Essentially, the ATO must stick to their determination*.
The process requires a full and timely presentation of the facts (something which will not be possible with an audit 10 years later)
Given the Capital Gains Tax Exemption, ESIC shareholders have an extra reason to be loyal investors. Added certainty on the ESIC claim will help, with say, follow-on funding rounds.
Ask for exactly what you need, i.e. ask for confirmation of ESIC eligibility generally, not simply ESIC eligibility for a specific investor or share allotment.
Request the ruling cover a full tax year, i.e. lodging in September, for a ruling issued in December will provide cover through to the 30 June the following year, which may provide you another chance to raise funds before the ruling times out.
Stick to the facts, your ruling will be invalidated if you have provided false information in the application. Keep in mind that the ESIC is required to implement its business model in the way its described in the ruling.
Be thorough, the ATO could use material omissions as grounds for overturning the ruling.
Don’t go too early, ESICs are not company’s in R&D mode, you’ll need to show evidence of commercialisation, and ideally have traction with investors (if not committed funds).
Be Forthright, in our experience the ATO understand this is a tax incentive regime and founders are time poor, the applicants must show evidence, however you do not need to have achieved greatness to be ESIC, you are on the early stage of a wild journey!