Q: What is Consolidated Billing?

Consolidated Billing enables you to consolidate payment for multiple AWS accounts within your company by designating a single paying account. Consolidated Billing enables you to see a combined view of AWS costs incurred by all accounts, as well as obtain a detailed cost report for each of the individual AWS accounts associated with your “Paying Account”. Consolidated Billing is offered at no additional charge. To learn about consolidated billing, see our Consolidated Billing Guide.

Q: How are Paying Account bills computed?

We aggregate usage of the Linked Accounts and apply pricing to generate the Paying Account’s bill. This is done to give the full benefit of price tiers (lower rates from volume) to the Paying Account. The Paying Account’s bill is the real bill and represents charges due from the customer who owns the Paying Account.

Q: How are line items on the Paying Account's bill allocated across Linked Accounts?

We proportionally 'allocate' costs to Linked Accounts from line items on the Paying Account’s bill. 'Allocated' charges in Linked Accounts are therefore derived from line items in the Paying Account. Allocated costs are computed and stored with a precision of 6 decimal places. When composing the bill for the Paying Account, we apply our line item rounding rules. The allocated costs are retained at the precision of 6 decimal places.

Q: What rounding rules are applied when composing a Paying Account's bill?

We apply the following rounding rules to each line item in a bill.

  • Round UP to the first penny – amounts between $0.000001 and $0.01 are rounded up to $0.01. For example, $0.001 is rounded up to $0.01.
  • Round HALF UP amounts greater than $0.01 - we round down if the fractional amount is less than half a penny, and round up otherwise. For example $0.102 is rounded to $0.10, $0.105 is rounded to $0.11, and $0.107 is rounded to $0.11.

Q: Will Paying Account bills reconcile with Linked Account allocations?

No, a difference may result from any of these factors:

  • Allocated costs have a precision of 6 decimal places while line items are rounded to two decimal places when composing a bill.
  • Line items are rounded UP to the first penny, while allocated costs are not. This can introduce a difference of (almost) a penny between allocated cost and the corresponding line item.
  • On the Portal Activity by Account tab, the allocated costs are rounded to two decimal places. The page provides roll ups at Account and Account-Product levels. There can be a discrepancy between the finer grain allocated costs and the roll-ups.

Q: Can line items in Paying Account bills be greater than the sum of the allocated costs in Linked Account bills?

Yes. In the example below, the line item amount is $0.01 while the sum of allocated costs is $0.00.

  Amount before rounding Amount after rounding
Line item on bill $0.002 $0.01
Allocated cost for account A $0.001 $0.00
Allocated cost for account B $0.001 $0.00

Q: Can lines item in Paying Account bills be less than the sum of the allocated costs in Linked Account bills?

Yes. In the example below, the line item amount is $0.01 while the sum of allocated costs is $0.02.

  Amount before rounding Amount after rounding
Line item on bill $0.014 $0.01
Allocated cost for account A $0.007 $0.01
Allocated cost for account B $0.007 $0.01

Q: Is there a report that gives me breakdown by Linked Account?

Consolidated Billing customers can download a comprehensive report from the Account Activity page.

Q: What types of usage and charges are reflected in the metrics sent from Billing to Amazon CloudWatch?

Usage charges and recurring fees for AWS products and services are included in the EstimatedCharges metrics. You will have a metric for total AWS charges, as well as one additional metric for each AWS product or service that you use. One-time charges and refunds are not included.

Q: Can I set an alert on an AWS product or service that I have not started using yet?

Billing data is only sent to Amazon CloudWatch for AWS products and services that you have used in the current billing cycle. For setting billing alerts, you will not see the option to choose products and services that you do not use.

Q: After I enable monitoring, how long will it take before I can see estimated charges as metric data in Amazon CloudWatch?

Please allow up to 15 minutes for metric data to be visible in Amazon CloudWatch after you enable monitoring of your estimated charges. Immediately after enabling monitoring, you will be able to set a billing alert on your total AWS charges, but in order to set an alert for individual products, services, and accounts that you use, you just wait for metric data to be visible.

Q: Can I use this metric data to view a history of my estimated charges?

Yes. Amazon CloudWatch will store your estimated charges as metric data starting from the time you first enable monitoring. These data remain visible for 14 days. You can use this to view your previous estimated charges. However, estimated charges calculated before you enabled monitoring will not be available in Amazon CloudWatch.

Q: Why do I only see 14 days of estimated charge history?

Amazon CloudWatch stores metric data for 14 days by default.

Q: As a Consolidated Billing customer, can I monitor charges for individual accounts?

Yes, each individual account that is linked to your Consolidated Billing paying account will have individual estimated charge metrics. Paying accounts can access metrics and set alerts for each individual linked account's charges as well as for the consolidated total, including charges for each product and service used by each account. An individual linked account can access metrics and set alerts for only the charges and service usage that are allocated to it. Paying and linked accounts manage their billing alerts independently. When you link an account to Consolidated Billing, you can monitor the total charges associated with the account. Additional metrics are also provided separately for charges accrued both before and after linking it, so you can monitor those charges separately. This is also true when you unlink an account from Consolidated Billing. These additional metrics continue for the remainder of the month in which you link or unlink it. In subsequent months when the account’s role no longer changes, you will only need to monitor the total charges and the additional separated metrics are no longer provided.

Q: Are AWS Marketplace charges included?

Yes, if you use AWS Marketplace, you will have a metric for total AWS Marketplace software charges. Metrics are not provided for individual AWS Marketplace products. AWS ‘infrastructure’ usage charges associated with your AWS Marketplace usage are included in your non-marketplace metrics.

Q: Is tax reflected in the estimated charges monitored by Amazon CloudWatch?

VAT is included for EU customers. US sales tax is not included.

Q: Are credits reflected in the estimated charges monitored by Amazon CloudWatch?

Yes, credits and adjustments will be reflected as updates to estimated charges after they are applied. However, there is not a separate metric for credits and adjustments.

Q: Are refunds reflected in the estimated charges monitored by Amazon CloudWatch?

No. Refunds for prior billing periods are applied directly to your account based on your payment method, and are not reflected in your estimated charges.

Q: Can IAM users view estimated charges and set billing alerts using Amazon CloudWatch?

Yes. In order to give IAM users access to view estimated charge metric data, add Amazon CloudWatch read-only permissions to their IAM policy. In order to allow IAM users to set up billing alerts, add read/write permissions. If you have created an IAM user with permission to view your Account Activity page, you will still need to provide them with permission to use CloudWatch if you want them to be able to set up billing alerts.

Note that any IAM user who has read-only or read/write permission to Amazon CloudWatch can view your estimated charges.

Q: How many alert e-mails will I receive when estimated charges exceed my threshold?

You will receive one e-mail notification when your estimated charges exceed the threshold you set. You will not receive additional e-mails unless you increase your threshold, or until you cross the threshold again in the next billing period.

Q: Can I set billing alerts on charges that I incur at a region-level detail?

Not at this time.

Q: Can I view estimated charge metrics or set billing alerts in a region other than US-East?

Not at this time. The US-East (Virginia) region stores Amazon CloudWatch metrics and alarms for worldwide estimated charges.

Q: Are estimated charges a prediction of my bill at the end of the month?

No, estimated charges only reflect current charges incurred based on the usage that you have already performed that has been processed by AWS billing system. Your Account Activity page will show the date and time of the most recent activity included for estimated charges. Estimated charges typically increase as the month goes on. Your actual bill at the end of the month may be different from the estimated charges that you see during the month.

Q: Why is AWS starting to collect sales tax?

As states have modified their laws to expand their tax base, certain AWS services have become subject to sales tax. Additionally, AWS may have new obligations to collect tax in certain jurisdictions based on the location of our operations.

Q: Which of my addresses will be used for computing sales tax?

For regular accounts, the address associated with the “default payment method” will be used to compute the applicable sales tax.

For consolidating billing customers, tax will be computed on line items allocated to each of the individual Linked Accounts. For such allocated line items, the address associated with the default payment method for the Linked Account will be used to compute tax.

If a user does not have a current payment method on the taxation date, the account address will be used.

Q: What services are subject to tax?

The amount of tax collected depends on many factors, including the type of service purchased and the billing address associated with the customer’s account.

Q: How is tax calculated?

If a service is subject to sales tax in the state in which your address is located, tax is generally calculated on the total selling price of each individual service. The tax rate applied to your invoice will generally be the combined state and local rate for the billing address associated with your account. Amazon Web Services obtains sales tax rates from a leading tax rate service provider.

Q: How will I know how much tax I will be charged?

Once your bill is finalized, US sales tax to be collected will be displayed as a separate line item in the PDF invoice, email invoice, and online activity page.

Q: I am exempt from US sales tax. How do I register as a tax exempt organization with AWS?

Beginning March 1st, 2012, you will be able to access the Amazon Tax Exemption Program from your account page within the AWS Portal.

Q: What is the Amazon Tax Exemption Program?

The Amazon Tax Exemption Program will allow customers to proactively take advantage of their tax exempt status when purchasing services and products from Amazon Web Services, Inc. In order to establish and maintain your tax exempt status, you must provide us with a valid tax exemption certificate for the state(s) where you are located, and update your certificate on a periodic basis in accordance with state laws and/or our Terms & Conditions.

Q: Are my purchases eligible?

At this time we are only accepting certificates for purchases on aws.amazon.com from Amazon Web Services, Inc. and only for the states of AZ, CA, CT, KS, KY, IN, MA, MN, ND, NJ, NV, NC, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX, WA, WI, and WV.

Q: How do I enroll in the program?

Log into your AWS account and select “My Account” to access the Amazon Tax Exemption Program.

Upload your tax exemption certificate(s) using the file upload tool located on the Tax Exemption Program page. When you have completed the process you will see a message indicating that you have successfully uploaded your tax exemption information.

Our Customer Service team will review your documentation within 3 business days. If we need additional information or documentation in order to process your exemption documents, our Customer Service team will contact you by e-mail.

Upload Restrictions:
The file size of your document must not exceed 4MB. We accept .pdf, .jpg, .gif, .png, doc & docx file formats. Please make sure you have not exceeded the file size and are using the correct file type.

Q: How do I maintain my exemption status?

Your exemption will remain active until the expiration of your tax exemption certificate. To retain your tax exemption, you must submit an updated exemption certificate before the expiration of the current certificate. Applicable expiration dates are noted in our database. Before your current certificate expires, we'll send you an email reminder to update your certificate.

Q: Is AWS required to charge VAT?

Complete information on value added tax (VAT) can be found on our Tax Help page.

Q: I am a business customer, how can I be exempt from VAT?

VAT exemption varies based on your country. Complete information can be found on our Tax Help page.

Q: I entered my payment method several hours ago. Why am I still unable to use AWS Services like EC2 and S3?

Please check the email address associated with your AWS account and see if you have received any additional information about your account activation from AWS.

Alternatively, please take a moment to verify the credit card details you have on your account that might be causing a delay. Here are the more common reasons why the verification of your payment information may be delayed:

  • Your name and address are incorrect on the card
  • The card number and expiration date are incorrect
  • Your bank has a daily or overall limit that has been exceeded
  • Your bank requires action due to the timing or nature of the charge, and requires that you contact them to verify payment

Troubleshooting Tips

  1. Do you think there is a typo in the payment method information we have on file? Try re-entering your credit card information and then waiting several minutes to see if that resolves the issue.
  2. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, check your financial institution account activity and see if there is a $1 authorization (this is not a charge). If there is not, or there is a $1 entry with a note that you need to contact your financial institution, you may need to contact them to approve the authorization. When this is complete, re-try your credit card authorization and wait several minutes to see if that resolves the issue.
  3. If this is still not solving the problem, then contact us, and please share what troubleshooting you did to resolve the issue so that we can avoid asking you to take actions you have already completed. (Please DO NOT send us any credit card information.)