Getting tax certainty
Any taxpayer, including businesses, individuals and other tax entities can apply for a private ruling when there is any uncertainty to the tax outcomes of a particular event, transaction or arrangement.
"When I called the ATO they told me...."
When you call the ATO, whether as a business or individual, you are talking to a call center operator. Although the ATO does have some of the most skilled tax and legal minds, they are unfortunately not the ones who are on the other end of the phone when you call. Even if you do manage to get one of their tax experts who understands and is knowledgeable on your query, the advice you are given by the ATO over the phone is non-binding advice.
Advice given can be incomplete, inappropriate or just outright wrong.
This means the answer you receive over the phone can be entirely incorrect and in many circumstances it is. Unfortunately, even when you do receive the correct advice it can be easily misinterpreted or is simply not applicable to your circumstances the way you originally intended.
There is a tried and true solution to the problem, and the answer is in the form of a Private Ruling application. The process is simple in theory, ask a question, get an answer. The trick of course is ensuring that the right answers are asked, in the right way.
"The outcome of the private ruling is Binding on the ATO"
The private ruling process is often used to determine if tax exemptions will be met, clarify the application of legislation to specific circumstances and for 'test-driving' exotic tax arrangements. When we make a Private Ruling application on your behalf, we provide our interpretation of the legislation to the ATO up front, ensuring you have the best opportunity of receiving a favourable outcome.
Areas of tax
We can support your private ruling application on a number of tax issues affecting businesses, SMSF's and individuals. The main areas of tax being:
- Income Tax
- Capital Gains Tax
How can we help?
The ATO must stick to their decision. You get absolute tax certainty on your specific circumstances.
We know the ins and outs of Australia's tax legislation in detail. Give yourself the best chance at a favourable outcome.
Make effective planning decisions and move forward now that your tax position is known.
Your application is complete including an effective strategy and our detailed interpretation of the tax legislation.
There is a defined process that we follow in every application, that ensures you have the best opportunity of a favourable outcome.
We host an initial meeting with you to discuss your situation and goals in depth and fully understand the circumstances surrounding your application. We will then formulate an effective strategy for how we will approach your private ruling application, along with the key issues and questions that will be addressed in the application. We look strategically and break down your core questions to give you the best opportunity of receiving a favourable outcome.
Gather, document and finalise the key facts and circumstances of your situation.
State questions and prepare comprehensive answers citing legislation, ATO rulings and relevant case law to support our position
Sign-off and submission
You will get the opportunity to do a final review and sign the application before submission to the ATO. The ATO must respond with their ruling within 3 months.
We manage the application and respond to any requests from the ATO as needed.
If the ATO response is not favourable then there is an option to dispute with the ATO directly and through a Tribunal application if necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
For any ruling application our service will cover the information gathering, strategy, documentation, application development, submission and responding to ATO requests during the review. If the initial application is not favourable, then there are additional costs to go through the dispute process.
How long does it take?
In most cases the ATO will provide a ruling within 28 days of the application being made. If the matter is particularly complex they will respond within 14 days to negotiate a time-frame. If the initial ruling is not favourable then additional time is required to go through one or more dispute processes.
What happens if I don't like the outcome?
The next step is to submit a dispute with the ATO. We formalise an official objection citing any inconsistencies or errors that we have discovered. Your private ruling outcome will then be reviewed by the ATO dispute team. If the outcome is still not favourable then you have the opportunity to take the ruling to a Tribunal hearing.
Do I have to follow the ATO decision?
No, the ruling is only binding on the ATO, it is not binding on the applicant.
How much does it cost?
Cost depends heavily on the scope of the questions and the specific circumstances of the ruling. For most applications we are able to provide a fixed-fee quote after an initial discovery session, conducted at no-cost to you. Our service fee starts from $3,000 + GST, for a single question and answer ruling with a limited scope.
What will happen after the ruling is completed?
After the ATO has issued their ruling they will redact your personal information and publish your ruling in the form of an edited private ruling. The outcome will be immortalised and serve as a reference for other taxpayers in the future.