• Frequently asked questions about private rulings and objections

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    Before you submit your form

    How do I submit a private ruling application or objection on the portal?  

    Where can I find the application forms?  

    What is ‘Tax topic (supporting documents) help’?  

    If the period of review has passed, can I still lodge an objection?  

    Submitting your form

    How many attachments can I send with my private ruling application or objection?  

    Can I send further information about my private ruling application or objection using the portal?  

    How many attachments can I send with my further information?  

    How do I submit more than the allowed six attachments?  

    How many further information submissions can I send through the portal?  

    What can I do if I have one or more files exceeding 3.7MB?  

    Successful and unsuccessful submission

    How will I know if my private ruling application or objection has been successfully submitted?  

    If I’m timed out while completing the document, will the information be saved?  

    What if my attachments are rejected?  

    How do I know which attachments have been sent with my online form?  

    Why are files rejected?  

    What are the escalation points for problems with rejected files?  

    What about files that cannot be opened?  

    After you have submitted your form

    How soon should I receive a response from the ATO?  

    How do I change the contact person shown on the private ruling or objection as lodged?  

    Can access to the private rulings or objections function be restricted through Access Manager?  

    What if a portal receipt number is provided, but the ATO fails to respond within the Taxpayers’ charter service standards?  

    Before you submit your form

    How do I submit a private ruling application or objection on the portal?

    You can submit a private ruling application or objection using Online forms. Select the link for Private ruling and objections. The Private rulings and objections start page is displayed. This screen provides:

    • information on the steps you need to take
    • links to access ATO websites to help you prepare your private ruling application or objection.

    Using this online form is the third step in preparing and submitting a private ruling application or objection through the portal – steps one and two involve researching the requirements and downloading and completing the relevant form.

    Make sure you download and complete your private ruling application or objection form electronically on your computer.

    The Private rulings and objections online form allows you to attach the completed application and relevant files from your computer and submit them by the portal.

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    Where can I find the application forms?

    You can access information on How to lodge an objection or How to apply for a private ruling on the ATO website. The application forms contain the relevant validity questions which you should answer before you submit the application form by the portal. These forms can be completed electronically and saved to your computer.

    What is ‘Tax topic (supporting documents) help’?

    ‘Tax topic (supporting documents) help’ sets out the information and documents we usually need to resolve questions about the subjects listed. The subjects listed are the ones we receive the most queries about. The list is not exhaustive.

    If your private ruling is about a subject listed in ‘Tax topic (supporting documents) help for private rulings' or if your objection is about a subject listed in ‘Tax topic (supporting documents) help for objections’, provide the information and documents listed. This will help you get an efficient resolution.

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    If the period of review has passed, can I still lodge an objection?

    If you do not lodge your objection in the required time limits, you may request an extension of time to lodge.

    You must request the extension in writing with your objection, giving the reasons and circumstances why the objection is late.

    Submitting your form

    How many attachments can I send with my private ruling application or objection?

    You can attach up to six attachments – your private ruling application or objection, plus six other attachments.

    Attachment guidelines  

    • There is a limit of six attachments per submission.
    • No attachment can be larger than 3.7MB.
    • Acceptable file types are .doc, .pdf, .rtf, .xls, .tif, .jpg, .zip, .bmp, .mpp, .ppt, .png, .gif.
    • If you want to scan images, use black and white settings at 200 dpi.
     
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    Can I send further information about my private ruling application or objection using the portal?

    The Submit further information link from the Private rulings and objections online form allows you to submit further information for a previously lodged private ruling application or objection. You don’t need to have submitted your previous private ruling application or objection through the portal to use this function.

    Further information can be either information that:

    • we have requested
    • you have identified a need for after you have submitted your application.

    You can either:

    • enter information directly in the online form’s text entry field
    • copy and paste information from your own document into the text entry field
    • attach additional files relating to your previously lodged private ruling application or objection.
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    How many attachments can I send with my further information?

    You can attach up to six attachments when you submit further information using the portal, but you must follow our attachment guidelines.

    How do I submit more than the allowed six attachments?

    If you have more than six files, you can either:

    • combine the files
    • submit extra files as further information
    • submit extra files as additional further information submissions
    • send some files by post or fax.

    How many further information submissions can I send through the portal?

    There is no limit.

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    What can I do if I have one or more files exceeding 3.7MB?

    If you have one or more files exceeding 3.7MB, we recommend you either:

    • zip large documents
    • split files to reduce their size
    • minimise the size of image files by sending as either a:
      • .jpg or .png
      • compressed .gif or .tif in black and white with 200 dots per inch resolution.
       

    If this results in more than six attachments, you can send the additional attachments using the Submit further information link on the Private rulings and objections start page.

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    Successful and unsuccessful submission

    How will I know if my private ruling application or objection has been successfully submitted?

    When you complete your submission, you will be taken to a Transaction completed screen that includes a receipt number. We recommend you print this screen for your records.

    You can also view the details you have submitted as a message in your Mail – sent items. You need to select the relevant private ruling application or objection and you will be taken to the View message screen.

    The information that appears on the Transaction completed screen and the View message screen in Mail – sent items is:

    • portal receipt number
    • submission form contents
    • file attachment names.

    You cannot view the content of the attachments you have submitted.

    Files that have been attached with your private ruling application, objection or further information online form may not transmit successfully. If any of the attached files are rejected, a message will be sent to your. The message will identify the rejected files and give reasons for the rejection.

    Rejected file messages will usually appear in your Mail – inbox within a few minutes of you submitting them. However, some may take up to 72 hours.

    You will not receive a message in your Mail – inbox when all attachments transmit successfully.

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    If I’m timed out while completing the document, will the information be saved?

    No. There is no save facility. You will need to complete the online form in one session.

    What if my attachments are rejected?

    Once you have addressed the identified reason for rejection, you can re-send the files from the Mail - view message screen. Select the Provision of further information button on this screen. The Further information – applicant details screen is displayed. This screen pre-populates all fields for the previously submitted private ruling application, objection or further information. You will then be taken through a short series of screens where you can re-attach your corrected files and re-submit by the portal.

    Alternatively, you can forward paper copies of the rejected files by post or fax.

    How do I know which attachments have been sent with my online form?

    Select the relevant online form from the Mail – sent items or Mail – inbox screen.

    The information displayed on the View message screen includes:

    • portal receipt number
    • submission form contents
    • the names of the files attached.

    You cannot view the content of attachments submitted because the attached files cannot be opened from the Mail screens.

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    Why are files rejected?

    After you have submitted the form and attachments using the portal, further checks are made by the file upload vault (FUV) inside the ATO firewall. You may have a receipt number indicating the file has been successfully submitted but find out that some or all of the attachments have been rejected. If your file is rejected you will be notified by your portal Mail – inbox.

    The reasons for rejecting a file include:

    • a virus being detected
    • being unable to open the file
    • unacceptable file types
    • the file being corrupt.

    What are the escalation points for problems with rejected files?

    If you have any problems with rejected files, contact the Technical Help Desk.

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    What about files that cannot be opened?

    Some attachments may not be readable by ATO software – for example, files established using newer software. These attachments are not rejected and no file attachment error message is sent to the client.

    This problem is not one that will be addressed by our contact centre staff. It will be identified by the case officer when they action the case. The case officer will contact the client and request resubmission of the attachment (preferably by the portal – that is, as a further information submission) in an acceptable format.

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    After you have submitted your form

    How soon should I receive a response from the ATO?

    For objections, we will provide a response within 56 days, by post. If you object against a private ruling, the timeframe for a response is 28 days.

    We will respond to private ruling applications, within 28 days.

    We will provide a response within these timeframes as long as you provide all the necessary information.

    If we need to, we will request further information within 14 days. If we can’t meet the 28 or 56 day standard – for example, because of the complexity of the matter – we will contact you within 14 days of the receipt of the information to agree a new reply date.

    How do I change the contact person shown on the private ruling or objection lodged?

    The Applicant details screen displays the current registration and contact details we have for your private ruling application or objection. On this screen, you can change the given name and family name of the person in your organisation we should contact about this application.

    We do not use changes you make to information on this screen to update our official records. The information is used for this application only.

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    Can access to the private rulings or objections function be restricted through Access Manager?

    No. Private ruling applications, objections and further information are submitted using Online forms. There are no restrictions in Access Manager for Online forms.

    What if a portal receipt number is provided, but the ATO fails to respond within the Taxpayers’ charter service standards?

    The case officer/manager should contact the client, within 48 hours to advise they are the contact person for the private ruling application or objection.

    If this has not occurred, possible scenarios are:

    • mail delays/failure
    • resource backlogs within the office
    • procedural or systems failure.
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Relying on our information - our commitment to you

We are committed to providing you with advice and guidance you can rely on, so we make every effort to ensure that what we give you is correct.

If you follow our advice or guidance and it turns out to be incorrect, or it is misleading and you make a mistake as a result, we will take that into account when determining what action, if any, we should take.

Some of the advice and guidance on this website applies to a specific financial year. This is clearly marked. Make sure you have the information for the right year before making decisions based on that information.

If you feel that our advice and guidance does not fully cover your circumstances, or you are unsure how it applies to you, contact us or seek professional advice.

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