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About FTA E-Standards


First, these standards do not belong to FTA! We manage the process, and we host the resulting products. But it is you, who actually utilize the standards in your tax administration, who determine the requirements and approve the implementation. We invite tax and revenue agencies at all levels of government, members of the tax software industry, and other interested parties to join with us in the work. Standards are continuously evolving – they need to learn and grow as we do.

Secondly, the standards alone are not enough! We organized this group in 1991, and by 1994 we realized that states were implementing the fairly broad approved standards in very different ways unique to each state. We needed to provide implementation guidance, education, and best practices as well as specifications of the standards. We started meeting under the name "TIGERS" (given to us by our IRS liaison and good friend Jim Wassin of the IRS Detroit Service Center) to address these additional needs in order to further consistent adoption of the standards. Although our name has changed to "FTA E-Standards," our work is still the same.


The first standard developed under FTA coordination was the Tax Payment (TXP) electronic payment addenda (Type 7) record, which was approved as a NACHA rule and by the American National Standards Institute Accredited Standards Committee X12 (ANSI ASC X12). After working with X12 on this project, and understanding its pioneering work to develop standard formats for electronic data interchange (EDI), FTA co-founded the Tax Information Interchange Task Group under the X12 Government Subcommittee in 1991.

The centerpiece of our X12 work was Transaction Set 813, which could be adapted to almost any type if tax return through an FTA-maintained code set. The 813 was widely adopted for Motor Fuel Tax efile, and is still in use (and maintained by us as needed) today. It had some success in state Sales and Use tax, but was largely abandoned for further development around the year 2000 with the rising popularity of Extensible Markup Language (XML).

Our first XML product was the FSET package for Withholding and Unemployment taxes, which is still used today. We then partnered with IRS in the development of Modernized eFile (MeF), both collaborating on the transmission processing and developing the templates for the state schemas in Business (Corporate, Partnership, Non-Profit), Individual, and Estate/Trust taxes.

We have also partnered with the Streamlined Sales Tax project to develop schema sets for both Streamlined and full Sales and Use taxes, and with FTA Uniformity committees for development in Motor Fuel, Cigarette, and Tobacco taxes. More tax types on the horizon!

We have greatly expanded the offerings in Payroll and Employment areas with Employer Annual Filings, Levy, Enrollment, and E-Power of Attorney (E-POA) schema sets.

And coming full circle, we sponsored the Third Party Payment (TPP) addenda record to be approved as a new NACHA rule and ANSI ASC X12 standard.


We generally hold two face-to-face meetings each year; one in April-May in conjunction with the FTA Efile & Revenue Protection Symposium, and one in August in conjunction with the FTA Technology conference. In between we meet as needed via webinars and conference calls. Please see our upcoming meetings and agendas under the Calendar tab.

We also discuss technical issues around the standards, MeF, and related topics on the Standards E-List curated by FTA. This e-list is open to qualified members of tax and revenue agencies, tax software vendors, and other tax service providers. To join the conversation, just send a request with your contact information and organization to [email protected].


Last modified: Wednesday, 20-Mar-2019 19:59:44 UTC