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  • Reference guide for private rulings

    Use this reference guide to:

    • complete a private ruling application form
    • apply for administratively binding advice (ABA).

    Only apply if you are seriously considering the scheme or circumstance. We can't make a ruling on a hypothetical, speculative or insufficiently developed scheme.

    On this page:

    See also:

    Section A: Taxpayer details

    This section provides details of who the advice is for. Complete the fields for as many taxpayers as required.

    Is this taxpayer an individual or an entity?

    An entity can be a company, partnership, trust or superannuation fund. For advice about indirect taxes (GST, wine tax or the luxury car tax), it can also be a member or representative member of a GST group, or a participant in a GST joint venture.

    Is this taxpayer registered for GST?

    If yes, indicate whether the business is registered as a GST branch, and if so the details of the parent entity.

    Section B: Contact person and required information

    Contact details

    Provide details of the person we can contact if we have questions about the application. If the contact person is not the individual or entity that the advice will apply to, specify if they are authorised to act for the taxpayer in this matter.

    If you are a tax professional, include your registered agent number and practice name.

    Provide details of how you'll lodge the ruling application

    If you:

    • lodge through Online services for business or Online services for agents, answer these questions there
    • are not lodging through Online services for business or Online services for agents, complete the application as indicated. If you .

    For the issues raised in this application, indicate any interactions you have had with us

    If an audit has taken place or you have been notified of a proposed audit, include the ATO reference number and the name of the tax officer involved (if known).

    If you have asked for oral or written advice or a ruling on any of the issues that you are now seeking advice on, include the ATO reference number and the date of the ruling or advice.

    Subject of the advice

    Select the relevant subject or subjects of your advice or select ‘other’ if it is not listed.

    This application applies for the following periods

    Provide the income years or other accounting periods to be covered by the advice.

    Section C: Your ruling

    Select the type of application you would like to submit

    In this section:

    If you give information about the facts and circumstances

    Questions if you give information

    List and number the questions you want us to address. Structure them to allow a 'yes' or 'no' answer. An example is 'Will the travel be an allowable deduction?'

    We can only give advice about specific tax laws or on certain topics.

    Relevant facts and circumstances if you give information

    Include a full description of the facts or circumstances – all:

    • material facts
    • transaction dates
    • names of other parties actively involved.

    These details need to be reasonably certain.

    See Supporting information for details of what to include for many categories of private ruling applications. Include this information or relevant extracts from the documents in your description.

    Assumptions if you give information

    You may need to include an assumption if both of the following apply:

    • An issue requires you to know or assert a fact.
    • It is impossible to verify the fact with reasonable certainty.

    If you include an assumption, also include the reason why you made the assumption.

    Other information (optional) if you give information

    Include any:

    • other information about how you think the law applies to the scheme
    • research and analysis you have done.

    If you provide your own detailed reasoning

    You can choose to provide your detailed reasoning on the form itself or attach a separate document. You can refer to ATO staff style guide for private rulings and

    Ruling examples for help developing and formatting this reasoning.

    Questions if you provide reasoning

    List and number the questions you want us to address. Include the relevant legislative provision and structure it to allow a 'yes' or 'no' answer. An example is 'Will the travel be an allowable deduction under section 8-1 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997?'

    We can only give advice about specific tax laws or on certain topics.

    Answers if you provide reasoning

    Record a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer for each question you have raised.

    Relevant facts and circumstances if you provide reasoning

    Provide a full description of the facts or circumstances. Include all material facts, transaction dates and the names of other parties actively involved. These details need to be reasonably certain as they will define the scheme that is the subject of the advice.

    The relevant facts or circumstances can be an outline of steps in a proposed transaction. Material facts are facts that determine how the provision applies or does not apply.

    Our website provides details of supporting information that is required for many categories of private ruling applications. You should ensure you provide this information or include relevant extracts from the documents in your description.

    Do not include subjective judgment or opinions or statements that are subject to contention.

    Assumptions if you provide reasoning

    You may need to include an assumption where an issue requires you to know or assert a fact, and it is impossible to verify the fact with reasonable certainty.

    If you have to include an assumption, you should also include the reason why you made the assumption.

    Relevant legislative provisions if you provide reasoning

    List the legislative provisions the advice will be covering.

    Reasons for decision if you provide reasoning

    A reason for decision is required for each question in the advice application – broken into a:

    • summary that gives a brief statement of the decision, for example, 'the travel will be an allowable deduction under section 8-1 of the ITAA 1997'
    • detailed reasoning on how you reached the answers to your questions
      • Outline the applicable elements of the law to the material facts as described in the relevant facts or circumstances.
      • For example, start with the relevant legislation, case law and any published views or rulings by the Commissioner of Taxation.
      • Apply the facts and circumstances outlined above to these authorities to arrive at a conclusion.

    Section D: Declaration

    You must sign the declaration if you are lodging the application by fax or post.

    If you are lodging the application by Online services for business or Online services for agents, that is your electronic signature.

    Section E: How to lodge your application

    If you are lodging by fax or post, use the fax number or postal address provided when you select your entity type or matter from the drop down menu.

    Find out more:

      Last modified: 14 Apr 2021QC 54118