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In a media release issued on 3 March 2009, the Commissioner, Michael D’Ascenzo, announced that he will maintain the register of private rulings in its current form.

"Last November, I informed our peak tax professional consultative forum, the National Tax Liaison Group (NTLG) I was considering reducing the content of the register to the subject heading and reference number. This proposal was put forward after I found the register was being relied upon for advice, which was never the original intention," Mr D’Ascenzo said.

The Commissioner then held further discussions with the NTLG after concerns were raised by professional associations and the Inspector-General of Taxation about the removal of the register.

"These discussions have been very helpful and I am reassured that the NTLG now better understands the limitations and risks associated with the register, as well as the opportunity costs associated with its retention. The NTLG has also said they will work with us to reinforce this understanding and the role played by more authoritative ATO guidance material such as interpretative decisions, across the tax profession," Mr D’Ascenzo said.

The Commissioner has also invited the Inspector-General of Taxation to review the private rulings system.

For a copy of the ATO media release, No 2009/16, go here.

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