ATO releases guidance on private rulings
As the end of the financial year draws closer, the ATO has issued advice on how to lodge a private ruling if it is required.
With a high volume of applications for certain private ruling topics the regulator warns there may be a delay in contacting applicants about their submission but said it aims to respond to private rulings within 28 calendar days of receiving all the necessary information.
Providing all the necessary documentation and forms correctly filled in will help facilitate matters, said the ATO.
There are a variety of forms for different purposes and the ATO said it is also advisable to send a cover letter to its offices providing the same valid and complete information as that requested in the application forms.
This information must include facts describing the situation, arguments, and references in support of a request for a ruling; relevant valuations, supporting documents, and any specific questions for the regulator; and must be consistent and complete.
In the guidance the ATO said the applicant must provide a description of all the facts relevant to the mentioned scheme or circumstance and should include details of any previous rulings received on the issue.
It warned that if the scheme is only a proposal, the facts must still be reasonably certain as it is unable to issue private rulings on hypothetical situations.
Applicants who are not a tax agent or tax professional did not have to supply arguments and references but those who were had to show the results of research undertaken and include an opinion about how the law applies to the issue related to the private ruling request.
If further information is needed, the ATO said the applicant should structure questions clearly so all issues could be identified ‘accurately and fully’. It also noted that only tax professionals are required to reference specific provisions of law when seeking a ruling.
Tax professionals and individuals/sole traders or businesses with an Australian business number can lodge an application using online business services while fax and post lodgments are available for all other applicants.