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How to apply for a ruling

It's important you provide all relevant information, as part of your ruling application, due to the binding nature of private and product rulings. We need to fully understand what's going on, how you consider the tax laws apply, and why you hold that view.

Because private and product rulings are often about complex issues, and submissions need to be made on how the tax laws apply, you should consider using a professional tax advisor to help prepare your application.

What's on this page

Application form

See the forms and guides page for the relevant application form.

You can also email [email protected].

What to include in your application

We need all the relevant details and information. If we request further information, this could delay the time to complete the ruling. If you do not give us sufficient information, we may decline to rule. Remember that a ruling will not be binding on Inland Revenue if information has been omitted or misrepresented in some way in the application.

By law, you must include the following in your application:

  • the identity of the person(s) who are applying for the ruling (the applicant(s))
  • all relevant facts and documents
  • the tax laws you want a ruling on (see What we can rule on)
  • the propositions of law (or legal arguments) relevant to the issues raised
  • a draft ruling (see guides and forms).

You also need to tell us:

  • the period(s) or tax year(s) which the application relates to, and
  • details of any ruling application that has been lodged about the arrangement for another period(s) or tax year(s).

If you're an agent or applying on behalf of more than one person, you also need to show that you have the written consent of the applicant(s) to apply on their behalf.

If you're applying for a product ruling, you need to tell us why it isn't practicable to identify the other parties and why the characteristics of the taxpayers who may enter into the arrangement will not affect the content of the ruling. If you are a promoter of the “product” , you also need to provide us with a statutory declaration that you have disclosed all relevant facts, and that the facts are correct.

Facts and documents

You must give details of all the relevant facts and send copies of all documents relevant to the ruling, including:

  • the names of all of the parties to the arrangement (in addition to the applicant(s)), including the counterparties involved in any steps or transactions
  • a detailed description of the transactions and steps involved, including an explanation of what the arrangement is intended to achieve
  • copies of relevant legal documents or draft documents
  • recent financial statements for the applicant(s) (in some applications).

Each different arrangement or fact situation requires a separate application. If you want a binding ruling on any alternatives, you must make separate applications, and show you are "seriously contemplating" each one.

We can ask you for further information at any time during the process. If, after a reasonable period, you do not provide this information, we may decline to make a ruling, and charge you for the time we've already spent on the application. You can decide to go ahead with the ruling at a later date, but you will have to apply again and provide us with the information we requested.

Where the application of the tax laws to the arrangement depends on certain facts being true or certain events occurring, we may decide to include assumptions or conditions in a ruling. The ruling will not be binding on Inland Revenue if you do not satisfy these assumptions or conditions, and we can check whether this is the case after a ruling has been issued.

It’s important that your application fully discusses any legal arguments that relate to the issues raised by your application. If you do not provide sufficient analysis, we might ask for further submissions from you, or be required to do additional research, which could add to our fees and the time taken.

For an application for a private or product ruling, relevant propositions of law include:

  • sections of any legislation that are relevant to the application (including any relevant non-tax legislation, eg the Companies Act 1993)
  • legal reasons and appropriate case law that support the interpretation of the section(s) you have adopted
  • possible arguments contrary to the interpretation you are seeking and legal reasons and authoritative support for these
  • other material or relevant matters or sources of information that Inland Revenue should know about.

Draft ruling

You need to include a draft ruling with your application. This helps us understand exactly what you want the ruling to cover, and focuses our consideration on the key issues.

There is a draft ruling template on our guides and forms page.