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Amend and file a return late

This article applies to:Avalara Returns

Both amending and filing late returns involve filing a return for a previous (now closed) filing period. Amending a return means correcting a return that was filed incorrectly. Filing late means filing a return that was missed and never filed. Avalara offers these services to customers with an active Managed Returns subscription, for United States and Canada returns.

Amend a return or file a late return

First, you need to determine whether amending or filing late is necessary. If you're uncertain about this, reach out to your Account Manager at Avalara to see if our Professional Services team can assist you.

If you determine that amending or filing late is necessary, send a request to Avalara:

  1. Determine what happened:
    1. Why do you need to amend or file late?
    2. Is this an ongoing problem or a one-off? Understanding what caused the problem can help us prevent it from happening again.
      If you need to file late because of a natural disaster, you may be eligible for an extension or penalty waiver from the jurisdiction that you're filing with. Contact the tax jurisdiction for more details. Every state has different rules for how they grant extension requests due to extenuating circumstances, so we can't guarantee that you'll be granted one, but if you are then send us the documentation and we'll file your amended return for no charge.
  2. Determine the scope of what needs to be amended or filed late
    1. Which returns? Make sure to include:
      • State or local jurisdiction
      • Return form
      • Filing periods: Make sure to specify if you need to amend returns for multiple filing periods
      • Filing frequency: Monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.
      • Company name
    2. Do you need to amend a return that’s already been filed, or late-file a return that hasn’t been filed?
    3. Why does the return need to be amended or filed late?
    4. Do you have a return scheduled for the jurisdiction you want amended or filed late? If no, you must schedule a return for the jurisdiction. If you want us to amend or file late for a jurisdiction you're no longer filing in, add this information to your request.
    5. Are you collecting tax in these jurisdictions, and does the effective date include the periods that will be filed? If you weren’t collecting tax before the affected period, you need to adjust your transactions in AvaTax to reflect the correct tax amount.
    6. Are all transactions for the jurisdiction in AvaTax and taxed correctly? If not, you'll need to import the missing transactions. We're only able to file with the data that's in our service, so AvaTax transactions need to be correct and complete prior to our filing a return for a previous period.
  3. Send the request to Avalara. Once your data is ready, contact your account manager with a request to amend or file a return late, along with the root cause of the problem and the scope of the work (as outlined in Steps 1 and 2 above).

Example request

Timing depends on the scope of your request and our Professional Services team's workload. Once your request is in process, your Account Manager can provide updates on the status of your returns. Professional Services sends you a summary of the returns being filed and the total amount Treasury will pull from your account. Typically, funds are pulled within a week of the statement from Professional Services, and, once funding is received and settled, your returns are filed.

To find returns that have been amended or filed late, go to Returns > Filed Returns and Confirmations in AvaTax.

  1. Why do you need to amend or file late?
    Didn't reconcile Q1 filing so we neglected to add missing transactions.
  2. Is this an ongoing problem or a one-off?
    This was a one-off problem.
  3. Return that needs to be amended:
    • State: California
    • Return form: CA CDTFA 401 A2
    • Filing period: January – March 2021 (Q1) 2021
    • Filing frequency: Quarterly
    • Company name: ABC, Inc.  
  4. Do you need to amend or file late?
    Amend a return that’s already been filed
  5. Is the return scheduled?
  6. Are you collecting tax in the state or local jurisdiction?
    Tax collection is enabled in California, effective 1/1/2015
  7. Are all transactions in AvaTax and taxed correctly?

Cost of amending and filing late

The pricing structure for amending and filing late is variable, depending on the amount of work being done. The majority of amending and late filing is handled by our Professional Services team, and they submit a proposal of work after reviewing the scope of your request. 

If you'd like an estimate of the total cost ahead of time, talk to your Account Manager for more information. The final cost is still determined by our Professional Services team, though you have the opportunity to engage them directly as part of the amending or late filing process before committing to any payment.

Credit from the state

Sometimes amending returns can result in the state owing you a credit. If this happens, you can either pursue a refund from the state on your own or ask your Account Manager to suggest one of Avalara's professional service partners to help you get your credit. States typically offer the option to take the credit against your future returns, apply the credit against other debts with the state, or take a cash refund. The time to process any of these options, or whether the options are available, varies widely state-by-state.

Amending consumer use tax payments

When you pay consumer use tax on a purchase, and then return the item to the vendor you bought it from, get a refund on your tax by either submitting an amended return or contacting the tax jurisdiction directly for a refund.

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