How to Configure and Use Avalara Avatax

OVERVIEW

Taxes are a necessary evil if you are going to be selling in nearly any country.  Hotcakes Commerce supports both manual tax schedules and VAT for those stores that need it.  However, you will also find Avalara Avatax service integrated to help make your life easier. 

Avatax provides you with always current and accurate tax information that will be made directly available to all orders and all you have to do is enable it.  Once you do, the necessary taxes for your customer will be automatically calculated based upon their relevant address information for both orders and returns. 

REQUIREMENTS

The following pre-requisites will be necessary to accomplish the goals of this article:

Avalara Avatax has a free trial to receive access to their API if you are not ready for a full account just yet.

GETTING STARTED

Create your Avalara Avatax account if you haven’t already done so.  You will need to have the following information from your Avalara account ready:

  • Account Number
  • License Key
  • API URL
  • Shipping Item Code or Tax Code

These values can be found in your Avalara administration console, or from the “Account Number & License Key” email and will need to be added to your Hotcakes Commerce store administration area.

HOW TO CONFIGURE AND USE AVALARA AVATAX

If you haven’t done so already, login using a store administrator account.  Next, navigate to the store administration area.

Hotcakes Administration link

Once in the store administration, choose Avatax Service in the Settings menu.

Navigate to Avatax configuration view

All you have to do now is copy and paste the Avatax information into the form fields.  Your tax code or shipping item code will need to come from the Avalara console.

Company code is an optional field that is only necessary if you have more than one company registered with Avalara.

Avalara Avatax configuration form

After you paste in the required details, save your changes.  If you pasted in everything okay, you will have a success message like shown below.  Otherwise, you will see an error message telling you what went wrong.  In most cases, any issues with this form are related to having wrong information in the form fields.

Debug mode is useful if you need to troubleshoot anything happening between your orders and the Avatax service, as it will post additional information to your orders as a private note.

Tax Schedules

Even though you're calculating taxes now using Avalara's Avatax, you'll still need to have at least one tax schedule created.  You don't need to add any tax rates, but you do need to ensure that the name of the tax schedule matches the "tax code" that you map to it in the Avalara Avatax administration area.  You might have only one tax schedule, or many.  And the tax schedule should be assigned to all products that you'll be charging taxes for.

All Done!

That’s all there is to setting up Hotcakes to use Avalara.  Everything else in Hotcakes Commerce is automated, such as tax calculation and submission.  All other management of Avatax will happen in the Avalara administration console.

 

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