Law companion guidelines

A law companion guideline is 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.

We normally release a law companion guideline in draft form for comment when the Bill is introduced into 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 guideline may be published

We usually publish a law companion guideline when the new law introduces a new regime, or new and unfamiliar concepts.

We may also publish a law companion guideline 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 guideline 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 guideline

A law companion guideline 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 guideline 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.

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Last modified: 01 Sep 2016QC 48343