How Do I Handle Downtime with Avalara?

Handling Avalara Downtime

When an invoice is created on a site with Avalara AvaTax credentials, Recurly will send a request to Avalara for the tax to include on the invoice. In the event that Recurly cannot get a response from Avalara or the internal Recurly tax service that talks to Avalara is unresponsive, Recurly will respond differently depending on whether the invoice is for a new sign-up or purchase, or a future subscription activation or renewal.

To check Avalara's status, visit http://status.avalara.com/ and expand the Avalara AvaTax section to view the "Tax Calculation Service".

 

FOR NEW SIGN-UPS AND PURCHASES

If Recurly cannot get a response from Avalara or the internal Recurly tax service that talks to Avalara is unresponsive, the signup or purchase will be blocked (neither a subscription or invoice will be created). This is to ensure that no invoice for a customer in a taxable location is created without a tax consideration. The following error will be returned:

  • "Tax service currently unavailable, please try again later"

Since all invoices are sent to Avalara, this sign-up or purchase block also affects invoices for customers in locations where you do not collect tax, tax exempt customers, or tax exempt line items.

 

DISABLE TAX RESPONSE REQUIREMENT

If you would prefer to allow new sign-ups and purchases to go through when tax cannot be calculated, you can change the default behavior for your site by going to Configuration > Taxes > Tax Settings > Tax Service Settings and disabling "Require tax response from tax service".

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If you disable the tax response requirement, invoices will be created without tax when Avalara or Recurly's internal tax service is unresponsive. Recurly will not notify you when an invoice is created without a tax consideration. To track these invoices, you will need to use the Invoices - Summary export or Invoices API to identify invoices in locations where you tax and no tax was charged on the invoice.

It is important to note that it is not possible to charge a customer only the missing tax after an invoice is created. The only way to collect the missing tax would be to refund the invoice and issue a new custom charge invoice. The custom charge invoice, while linked to the account, will not be linked to the subscription or underlying plan. Due to this, we recommend that merchants disabling the tax response requirement only do so if they plan to take on the missing tax fees themselves, and not collect the missing tax from the customer.

 

FOR FUTURE SUBSCRIPTIONS AND RENEWALS

If Recurly cannot get a response from Avalara or the internal Recurly tax service that talks to Avalara is unresponsive, Recurly will not activate a future subscription or renew a subscription and will keep retrying the activation or renewal every hour until a response is received from Avalara. While the renewal may happen an hour late, the underlying subscription dates will respect the original subscription billing cycle. We retry the activation and renewal to ensure that no invoice for a customer in a taxable location is created without a tax consideration. This functionality, unlike sign-ups and purchases, cannot be configured or changed.