October 25, 2012

ACH Operations Bulletin #2-2012: Third-Party Tax Payments Banking Convention (Revised 7/23/13)

This ACH Operations Bulletin advises financial institutions, state revenue agencies, and other parties that remit tax payments to state revenue agencies of a new “Third-Party Tax Payment” banking convention.  Nacha recommends that the “TPP” convention be followed when formatting and transmitting remittance information in the addenda record of a CCD entry for certain “third-party tax payments.”[1]

Third-party tax payments (TPP) are those payments made by a third-party to a state taxing agency.  In order to properly post and account for these payments, there is a need to identify both the third-party payer as well as the taxpayer on whose behalf the payment is being made. Examples of third-party tax payments are: 1) employee tax withholdings remitted by payroll service providers on behalf of employers, and 2) payments from employers in response to tax agency orders to garnish employee wages for tax liability.

The Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA), on behalf of their members, has asked that Nacha implemented a banking convention that would allow third parties  (e.g., payroll companies, financial institutions, employers) to standardize ACH payment remittance information to state revenue authorities on behalf of consumers who are subject to wage garnishment due to state tax delinquency.

State revenue authorities are required to diligently pursue delinquent tax payers. The increasing volume of garnishment actions from delinquent tax payers is creating an increased volume of check payments to state revenue authorities.[2] Processing of the paper checks is creating a paperwork burden as the garnishments currently cannot be collected electronically and require manual processing and deposit.

The current tax payment banking convention – TXP -- does not adequately identify both the third-party payer as well as the taxpayer. The revenue authorities need this information to accurately apply credits to taxpayer accounts and research any payment errors or posting problems. The existing convention was developed for other specific purposes (namely, business tax payments remitted by the taxpayer), and was not necessarily intended to support third-party tax payments for garnished wages or other types of tax payments made by an entity other than the taxpayer.

Lacking an industry standard for carrying necessary remittance information in an ACH credit payment, payers have resorted to writing checks, or to developing one-off electronic implementations where the remittance flows outside the ACH Network. Further, solutions developed and implemented by states individually would lead to payers having to track and use such solutions on a state-by-state basis. A standardized ACH process across all payers and all states will help employers and states reduce costs by replacing costly manual check payments, with electronic ACH payments and remittance information.

The TPP banking convention is a standard method to format the remittance information within the addenda record of a CCD entry. The Nacha Operating Rules state that the Payment Related Information field of a CCD Addenda Record must contain a valid X12 payment related data segment or a Nacha-endorsed banking convention.[3] The TPP banking convention was developed by Nacha in conjunction with the Federation of Tax  Administrators and its members, and has been approved for use by Nacha’s Rules and Operations Committee. The TPP banking convention has also been submitted by the FTA to X12 for approval as a valid data segment.[4]

Applications for the TPP include:

  • payroll service providers making quarterly employment tax payments;

  • income withholding  payments made by pass-through entities on behalf of nonresident partners;

  • garnishments; and

  • other levies.

The TPP format in its entirety is included as an Appendix to this ACH Operations Bulletin.

Under the Nacha Operating Rules, use of the TPP banking convention would be optional on the part of employers, third-party payers, and their ODFIs. Use of the convention, however, might be required by the state revenue agency to which payments are being made. Employers, payroll processors, and other third-party payers are advised to check with their financial institutions and the states to which they remit third-party tax payments regarding use of the convention.

Under the Nacha Operating Rules, an RDFI that receives a CCD Entry that contains an addenda record utilizing the TPP convention is required to provide the information, upon the request of the Receiver by the opening of business day on the second banking day after the Settlement Date of the CCD. However, only RDFIs with state revenue agency customers should receive such CCD entries. State revenue agencies and their financial institutions are advised to communicate with each other regarding the receipt of CCD containing TPP-formatted remittance information. Further, Nacha advises state revenue agencies to communicate with employers and third-party payers, such as payroll providers, regarding use of the TPP convention.

The TPP will become an approved X12 data segment effective January 1, 2013, at which time it will be available for use in the addend record of a CCD by parties that are ready to do so. Further, Nacha recommends that all parties involved in third-party tax payments work towards implementation of the TPP by June 21, 2013, as ODFIs and RDFIs contacted by Nacha have indicated that implementation would take an estimated 6-12 months.


Questions about this ACH Operations Bulletin should be submitted via info@nacha.org.


[1] This ACH Operations Bulletin is for information purposes, and is not intended to provide legal advice.
[2] For example, the Colorado Revenue Authority estimates it receives an additional 15,000-20,000 checks per month due to garnishment actions.
[3] See 2012 NACHA Operating Rules and Guidelines, Appendix Three, Payment Related Information (Page OR116).
[4] As of this writing, NACHA has been informed that that the TPP banking convention has been approved by X12 and will be included in version 6050, effective January 1, 2013.
ACH Operations Bulletin – TPP Banking Convention