Sales and use tax compliance can be a tricky business and your data is a critical part of the process. Last month I wrote about the importance of establishing an effective data management plan as part of your overall sales tax compliance process.   Today I want to discuss the importance of formatting your files so that your data is mapped correctly.

Here are my top six file formatting tips:

  • Use a flat file format for processing data when possible

  • The file format should be consistent from month to month with clear delimiters

  • Use consistent field placement (said differently, use the same header rows each month)

  • Keep field names (header titles) consistent if they are included in the file

  • .CSV file format is commonly used but can be problematic if commas are used in address fields or description fields

  • Be sure that commas are not included in the amount fields


Remember your data is only good if mapped correctly, so be sure to take the time to format your files appropriately. What other tips do you have for ensuring consistent, accurate data? Please feel free to share your tips in the comments below.



Anne Birkmann

Written by Anne Birkmann