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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
  3. In the Download Your AvaTax Connector Software window, click the arrow next to the name of your software, and then download the latest version of your integration. If the file isn't available for download, clear your browser's cache, and log back into AvaTax.
  4. Save the .zip file somewhere on your computer that's easy to find.
  5. Right-click the .zip file and extract the installation folder or file (.exe, .pdf, or .msi). 

Install AvaTax for your accounting software

  1. In QuickBooks Desktop, on the File menu, click Switch to Single-user Mode.
  2. On the Edit menu, click Preferences.
  3. Click General, clear the Keep QuickBooks Desktop running for quick startups check box on the My Preferences tab, click OK, and then close QuickBooks Desktop.
  4. Right-click the installation file you downloaded from AvaTax, and select Run as administrator.
    • If you see the "Do you want to allow the following program from an unknown publisher to make changes to this computer?" message, click Yes.
    • If you see the "This setup will perform an upgrade of 'Avalara AvaTax for QuickBooks'. Do you want to continue?" message, click Yes.
  5. In the Upgrading the Avalara AvaTax Update for QuickBooks and the Destination Folder dialog box, 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 into 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:
    1. In the Username and Password fields, enter the AvaTax username and password sent to you from Avalara Support (, 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, and then click Next.
  5. Select the AvaTax company you want to connect to QuickBooks Desktop, and then click Next
  6. Select the items that you want to assign to AvaTax, click Next, and then click Finish.


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: Use the information provided in an email from Avalara (sent to the email account you used to activate your account). It's the same credentials you use to log in to AvaTax.
      • 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.
      • Update Connection: Click to verify the added or updated account credentials. You must supply the AvaTax license key to test your connection.
      • 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.  
      • Get AvaTax Company: Click after you select AvaTax Company to save the details.
      • AvaTax company status: Displays the AvaTax for QuickBooks Desktop integration status.
      Setting 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 and Repair: Click to repair AvaTax for QuickBooks Desktop installation.
      • Enable loggingThis function is primarily used for troubleshooting issues. If you choose to enable logging, all success, warning, and error messages are included in the log. Only enable logging if you've been instructed to do so by Avalara Support because it can significantly slow down your service.
      • Share session data with AvaTax Support: Enable to share the logs with Avalara Support.


    • 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 on-the-fly 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: 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.
      • 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.
      • Map Fields to Item Name and Description: Controls the 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 your selection of vendors, click Clear All.
      • Optional: Disable Tax Calculation: If you choose to disable tax calculation, your accounting software no longer uses AvaTax to calculate tax on transactions.
      • Optional: Transaction to exclude: If selected, tax isn't calculated for these 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 ensure that the company address is formatted correctly for AvaTax to calculate tax accurately.


    • The Taxability tab:
      Section Field and description

      Assign Freight Tax Codes to Shipping Terms: The standard freight tax code for all items assigned the corresponding shipping term. Click Create Custom Freight Tax Code to create a new customized freight tax code.

      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.


      Request certificates for customer exemptions.


    • 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, you can choose to 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 an UPC to AvaTax, you need to configure UPC in QuickBooks Desktop. To configure UPC, follow these steps:

  1. Go to QuickBooks Desktop > 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 UPC.