• Guidance and advice

    We are streamlining our processes for managing requests for guidance and advice, including providing more information or common topics, through our website.

    This year we provided over 30,000 guidance products. The main reason for guidance was requests for the Commissioner to exercise his discretion in relation to changes in taxpayer lodgment obligations.

    Guidance included:

    • 30,940 items of administrative guidance, an 11.5% decrease on 2011–12
    • 9 law administration practice statements, a 28.6% increase on 2011–12
    • 77 ATO interpretative decisions, a 31.3% decrease on 2011–12.

    While there was also a decrease of 5.7% in private ruling requests this year, there was an increase in the degree of complexity of requests. The increasing complexity of requests is partly attributable to the number of recent, significant court decisions handed down and an increasing number of interactions with large-market taxpayers and their agents under our early engagement model.

    Table 2.2 Private ruling cases completed and within benchmark, 2011–12 to 2012–13

     

    Cases completed (No.)

     

    Within benchmark (%)

    2011–12

    2012–13

     

    2011–12

    2012–13

    Income tax

     

     

     

     

     

    Individuals

    2,939

    2,763

     

    89.3

    92.3

    Micro enterprises

    2,264

    1,959

     

    85.1

    89.8

    Small-to-medium enterprises

    351

    364

     

    92.6

    94.2

    Large businesses

    246

    219

     

    94.3

    97.7

    Not for profit

    192

    143

     

    90.6

    90.9

    Government

    107

    102

     

    94.4

    93.1

    Goods and services tax

    1,141

    1,169

     

    96.3

    96.8

    Superannuation

    1,050

    1,045

     

    98.4

    99.9

    Excise

    93

    76

     

    93.7

    93.4

    TOTAL

    8,383

    7,840

    90.3

    93.6


    Table 2.3 Elapsed time in days for private rulings, 2011–12 to 2012–13

     

    Average days

     

    Median days

    2011–12

    2012–13

     

    2011–12

    2012–13

    Income tax

     

     

     

     

     

    Individuals

    53

    41

     

    32

    26

    Micro enterprises

    66

    54

     

    44

    35

    Small-to-medium enterprises

    90

    77

     

    58

    46

    Large businesses

    96

    122

     

    79

    63

    Not for profit

    63

    73

     

    40

    42

    Government

    76

    92

     

    47

    53

    Goods and services tax

    51

    61

     

    38

    38

    Superannuation

    60

    47

     

    42

    36

    Excise

    54

    53

     

    51

    38

    We issued 213 public rulings, with 86% meeting our timeliness standard (against a benchmark of 78%). This is an improvement from 76% in 2011–12. However, further streamlining of processes for public rulings is required to achieve an appropriate balance between consultation and timeliness.

    Of the public rulings issued:

    • 125 were class rulings, a 43.7% increase on 2011–12
    • 69 were public rulings and determinations, a 25.0% decrease on 2011–12
    • 19 were product rulings, a 45.7% decrease on 2011–12.

    Class and product rulings are prepared in response to applications and are therefore affected by activity in particular sectors. In 2012–13, there was an increase in applications for class rulings in relation to superannuation involving early retirement arrangements in particular, as well GST issues relating to local authorities, while there was a drop in product ruling applications in the agriculture sector, such as afforestation arrangements.

    Last modified: 08 Oct 2014QC 42673