Issued
2014

Status of historical Inland Revenue internal circulars

This item advises that taxpayers should not rely on historical internal circulars and other similar IR publications as representing IR's current practice.

Background

  1. Over the years Inland Revenue has produced a number of internal technical circulars and other publications ("Circulars").These include, but are not limited to:
    • Information Circulars (1952 - 1973)
    • Operation(s) Circulars (1984 - 1996)
    • Technical Policy Circulars (1983 - 1989)
    • GST Circulars (1986 - 1987)
    • Targeted Circulars (1990 - 1997)
    • Technical Bulletins (1955 - 1967)
      • FBT Circulars (1985)
    • Technical Rulings Supplements (approx. 1977 - approx. 1983)
  2. The Circulars were written as guidance for Inland Revenue staff at the time they were produced, although they were also occasionally made available to taxpayers and tax professionals.
  3. Inland Revenue has recently carried out a review of the content of Public Information Bulletins - see Tax Information Bulletin, Vol 25, No 10 (November 2013) or:

Find out more about the Public Information Bulletin review

  1. In the course of the PIB review, it became apparent that in some cases Circulars have been cited by commentators and may have or are being relied on by advisers as representing Inland Revenue's practice or interpretation of the law.

Circulars cannot be relied on

  1. The Circulars have not been updated or reviewed since publication.They cannot be relied on as representing current Inland Revenue practice or interpretation of the law.
  2. Inland Revenue's current practice and interpretation is to be found in its publicly published web information and materials such as public binding rulings, interpretation statements, standard practice statements and Inland Revenue guides, Agents Answers and Business Tax Updates.

For more information about Inland Revenue's current practice and interpretation see the Commissioner's Statement Status of Commissioner's Advice

  1. If you have any doubts as to the applicable law you should seek to clarify this with us or seek professional advice.

References

Commissioner's Statement Status of Commissioner's Advice