Avalara Returns for Accountants provides an automation tool for manual sales tax returns filing for states that do not have the capability to accept electronic returns. This feature is accessible from the Filing Tasks page. A program called a worker pulls the filing operation from the queue and uses the client's credentials to log into the state Department of Revenue (DOR) website. The worker fills in the fields in the form and verifies the accuracy of the contents. Once the form contents/fields have been verified, the worker submits the return, makes the payment, and downloads the acknowledgement. The automation and reconciliation processes can scale to 400 workers, optimizing the number of workers depending on the need.
This automation tool is made up of two modes:
- SkyReview walks through the filing process but stops prior to filing the return. This mode must be completed first to avoid filing errors.
- SkyFile completes the entire returns filing process from login to acknowledgement.
File a manual return
When filing a manual return, you first select the SkyReview mode. Once SkyReview is successful, you can submit the return again to run the SkyFile mode. The application then submits and files the return on the state DOR site. During the filing process, screenshots are provided at each stage: file, payment, and acknowledgement.
- In the Returns for Accountants, open the Filing Status page.
- For those returns ready for filing that are eligible for SkyReview/SkyFile filing, select returns using one of the following methods:
- When filing a single return, select the vertical ellipsis icon, and select File.
- When filing one or more returns, select the check box for those returns you want to file, and select the File Return icon.
- In the File Returns window, the File Via field displays either SkyReview, or if the return status is SkyReview Successful, the field displays SkyFile. In either case, select File. For returns using SkyReview, you will file the return one more time in SkyFile mode to complete the filing.
Errors in these processes may be a result of state DOR website changes, for example, new pages added or addition of confirmation dialogs not previous on the site. While SkyReview and SkyFile can adjust for slight changes in the site mechanics and functionality, larger changes result in errors. A screenshot is provided at the point of failure. Errors can occur at any of the filing process stages. If there is a failure after filing, because the return has been filed, payment may require human intervention to manually make the payment and download the acknowledgement.
If you experience issues with either SkyReview or SkyFile, file a support ticket from the Returns for Accountants.