transaction import file:
    • Fill out the required fields, with a row for each line item of a transaction, and then save the file.
    • Review the Import transactions template guidelines for more information about how to use this template. 
    • Make sure you don't change the template columns headings, number of columns, or column order. However, you can simplify the template by hiding the columns you're not using.
    • For example, a transaction with three line items requires three unique rows in the import file. Each row in the import file includes both document information (document date, document number, and customer code) and line item information (line number, item code, and item amount). 
  5. Once you finish filling out the template, verify the results.
    The file must be saved in .xlsx, .xlsm, or .csv format to successfully upload.
  6. Upload the template:  
    1. Go to Returns > Transactions, then select the Import transaction batch button.
    2. Select the Company to which you want to import transactions.
    3. Select the Import format.
      The default import format is Avalara default, but you can also select any custom template that you've added.
    4. Drag or browse to include the file in the Upload item field.

      Tip icon


      A Company code mismatch message is displayed if the file is missing a company code, or if the company code in the file doesn't match the company you've selected. If you continue with the import, the transactions are imported to the company you've selected.

    5. If your import file doesn't include the Process code or Document type columns, select Override import file columns and then select Next.
      • Select a Process code and Document type.
      • The same process code and document type is used for all transactions in the import file. If you need to select a different process code or document type for some transactions, split the transactions into separate import files.
    6. Select Save.
      The transaction import file is queued to be processed.
  7. Review the status of the transaction import file:
    • On the Returns > Transactions page, select the Import history icon to view a list of all transaction import files.
    • Find the company and Original import filename you want to review, then select the arrow to expand the row.
    • Review the Status of each import batch. The statuses are:
      • Submitted: The file has been submitted, but hasn't been processed yet.
      • Processing: The file is processing, and should be imported soon.
      • Completed: The file has been processed, and at least some of the transactions have been successfully imported.
      • Failed: The transactions couldn't be imported due to an error.
    • To download a copy of the original import file, select the icon in the Batch file column.
    • To view more information about transactions that couldn't be imported due to an error, select the icon in the Error file column.
      • The error file format matches the Avalara default template, but includes an error message in column CV - ErrorMessage.
        This file includes only the transactions that weren't imported due to an error.
      • For help resolving errors, see Fix transaction import errors.​​​​​​

After you've successfully imported transactions, use the liability summary reports or the Returns > Liability summary screen to reconcile liability with reports from your client's business application.

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