US government opens secure portal for FATCA reporting

Financial institutions and tax administrators that have an obligation under US tax law to report account information to the US government now have a secure online site where they can transmit that information, the US tax agency, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), announced on Monday.

The site, called the International Data Exchange Service (IDES), offers a web-based application that provides for encrypted transmission of data. Senders are expected to use a standard XML schema format that captures information the US government is collecting under its Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and to encrypt the data before transmission.

FATCA requires foreign financial institutions to report to the IRS information about financial accounts held by US taxpayers or by foreign entities in which US taxpayers hold a substantial interest. Some countries have agreements with the United States under which the country’s tax administration collects the information from domestic financial institutions and forwards that information to the IRS.

Financial institutions and tax administrators can enrol and create an online account at the IDES website

The IRS also updated its IDES frequently asked questions website to address several technical issues.

Alistair Nevius ( is editor-in-chief, tax for CGMA Magazine.