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Law companion rulings

Learn about when Law Companion Rulings are issued and how they can be relied upon.

Last updated 18 February 2018

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.

See also