BigCommerce has integrated with Avalara AvaTax to determine sales tax rates at checkout automatically. Avalara AvaTax makes setting up and calculating sales tax for your store much easier to manage.
See Automatic Tax Setup for more information about using an automatic tax provider.
Supported countries: Automatic sales tax calculation with Avalara is available to merchants and customers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and the European Union. Merchants who are outside of these countries, or need to collect tax from customers from countries besides these will need to set up taxes manually.
Requirements & Limitations
Merchants must be based in one of the following countries and have the country configured as the store's Store Profile country:
Note that if you wish to conduct cross-border business, you will need to specify the countries you'll be collecting tax and specify the Importer of Record for those countries.
Enabling Automatic Sales Tax Calculation with Avalara AvaTax
To get started with Avalara, go to Store Setup › Tax and click the Add tax service button located in the top right corner. Then click Set up next to Avalara AvaTax.
If you already have an Avalara AvaTax account, click log in here. Otherwise, fill out the required information to create a free account. Note that the address provided will be considered where you have nexus or responsibility to collect sales tax.
What if I have nexus in more than one state? If you are responsible for collecting sales tax in multiple states, you will need to set up your local jurisdictions on your Avalara AvaTax account. See Assigning Local Tax Jurisdiction below for more details.
Once the account is created, the page will show options for adding tax codes to various goods and services you provide. You'll also have the opportunity to enable or disable document submission for tax reporting and returns.
At this point, the store is set up for basic automatic tax calculations. To adjust your Automatic Tax Calculation, log in to your Avalara AvaTax account to set up local jurisdictions, tax exemptions, and more.
Assigning Local Tax Jurisdiction
If you have nexus in multiple states or local jurisdictions, the additional jurisdictions need to be adjusted from within your Avalara account. To learn more about setting up local jurisdictions, see About Local Jurisdictions on Avalara’s support site.
Cross-Border Tax Collection
Avalara AvaTax currently does not calculate cross-border duties or fees, but will calculate VAT/GST if your business has transactions into European Union member states or any other country around the world that charges VAT/GST. However, you must specify which countries you'll be collecting VAT/GST from, whether they have a permanent establishment and whether they are the Importer of Record.
A permanent establishment is a fixed place of business which generally gives rise to VAT liability in a particular jurisdiction. Examples that typically qualify as a permanent establishment include a branch, a factory, a warehouse, or a place of management. See Avalara's Manage Place of Supply Settings to learn more.
The Importer of Record is a person or entity who assumes the responsibility for ensuring goods imported to a particular country are appropriately documented and valued. Furthermore, the Importer of Record is the responsible party for the payment of customs duties, tariffs, and fees related to the imported goods. See Avalara's What is the functionality of the Importer of Record setting in Avatax to learn more.
Setting up Avalara for Cross-Border Tax Collection
Follow the below steps to select countries you'll be shipping to, whether those countries have a permanent establishment and whether they are the Importer of Record.
1. Go to Store Setup › Tax, and click Edit next to Avalara AvaTax.
2. Log in to your Avalara AvaTax account by clicking Sign in to AvaTax.
3. Click SETTINGS in the upper right corner. Then find the "Where you collect tax" section and click Manage where you collect and remit tax.
4. Click VAT/GST then Add a country where you collect VAT/GST.
5. Select all the countries that you will ship to and collect taxes from, then select if you have a permanent establishment and if you're the importer of record in those countries. See Avalara's Tell Us Where You Collect and Remit Tax to learn more about these settings.
Assigning an Avalara Product Tax Code to a Product
Avalara product tax codes can be assigned to products one at a time via the control panel, or in bulk via a CSV product import.
To assign a tax code to a product, go to Products › View, and click on the Product Name to open the Edit a Product page. Then enter the Avalara Product Tax Code into the Tax Provider Tax Code field and Save your changes. Us the Avalara Tax code Search tool to get a full list of all product codes from Avalara’s website.
Assigning an Avalara Product Tax Code to a Variant
Avalara product tax codes can be assigned to variants by importing or adding them manually in your Avalara AvaTax account. If you plan on importing your SKUs, you'll need to create a CSV with the following three columns:
- Item — the SKU code from BigCommerce for the variant
- ItemDescription — a comment associated with an item that describes the product, service, or charge. The same value can be used for both Item and ItemDescription. Duplicate descriptions are allowed.
- TaxCode — the Avalara Product Tax code for the variant
It’s important to note that there is a maximum of 100,000 items per import. If you must map more than 100,000 SKU codes to Avalara Product Tax Codes, you will need to perform multiple imports. It is also possible to create, read, update, and delete items in AvaTax using their API.
To assign an Avalara product tax code to a variant, log into your Avalara account, click Settings in the upper-right of the admin screen, then click Manage items with special tax treatment. From here you can add items one-by-one or import items in bulk using a CSV.
Assigning an Avalara Tax Exempt Category to a Customer
Avalara tax-exempt codes can be assigned to customers one at a time via the control panel, or in bulk via a CSV customer import. See Avalara's Exemption Reason Matrix for a full list of tax-exempt codes.
To make a customer tax-exempt, go to Customers › View and click on a customer's name to edit their information. Then enter the appropriate Avalara entity/use letter code into the Tax Exempt Code field and Save your changes.
Verifying Tax Rates
You can use Avalara's sales tax rate map to confirm proper tax rates are being calculated for a particular region. If there is any inconsistency between the rate reported at Avalara's calculator and what is reported in your store checkout, please contact our support team for further investigation.
Do I have to pay to use Avalara AvaTax?
By default, BigCommerce merchants are set up with a free Avalara AvaTax account. Avalara does offer services you can pay for, but they are not required for basic sales tax calculation.
Where do I find my Company Code?
You create your company code. It can be whatever you like, for example, a number, an abbreviation, or an acronym. It is required.
Can I use my AvaTax Account in multiple stores?
Yes, on your Avalara AvaTax account, you will add a company. See Add a Company from Avalara's help center for instructions. Once it is set up on your AvaTax account, go to your other store and log in with your Avalara Credentials during Tax setup. A list of your companies will display during the setup, select the company you want to associate with that store.
Can sales tax be calculated on international transactions through the Avatax integration?
Only orders placed within the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, or EU will be calculated through Avalara. Customs, duties, taxes, and fees for other international transactions are not currently supported in BigCommerce’s integration with Avalara Avatax.
Why was a 10% tax rate applied? That is not correct.
A fallback tax rate of 10% is applied when there is a failure to connect to Avalara's automatic tax calculation service. It can also happen if a shipping origin address hasn't been set up in the Shipping Manager, or when the customer's address could not be validated. Check the Shipping Manager and ensure there is a valid address set as a Shipping Origin. Check status.bigcommerce.com to see if there are any service performance issues with Avalara's service.
Optionally, instead of the flat 10% rate, you can choose to use your store's manual tax configuration as the fallback rate. Go to Store Setup › Tax to change your Fallback Tax setting.
What if my taxes aren’t being calculated correctly?
You can check the status of servers that handle tax calculation by going to status.bigcommerce.com to see if there are any service performance issues with Avalara's service. If there are no issues with performance, check the following:
- If the tax rate is not calculating as you expect, login to Avatax and go to Settings to confirm you have selected the correct jurisdictions. If these are all correct, contact Avalara's support.
- Compare the tax between your Avatax account and BigCommerce. If these are different, contact BigCommerce support to report it.
- Check that you have set up a Store Profile country in one of the supported countries.
- Check that the Shipping Origin address and the Shipping Destination address for the order are both in either the US, Canada, UK, or EU.
How can I adjust how rounding works with Avalara?
Avalara can round tax amounts at the line-level or document-level. See Change how AvaTax Update rounds the tax amount from Avalara's help center for instructions.
What is Default Tax Address?
If you are in an area where tax is usually incorporated into the product price (such as the EU, UK or Australia), you can use this setting to determine which tax rate is incorporated. If you are in the US or Canada, we recommend leaving this blank. This setting changes the apparent product price throughout your store until a customer checks out or estimates applied taxes on the View Cart page.
See Manual Tax Setup for more information about Default Tax Address.