If you wish to apply for a private ruling at the same time as lodging your tax return, do not attach the form to your tax return - you should lodge the ruling application separately.
You must lodge your tax returns and activity statements by the due date, even if you are waiting for us to give you a private ruling.
If you are lodging by fax or post, use the appropriate fax number or postal address below:
If we need more information
If we need more information, we aim to ask for it within 14 days of receiving your application. Where you have applied on behalf of someone else, you must obtain another declaration from them, stating that the additional information you provide to us is true and correct.
If your private ruling application asks us to determine the value of a thing, or confirm a valuation provided by you, we may refer your request to a professional valuer. The valuer charges us a fee, which the law allows us to pass onto you. The Private rulings and valuations fact sheet (NAT 71796, PDF, 94KB) explains what happens if we decide to refer your request to a professional valuer.
Ruling on matters not raised in the application
The Commissioner will generally rule only on the matters directly raised in the private ruling application.
If there are other matters that we believe to be relevant, we will tell you about them and ask if you want us to address these. Should you want us to rule on any of these additional matters, we will ask you to submit a further private ruling application.
Assumptions and information from third parties
If we need to make assumptions in order to give you a private ruling, we will advise you what those assumptions are, and give you a reasonable opportunity to respond. The Commissioner may decline to rule, rather than make a ruling subject to assumptions.
If we intend to use any relevant information from third parties to provide you with a private ruling, we will advise you about the information, tell you what it is, and give you a reasonable opportunity to respond.
Our service standards
We aim to give you a private ruling within 28 days of receiving all the necessary information from you. If we cannot give you a private ruling within the relevant time period, we aim to contact you within 14 days of receiving all the necessary information to discuss an appropriate reply date.
Private rulings relating to assessments
If we give you a private ruling that affects an earlier assessment, we will not automatically amend your assessment.
Assessments and amendments are part of the self-assessment system - this means that taxpayers and tax agents must ask us to amend any assessment affected by a private ruling.
General anti-avoidance rules
Part IVA of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 is a general anti-avoidance rule that can apply in certain circumstances. If Part IVA applies to an arrangement, the tax benefits you obtained from the arrangement can be cancelled - for example, we might disallow a deduction that would otherwise be allowable.
When you apply for a private ruling about an arrangement, you can also ask the Commissioner to consider whether Part IVA applies to the arrangement.
If you ask us to provide a ruling about the application of Part IVA, you may also ask us to refer the Part IVA matter for consideration by the General Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) Panel (see Law Administration Practice Statement PS LA 2005/24: Application of General Anti-Avoidance Rules). You may request a referral to the panel either with your ruling application, or after you have lodged your application.
- you ask us to provide a ruling about the application of Part IVA to an arrangement, and
- you also ask us to refer the ruling application for consideration by the GAAR panel, and
- our preliminary view is that Part IVA may apply to the arrangement
We will refer the application for consideration by the GAAR panel, unless your application raises substantially identical issues on facts essentially comparable with a matter previously referred to the panel.
- you ask us to provide a ruling about the application of Part IVA, and
- you also ask us to refer the ruling application for consideration by the GAAR panel, and
- our preliminary view is that Part IVA does not apply to the arrangement
We will not refer the application for consideration by the GAAR panel unless further examination of your requests leads us to conclude Part IVA may apply to the arrangement.
you don't ask us to make a ruling about the application of Part IVA
We will not refer a private ruling application for consideration by the GAAR Panel unless a ruling is sought on the application of Part IVA.
Withdrawing a private ruling application
You can tell us that you want to withdraw a private ruling application at any time before the private ruling is made. We will confirm the withdrawal in writing.
Revision of a private ruling
You can ask us to revise a private ruling (other than a private ruling on GST or other indirect taxes). In some cases, we may revise a private ruling without being asked, but only if the scheme and income year to which the original private ruling relates have not begun.
You can apply for a new ruling at any time - it does not matter if the scheme or year of income has not yet begun.
If you decide to apply for a new ruling, you must tell us about any previous rulings you have received on that subject - otherwise, the new ruling will be taken not to have been made. However, if you do tell us about a previous ruling, and the new ruling is inconsistent with the old, the new ruling applies.
We may decline to give you a new ruling on the same subject, and for the same years, if your existing ruling is sufficient.
There are procedures you can follow if we have failed to make a private ruling within a reasonable time. If we have not made your private ruling within 60 days of receiving all the necessary information, you may send the Commissioner a written notice requiring the ruling to be made.
The 60-day period is extended in the following circumstances.
- If you have asked about a valuation matter (other than the valuation of a gift or a contribution to a deductible gift recipient) and we refer this to a valuer, the 60-day period is put on hold until we receive a decision from the valuer.
- If the Commissioner asks for additional information, or tells you about assumptions or third-party information, the 60-day period is put on hold while we wait for your response.
We have 30 days from when we receive the written notice to either provide the private ruling, or to tell you that we decline to rule on the matter.
If you do not receive a private ruling or our written reasons for declining to rule within 30 days, you have review rights. We will explain these rights to you when we acknowledge receipt of the notice.
Publication of private rulings
We publish edited versions of private rulings in the Register of Private Binding Rulings on this site. We publish them for integrity, transparency and accountability.
We will send you more information about edited versions with your private ruling.
What if you do not agree with the decision in the private ruling?
You can object to most private rulings in the same way as you can object to a tax assessment. The following exceptions apply:
- you cannot object to a private ruling if an assessment has issued that covers the private ruling period, or if withholding tax has become due and payable - in these circumstances, you can object to the relevant assessment
- you cannot object to an excise private ruling if we have made a decision about excise duty or any other amount payable in relation to those goods and the decision is reviewable.
Your rights are clearly outlined in the Taxpayers' Charter. To get a copy, phone us on 1300 720 092.
Objecting against the Commissioner's failure to make a private ruling
You can only object against the Commissioner's failure to make a private ruling if you have previously given us a written notice requiring us to make the ruling.
- You cannot object to a private ruling if an assessment has issued that covers the private ruling period, or if withholding tax has become due and payable - in these circumstances, you can object to the relevant assessment.
- You cannot object to an excise private ruling if we have made a decision about excise duty or any other amount payable in relation to those goods and the decision is reviewable.
Your objection rights will be further explained when we acknowledge your written notice requiring the Commissioner to rule.
For more general information about objecting to private rulings, refer to Objection guide.
General advice or help
You can get general advice by phoning or visiting the ATO, and through a wide range of our publications.
If you need more information about applying for a private ruling, you can contact:
- for individuals - 13 28 61
- for businesses - 13 28 66
- for superannuation enquiries - 3 10 20
- for tax agents - 13 72 86 and select the relevant fast key code.
If you do not speak English well and need help from the ATO, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50.
If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, phone the ATO through the National Relay Service (NRS) on the numbers listed below:
- TTY users, phone 13 36 77 and ask for the ATO number you need
- Speak and Listen (speech-to-speech relay) users, phone 1300 555 727 and ask for the ATO number you need
- internet relay users, connect to the NRS on www.relayservice.com.au and ask for the ATO number you need.
Last Modified: Tuesday, 25 September 2012