IOTA Rule  FormsFor Lawyers/Law Firms


For Participating Institutions

Tips for Participating Institutions

Participating Institutions have done an excellent job of administering their IOTA accounts. FFLA is grateful for this public-spirited cooperation that makes IOTA’s charitable activities possible.

FFLA hopes that the following suggestions are helpful. FFLA is available to answer questions and assist banks with their IOTA accounts. Contact the IOTA Operations Department at 407-960-7000 or toll-free at 1-800-541-2195.

IOTA Contact

Participating Institutions are encouraged to designate an IOTA contact as a liaison to FFLA. Participating institutions are requested to advise FFLA if a new “IOTA Contact” is designated.

Community Reinvestment Act

Institutions may wish to cite their participation in IOTA in their Community Reinvestment Act reports. Information from FFLA, including IOTA Grant information on a community basis, is available from FFLA for that purpose.

Non-IOTA Trust Accounts

Not every lawyer’s or law firm’s trust account will be an IOTA account. Lawyers and law firms – not participating institutions – are responsible for deciding whether or not they are required to establish IOTA accounts. They also may have one or more interest-bearing trust accounts for the benefit of an individual client or third-person. Such non-IOTA accounts should bear the individual client or third-person’s social security or taxpayer identification number. Only IOTA accounts should bear FFLA’s taxpayer identification number.

Tax Reporting

The Internal Revenue Code, Section 6049(a)(2)(C)(i)(4)(B), provides that 1099 forms are not required for IOTA accounts. Participating Institutions will simplify their administration of IOTA and avoid difficulties with the Internal Revenue Service by using their “non-resident alien” status or similar code to suppress 1099 forms for IOTA accounts.

Participation in IOTA Information

Institutions that are interested in participating in Florida’s Interest on Trust Accounts program should contact FFLA’s IOTA Operations Department for detailed information on getting started.

Reporting and Remitting Process

Participating Institutions, not lawyers or law firms, remit interest on IOTA accounts. Remittances should be made for all IOTA accounts in a lump sum, although remittance information must be provided for each IOTA account (even if no interest is being paid). Remittances should be submitted in accordance with the payment of interest to the IOTA account (i.e. monthly). Interest must be net of reasonable service charges/fees (if any). NOTE: Reasonable service charges/fees cannot be deducted from the principal balance in the IOTA account. However, upon agreement between the institution and the lawyer or law firm, fees not paid by IOTA can be deducted from the lawyer’s or law firm’s operating account.

Reporting Information Methods

Electronic Report (preferred):

E-mail Format – The IOTA Reporting File template is a spreadsheet specifically formatted for reporting IOTA Trust Account information. The file is sent to the designated IOTA contact and should be saved on the institutions system for monthly reporting (encryption recommended). The file suffix must be (bbankcode.csv), the bank code is provided by FFLA.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Format – The FTP file is created by the participating institution to be imported by FFLA from the institutions mainframe or website. FFLA formatted file can be created in a fixed length format with .txt suffix or comma delimited format with .csv suffix. The file name must be bbankcode.txt or .csv, the bank code and FFLA formatted layout are provided by FFLA.

Remittance Payment Methods

There are two methods of payment accepted be FFLA for remitting interest earned on IOTA accounts. They are as follows:

Automated Clearing House (ACH) – FFLA automatically debits the Institution’s designated ‘disbursing/holding account’. Or, the bank ACH’s the funds to FFLA’s account. (Contact IOTA Department for instructions.)

Reasonable Service Charge Policy

On June 25, 1993, the board of directors of FFLA defined “reasonable” as it applies to financial institution service charges and fees paid by IOTA under the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. The purpose of the board action was to prevent the IOTA program from bearing the cost of special services or fees such as wire transfers, return check and overdraft charges, fee for use of uncollected funds, etc., which are not related to the basic operation of a trust checking account.

Reasonable Service Charges That May Be Deducted by Financial Institutions from IOTA Account Interest:

The following charges and fees have been defined as “reasonable” and are the only service charges or fees permitted to be deducted from interest earned on IOTA accounts. These service charges or fees may be deducted from IOTA account interest only at such rates and under such circumstances as is the financial institution’s customary practice for all of its interest-bearing checking account customers:

  • Per check charge
  • Per deposit charge
  • Fee in lieu of minimum balance
  • Federal deposit insurance fee

Financial institutions also may recoup special costs for their participation in IOTA through deduction of a reasonable IOTA handling/administrative fee.

Handling Errors

Over the years, participating institutions have done an excellent job with their IOTA accounts. However, if there are remittance errors, participating institutions – not lawyers or law firms – are responsible for the correction.

It is important to note that participating institutions are responsible for preventing overdrafts on IOTA accounts caused by their error. Further, they are instructed not to report a lawyer or law firm to The Florida Bar under such circumstances.

Overpayments of Interest:
Institutions should complete an Eligible Institution IOTA Error Report form and send it to FFLA. FFLA will promptly refund any overpayment of interest on an IOTA account.

Underpayments of Interest:
Institutions should complete an Eligible Institution IOTA Error Report form and send it, with an official check, or with instructions to debit the designated “disbursing account,” to the Foundation.

Eligible Institution IOTA Error Report Form (PDF)