Law companion rulings were previously referred to as law companion guidelines. The name change better reflects the purpose of this product as they are a type of public ruling. It gives our view on how recently enacted law applies. It is usually developed at the same time as the drafting of the Bill. A law companion ruling provides clarity and certainty around our interpretation of the new legislation.
We normally release a law companion ruling in draft form for comment when a Bill is introduced to parliament. It is finalised after the Bill receives Royal Assent. It provides early certainty in the application of the new law.
When a law companion ruling may be published
We usually publish a law companion ruling when the new law introduces a new regime, or new and unfamiliar concepts.
We may also publish a law companion ruling where taxpayers need to take additional action to comply with the law. This provides certainty on what you need to do.
We will not usually issue a law companion ruling where the new law is straightforward, is limited in its application or does not relate to an obligation to pay tax, penalties or interest.
Relying on a law companion ruling
A law companion ruling is usually finalised as a public ruling when the Bill receives Royal Assent and becomes law – unless there are issues during consultation, or significant amendments are made in the Bill's passage through parliament.
Because they are prepared at such an early time, a law companion ruling is not informed by experience of the new law operating in practice. While they offer the same protection in relation to underpaid tax, penalties or interest as a normal public ruling, this only applies if you rely on it in good faith.
- LCR 2015/1 Law Companion Rulings: purpose, nature and role in ATO’s public advice and guidance
- For a list of all Law Companion Rulings