Issued
18 Jul 2009

Inland Revenue's Public Rulings Unit

Article explains the types of advice or items provided by the Public Rulings Unit, how topics are selected and consulted on, and the Unit's role within IR.

This article first appeared in Taxation Today (Issue 18, May 2009) and is reproduced here with the permission of the publisher.

I. Introduction

The Public Rulings Unit is a division of the Office of the Chief Tax Counsel ("OCTC"), Inland Revenue. The Unit's key function is to determine and disseminate the Commissioner of Inland Revenue's position on various tax issues through the issuing of primarily binding public rulings, interpretation statements and interpretation guidelines. Before the Unit was established as a separate function in 1999, public advice work was provided by the other units making up the OCTC (then known as the Adjudication & Rulings business group). The Unit was established to provide a real focus on, and commitment to, the provision of public rulings and statements, given their important role in clarifying areas of uncertainty and fostering compliance. Since 1999, the Unit has generated many items on a wide range of taxation issues, ranging from, by way of example, the deductibility of feasibility studies expenditure, to whether an agreement for the sale and purchase of property is an "invoice" for GST purposes.[1] These items are the result of significant research, legal analysis and consultative consideration - the overriding aim is to provide greater certainty for taxpayers and their advisors on difficult areas of taxation law and sometimes on general areas of law that impact on taxation outcomes (for example, trust law and company law).

This article explains the types of public advice (referred to in this article as "public items") provided by the Unit, who makes up the Unit, how topics are selected and consulted on, the future of the Unit and its role within Inland Revenue.

II. Public Items

Public items produced by the Unit currently take four forms:

  • binding public rulings
  • interpretation statements or guidelines
  • "questions we've been asked"[2]
  • various statutory determinations.[3]

1. Public rulings

A public ruling is an interpretation issued by Inland Revenue to show how a taxation 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. A public ruling will relate to a particular arrangement or situation, and will normally only apply for a specified period. It is also important to note that a public ruling is binding on the Commissioner. Therefore, if a taxpayer calculates their tax liability according to an applicable public binding ruling, and the facts of the taxpayer's arrangement are not materially different from the ruling, the Commissioner must assess according to that ruling. For this reason, binding public rulings are the most valuable form of advice provided by Inland Revenue. No other form of advice, written or verbal is strictly binding on the Commissioner. For that reason, it is perhaps worthwhile briefly setting out the statutory framework for binding rulings.

Public rulings are issued by the Commissioner[4] pursuant to Part VA of the Tax Administration Act 1994.[5] Section 91A sets out the purpose of the regime:

  • to provide taxpayers with certainty about the way the Commissioner will apply taxation laws; and
  • help them to meet their obligations under those laws -

by enabling the Commissioner to issue rulings that will bind the Commissioner on the application of those laws.

The section goes on to state: "[t]he Part also recognises the importance of collecting the taxes imposed by Parliament and the need for full and accurate disclosure by taxpayers who seek to obtain binding rulings".[6]

The Commissioner may make at any time a public ruling on how a taxation law applies in relation to any type of person and any type of arrangement[7] The term "taxation law" is a defined one[8], but essentially includes most provisions of the Income Tax Act 2007[9], the Goods and Services Tax Act 1985[10], and the Estate and Gift Duties Act 1968. However, the Commissioner cannot issue binding rulings on Inland Revenue's rights or obligations to exercise powers regarding the administration of the tax system. This includes imposing or remitting penalties, inquiries into the correctness of returns or information supplied to it, prosecution, or debt recovery.[11]

To be a public ruling, the item must contain certain prescribed elements. It must state:

  • that it is a public ruling made under section 91D; and
  • the taxation law or laws on which it is a ruling; and
  • the arrangement to which it applies; and
  • how the taxation law or laws apply to the arrangement; and
  • either the period or tax year for which the ruling applies or, in the case of a ruling issued for an indefinite period, the date or tax year from which the ruling applies.

In this way, a public ruling can be easily identified as such, and distinguished from other written advice provided by Inland Revenue. The making of a public ruling must be gazetted and published[12] It is Inland Revenue's practice to publish public rulings in its monthly Taxation Information Bulletin and on its website.[13]

Public rulings are only binding on the Commissioner, and not taxpayers. If a public ruling on a taxation law applies to a person and their arrangement, and the person applies the taxation law in the way stated in the ruling, the Commissioner must apply the ruling[14] for the period or tax year for which the ruling applies, or in the case of a ruling issued for an indefinite period, indefinitely[15]. However, to reflect the fact that rulings are not intended to be binding on taxpayers, this will not be the case where a taxpayer has issued the Commissioner with a notice of proposed adjustment to change the effect of a ruling previously applied by the taxpayer.[16]

The Commissioner may at any time withdraw a public ruling, but must notify the withdrawal by giving adequate notice in the Gazette. If the Commissioner withdraws a public ruling, the ruling does not apply to any arrangement entered into after the date of the withdrawal. However, the ruling continues to apply to any arrangements to which it previously applied that were entered into before the date of withdrawal for the remainder of the period or tax year specified in the ruling or, in the case of a ruling issued for an indefinite period, for three years after the date of withdrawal.[17] To date there has only been one withdrawal of a public ruling.[18]

Finally, a binding ruling does not apply from the date a taxation law which is the subject of the ruling is repealed or amended, to the extent the repeal or amendment changes the way the taxation law applies in the ruling.[19]

As noted previously, public rulings may be issued for a stipulated period, or number of taxation years, or indefinitely. There is no guidance in the legislation as to how long such a period should be, or for how many taxation years, or in what circumstances the Commissioner should issue an indefinite ruling. It has become Inland Revenue's administrative practice generally to issue a ruling for the first time for a period of three calendar or tax years and any second "reissue" for five calendar or tax years. The practice for any subsequent reissue, assuming the law is now quite settled and no substantial changes had to be made when re-considering the issues, is to issue for an indefinite period. In this way the Commissioner can best ensure that rulings are current, comprehensive and accurate. In the case of indefinite rulings, over time the possibility of a law change eroding the application of a binding ruling becomes greater. As an administrative matter, indefinite rulings are reviewed periodically, subject to resources, but Inland Revenue, taxpayers and their advisers' always need to be mindful of the potential overriding effect of subsequent repeals and amendments.

Another administrative practice adopted in relation to each public ruling is to append a quite detailed commentary. The objective is to provide assistance in understanding and applying the conclusions reached in the ruling. Such commentaries are not however binding.

2. Interpretation statements and interpretation guidelines

An interpretation statement sets out the Commissioner's view on taxation laws in a particular situation or in relation to a certain set of circumstances. It is used where a public ruling cannot be issued or is not considered appropriate (for example where an arrangement cannot be identified or established, as would be required for a public ruling). Effort is made to ensure that an issue is dealt with wherever possible as a binding ruling. However, in some cases it is considered that a more general discussion of the law, its interpretation and scope in an interpretation statement format would be more useful for taxpayers and their advisors.[20]

An interpretation guideline discusses the Commissioner's approach to the interpretation of areas of law that have tax implications. Interpretation guidelines tend to be more extensive in their length and scope than an interpretation statement, eg, past topics have included guidance on the deductibility of interest on money borrowed. Interpretation statements and guidelines are not binding on the Commissioner.

3. "Questions we've been asked"

"Questions we've been asked" (QWBAs) are published items setting out the answers to enquiries Inland Revenue has received about specific tax issues, which may be of general interest to taxpayers. These items are normally the shortest of the three types of interpretative item, and generally address specific questions relating to less complex or contentious issues and legislation. They contain less technical analysis when published than other public items, and are not binding on the Commissioner.

4. Statutory determinations

Until quite recently the Public Rulings Unit was also responsible for issuing general, provisional and special depreciation determinations. It is still responsible for several livestock determinations[21], but it is envisaged that these will be handled by Service Delivery in the 09/10 income year and following. The devolvement of the making of these determinations reflects that these functions are better handled by the operational area of Inland Revenue, rather than OCTC with its interpretative focus.

III. The Public Rulings Unit

The composition of the Unit

As mentioned, the Public Rulings Unit sits within the OCTC - a separate business group within Inland Revenue led by Inland Revenue's Chief Tax Counsel. The Unit is a small one - currently comprising a Director, and three managers - all qualified lawyers and/or accountants and ten analysts - all legally trained and/or having significant taxation experience. The Unit also includes a programme coordinator, who is responsible for a range of functions within the Unit, including the project management aspects of the technical work programme, and continuous improvement of processes.

Public items take the form of projects that are assigned to teams within the Public Rulings Unit depending on their priority. Each team consists of an analyst, a manager, and the Director, Public Rulings or the Chief Tax Counsel, whose role is to sign off the project once complete. These teams are responsible for carrying out the necessary research and analysis which supports and ultimately results in the public item.

The role of programme co-ordinator was created in 2008. The programme co-ordinator plays a critical role in ensuring the delivery of the technical work programme, through managing the programme and providing the Director with regular reporting on delivery progress and performance. The creation of this role reflects the Unit's commitment to adopting sound project planning methodologies to ensure it meets its delivery obligations. The programme co-ordinator also champions continuous improvement of processes and internal and external relationships.

The public rulings process is centralised within the Public Rulings Unit. No other area within Inland Revenue has the delegated authority to make public rulings, which helps to maintain quality and consistency of the rulings process and items produced. The Unit is also the only area producing purely interpretative statements, guidelines and QWBAs.[22]

Other areas of Inland Revenue

The Unit works closely with many other areas of Inland Revenue, but in particular the Policy Advice Division (PAD) and the Technical Standards group within Service Delivery.

From time to time, the interpretative work undertaken by the Unit results in referrals of issues to PAD for legislative amendment. This can arise where it is thought that a purely interpretative response is unlikely to lead to a workable situation for taxpayers, and/or where the interpretative outcome is not aligned with the original intended policy aim. When this does occur, the Unit's work is often very useful to the legislative drafters in terms of providing a better understanding of the existing statutory position, and the background to and pressure points surrounding the issue.

The Public Rulings Unit also works closely with Service Delivery's Technical Standards area. Many issues addressed by the Unit will have operational implications - in terms of their day to day implementation, application dates and transitional issues, where there has been a change in view from an existing position or practice. The Unit consults with Technical Standards through the development of a public item to ensure that these issues have also been addressed and communicated effectively.

IV. Process

How are the topics for public items selected?

Suggestions for potential topics come from a wide range of sources, including taxpayers, various professional and industry bodies, and accounting and legal firms and from other areas of Inland Revenue. Additionally issues are sometimes highlighted in the course of other projects undertaken within OCTC (eg, a taxpayer adjudication where legislative uncertainties have been identified, or issues raised during the course of a private binding ruling).

Until the 08/09 financial year, the priority to be given to an identified issue and the type of item that would be published was decided at a regular meeting of the Public Items Panel (PIP). The panel was made up of the Director, Public Rulings, Unit managers, and representatives from Inland Revenue's Policy Advice and Technical Standards groups. Each item was given priority based on a number of factors including: the importance of the issues involved, the level of uncertainty/ambiguity, the number of taxpayers potentially affected and the potential revenue implications. Each item was then placed on a waitlist to be allocated in due course to a project team, as resources permitted.

However, over time it had been found that this approach could lead to inefficiencies - not least of all being slowness to react to current issues, an inability to assess the importance of projects currently being worked on against new ones arriving at any point in time, and effectively no input from anyone external to Inland Revenue.

With these considerations in mind a different approach has been adopted for the 08/09 financial year. In July 2008 an assessment was made of all public advice work on hand and on the Unit's waitlist. Criteria similar to those referred to above (as applied by PIP) were applied and a list of potential projects was drawn up. This list was then circulated within Inland Revenue and refined. Following this, the list was provided to the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Taxation Committee of the New Zealand Law Society for comment and input.

This has resulted in a programme of priority work (work programme) for the 08/09 financial year. This has the advantage of permitting the Unit to plan in advance its work commitments and better ensure that it produces timely and relevant items. However, if other issues subsequently arise, there is some flexibility for the Unit to re-prioritise its work programme to include such issues, in preference to existing topics. It is intended to repeat the process for the 09/10 financial year with the aim of seeking input earlier than July 09 if possible.

Although available to some of the Unit's key stakeholders, currently the work programme is not widely published. However, the aim is to publish once the setting of the work programme process has bedded down, hopefully in the 09/10 year.[23]

How are public items consulted on?

Once an initial draft public item of any type has been prepared, it is generally consulted on internally within Inland Revenue, and then externally with the general public, representative bodies in the accounting and taxation industry, and other interested parties.

The internal consultation period typically lasts a minimum of four weeks. Standard internal Inland Revenue commentators are the Policy Advice Division, various Legal and Technical Support groups, Litigation Management, Technical Standards, and the Large Enterprises unit.

Submissions received are carefully considered and the item modified accordingly. Once signed off, the revised item is then circulated to the Minister of Revenue, Treasury and Inland Revenue's senior management team prior to its release for external comment.

The external consultation period generally runs for a minimum of six weeks[24], and is conducted by publishing notification of the draft item in the Tax Information Bulletin and electronically notifying a large number of standing commentators (approximately 900 at present), again made up predominantly of professional bodies, accounting and law firms, the major law publishers and tax agents and advisers. Contact is also made with relevant industry groups during the draft creation and consultation process, where applicable.

Once the consultation period is over, submissions are considered by the team and changes made if appropriate, before a final item is produced and published. In cases where submissions have led to a change in view or significant rework, further consultation will be sought with regard to the item to ensure that all stakeholders have sufficient opportunity to make further comments before finalisation. This can extend the time taken to produce a public item, but it is considered warranted given the potential importance of many of the areas addressed in items and the desire to ensure items are as correct and comprehensive as possible to better ensure their endurance and usefulness over time. The Unit considers consultation a key part of the development of an item. Accordingly, all comments are fairly and completely considered. In some cases, where a view submitted is considered but ultimately not followed, this may result in an item including an "alternative arguments" section to explain opposing views and why they have not been thought to be ultimately persuasive.

Once an item is finalised, each submitter receives a letter thanking them for their submission and setting out how their submission has been taken into account.

How are public items made public?

The main method of publication of finalised public items is the monthly Tax Information Bulletin (TIB), an Inland Revenue publication comprising various rulings, guidelines, case notes, policy statements, and determinations. This is sent to approximately 4,700 subscribers, mostly tax practitioners and professionals, and is available to any member of the public on request.

The TIB is also available on the Inland Revenue website.[25] Any member of the public can email Inland Revenue to be placed on a list of subscribers who receive regular notification when a new TIB is available. At present there are approximately 5,800 subscribers.

The Public Rulings Unit also publishes its items online, on an internal site as part of the Inland Revenue intranet, and on a specific part of the Inland Revenue website dedicated to public items. At the same time an electronic copy of the item is sent via a group email to just over 100 contacts who have previously requested to be specifically notified, such as New Zealand's major accounting firms, the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, and the New Zealand Law Society. Soft copies are also provided to law publishers, for further dissemination through their usual publication channels.

In the case of public rulings and determinations, a further method of publication is the New Zealand Gazette, a government publication produced weekly by the Department of Internal Affairs. This is part of Inland Revenue's legislative requirements when making public rulings and determinations. A short notification, including the legislative basis of the ruling, is published.

How many public items are issued each year?

The number of public items issued by the Public Rulings Unit can vary somewhat depending on demand and available resources. From soon after the establishment of the binding rulings system in 1995 through to the present, the focus has been on identifying and clarifying more difficult and/or important issues, rather than aiming to produce large numbers of less difficult and/or important issues. The complexity of the issues addressed has often meant that projects are substantial and contentious and give rise to the need for extensive consultation (and in some cases, re-consultation) before being able to be finalised.

The Public Rulings Unit is expected, under its external performance standards, to finalise 30 - 50 public items a year (including determinations). The following table shows the numbers and types of items issued in the financial years 2000/01 - 2007/08.

Public Rulings outputs by type - 2000/01 to 2007/08

  2000/01 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08
Public rulings 13 3 14 12 12 8 9 3
Interpretation statements 2 0 5 0 4 5 3 2
Interpretation guidelines 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0
Questions we've been asked 5 1 1 7 1 5 4 3
Determinations 2 6 8 6 4 8 19 16
Technical correspondence 2 2 10 0 0 0 2 2
Analysis completed - file closed 0 0 0 15 7 4 2 10
Analysis completed - referred to Policy 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2
TIB notice 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Total 24 12 39 41 31 30 39 39

What are the time frames for providing public items?

A project plan is created at the start of every project with an initial timeframe depending on the complexity and background of the project, and the experience and resources of the team. Given the diverse nature of the projects, there are currently no standard timeframes laid down for public items. Projects can range anywhere from two to three months (eg, a re-issue of a previously issued public ruling with minimal new work required) to over a year, bearing in mind this includes various consultation periods.

The timeframes for projects can expand or contract depending on the number and nature of submissions received once the first draft has been published. The Unit is aware of the need to take into account considerations of timeliness and efficiency while ensuring a result of the highest possible quality. As noted above, in some cases consultation can result in an item needing to be re-consulted to ensure changes made can be adequately considered by interested parties. This inevitably extends out the time taken to complete an item and can result, in some cases, in items taking many years to complete. The Unit is highly aware of the need for items to be finalised in the shortest time possible - so as to be of the greatest usefulness to taxpayers and their advisers - but this cannot be at the expense of the robustness of the item and the need to ensure all views are considered comprehensively.

V. The future

The Public Rulings Unit has been in existence for 10 years. The Unit continues to strive to reduce the time it takes to produce high quality and relevant interpretative advice, with somewhat limited resources. An ongoing challenge for the Public Rulings Unit - as for many in the taxation profession - is to recruit and retain suitably qualified and experienced staff to best perform its role as the provider of such advice.

Customer survey

In early 2009 the Unit undertook a customer survey seeking to better understand the needs of those who use and/or provide comment on public items. At the time of writing the results from the survey are still being considered.[26] Findings from the survey will be used to modify and improve services for the 09/10 financial year and beyond. It is envisaged that the results from this survey, and related recommendations for process improvements, will be made available shortly. However, some ideas for enhancements to the Unit's service are set out below.

Stakeholder relationships/communication

The Unit continues to seek to strengthen its relationship with key stakeholders, including the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, and the Taxation Committee of the Law Society, and their members. As noted above, where possible the Unit plans to increase the involvement of such stakeholders in the selection and prioritisation of its work programme.

Focus is also being given to involving such bodies and, where applicable, industry groups, earlier in the preparation of items.

In addition, the Unit will introduce an online customer feedback service in respect of each of its public items as another avenue for interested parties to provide feedback on an ongoing basis.[27]

Consideration is also being given to making publicly available a summary of the key submissions received on an item during the consultation phase, and the response to those submissions, so this information is widely available after an item is finalised. This would be done in such a way as to ensure submitters' anonymity.

Process enhancements

Further consideration is being given to the Unit's internal practices to streamline workflows. In particular, moving away from the routine use of detailed reports supporting the conclusions made in public items and adopting different practices based on the complexity of the issues so as to improve timeliness, without compromising quality. It is envisaged that the Unit will also shortly move to adopting timeliness standards based on the type and complexity of public item. Expected timeframes for delivery of drafts and finalised items would then be published with the work programme.

VI. Conclusion

The Public Rulings Unit's work within OCTC has the potential to assist a large number of taxpayers and their advisors to comply with their tax obligations. However, the ongoing challenge is to ensure that advice is available as promptly as possible, while maintaining the highest quality through a transparent and comprehensive consultative process. The challenge of producing accurate, relevant and timely tax technical public advice through the production of the Commissioner's public rulings and interpretative statements is unlikely to become any easier in the future, but the need remains for this service to assist in providing taxpayers and their advisors with certainty as to their obligations.

Contact information
If you wish to contact the Public Rulings Unit, please contact us through:
Team Manager (Technical Services Unit)
Office of the Chief Tax Counsel
PO Box 2198
Wellington

Phone: 04 890 6143
Fax: 04 978 1630
Email: rulings@ird.govt.nz

See the Office of the Chief Tax Counsel for more information.

 

Public Rulings customer feedback survey 2009
In early 2009, the Public Rulings Unit ran a customer survey to explore ways of improving its public items and its consultation and publication processes.

A short report is now available on the Inland Revenue website setting out what actions the Unit is taking based on the comments and suggestions received, together with some brief highlights of the responses.

 


Appendix 1:
Public items issued 2000 - 2008

Type Title
2000  
BR Pub 00/01 Commissions received by life agents on own policies and family policies - income tax implications - reissue of 96/9A
BR Pub 00/02 Discounts enjoyed by life agents and their families on life policy premiums - FBT implications - reissue of 96/9A
BR Pub 00/03 Bad debts - writing off debts as bad for GST and income tax purposes - reissue of 96/3A
BR Pub 00/04 Supplies paid for in foreign currency - GST treatment - reissue of 95/12
BR Pub 00/05 Associated persons test - timing in relation to gross income derived from the sale or other disposition of land
BR Pub 00/06 Advertising space and time supplied to non-residents - GST - reissue of 96/10
BR Pub 00/07 Debt factoring arrangements and GST
BR Pub 00/08 Charitable organisations and FBT - reissue of 97/6
BR Pub 00/09 Directors' fees and GST - withdrawn - replaced by BR Pub 00/11
BR Pub 00/10 "Cost price of the motor vehicle" - meaning of term for FBT purposes
BR Pub 00/11 Directors' fees and GST
BR Pub 00/12 Lease surrender payments received by landlord - income tax treatment - reissue of 97/1A
L/stock det National Standard Costs for Specified Livestock Determination 2000
IS0025 Dairy farming - deductibility of certain expenditure
IS2228 Transferable term fishing quota - acquisition and conversions 1976 Act
Extension Notice extending public ruling 97/10 for a further 5 years
Non-renewal Notice that BR Pub 95/5A will not be renewed
Withdrawal Notice that item in TIB Vol 1, No 6 on GST and matrimonial property agreements is withdrawn
IS0044 Financial planning fees - income tax deductibility
L/stock det National Average Market Values for Specified Livestock Determination 2000
DEP45 Boat lift storage systems - general depreciation determination DEP45
QB0019 Web site expenditure - deductibility
QB0039 Real estate sale and purchase - GST apportionments of income and expenditure
IS3175 Assets under construction - depreciation
Withdrawal Notice of withdrawal re BR Pub 00/09 and replacement by BR Pub 00/11
2001  
BR Pub 01/01 GST - When the supply of leasehold land is an exempt supply - reissue of 96/7
BR Pub 01/02 "Transitional capital amount" - definition - reissue of 98/1
BR Pub 01/03 Rent deemed to be payable - deductibility - reissue of 97/13
BR Pub 01/04 Assessability of payments under the ERA for humiliation, loss of dignity, etc - reissue of 97/3, 3A
BR Pub 01/05 FICA - FBT liability
BR Pub 01/06 Employment Court awards for lost wages - Employers' liability to make tax deductions - reissue of 97/7, 7A
BR Pub 01/07 Maori Trust Boards: Declaration of trust for charitable purposes made under section 24B Maori Trust Boards Act 1955 - income tax consequences - reissue of 97/8
BR Pub 01/08 Forestry rights - Secondhand goods GST input tax deduction - reissue of 98/5
BR Pub 01/09 Taxability of payments under the HRA for humiliation, loss of dignity, etc - reissue of 98/2
QWBA Tourism service providers' payments to tour guides or drivers - income tax liability of those parties and tour operator employing guide or driver
L/stock det National standard costs for specified livestock determination 2001
QWBA Qualifying foreign private annuity exemption from the FIF regime
QWBA Cash prizes in sporting competitions - GST implications for organising club
L/stock det National average market values of specified livestock determination 2001
IS0052 Financial planning fees - GST treatment
QWBA Payments made by funeral directors - GST
DetPROV Trough covers
DetPROV Telecommunications - right to use capacity in Southern Cross Cable Network
2002  
BR Pub 02/01 Subsidised transport provided by employers to employees - Value for FBT purposes
BR Pub 02/02 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where following a grant of a life estate the balance is transferred to another person - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 02/03 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where following a grant of a lease the balance is transferred to another person - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 02/04 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where following the transfer to another person a life estate is granted back - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 02/05 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where following the transfer to another person a lease is granted back - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 02/06 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where following the transfer to another person a licence is granted back - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 02/07 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where the transferor purports to grant him or herself a licence to occupy and transfer the balance - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 02/08 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where there is a "simultaneous" grant of a life estate and transfer of the balance to another person - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 02/09 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where there is a "simultaneous" grant of a lease and transfer of the balance to another person - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 02/10 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where the transferor purports to "simultaneously" grant a licence and transfer the balance to another person - Gift duty and income tax implications
L/stock det National standard costs for specified livestock determination 2002
L/stock det National average market values of specified livestock determination 2002
IS (XPB0006) Easements - Deductibility of costs of preparation, stamping, and registration (replaces expired BR Pub 98/07)
IS3229 Deductibility of sponsorship expenditure
IS3427 Treaty of Waitangi settlements - GST treatment
DetPROV Pipeline crawler, inflatable pipeline plug
DEP46 Carpets (modular nylon tile construction)
IS3387 GST treatment of court awards and out of court settlements
DEP47 Graders (capsicums)
DEP48 Prints (including limited edition prints), paintings and drawings
2003  
BR Pub 03/01 Netherlands social security pensions - Taxation when recipient a New Zealand resident
BR Pub 03/02 Tertiary student association fees
BR Pub 03/03 Advertising space and advertising time supplied to non-residents - GST treatment
BR Pub 03/04 Payments made by parents or guardians of students to state schools - GST treatment
BR Pub 03/05 Associated persons test - timing in relation to gross income derived from the sale or other disposition of land (not reissued)
BR Pub 03/06 "Cost price of the motor vehicle" - meaning of the term for FBT purposes
BR Pub 03/07 Fishing quota and secondhand goods input tax credits
BR Pub 03/08 Marine farming leases and secondhand goods input tax credits
BR Pub 03/09 Marine farming licences and secondhand goods input tax credits
BR Pub 03/10 Coastal permits, certificates of compliance, marine farming permits, and secondhand goods input tax credits
L/stock det National standard costs for specified livestock determination 2003
DEP49 Compact disc players, digital versatile disc players, video game players, and related assets
TIB statement Time limits for new companies to make qualifying company elections - Where extension of time arrangements with tax agents exist - Previous policy withdrawn
IS0056 Tax treatment of payments received by petrol retailers in return for trade ties
DEP50 Commercial fishing nets
L/stock det NAMV Specified Livestock Determination 2003
QWBA Commercial fishing nets - associated QWBA
QWBA Trophies and animal products derived from the tourist, hunting and safari industry: zero-rating under GST
IG0007 Non-resident software suppliers' payments derived from NZ - Income tax treatment
QWBA Managing communications associated with a dispute referred to the Adjudication Unit
QWBA Application of the anonymous version of Determination S13
2004  
BR Pub 04/01 Supplies paid for in foreign currency - GST treatment
BR Pub 04/02 Licensed premises' operators - deductibility of entertainment expenditure
BR Pub 04/03 FBT and motor vehicle multi-leases
BR Pub 04/04 Land sales - whether income tax exemptions for farm land apply to non-natural persons
BR Pub 04/05 Provision of benefits by third parties: FBT consequences - section CI 2(1)
BR Pub 04/06 Trading stock - Tax treatment of sales and agreements to sell
L/stock det National standard costs for specified livestock determination 2004
QWBA Disputing or challenging a PAYE determination made under s NC 1(2) ITA; s 138M, TAA - Wrong PAYE deduction determination a ground for challenge
DEP51 Outboard motors
L/stock det National average market values for specified livestock determination 2004
QWBA Livestock valuation - Election of method
QWBA When does derivation occur in relation to land sales with a deferred settlement, by business taxpayers who provide vendor finance?
QWBA Do statutory time bar provisions apply to shortfall penalties?
IS Shortfall penalty for gross carelessness
IS Income tax treatment of Treaty of Waitangi settlements
DEP52 Digital photographic minilabs
IS Travel by motor vehicle between home and work - deductibility of expenditure and FBT implications
IG Work of a minor nature
DetPROV12 Integrated silk flower arrangements
2005  
BR Pub 05/01 Bad debts - Writing off debts as bad for GST and income tax purposes
BR Pub 05/02 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where following a grant of a life estate the balance is transferred to another person - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 05/03 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where following a grant of a lease the balance is transferred to another person - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 05/04 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where following the transfer to another person a life estate is granted back - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 05/05 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where following the transfer to another person a lease is granted back - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 05/06 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where following the transfer to another person a licence is granted back - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 05/07 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where the transferor purports to grant him or herself a licence to occupy and transfer the balance - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 05/08 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where there is a "simultaneous" grant of a life estate and transfer of the balance to another person - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 05/09 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where there is a "simultaneous" grant of a lease and transfer of the balance to another person - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 05/10 Disposition of real property for inadequate consideration where the transferor purports to "simultaneously" grant a licence and transfer the balance to another person - Gift duty and income tax implications
BR Pub 05/11 Tertiary student association fees
BR Pub 05/12 Taxability of payments under the HRA for humiliation, loss of dignity, etc - reissue of 01/09
BR Pub 05/13 Director's fees & GST
BR Pub 05/14 "Anything occurring on liquidation" when a company requests removal from the register of companies
L/stock det National standard costs for specified livestock determination 2005
QWBA GST consequences of a cancelled contract
L/stock det National average market value for specified livestock determination 2005
L/stock det National standard costs for specified livestock determination 2005 - reissue
IS The impact of company amalgamations on binding rulings
DepDet Dairy farm milk shed building, plant and machinery
IS Shortfall penalty for not taking reasonable care
IS Shortfall penalty - unacceptable interpretation and unacceptable tax position
IS Income tax treatment of New Zealand patents
QWBA The impact of company amalgamations on financial arrangement determinations
IS Shortfall penalty for taking an abusive tax position
2006  
BR Pub 06/01 Debt factoring arrangements and GST
BR Pub 06/02 Section GD 10 - Income Tax Act 2004 - Rent deemed to be payable
BR Pub 06/03 Importers and GST input tax deductions
BR Pub 06/04 "Paid-up capital amount" definition: section CD 32(4)
BR Pub 06/05 Assessability of payments under the ERA for humiliation etc - reissue of BR Pub 01/04
BR Pub 06/06 Employment Court awards for lost wages etc - reissue of BR Pub 01/06
QWBA FBT - value of brokerage provided by sharebrokers to employees
QWBA The meaning of "benefit" for FBT purposes
L/stock det National standard costs for specified livestock determination 2006
QWBA Effect of repeal of ITA 1994 on depreciation determinations issued before repeal
DepDet General Depreciation Determination Dep54
IS Interest deductibility - Public Trustee v CIR
L/stock det National average market values of specified livestock determination 2006
QWBA Exemption from gift duty for dispositions of property made by or under an order of the Court: section 75A(5) Estates and Gift Duties Act 1968
DetPROV13 Pipeline crawler, inflatable pipeline plug
DetPROV14 Integrated silk flower arrangements
DetPROV15 Trough covers (polyethylene)
DetPROV16 Marble rock instruments
DEP55 Psychological testing sets (replaces PROV2)
DEP56 Metal speed humps (replaces PROV3)
DEP57 Wintering pads (rubber) (replaces PROV5)
DEP58 Kiwiplus - Kiwifruit Software Package - designed for a specific tax year (replaces PROV6)
DEP59 Peurulus (baby crayfish) traps (replaces PROV7)
DEP60 Builders' planks (wooden)
QWBA Tax treatment of wooden scaffolding planks
QWBA GST treatment of funding provided to Treaty of Waitangi claimants through the Office of Treaty Settlements
IS Shortfall penalty - evasion
2007  
BR Pub 07/01 Forestry rights - Secondhand goods GST input tax deduction - reissue of 01/08
BR Pub 07/02 Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) - FBT liability - reissue of 01/05
BR Pub 07/03 GST: zero-rating of legal and other services to non-residents
BR Pub 07/04 Interest deductibility - funds borrowed by a partnership to return capital contributions
BR Pub 07/05 Interest deductibility - funds borrowed by a partnership to return profits
BR Pub 07/06 Interest deductibility - funds borrowed by a company to repurchase shares
BR Pub 07/07 Interest deductibility - funds borrowed by a company to pay dividends
BR Pub 07/08 Interest deductibility - funds borrowed to repay debt
BR Pub 07/09 Interest deductibility - funds borrowed to make a payment to a group company
BR Pub 07/10 Netherlands social security pensions - taxation when the recipient is a New Zealand resident
BR Pub 07/11 GST lottery operators and promoters
L/stock det National standard costs for specified livestock determination 2007
DepPROV17 Furniture (loose)
IS 07/01 GST treatment of sale of long-term rental residential properties
L/stock det NAMV specified livestock determination 2007
DEP 61 Child restraints (capsules and car seats) for hire
IS 07/02 Is an agreement for sale and purchase of property an "invoice" for GST purposes
QB 07/04 Trophies and animal products derived from tourism, mounted in NZ - zero-rating
QB 07/03 Trustees in the context of the GST Act 1985
DEP 62 Depreciation on buildings and structures
DEP 63 Depreciation on software
DEP 64 Depreciation on LED Screens
QB 07/05 Whether Commissioner can finalise private ruling where arrangement being audited
DEP 65 Depreciation on Speed humps
2008  
BR Pub 08/01 GST - When the supply of leasehold land is an exempt supply
BR Pub 08/02 Maori Trust Boards: Declaration of trust for charitable purposes made under section 24B of the Maori Trust Boards Act 1955 - Income tax consequences
BR Pub 08/03 Projects to reduce emissions programme - Income tax treatment
BR Pub 08/04 Projects to reduce emissions programme - GST treatment
Dep PROV18 Set-top boxes with hard drive and personal video recorders with hard drive
DEP 66 Set-top boxes without HD and personal video recorders without HD
L/stock det National Standard Costs for Specified Livestock Determination 2008
Statement Depreciation Rates Table
DEP 67 Baby gear for hire (excluding child restraints (capsules and car seats))
IS 08/01 Interpretation of section 5(14) GST Act
QB 08/01 Tax Administration Act 1994 - Section 91E(4)(f) and self-assessment
DEP 68 Satellites (geosynchronous orbit)
L/stock det National Average Market Values of Specified Livestock Determination 2008
DEP 69 Flight Simulators
IS 08/02 Deductibility of Feasibility Expenditure
DEP 70 Plant Supports (hanging retractable wire)
QB 08/02 Retrospective Replacement Rulings
QB 08/03 Status of mutual agreement procedures
Statement Timing of Associated Persons Test - BR Pub 03/05 not reissued
Statement Expense items in Table of Depreciation Rates
IS 08/03 Resource consent application fees and provision of works, etc - GST treatment
QB 08/04 Income Tax Act 2007: Research and Development Credits (Subpart LH) - tax avoidance (section BG 1)

 


1 Refer Appendix I for outputs for 2000/2001 and subsequent years.

2 As the name suggests, literally questions asked of the Commissioner which are generally able to be answered in a succinct manner.

3 From 1 July 2008 the Public Rulings Unit no longer is responsible for the issuing of depreciation determinations. They are now dealt with by the Technical Standards group, which is part of the Service Delivery operational area of Inland Revenue.

4 Through his or her officers with the requisite delegations.

5 The binding rulings regime also provides for the issuing of private and product rulings, which unlike public rulings are provided to a specific taxpayer or class of taxpayers, or relate to a specified product.

6 The latter part of this statement being more applicable to the private and product rulings aspects of the regime.

7 Section 91D

8 Section 91C

9 The key exceptions being where it is possible to obtain some kind of determination under the Income Tax Act, eg, depreciation determination, accrual rules determination, petroleum mining determination.

10 Except sections 12 [imported goods] and 13 [goods liable to excise duty and supplied at "in bond" prices - now repealed].

11 Section 91C(3)

12 Section 91DA

13 Tax Information Bulletin (TIB)

14 Section 91DB

15 Section 91DC(1)

16 Section 91DC(2)

17 Section 91DE

18 BR Pub 00/09 (Directors' fees and GST), published in TIB Vol 12, No 9, contained an application period which it was thought could have been seen to be retrospective, which was not intended. The Commissioner's usual practice is to apply binding public rulings prospectively where his view of the law has altered. For this reason, BR Pub 00/09 was withdrawn and a new public binding ruling, BR Pub 00/11, issued with a new application period.

19 Section 91G TAA 1994

20 Perhaps a recent example of this is the interpretation statement on the deductibility of feasibility study expenditure [refer IS 08/02] which includes a comprehensive discussion of the law in this area and examples of its application.

21 The annual National Standard Livestock Costs determination and the annual Livestock National Average Market Values determination.

22 The Technical Standards area of Service Delivery generally produces Standard Practice Statements and QWBAs with an operational or administrative focus.

23 Compare by way of example the ATO's approach to the publication of its public rulings work programme.

24 But may be deliberately longer if the item is highly complex and/or likely to draw significant attention and comment.

25 Tax Information Bulletin (TIB)

26 A report is now available, see note at end of this article.

27 For example in relation to issues found in applying an item in practice or related interpretative issues.