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How to apply for a private or product ruling

We need you to provide a lot of information as part of your application for a private or product ruling. This is important, due to the binding nature of private and product rulings. We need to fully understand what is going on, how you consider the tax laws apply, and why you hold that view.

Because private and product rulings are often about complex arrangements, 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.

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Application form

To apply for a private or product ruling, you need to complete one of the following application forms to apply for a private or product ruling:

You can also get these forms by calling us 0800 257 773 or by contacting Technical Services.

Before you send us the form, make sure you or your agent has signed it, and that you have provided all the necessary information, as explained below.

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What to include in your application

You need to give us all the relevant details and information about the arrangement. If you don't, we may request further information, which could mean that we take longer to complete the ruling. If you don't give us enough 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:

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 are an agent or applying on behalf of more of 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 to the arrangement, 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 applying for a product ruling, you also need to provide us with a statutory declaration that you have disclosed all relevant facts, and that the facts are correct.

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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 in the arrangement, including an explanation of what the arrangement is intended to achieve
  • copies of relevant legal documents or draft documents
  • in some applications, recent financial statements for the applicant(s).

Each different arrangement requires a separate application. If you want a binding ruling on any alternatives to the arrangement, 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 don't 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.

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Propositions of law (legal arguments)

It is 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 cause delays.

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.

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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.

Find out more about the templates to use in preparing your draft ruling.