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If you need to apply for a different type of ruling, these are the forms to use. Beyond short-process rulings, the other types are:

  • private
  • product
  • public
  • status.

There is also a determination for financial arrangements available here. Our guidance in Binding rulings - IR715 will help you choose the right application.

Private ruling applications

A private ruling gives a single taxpayer or group of taxpayers an interpretation of how the tax law applies to a particular:

  • arrangement
  • person
  • item of property.

A private ruling only applies to the people named in the ruling and is confidential to you and any other applicants. The facts must be exactly as described in the ruling and the people named must satisfy any stated conditions.

Advance pricing agreements (APAs)

These are a type of private ruling. APAs represent a co-operative approach to addressing transfer pricing compliance. They can produce significant time and cost savings for both tax authorities and multinationals in comparison with an audit. APAs encourage up-front taxpayer compliance and early resolution of potential disputes. They offer a practical solution to complex cases with difficult facts and circumstances.

APAs are ideally suited to issues involving intangibles and specialised services which can result in a wide range of opinions as to pricing.

Advance pricing agreements

Product ruling applications

A product ruling is an interpretation of how the tax law applies to a particular 'product' or 'consumers' of a 'product', that is entered into by several people on identical terms. For example, a product ruling could be given on whether delivery drivers are employees or independent contractors. Product rulings can only be made where it is not practicable to identify the relevant taxpayers and whose characteristics will not affect the content of the ruling.

A product ruling only applies to people who transact as described in the ruling and satisfy all stated conditions.

Public ruling applications

Public rulings interpret how a tax law applies to a specific type of arrangement that has a wide general application. If your circumstances match those in a public ruling and you meet all requirements in the ruling Inland Revenue is bound to follow it. You may apply it, but you are not required to.

You can suggest tax interpretation topics of broad interest, by emailing us at:

[email protected]

Status ruling applications

If a relevant tax law is amended or repealed, the person who applied for an existing private or product ruling can apply for a status ruling on whether that amendment or repeal changes the way that the law applies in the private or product ruling.

Determinations for financial arrangements

Regarding financial arrangements rules, we can issue taxpayer-specific determinations set out in the legislation. This is only if no general determination applies. We can determine the method for working out:

  • how to spread the income and expenses of a financial arrangement
  • what portion of the income or loss is solely attributable to an excepted financial arrangement
  • the future value of property.

We may also be able to rule on some of these situations under s91CC of the Tax Administration Act 1994. We treat applications for determinations in the same way as private rulings, except they are published.

Tax Administration Act 1994 - s91CC - Binding rulings on certain determination matters (Parliamentary Counsel Office)

Prepare a draft ruling

Use this template to prepare a draft ruling to include with your application.

Apply for a ruling

To know the full application procedure for these types of rulings, you'll need to follow Tax technical's guidance.

Apply for a ruling (Tax technical)

Last updated: 28 Apr 2021
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