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2020 Review of Avalara AvaTax

Avalara’s AvaTax is a cloud-based sales and use tax calculator that offers integration with popular retail and accounting software applications for easy, automated sales and use tax calculations. AvaTax is a good fit for businesses of any size as well...

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AvaTax

Avalara

www.avalara.com

From the 2020 reviews of sales tax compliance systems.

Avalara’s AvaTax is a cloud-based sales and use tax calculator that offers integration with popular retail and accounting software applications for easy, automated sales and use tax calculations. AvaTax is a good fit for businesses of any size as well as accounting firms that need to calculate sales tax for clients. Avalara also offers additional transaction tax options, including Avalara Licensing, Avalara CertCapture, and Avalara Returns.

AvaTax currently offers prebuilt integration with more than 700 ERP, e-Commerce, point of sale, CRM, and accounting applications, with an advanced API available in the application as well. Currently, AvaTax supports sales and use tax calculations in more than 12,000 jurisdictions across the U.S. and even beyond.

AvaTax uses an advanced tax calculator that helps businesses and accounting professionals ensure that all tax rates and calculations are accurate. The product also helps businesses apply the correct type of tax to each type of product that is sold.

Built to work behind the scenes, AvaTax integrates with numerous third-party applications to automate the entire tax calculation process. The latest version of AvaTax features a recently enhanced menu bar that remains in place no matter what screen is being accessed, with the same enhancements found in the Returns program. AvaTax also offers complete address verification for accuracy, with geolocation also available in the application to ensure that the correct tax rate is applicated to any transaction. While the product can integrate with hundreds of platforms, users can also manually import sales transactions directly into the application using Microsoft Excel or a CSV file.

AvaTax performs on-demand calculations with access to the latest tax rates at all time. When used with Avalara Returns, users will be able to calculate and file sales tax returns. And because AvaTax rates are based on geolocation rather than zip code, tax rates will always be correct.

In addition to sales tax calculations, AvaTax can also apply a variety of differing tax rates, such as product-specific tax rates, as well as shipping and handling rules. In addition, AvaTax ensures that sales tax is not charged at specified times such as during a sales tax holiday.  AvaTax also offers VAT calculations along with consumer use tax calculations. Optional exemption certificate management is available in AvaTax, with users able to upload and manage all certificates in AvaTax. In addition, users can provide their customers with access to CertExpress, which allows them to easily create the needed exemption certificates, while the CertCapture Mobile Scan App allows users to collect and validate certificates using a smart phone or tablet. 

Avalara also offers optional system implementation to ensure that the product is set up properly from the start. Once the system is operational, admins can make future changes using the Admin Console feature, which also offers system and tax alerts, as well as direct access to the Avalara Help center.

AvaTax offers good reporting options including transaction reports such as a sales tax document report, and consumer use tax documents report. The application also includes a good selection of liability and tax return reports which include a consumer use tax report, a sales and sellers use tax report, and a liability worksheet report. All reports created in AvaTax can be viewed on screen, printed, or exported in a variety of formats including Microsoft Word and Excel, RTF, Crystal Reports, or saved as a PDF.  

The Avalara Help Center offers users a completely searchable knowledgebase, with access to trending topics, product release notes, and Avalara University, which offers numerous product videos which are designed to take users from initial setup to reconciling reports. Users also have access to FAQs, as well as Returns Central, which houses state-specific information for sales tax returns. Users have direct access to all Avalara help resources from within the application and toll-free product support is available during extended business hours, with email and chat support options available as well.

Avalara AvaTax is a good fit for businesses of any size with plans for small businesses starting at $50. When used with Avalara Returns, the application can calculate, prepare, and submit tax forms as well as remit payment. In addition, for businesses that need to manage exemption certificates, CertCapture is available. Avalara also offers several partner programs including a technology partner option, a partnership for accounting firms, and systems integrator options, with the accounting firm partnership including commission on referrals, system implementation, and the ability to embed Avalara applications into existing applications.  

2020 Overall Rating: 5 Stars

Strengths:

  • Works with numerous platforms
  • Calculates taxes behind the scenes
  • Works with other Avalara application for complete compliance

Potential Limitations:

  • All modules are priced separately