Avalara Developer Network Developer blog

AvaTax API 18.2 Patch Notes

This article is about the February 2018 monthly update to the AvaTax API.

Environment URL Release Date
Sandbox https://sandbox-rest.avatax.com 2018-02-12
Production https://rest.avatax.com 2018-02-26

Release Schedule Extended

Each month, Avalara publishes the latest release of AvaTax to the Sandbox environment first so that customers who wish to test the new release can spend time running regression tests against AvaTax. In response to customer feedback, we are extending the length of time to a minimum of two weeks in sandbox prior to the production deployment window.

This month’s release will deploy to sandbox on Monday, February 12th, and be available for testing for two weeks prior to deployment to production. Our team is continuing to evaluate whether we can further extend this window to permit additional customer preview time.

We have also added a notification system for patch notes. To subscribe, please enter your email address at the bottom of this page, and you will receive an email when the monthly patch notes for AvaTax are published.

Changes to TransactionModel

The TransactionModel object has new fields related to Value-Added Tax functionality. The new fields are documented on the TransactionLineModel. Users of older software development kits are encouraged to upgrade to the 18.2 SDK to be able to see those new fields.

New features for Cross-Border Taxes

Besides the new vatCode and vatNumberType fields on the transaction line models, AvaTax now provides the ListCurrencies API for information about ISO 4217 currency codes. This new API will list all AvaTax-supported currency codes.

A new API, ListPreferredPrograms, documents a list of cross-border preference programs that can be used to modify customs and duty tax calculation. A preferred program is an international program such as NAFTA that provides special tax calculation logic to companies that participate. This value can be set as a parameter to international tax calculation.

Exemption Certificate Provisioning Update

From review of our customers’ experience with the AvaTax Exemption Certificate system, we have decided to change the behavior for newly provisioned companies. In 18.1, customers were automatically provisioned when they first called any of the Certificate, Customer, or CertExpressInvite APIs. This caused unexpected timeout errors for some customers due to the 3-5 minute delay when a company was provisioned during their first API call.

In AvaTax 18.2, all API calls for a newly created company will fail with an error indicating that the company is not provisioned. Customers should call the CheckExemptionSetup API if they wish to know whether storage has been provisioned, and call the RequestExemptionSetup API to provision storage for their exemption certificates. With this new API, customers can now explicitly choose which companies will use exemption certificate storage.

Postal Code Rates Table API

The DownloadTaxRatesByZipCode API has been extended with information about county names and city names, even when those counties and cities do not apply taxes.

Keep in mind that postal codes do not always fall within a single county, city, or state. The USPS assigns zip codes as a convenience for postal delivery, not as a way of designating cities and counties. The information provided in this API is available for convenience, as a way of guessing what city or county is related to a particular zip code.

Changes to Nexus

Nexus declarations are one of the key elements required to calculate tax correctly. As a result, Avalara is scheduling more improvements to our Nexus API suite.

  • Customers may not declare nexus in a local jurisdiction without also having nexus in the country and region level jurisdictions that contain that local jurisdiction.
  • If a customer attempts to delete a declaration of nexus in a state or country, but they still have any active nexus declarations at local levels, the delete call will fail.
  • Corrected a problem that prevented users from declaring nexus in Federated Micronesia.

As a reminder, there is no guaranteed overlap of cities, counties, and special tax jurisdictions. If you know the exact address of the location where you have nexus, you should use the ListNexusByAddress API to determine exactly what jurisdictions are affected by declaring nexus in a specific location.

Other Improvements and Bug Fixes

  • Fixed unhandled exceptions for edge cases in customer input data.
  • Added a new error code that indicates when a modification to a company's parentId value would create a circular company parent/child relationship.
  • Updated the ForceTimeout option to be the first item parsed in the CreateTransaction API call, to enable better testing of code to handle timeouts.

– Ted Spence, Director, AvaTax API

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