The Irish Revenue has highlighted that taxpayers must soon make an application if they want to renew an opinion or confirmation issued in 2013. Here, we outline the rules for obtaining and renewing a tax ruling in Ireland.
Opinions & Confirmations
Taxpayers and their advisers may need to contact the Large Cases Divisions (LCD) to seek an opinion or confirmation from the Revenue that their analysis of the tax consequences of a proposed course of action or a specific transaction complies with Irish tax rules.
Guidelines outlining the circumstances in which the LCD will offer its opinion are contained in Tax and Duty Manual Part 37-00-40, which was last updated in May 2018.
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When Can Opinions or Confirmations Be Sought?
The guidelines stress that opinions and confirmations should only be sought in a very limited number of circumstances.
Typically, requests for advance rulings will only be given by the Revenue where:
- the issues are complex, unusual, or uncertain and the taxpayer or agent requires clarification of the tax or duty treatment of the proposed transaction or business activity;
- clarification of the issue is not already in the public domain;
- the request is specific to a particular named taxpayer and relates to an actual proposed (rather than hypothetical) transaction; and
- all the relevant information and facts have been provided to enable an opinion or confirmation to be given.
Opinions and confirmations will also not be given where the Revenue is of the view that the proposed transaction is part of a scheme or arrangement designed to avoid tax.
Generally, requests will not be accepted where the matter is straightforward and the taxpayer or their adviser is looking for a "comfort letter" from Revenue regarding a position or issue that can be readily established from existing published information and is "not in doubt."
The maximum duration an opinion or confirmation can apply for is five years or the equivalent length of time in accounting periods of the taxpayer concerned. However, Revenue may provide that a ruling should apply for less time in some cases.
In addition, an opinion or confirmation will only remain valid for so long as the facts and circumstances on which it was based continue to exist and the relevant legislation and practice remains in place.
Opinions and confirmations can be reviewed and withdrawn at any time by the Revenue.
Deadline for 2013 Rulings
Given the five-year maximum validity of opinions and confirmations, the deadline is now looming for those who obtained a ruling in 2013. The Revenue has updated Tax and Duty Manual Part 37-00-41 to provide guidance to taxpayers who wish to continue to rely on an opinion or confirmation issued by the Revenue in the period between 1 January and 31 December 2013, in respect of a transaction, period or part of a period, on or after 1 January 2019.
According to the Revenue, those taxpayers who had an opinion or confirmation issued in 2013 and wished to renew it should have made their application by 29 March 2019.