Amazon Sales Tax 101

How to Change Your Product Tax Codes in Amazon

by Georgene Harkness

This guest post was written by Georgene S. Harkness, C.P.A., who has worked in the tax industry for more than 20 years. 

If you’re an Amazon seller like me, you may have a thousand (or more) different SKUs and the very idea of opening and updating each one is daunting. So, as promised in Part 1 of this short series for Amazon Sellers, here’s my post about a way to update your Product Tax Codes in Amazon without manually opening each one in Manage | Inventory

The following process is a much easier and quicker way to update your Product Tax Codes all in a batch. However, let me caution you to do a test run of no more than 10-15 SKUs before you add all your Product Tax Codes, to make sure you are getting the changes you want and that the process works correctly.

Note: This procedure is for PCs.  I can’t make any promises that it will work correctly with a Mac.

First, in your Seller Central account, go to Inventory | Add Products via Upload.

add product to amazon

Choose the Download Template button under “download inventory file templates.”

download inventory file template amazon

This takes you to yet another screen that I’ll admit took me a long time to understand. The template you want is the Inventory Loader, so just click the link I’ve highlighted below to “Go directly to templates tables!”

amazon inventory loader

Save the Inventory Loader template to your hard drive and make note of its name and where you saved it.

sales tax product code amazon

Now go back to your Seller Central account and download your inventory from Inventory Reports. Choose the Active Listings report and save it. This will be a .txt file.

flat file upload amazon

Open a fresh spreadsheet, and choose Data |Import from text. When importing, choose, “Delimited” file type, “Tab” delimiters. On the final screen setting, “Data Format,” find the seller-sku column and choose the “Text” radio button. Don’t change the rest of the columns. Click “Finish” and designate Column A1 for location.

import amazon product tax code

Find the Inventory Loader file you saved and open it. Choose “Enable Editing” if the option appears. Now move to your downloaded Inventory File, and highlight the column for “seller-sku,” leaving out the actual title of the column. Copy the SKUs all the way down, and paste them into your Inventory Loader file in the “sku” column. Don’t change the name of this column and don’t capitalize it. You might also want to copy and paste the “item-name” column from your Inventory File into the “product-id” column. This can help you determine what Product Tax Codes you should choose based on your product name, if your SKU names aren’t meaningful to you. After you have completed the entry of product-tax-code fields, and before you upload the file to Amazon, you must go back and delete the “item-name” from the “product-id” column.  We added that information only for your reference, and Amazon will return an error if you leave the information in it.  Do not delete the column; only delete the information in that column. You are now finished with your Inventory File, so you can close it.

Now that all your SKUs are in your Inventory Loader, move over to Column O and add your Product Tax Codes.  This is a great time to have the listing of the possible codes available to you as shown in the link in the previous article.

Because Amazon doesn’t have a working drop-down box in Column O, you will need to enter each Product Tax Code individually. Obviously, if most of your items are the same type of product, you can copy and paste down the column, but you have to paste individually to each field in that column.

You can leave the rest of the columns empty.

Once you have entered all your Product Tax Codes (and remember to do a test run first), it’s time to save your file as a .txt file, tab delimited. Give it a name you will remember. Go back to your Seller Central account and open the Inventory Tab, and Add Products via Upload, just like you did before, but this time, choose Inventory Loader file from the drop-down menu.

amazon inventory loader

Browse to locate your Inventory Loader file (remember to choose the .txt version), and select Upload Now. Once the upload is successful, you are done!

It may take a little while for your Product Tax Codes to become active. I would suggest you check every few hours. Although it doesn’t normally take that long, it can, according to the instructions, take up to 72 hours for the changes to appear.

If you have any questions or feedback, let me know in the comment section below.

For more from Georgene at the TaxJar blog, see Amazon Tax Codes: How to Code Your SKUs for Sales Tax in Amazon.

  • imkens

    Hello Georgene, Great article. Thank you. One question, when we upload the Inventory Uploader file do we need to have a single completed worksheet as I noticed the original download has three tabs/worksheets.

    • Georgene6767

      Hi, thanks for your comment! Actually what happens is that the original worksheet does have several tabs. But when you save it as a .txt file, per the instructions, it ONLY saves the sheet you are on! So, be sure you are on the tab where the actual data exists (not on the instructions, data definitions, or any other tab), save as a .txt file and only that sheet will be saved.

      When you save, Excel will give you a few warnings, but just say Yes you do want to save it as a .txt (be sure to select the format of .txt in the dropdown when you are saving). Name it something that you will recognize and save it to a location that you will remember. Select the .txt file when you are ready to upload, and ONLY the page that has data will be sent (and that is what you want).

      Good luck!

  • Holly

    Great, clear article. However, I’ve tried to do a test file twice, and I don’t see any change in the listings to show that the upload was successful. I am baffled and must be overlooking something. I am an experienced Excel as well as database user, but this admittedly is my first attempt to tackle anything related to editing and/or listing via Amazon upload. Thus, I very clearly understood (at least I thought I did) your instructions and the logical process from beginning to end. I must be missing something very obvious here and hope you can point me in the right direction.

    • Georgene6767

      So, question, Holly. Can you choose just one item that you think isn’t too likely to sell right away, and change the product tax code to something really ridiculous? And, you probably already know this already, but sometimes it takes up to about an hour for changes to appear. So, try the ridiculous category change and see what happens, OK? And then let us know…

  • Holly

    Yes, change made and it “took.”

  • Kenton

    Thank you for making this guide. It was extremely helpful. I would like to mention that if you do add the product descriptions to the inventory loader document to help you assign the right tax codes, you have to remove them before saving and uploading the file. I did not do this the first time and got an error on every item. After removing the product descriptions it worked perfectly. Thanks again!

  • Holly

    Thank you so much, Kenton. That was exactly it. As soon as I removed the product descriptions, the file went thru fine.

  • Kenton

    Awesome! Glad to hear.

  • Brianna Moller Greene

    Excellent guide! I followed it step by step using a Mac and it worked perfectly. Thank you!

  • Could you possibly update it with the new version of “add products via Upload” . They have completely redesigned the procedure. I couldn’t find any of the info with the new version … thank you

  • Hi Arin,

    I consulted wit the author of this post and we’re still seeing this as the same process. She said to make sure that you’re a Pro Seller and to make sure you’re choosing the template “Inventory Loader.” I’m sorry we couldn’t be of more help. Let me know if it works or if you’re still having trouble and we’ll dig in more!

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