Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was enacted by the United States Congress in March 2010 to improve compliance with US tax laws.

FATCA imposes certain due diligence and reporting obligations on foreign (non-US) financial institutions, including Australian institutions. These institutions will be required to report information on US citizens with financial accounts to the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

See also:

FATCA reporting

Latest news

October 2018

Providing your Australian Business Number (ABN)

To assist the ATO with compliance monitoring and reduce the need for us to contact reporters, the ABN of the ReportingFI and Sponsor (if a Sponsor is reporting) can be included in the report. The IRS issued ReportingFI TIN element is mandatory and should always be included in your report (Trustee Documented Trusts are excluded, see below). If there is a Sponsor, the Sponsor TIN is also a mandatory field and should be reported.

For example:



      <TIN issuedBy="US"></TIN>

     <TIN issuedBy="AU">(Insert ABN here)</TIN>





      <TIN issuedBy="US"></TIN>

      <TIN issuedBy="AU">(Insert ABN here)</TIN>



Reporting the Sponsor Global Intermediary Identification Number (GIIN) correctly

The GIIN value of a Sponsoring Entity is the GIIN issued to the entity when it is acting in its capacity as a Sponsor. Sponsors have the  letters 'SP' in their GIIN in the following format:

If the reporter has more than one GIIN, care must be taken to ensure they are correctly provided.

Ensure the Sponsor GIIN appears in the Sponsor element.

The sponsored ReportingFI GIIN should appear at the ReportingFI TIN element. (The sponsored ReportingFI TIN is the GIIN issued to the Sponsor when the Sponsor registers the ReportingFI.)

Trustee Documented Trust (TDT) reporting

When reporting for Trustee Documented Trusts (TDTs), the Trustee reports on behalf of the Trust. The Trust itself is not required to register for a GIIN.

The Trustee is required to register and obtain a GIIN, which is reported in the Sponsor data element. The Trustee of a TDT’s GIIN should not be reported in the ReportingFI element.

The details of the Trust are reported in the ReportingFI data element.

For TDTs, the IRS FATCA XML User Guide (PDF, 1.15MB) advises to leave the ReportingFI TIN field blank.  This means the TIN field in the ReportingFI element should be removed completely


  • Sponsor element must be present and completed.
  • DocRefId’s should begin with the Sponsor GIIN.
  • Sponsor FilerCategory code must be ‘FATCA609’.

May 2018

Update to the format requirements for the DocRefId

The DocRefId identifies specific records within the report and appears in:  

  • ReportingFI
  • Sponsor (if applicable)
  • All Account Holders
  • Nil Report (if applicable)

On the 16 May 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a News and Information email, advising of an update to the format requirements for the DocRefId data element.

As of 23 March 2018, the DocRefId must not include any non-alphanumeric characters.

However, there are two exceptions to the rule: periods (.) and dashes (-) can be used.

All other non-alphanumeric characters cannot be used. Some examples of non-alphanumeric characters that must not be included in the DocRefId are underscore (_), at symbol (@), plus (+), ampersand (&), exclamation mark (!) and asterisk (*).

DocRefId pattern:

DocRefId examples:

  • S519K4.99999.SL.392.12291cc2-37cb-42a9-ad74-06bb5746b60b
  • 127BM7.00001.ME.124.406abc8a1830490e847890ba3b13a646

Refer to the IRS’s FATCA XML Schema Best Practices for Form 8966 DocRefId page for more details.

Restricted characters

Certain characters are prohibited and may not be included in a FATCA report.

Refer to the IRS’s page FATCA XML Schema Best Practices for Form 8966  for more details.

Reporting change for 2018 onwards - account holder US TINs not reported
Reporting Australian financial institutions must comply with the required due diligence actions outlined in Notice 2017-46 (PDF, 57.3KB) where the United States (US) Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is not held for a pre-existing account holder.  If these actions are taken the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will not determine there is significant non-compliance for the calendar years 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Due diligence actions

Australian financial institutions must:

  • obtain and report the date of birth for each account holder and controlling person whose US TIN is not reported
  • annually request missing US TINs from each account holder
  • search electronically searchable data maintained by the reporting institution for any missing US TINs, before reporting for the 2017 calendar year.

How to report missing US TINs

After due diligence actions have been undertaken you must:

  • use nine capital ‘A’s (AAAAAAAAA) to populate the US TIN data element for the 2018 reporting year reports (2018 lodgment due by 31 July 2019). ATO systems will be changed to accept nine ‘A’s and not nine zeros for the 2018 and 2019 reporting periods
  • use nine zeros (000000000) to populate the US TIN data element for the 2017 reporting year and prior year reports
  • consider if your system requires changes to accommodate entering alpha type characters in the account holder TIN data element
  • be aware some other countries may have already moved to using nine ‘A’s. This may have impacts for reporting from/for branches in other countries.

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More information

For more information, refer to:

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website

US Department of Treasury website

Australian Treasury website

Parliament of Australia website

Contact information

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