Automatic Tax Calculation with Avalara AvaTax

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.

Automatic sales tax calculation is only available to merchants operating inside the United States and Canada. Merchants collecting taxes outside of these countries will need to set up taxes manually.

 
 

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.

Avalara Set up button in the control panel Tax page

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.

Avalara account sign up form

 

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.

Additional tax fields to specify a tax code for Gift Wrapping, Handling, Shipping and Default

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.

Avalara account log in link

 
 

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.

 
 

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.

Manage items with special tax treatment link in the Avalara Admin area

 
 

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.

Tax Exempt Code field when editing a customer account

 
 

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 by your store, please contact our support team for further investigation.

 
 

FAQ

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 and Canada 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.

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 support
  • Compare the tax between your Avatax account and BigCommerce. If these are different, contact BigCommerce support to report it. 

Does Avalara AvaTax support B2B?

Our Avalara AvaTax integration does not support B2B transactions & duties, taxes & fees at this time. B2B support will be available in a future update.

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