FACS Reporting Service
Frequently Asked Questions

What is FATCA and CRS?

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was put in place by the United States government in an effort to reduce US income tax avoidance. It places compliance obligations on non-US financial institutions to identify US taxpayers and report on them annually. It also involves withholding requirements for payments to certain foreign entities and financial institutions.

The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) was developed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with similar aims. To assist participating jurisdictions in reducing tax avoidance, CRS specifies a global reporting standard for the automatic exchange of financial account information (AEoI). As with FATCA, there are due diligence obligations on financial institutions to both identify and report on residents from other nations.

What report types are supported?

All FATCA and CRS report types are supported. For FATCA, this includes reports for New Data (FATCA1), Corrections (FATCA 2), Deletions (FATCA3) and Amendments (FATCA4). For CRS, this includes reports for New Data (OECD1), and reports for Corrections and Deletions (OECD2 and OECD3).

What versions of the report formats are supported?

We support the current report versions required by the ATO. For FATCA this is version 2.0 of the FATCA XML Schema. For CRS this is version 1.0 of the CRS XML Schema.

How does the FACS Reporting Service receive data?

The FACS Reporting Service uses a "smart" Excel Template that registered users can download. The template includes data entry rules to reduce the likelihood of errors. The template is an XLSX file that requires Microsoft Excel 2007 or later.

Do Australian FATCA reports need IDES packaging (involving digital certificates and data encryption)?

No. FATCA reports for Australian Financial Institutions should be submitted directly to the ATO. They should not be sent to the IDES gateway (which was setup by the IRS), and so do not require IDES packaging.

Please note, however, that some ATO report submission channels do required Bulk Data Exchange (BDE) packaging of reports.

Is ATO Bulk Data Exchange (BDE) packaging supported?

Yes. We provide this at no extra cost to make it easy for you to submit your report via ATO channels that required BDE packaging.

Note that while in the past certain ATO channels have accepted FATCA reports without BDE packaging, this option will cease at some point in 2018. As such, we recommend that only the BDE packaged versions of FATCA and CRS reports are used for ATO submissions.

Are reports generated by the FACS Reporting Service guaranteed to be accepted by the ATO?

For both FATCA and CRS reports there are two key elements involved in their acceptance by the ATO: the report structure (or format) and the report data.

With regard to the report structure, the FACS Reporting Service will produce a fully valid XML report that meets the schema specifications. In the unlikely event that a report is produced with a schema issue, we will rectify this immediately at no additional cost to you.

With regard to report data, the FACS Reporting Service performs many validation checks to make it easier for you to produce a report that will be accepted. There are, however, some exceptions where we are unable to validate your data before it is submitted to the ATO. For example, we can validate that the US TIN values required for FATCA reports are in the correct format (and provide an appropriate warning if they are not), but we cannot check that the provided TIN values match the names of the people they are associated with. Only the IRS can do this and if they detect a mismatch they may ask for a subsequent FATCA correction report.

For these reasons, any issues with the data submitted in a report is the responsibility of the party using the FACS Reporting Service.

Please Note: As CRS report submissions are new for 2018, it is possible that the ATO's CRS report processing systems may experience some teething issues early on. Please let us know if you experience any difficulties with your submission.

What are "corrections, deletions and amendments"?

After a compliance report has been submitted for a given reporting period, it is possible that some of the data in the report will need to be updated at a later date.

For example, a Reporting Financial Institution might realise that an incorrect value was passed through for an account balance, or that an account was reported that should not have been. Alternatively, a tax authority may detect a mismatch between a person's name and corresponding date of birth and so require that this data be remediated.

When such changes need to be made they must be submitted via separate reports. These reports will also need to cross-reference ID values in the original report so that the tax authority knows which records are being updated.

Note that FATCA distinguishes between corrections (changes requested by the tax authority) and amendments (changes identified by the Reporting Financial Institution), while CRS does not.

If the ATO accepts my report, does that mean I am done?

Not necessarily. The ATO will ultimately exchange the data it collects with other tax authorities in other countries. These other tax authorities will be able to perform validation checks that the ATO cannot, such as verifying that a TIN issued by that country matches the name of the person it is associated with.

As a result, even if the ATO has initially accepted a report, you may still be asked to provide a correction at a later date. Note also that this request may not arrive until months after your report submission, as the exchange of data between tax authorities usually happens several months after the due date for FATCA and CRS report submissions from Australian Reporting Financial Institutions.

Are correction, deletion or amendment reports a separate cost if they are required?

Yes. The pricing is on a per report basis, with each report being a single XML file.

Please note that not only corrections and deletions can incur an additional cost. For example, if after submitting a new data report for FATCA or CRS you later realise you need to report an additional account, this will require a separate report.

Is the data I submit to the FACS Reporting Service protected?

Yes. Your data is protected by strong encryption coupled with a secure architecture and all data remains in Australia.

What is a TIN?

A TIN is a generic name for a Tax Identification Number issued by a tax authority.

What level of FATCA and/or CRS expertise is needed to use the FACS Reporting Service?

We have designed the FACS Reporting Service to be as simple to use as possible. However, FATCA and CRS are not trivial subjects and users of the service will need some knowledge of these domains in order to use the service correctly, particularly for corrections, deletions and amendments.

If assistance is required, please contact us for more information.

How long is the data I submit retained by the FACS Reporting Service?

Your submitted data is only retained in our database long enough to ensure that all validation and report generation processes run smoothly. Our system runs periodic batch processes to purge all data that is no longer required.

With regard to the report files that are produced, the choice is yours. We can store these files for you for a year so that you can retrieve them again in the future if required. However, we also give you the ability to delete the report files (once you have downloaded them) so that no data is retained by our system. All files are removed from our systems within 72 hours of you choosing to delete them.

Does the FACS Reporting Service perform validations on my data?

Yes. The FACS Reporting Service performs numerous data validations, checking things like mandatory fields, conditional requirements (where the value in one data element may affect whether another data element is required), data format validations (checking the format of dates, US TIN values, GIIN values, as so on), and much more.

Do I pay for my report even if the FACS Reporting Service finds serious data errors?

No. The way that payment works is as follows:

You will be asked to top up your FACS account balance when you upload a spreadsheet (if your FACS account balance is below the report price). The FACS Reporting Service will then process your data and generate your compliance report. As it does this, it will provide logs detailing any warnings or errors it finds along the way.

If there are warnings or errors you are free to update your spreadsheet and re-process it. You can do this as often as you need to at no additional cost. Only once you are satisfied with your data will you be asked to confirm acceptance of the generated report and your account balance will be debited for the price of the accepted report.

Under what circumstances can I get a refund?

If you have added funds to your FACS account, but subsequently decide not to proceed with generating a compliance report, you may contact us for a refund.