ACATS Transfer Guide (US brokerage account transfers)

ACATS Transfer Guide


ACATS Transfer Benefits

Navigating The Process

Incoming Or Outgoing

Initiating Your Transfer

What To Expect

Who To Contact For Help



Understanding the basic facts about transferring accounts between US brokerage firms can be help to avoid delays.  Through this article and other Knowledge Database resources, Interactive Brokers seeks to assist with your incoming and outgoing ACATS requests.

US brokerage firms utilize a standardized system to transfer customer accounts from one firm to another.  Known as the Automated Customer Account Transfer Service or ACATS, the process allows assets to move seamlessly between  brokerage firms in a unified time frame.   ACATS transfers are facilitated by a third party, the National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC), to assist participating members with timely asset transfers.

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ACATS Transfer Benefits

The majority of assets may be transferred between US brokerage firms and some banks through ACATS.  This standardized system includes stocks, US corporate bonds, listed options, unit investment trusts, mutual funds, and cash.  Information on assets eligible for transfer is provided at "Assets Eligible..."  Though impacted by multiple factors and time constraints, the accepted or rejected transfers finalize within 10 business days in most cases.

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Navigating The Process

4 simple steps of the ACATS process will help you understand the flow and minimize delays.  Familiarizing yourself with the transfer process helps to ensure a successful transition.

1.  Incoming or Outgoing

2.  Initiating Your Transfer

3.  What to Expect

4.  Who to Contact For Help 

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 1. Incoming or Outgoing


Incoming ACATS Transfers

The financial institution that is receiving your assets and account transfer is known as the "receiving firm."  Investors always work with and through the "receiving firm" to move full or partial account assets into a new broker. 

Contact the "receiving firm" (Interactive Brokers) to review the firm's trading policies and requirements.  You should verify that your assets are eligible for trading at the "receiving firm" before initiating the transfer request.   Not all ACATS transferable assets are acceptable for trading at every brokerage firm.

Outgoing ACATS Transfers

All outgoing ACATS transfers, full or partial, must be approved by the "delivering firm."  Investors, however, should work with and through the "receiving firm" in order to begin the the transfer process or to status the progress of the request.      

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2. Initiating Your Transfer

Investors must always begin the ACATS transfer with the "receiving firm."  An ACATS transfer form or Transfer Initiation Form (TIF) must be submitted.  The "receiving firm" takes your reqeust and communicates with the "delivering firm" via ACATS.  The process begins with this request for transfer of the account. 

For your Interactive Brokers Account, the transfer is usually submitted online.  Video instruction on submitting the transfer is provided at "How to deposit funds via a full ACATS/ATON Transfer."  or through Step-by-step instructions.

Note: Outgoing account transfers from your IB account should be directed to the other broker.  Your request will be submitted to IB from the other broker through the ACATS electronically.

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3. What to Expect

Your Account

Brokers ensure the safety and security of transfer requests by only authorizing requests between open accounts that meet the following criteria:

  • Same Account Title
  • Same Tax ID Number
  • Same Account Type

Transfer Approval

Ultimately responsible for validating the transfer,  the "delivering firm" may accept  information from the "receiving firm" correcting data originally entered.  Approved or validated requests result in the delivery of positions to the "receiving firm" for their acceptance.   Assets may not be accepted by the "receiving firm" for the following:

  • Non-marginable or Margin (credit) violation
  • Not Tradable
  • DTC Chill

Note: The most common reasons for ACATS rejections are outlined by clicking here.

Processing Time-frame

The processing time for each transfer request is fixed.  In general, approved transfers complete within 4 to 8 business days.  Almost all transfers complete within 10 business days.  Each firm is required to perform certain steps at specific intervals in the process.  Feel free to review the Full ACATS transfer process flow.



While Interactive Brokers does not charge a fee to transfer your account via ACATS, some brokers do apply a fee for full and partial transfers. Prior to initiating your transfer, you should contact the "delivering firm" to verify any charge.

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4.  Who To Contact For Help

Interactive Brokers Customer Service stands poised to assist with your incoming ACATS transfer reqeust.  Click here for Customer Service contact resources.

Note:  Outgoing or ACATS transfers sending accounts to another broker should be directed to the "receiving firm."  Their Account Transfer Group will work with Interactive Brokers directly to complete your outgoing request.

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Application considerations for Non-Resident Indians (NRI)


Who or What is an NRI? 

An Indian Citizen who stays abroad for employment, carrying on business, vacations outside of India or stays abroad under circumstances indicating an intention for an uncertain duration of stay abroad is considered a NRI. In addition, persons posted in U.N. organizations and officials deputed abroad by Central/ State Government and Public Sector Undertakings on temporary assignments are also treated as NRIs.  Non-resident foreign citizens of Indian Origin are treated on par with Non-Resident Indian citizens.  According to the Indian Government, anybody who resides outside of India for period of 182 days in a calendar year is considered a Non Resident Indian.

IB provides NRIs with trading access on the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) through the IB-India subsidiary. Futures and Futures Options trading are available through the F&O Segment, however, at this time stock trading is not yet available.

In order to open an NRI account, applicants are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the  identity documentation and bank account prerequisites outlined below.


 1. Identity - PAN Card 

The PAN (Permanent Account Number). is a ten-digit alphanumeric code generated by the India's 'Income Tax Department, This is required by anyone and everyone who wish to conduct any kind of financial transaction in India. If you do not have a PAN card you will need to apply for one before your trading account can be considered for opening. You can apply for a PAN card online though the Tax Information Network (TIN) of the Income Tax Department of India (see link below).
The following documentation will be required to complete the application, and is split into two categories, Proof Of Identity and Proof of Address none of which can be older than six months. PAN cards will ordinarilly be received within 15-25 business days.
1. Proof Of Identity (Copy of)
· Passport
· Drivers License
· Voted Identity Card
· Property Tax Bill
· Water Bill
· Credit Card Bill
· Bank Account Statement / Passbook
2. Proof of Address (Copy of)
· Electricity Bill
· Telephone Bill
· Credit Card Statement
· Employer Certificate
· Passport
· Ration Card
· Property Tax Bill
Applications can be done online by clicking on the following link for the Income Tax Department
of India, .
2. NRI Bank Accounts
Indian Regulations Require that customers must have a set of two Indian Bank Accounts, Ordinary Non-Resident Account in Rupees (NRO Main) and Ordinary Non Resident Account in Rupees, Portfolio Investment Scheme (NRO PIS). The second account is considered a sub of the main NRO Account. The functions for each account are described below:
Ordinary Non-Resident Account in Rupees (NRO Main):
· Received funds that have been converted from the home currency to NRI (Indian Rupees)
· Serves to provide the initial funding for the IB Account
· Funds can be used for initial stock trading
· Serves to receive the proceeds from futures and options trades
Ordinary Non Resident Account in Rupees, Portfolio Investment Scheme (NRO PIS)
· The account used to fund/withdraw monies to/from the IBI Brokerage account for stock purchased/sold, by the exact amount including IBI commissions and costs, after IBI has issued a contract note for the trade. This is required to satisfy Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Regulations when a NRO Main Account is Opened.
NRI Bank Accounts can be opened by any of the following major banks, most of which offer online application facilities.
Citi -
State Bank of India –
As another option customers can also a set of Non Resident External (NRE) accounts, these are not purely optional accounts, and are not required for trading in the Indian Markets through Interactive Brokers India. Please use the following link for additional information on this option :
Other Links:
IB India Website-
Tax Information Network (PAN Card Information) -


Overview of Fees

Clients and as well as prospective clients are encouraged to review our website where fees are outlined in detail. An overview of the most common fees is provided below:


1. Commissions - vary by product type and listing exchange and whether you elect a bundled (all in) or unbundled plan. In the case of US stocks, for example, we charge $0.005 per share with a minimum per trade of $1.00.

2. Interest - interest is charged on margin debit balances and IB uses internationally recognized benchmarks on overnight deposits as a basis for determining interest rates. We then apply a spread around the benchmark interest rate (“BM”) in tiers, such that larger cash balances receive increasingly better rates, to determine an effective rate.  For example, in the case of USD denominated loans, the benchmark rate is the Fed Funds effective rate and a spread of 1.5% is added to the benchmark for balances up to $100,000.  In addition, individuals who short stock should be aware of special fees expressed in terms of daily interest where the stock borrowed to cover the short stock sale is considered 'hard-to-borrow'. 

 3. Exchange Fees - again vary by product type and exchange. For example, in the case of US securities options, certain exchanges charge a fee for removing liquidity (market order or marketable limit order) and provide payments for orders which add liquidity (limit order). In addition, many exchanges charge fees for orders which are canceled or modified.

4. Market Data - you are not required to subscribe to market data through IB but if you do you may incur a monthly fee which is dependent upon the vendor exchange and their subscription offering. We provide a Market Data Assistant tool which assists in selecting the appropriate market data subscription service available based upon the product you wish to trade. To access, log into Account Management click on the Tools icon and then the IB Market Data Assistant link.

5. Minimum Monthly Activity Fee - as we cater to active traders we require accounts to generate a minimum in commissions each month or be charged the difference as an activity fee. The minimum is $10 per month for accounts maintaining a balance above $2,000 and $20 per month for accounts whose equity has fallen below $2,000.

6. Miscellaneous - IB allows for one free withdrawal per month and charges a fee for each subsequent withdrawal. In addition, there are certain pass-through fees for trade bust requests, options and futures exercise & assignments and ADR custodian fees.

For additional information, we recommend visiting our website at and from the Individuals page select the Fees menu option at the top of the page.


2009 Gain/Loss Summary Worksheet: General Explanation

Important Note:  The Worksheet has been prepared using IRS guidelines for information purposes only.  It is not intended to replace any official IRS tax forms or schedules; and should not be regarded as an IRS Form Schedule D.

Interactive Broker's 2009 Gain/Loss Summary Worksheet ("Worksheet") provides the capital gains and losses for your account's year-end review.  Investors of a limited number of securities will find the pairing of 2009 sell trades useful.  Designed to aid with your year end reconciliation, the following securities and trades are included: Bonds, Equity Options, Fractional Shares, Index Futures*, Mutual Funds, Short Sale, T-Bills, Tender Offers, and WHIFITs.

A general explanation of the Worksheet is organized below by Parts, Columns, and Totals.

 *Only cash-settled

Worksheet Parts

The Worksheet is divided into two parts.  The period in which you held the position determines whether or not Short-Term or Long-Term applies. 

Part 1 - Short Term Capital Gains and Losses - Assets Held One Year or Less

Part 2 - Long Term Capital Gains and Losses - Assets Held More Than One Year

Worksheet Columns

Each section contains the following seven columns to identify your trades.

(a) Description of property (b) Date acquired (c) Date sold (d) Sales price (e) Cost or other basis (f) Gain or (loss) Codes

1.  (a) Description of property...shows the security symbol, name, quantity, and other information to identify the asset sold.


2.  (b) Date acquired...shows the trade date of your security's purchase. 

Asset Transfers:  IB has entered the date supplied by you through Position Transfer Basis.  If an update was not received by year-end, then the asset transfer settlement date appears. See your monthly or annual summary for details. 

Short Sales:  The box is left blank if the closing trade has not been completed.  For short sales included on a prior year Worksheet or 1099-B, the code ADJ is entered.

3.  (c) Date sold...shows the trade date of your security's sale.

4.  (d) Sales price...shows the gross security sale price, net of commissions. 

Option Adjustments:  For exercised call options, the writer's sale proceeds have been increased by the amount received for the call. For exercised put options, the holder's sale proceeds have been reduced by the cost of the put. See IRS Pub. 550, page 57, for details.  For expired options, an amount of 0.00 is entered, followed by the Code "Ep".

5.  (e) Cost or other basis...shows the total price paid for your security, plus commissions.

Corporate Actions:  Adjustments have not been made for any stock splits or non-dividend distributions. See IRS Pub. 550, page 44, for details.

Mutual Funds:  IB does not use an average basis for mutual funds. The First In, First Out (FIFO) method is used.

Original Issue Discount:  The basis has not been increased by the amount of OID included in your income. See IRS Pub. 550, page 13, for details.

Option Adjustments: For exercised put options, the writer's basis has been increased by the amount received for the put.  For exercised call options, the holder's basis has been increased by the cost of the call. See IRS Pub. 550, page 57, for details.

6.  (f) Gain or (loss)...shows the calculation for each security using the tax execution methods First-In, First Out (FIFO), Last In, First Out (LIFO), or Maximize Losses (ML). 

Loss: Negative amounts are identified in parentheses.  For example, a loss of $2,000.00 displays as (2,000.00).

Tax Method:  If no code appears in the Codes column, then FIFO applies.  The other methods are noted by either LI = LIFO or ML = Maximize Losses.

7.  Codes...shows various trade designations, such as: corporate actions, asset transfers, or option assignments.

Codes and Meanings Table:  The last page of the Worksheet contains a table to identify each non-security symbol used.

Worksheet Totals

1. Subtotal adjustment from option assignment...shows the total amount of all sale proceeds increases or decreases made from option assignments to the assigned stock sale proceeds (see Cost or other basis details above). 

The adjustments, in accordance with IRS guidelines, are added or subtracted in order for the next Subtotal line to equal the amount reported by IB on the 1099-B, box 2.  Please keep in mind that IB does not report any option proceeds or adjustments to sales proceeds from assignments on the 1099s.

2.  Subtotal for stocks, bonds and T-bills...shows the total non-adjusted proceeds reported for each trade under column (d) Sales price for stocks, bonds, and T-bills only.  This amount should equal the 1099-B, box 2, amount. 

1099-B, box 2:  In general, this 1099 figure should equal the combined Parts 1 & 2 Subtotal for stocks, bonds and T-bills figure.

3.  Total...shows the combined proceeds for all trades under column (d) Sales price, including option sale proceeds.

Total Option Sale Proceeds:  Subtract the Total amount of column (d) from the Subtotal for stocks, bonds and T-bills of column (d) to obtain the total proceeds from all option sales.


Click here to go back to the main 2009 Worksheet article.

Note:  Securities classified by the IRS as IRC Section 1256 contracts are included on the Gain/Loss Worksheet for 1256 Contracts.


IRS Circular 230 Notice: These statements are provided for information purposes only, are not intended to constitute tax advice which may be relied upon to avoid penalties under any federal, state, local or other tax statutes or regulations, and do not resolve any tax issues in your favor.


What’s New for the 2009 Gain/Loss Summary Worksheet


Wash Sales – If you sold a stock or security at a loss, but re-purchased within 30 days the same or substantially the same security, the Worksheet identifies the sale using code “WS” (Disallowed loss from wash sale).
Social Security Number – For security purposes, the first 5 digits of the tax identification number have been removed.
Tax Basis Declaration – Two new tax basis methods, made available January 2009, help identify gain/loss methods for trades.  The optional methods Last In, First Out (LIFO) and Maximize Losses (ML) join the default First In, First Out (FIFO) on the Worksheet.

Select Gain/Loss Summary Worksheet: Considerations for details about the new features.

Click here to go back to the main 2009 Worksheet article.




IRS Circular 230 Notice: These statements are provided for information purposes only, are not intended to constitute tax advice which may be relied upon to avoid penalties under any federal, state, local or other tax statutes or regulations, and do not resolve any tax issues in your favor.

Understanding the 2009 Gain/Loss Summary Worksheet

IMPORTANT NOTE: This article has been customized for use by individual US taxpayers investing in securities for information purposes only.  Persons are encouraged to consult a qualified tax professional with the preparation of tax returns.  IB does not provide tax advice.  Traders or dealers in securities, for whom other tax treatment applies, may find the worksheet helpful.  The methodology used to determine the yearly gain or loss, however, differs.  Traders electing the mark-to-market accounting method may consult IRS Instructions for Form 4797, page 2.

The 2009 Gain/Loss Summary Worksheet calculates the gain or loss for your securities bought and sold from January 1 through December 31 utilizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidelines.  Every sell trade executed appears, including short sells, on a trade-date basis.  Not all securities, however, are eligible for inclusion.  For additional information, see the following article categories.

Below we have categorized information about this year's "Worksheet" within the IB Knowledge Base.  Each article provides more details to assist with your understanding of this tool.



IRS Circular 230 Notice: These statements are provided for information purposes only, are not intended to constitute tax advice which may be relied upon to avoid penalties under any federal, state, local or other tax statutes or regulations, and do not resolve any tax issues in your favor.

2009 Gain/Loss Summary Worksheet: Considerations


Interactive Brokers has taken the time to ensure that the gain/loss figures are calculated according to your elected tax methods.  Sell transactions are offset versus the original purchase details available.  Consider the following limitations and issues as you review the Worksheet.

Corporate Actions

For each of the transactions labeled corporate actions, adjustments under to the Worksheet in formation may be required.  The IB Worksheet does not make those adjustments.  Activity classified by the issuer as a sale may be included on the Worksheet, the 1099-B's box 2, and under the Annual Statement’s Corporate Actions section. 

Transactions designated as corporate actions include those processes that impact shareholders by Publicly Traded Companies and result in a material change.  Over 50 voluntary or mandatory actions fall in this category.  Some of the most common processes which may be reported include:   

► Acquisition                              ► Merger

► Captial Reduction                   ► Reverse Split

► Conversion                             ► Rights Issue

► Dividends or Interest              ► Stock Split


Option Assignments/Exchanges/Expirations

Options not considered to be Section 1256 contracts appear.  Special rules apply for assignments and exchanges.  The IB Worksheet makes adjustments.  The option transaction’s proceeds do NOT get included on the Worksheet next to the actual trade.  In accordance with IRS guidelines, IB includes the proceeds with the assigned stock.  The IRS Publication 550 on page 57 describes in detail the adjustments required for both the option writer and holder. 

If an option expires during the year, IB enters the expiration date under column (c), Date Sold, 0.00 under column (d), Sales price, and assigns “Ep” under the Codes column.  The gain or loss treatment differs for the option writer and holder.  See IRS Publication 550 for details.


Short Sales

Securities sold during the year that you do not own are short sales.  The sale proceeds are included in the 1099-B, box 2, and on the Worksheet, regardless of the year in which the sale is covered or closed.  This may cause a difference in the figure reported for your tax purposes versus the IB Worksheet and the 1099. 

Determination of gain or loss takes place when the security covered is purchased at a later date.  The IB Worksheet makes adjustments for current and prior year sales.  See IRS Publication 550, page 55 for details.


Tax Basis Declaration

The default tax basis method for IB accounts is First In, First Out (FIFO).  This matches the the first assets purchased with most recently sold assets for gain and loss tax purposes.  In January 2009, we added an option to allow modification of the tax basis method.  Customers may elect two additional methods, Last In, First Out (LIFO) or Maximize Losses (ML).

On the Worksheet, trades using the default FIFO method do not have an identification code.  For trades using the methods LIFO or Maximize Losses, the following codes apply: 

First In, First Out (FIFO), code = no code appears

Last In, First Out (LIFO), code = LI

Maximize Losses, code = ML

Note:  The tax basis method may be changed for trades going forward through Account Management.  Select Report Management and choose Tax Basis Declaration.


Transferred Accounts

The cost of a transferred security reflects the closing price value and date acquired "as of" the transfer settlement date.  An exception applies for cost and date acquired details manually entered by you within Account Management before January 1.  The IB Worksheet makes adjustments for these entries.

If you were unable to complete the online adjustment, then contact your former financial firm for the original cost basis. 

Note:  IB provides the ability through Account Management to update the basis by December 31.  Updates reflect on all future statement records.  Select Report Management and choose Position Transfer Basis.


Wash Sales

Stock or security trades sold at a loss, but purchased again within 30 days may be considered wash sales.  The IB Worksheet does identify wash sale trades, beginning in tax year 2009.  Trades considered wash sales are identified by the code “WS” (disallowed loss form wash sales). For more details on trades considered wash sales or the adjustments, see IRS Publication 550, page 56.

 Click here to go back to the main 2009 Worksheet article.

 For information about when all tax forms are made available, go to our Tax Information and Reporting page, then click the Reporting Dates tab.

IRS Circular 230 Notice: These statements are provided for information purposes only, are not intended to constitute tax advice which may be relied upon to avoid penalties under any federal, state, local or other tax statutes or regulations, and do not resolve any tax issues in your favor.




How do I select my Country of Legal Residence?


Choosing the correct Country of Legal Residence for non-US persons is important and may provide lower withholding rates.   All Interactive Brokers accounts must select a Country of Legal Residence due to regulatory and reporting laws.

The Country of Legal Residence is your tax home.  Generally, this is your main place of business, employment, post, regardless of your family home.  It is the place where you work or attend school on a long-term basis, permanantly, or indefinitely. 

For an entity, the tax home is the place where the entity was formed.

Your Country of Legal Residence is not always the same as your Passport Country.  For example, a South African passport holder may attend 4 year university in France.  During the study in France, the student tax home would be considered France. 

What if I pay taxes in two countries this year?

It is possible to pay taxes in two countries and to be considered a Legal Resident of both countries during the same year.  When completing an account application, your choice would be the country in which you currently live and will pay taxes to. 

What if I do not have a regular place of business?

In some cases, persons may not have a regular place of business or home.  Your tax home is the place where you live on a regular basis or wherever you work at the time of your application submission.

What if none of these applies?

Your Country of Legal Residence is wherever you work.

For additional help determining your status as either a non-US Legal Resident or a US Legal Resident, visit to review the IRS Publication 519 or visit  


Disclaimer:  IB does not provide tax advice. These statements are provided for information purposes only, are not intended to constitute tax advice which may be relied upon to avoid penalties under any international, federal, state, local or other tax statutes or regulations, and do not resolve any tax issues in your favor. We recommend that you consult a qualified tax adviser or refer to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.


Tax Treaty Benefits


Income payments (dividends and payment in lieu) from U.S. sources into your IB account may have U.S. tax withheld.  Generally, a 30% rate is applied to non-U.S. accounts.  Exemption from the withholding or a lower rate may apply if your home country has a tax treaty with the U.S.  Complete the applicable Form W-8 to find out your status. 


Tax Treaties*

U.S. tax treaties with some countries have different benefits.  Legal tax residents of the following countries may be eligible for the treaty benefits.  Below is a list of the tax treaty countries.  Benefits vary by country.

Australia Czech Republic India Lithuania Sweden
Austria Denmark Indonesia Poland Switzerland
Bangladesh Egypt Ireland Portugal Thailand
Barbados Estonia Israel Romania Trinidad & Tobago
Belgium Finland Italy Russia Tunisia
Bulgaria France Jamaica Slovak Republic Turkey
Canada Germany Japan Slovenia Ukraine
China, People's Rep. Of Greece Kazakhstan South Africa United Kingdom
Commonwealth of Ind. States Hungary Korea, Rep. of Spain Venezuela
Cyprus Iceland Latvia Sri Lanka  

*Country list as of April 2009


Refer to IRS Publication 901 for details on withholding rates for your tax residence country and your eligible benefits.


Why am I required to disclose my employment with a financial institution?

Rule 407 of the New York Stock Exchange prohibits a member organization (i.e., IB) from opening a securities or commodities account or executing any transaction for an account in which an exchange member, employee associated with another exchange member or member organization or an exchange employee is directly or indirectly interested without prior written consent of the employer.  The rule also requires IB to promptly submit to the account holder's employer duplicate account statements and confirmations.

Applicants who designate employment or affiliation with another broker are required to submit a Rule 407 letter containing the email address of their organization in order to provide notification and consent to the employer and for the purpose of transmitting statements and confirmations.  If the employment is with a financial institution and  no such Rule 407 letter is submitted, IB's Compliance Department will typically contact the applicant in order to confirm that Rule 407 does not apply.

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