About the Legal database

The Legal database provides you with the legal and policy information that the ATO uses when we make decisions.

In the main, you are free to copy, adapt, modify, transmit and distribute the material on this website as you wish (but not in any way that suggests the ATO or the Commonwealth endorses you or any of your services or products).

However, some content, in particular the principal legislation, is subject to further copyright that prohibits reproduction for sale or incorporation in any product intended for sale. Where applicable, this further copyright is noted on that content.

Our content

The Legal database contains the following content

  • Legislation and supporting material
    • principal and amending Acts and Regulations relating to tax and superannuation
    • legislative determinations issued by the Commissioner of Taxation
    • extrinsic materials relating to the above, such as explanatory memoranda and second reading speeches

  • Public rulings
    Public rulings are binding advice outlining our interpretation of the laws we administer. See Public rulings

  • Practical compliance guidelines
    Practical compliance guidelines address the practical implications of tax laws and outline our administrative approach on certain issues. See Practical compliance guidelines.

  • Cases
    Published case judgments involving taxation matters from Australian Courts, as well as some judgments from other Commonwealth countries. We also publish the Test case litigation register, which details information on cases we have approved and declined for funding under the Test case litigation program.

  • Decision impact statements
    Decision impact statements are a statement of our response to significant cases decided by the courts or tribunals.

  • ATO interpretative decisions
    An ATO interpretative decision is an edited version of a decision we have made on an interpretative issue and gives an indication of how we might apply a provision of the law. See ATO interpretative decisions.

  • Law administration practice statements
    Law administration practice statements provide direction and assistance to our staff on approaches to be taken when performing duties involving the laws administered by the Commissioner. See Law administration practice statements.

  • Taxpayer alerts
    We issue Taxpayer alerts to warn you of our concerns about new or emerging or tax or superannuation arrangements we have under risk assessment. See Taxpayer alerts.

  • SMSF Regulator's bulletins
    We issue self-managed super fund (SMSF) Regulator's Bulletins to provide targeted and timely updates about new or emerging superannuation regulatory and income tax arrangements that pose potential compliance risks. See Self-managed super fund Regulator's Bulletins.

  • Other ATO documents
    These are documents that are relevant to interpretative issues, such as documents containing the precedential ATO view, minutes of our external forums, such as the National Tax Liaison Group, technical discussion papers, Super CRT alerts and our internal dispute resolution instruction bulletins.

  • ATO law aids
    We publish a number of other document types which assist in the interpretation and application of the law such as:
    • interpretation NOW!
    • fact sheets
    • Super guidance notes for super changes

  • Edited private advice
    We publish edited versions of all private written binding advice we issue. The advice is edited to protect the secrecy and privacy of the applicant. See Publishing of private rulings.

  • Archived document types
    A number of document types are no longer current and remain on the Legal database for historical reference only.