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About rulings

A binding ruling is Inland Revenue's interpretation of how a tax law applies to a particular arrangement or situation.

Apply for a ruling gives you further information including fees and the relevant guides and forms you'll need if you want to apply for a binding ruling.

Product rulings

Product rulings are binding rulings on how the tax law applies to a particular "product", which is an arrangement that is likely to be entered into with a number of people on identical terms.

We issue product rulings only if both the following conditions are met:

  • It is not feasible to seek a private ruling on the arrangement (this is generally because the identities of the other parties may not be known), and
  • The characteristics of the taxpayers who may enter into the arrangement do not affect the content of the ruling.

Caution should be exercised when considering these product rulings:

  • Product rulings apply only to the arrangement specified in the ruling. A general similarity to an arrangement will not necessarily lead to the same tax result.
  • Rulings generally expire after three years.
  • Occasionally, a ruling is withdrawn before its expiry date.

Browse product rulings


Public rulings

Inland Revenue issues public rulings to interpret how a tax law applies to taxpayers and specific types of arrangements. Taxpayers whose circumstances match those in a ruling may apply it, but are not obliged to do so.

If you calculate your tax liability according to an applicable public binding ruling, we must assess your tax according to that ruling. A public ruling applies only to the particular taxation law and arrangement set out in the ruling, and only for a specified period. If there is any material difference between the facts in the ruling and your actual arrangement, the ruling does not apply.

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Questions about rulings?

Product rulings and public rulings are issued by the Tax Council Office (TCO) business group of Inland Revenue. Please contact us if you have any inquiries about them.