Firms To Watch: Tax

KHQ Lawyers in Melbourne advises corporates, SMEs, and high-net-work individuals on federal and state tax planning and risk management issues relating to taxation, including tax elements of M&A and real estate transactions. The practice is led by Prath Balasubramaniam.

Tax in Australia

Allens

Allens combines a strong transactional tax practice with involvement in high-level tax controversies, acting for major corporates, superfunds and multinationals. The team has particular expertise in handling indirect tax considerations for major M&A and investments, as well as in acting for international investors in federal tax proceedings. The team is led by Melbourne-based Martin Fry, who specialises in contentious matters and is particularly strong in the oil and gas sector, while Sydney’s Craig Milner takes the lead on transactional and projects-based tax work, including indirect and direct taxation issues. In Melbourne, Toby Knight specialises in international and corporate tax, and has a successful track record in resolving tax disputes with the ATO, with managing associate Igor Golshtein also a key player in corporate taxation, particularly relating to strategy and transactions. In Sydney, Jay Prasad was promoted to managing associate and advises corporates, financial institutions and private equity clients, while Joseph Power specialises in income tax and stamp duty issues.

Practice head(s):

Martin Fry

Testimonials

‘Technically strong with good relationships with tax authorities. Diverse and inclusive team. Collaborates well with our other stakeholders (i.e. accounting firms, foreign law firms, expert witnesses).’

‘Being one of the top tier law firm, this practice is truly a one-stop law firm to handle all aspect of the Corporate and Fund management business we as client truly value.’

‘Craig Milner, Tax Partner – Excellent industry and legal knowledge; very understandable advice; solutions driven; has assisted us in establishing charity legal entities and advising on corporate governance and drafting submissions both tax-related and in relation to charities regulation. He cuts to the chase in providing advice that can be understood and actioned. He is superb.’

‘Toby Knight is a leading practitioner in tax disputes. He brings excellent, and deep legal knowledge, experience and tactical skills together in assisting in finding the best and most cost effective ways to resolve tax disputes.’

‘Allens has a strong Tax practice with a particular strength in disputes.’

Key clients

Rio Tinto

TransGrid

BHP Billiton

ExxonMobil

Woodside

Ford

Aware Super

The GPT Group

News Corp

Charter Hall

Magellan Financial Group

Sunsuper

Pacific Equity Partners

Inpex

Port of Brisbane

BGH Capital

TPG Telecom

National Australia Bank

Vocus

Madison Dearborn Partners

Work highlights

  • Representing Shell in the Federal Court proceedings in relation to Shell’s acquisition from Chevron of further interests in the Gorgon joint venture.
  • Advising Aware Super on the tax aspects of the complex merger of two super-funds.
  • Advised Magellan Asset Management Limited on the restructure proposal to simplify its global equities retail product offering.

Ashurst

Ashurst bolstered its tax practice with the addition of indirect tax specialist Costa Koutsis from PwC LLP, diversifying the expertise of a team already recognised for its strength in transactional tax matters and complex restructurings. Clients include a number of listed companies, as well as private equity and other investment funds, including superfunds. Vivian Chang  leads the team and advises on corporate and financial services transactions both domestic and international, while Barbara Phair has a strong track record in transactional and project taxation work alongside representing clients before regulators in contentious cases. Sanjay Wavde advises on income tax matters, most notably relating to fund management, transactional and infrastructure mandates. Melbourne’s Geoff Mann specialists in indirect taxes, advising on GST, stamp duty, land and human resources tax. Lawyers are in Sydney unless otherwise mentioned.

Practice head(s):

Vivian Chang

Testimonials

‘Ashurst’s Tax team covers income tax and GST, as well as state based taxes such as stamp duty and land tax and Ashurst Tax have advised our group in these areas. While the tax team is a small team within a larger legal practice, the team is of good size, which is important to ensure a quality work product, produced in a reasonable time. The Ashurst Tax team works very well with the our disciplines within the larger Ashurst practice and this has been important for us, having engaged Ashurst on numerous “whole of firm” major projects over the past few years.’

‘The main individuals we work with are Vivian Chang, Barbara Phair and Costa Koutsis (all partners) and Steve Whittington (Senior Associate). These individuals are very strong tax technicians and frequently demonstrate a legal knowledge beyond tax. I would use this team if I need heavy duty tax research and analysis of issues as this is their strength. The team have been able to work through and implement, together with their corporate colleagues, a number of restructures and it has been helpful to our business to have one legal firm implementing these major transactions rather than us having to co-ordinate multiple advisers.’

Key clients

Oxford Properties Group

Woolworths Group Limited

NorthWest Healthcare Properties

ANZ Group Limited

Uber

Downer EDI

Macquarie Group

Brookfield Property Group

Mirvac Limited

Toll Group

Energy Australia

Ivanhoe Cambridge

PIMCO Australia Management Limited

University of Melbourne

Intermediate Capital Group

Lendi/Auscred

Fletcher Building Limited

Sydney Metro

GFG

VGW

QUBE

Endeavour Energy

Plenti

Work highlights

  • Advised Woolworths Group Limited on the A$12bn proposed separation of its retail drinks and hospitality business to create an independent ASX-listed company, Endeavour Group Limited.
  • Advised Toll and Japan Post on the sale of Toll’s Global Express business to Australian private equity fund manager Allegro Funds.
  • Advised Magellan Asset Management on the development and launch of Magellan FuturePay.

Greenwoods

Greenwoods collaborate on tax matters, combining specialist tax advice across all key areas with broad sector expertise, advising clients on transactional tax considerations and contentious issues alongside providing a core tax advisory service. Clients include major corporates and key players in the energy, resources and private equity spaces. The teams are overseen by Manuel Makas, who specialises in real estate taxation; Hugh Paynter, who takes the lead on tax disputes and investigations, regularly working on matters involving the ATO; and Jinny Chaimungkalanont, who has standout expertise in stamp duty issues. Other key players include transactional tax specialist Richard Hendriks and Perth-based Nick Heggart, who focuses on the energy and resources sectors. Lawyers are in Sydney unless otherwise stated.

Other key lawyers:

Richard Hendriks; Nick Heggart

Testimonials

‘Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills (“Greenwoods”) is unique in that it is a specialist tax practice with a good size team (at the partner and staff levels) and a strong client base. The partners are strong technicians and appear to work collaboratively. Therefore, when a client receives a view or opinion, you know that it is a “Firm Opinion” rather than just belonging to the individual partner. While the partners at Greenwoods are strong technicians, they do advise with a good balance between the law and practical application and help with risk assessment for the client.’

‘Excellent service from all divisions. Never feel that you are being overcharged for work completed, fees are clearly forecast and appropriately justified after the work is completed, very good at managing expectations regarding how long it will take to complete a matter and regularly ensure the right things are being prioritised, strong teams with the right experience in the areas we need, the quality of GHSF is clearly shown when compared to competitors.’

‘Manuel Makas – Manuel has a very broad tax knowledge and is excellent in providing transactional and corporate tax structuring advice across multiple jurisdictions and ensuring the best commercial outcomes for his clients. Manuel is great at thinking how one matter may have flow on impacts to other parts of our group. He is also very personable and a great person.’

‘Technical excellence is what makes the practice stand out from others, and makes it my go-to choice for advice on transactions.’

‘Greenwoods recognised years ago that they could be a niche player in tax space by avoiding the typical Big 4 hierarchy which tends to increase costs as more staff are involved with engagements.’

King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons advises an array of blue-chip clients on the full range of commercial tax matters, including transactional, direct and indirect taxation, with particularly strength in the telecoms, energy and financial services sectors. Also of note is the firm’s work with private equity sponsors, advising leading funds on the tax elements of acquisitions and restructurings, alongside an active disputes and litigation practice, heavily involved in high-profile Australian contentious tax matters. The team is led by Darren McClafferty and tax disputes head Matthew Swinn. Michael Clough is a vastly experience tax dispute practitioner, who also specialises in transfer pricing work, while Michael Perez has a strong record in income tax, stamp duty and GST matters. In Sydney, Richard Snowden leads the firm’s budget reporting offering, and is also active in financial services and private equity issues, with Justin Rosseto and special counsel Judith Taylor specialising in income taxes, regularly working with major corporates on a cross-border basis. Greg Protektor was promoted to partner in July 2021, and specialises in transactional and insurance-related tax advice. Lawyers are in Melbourne unless otherwise stated.

Key clients

Telstra Corporation Limited

National Australia bank

Google Inc.

Glencore

BHP Billiton

Crown Resorts Ltd.

Chevron

Rio Tinto

Goldman Sachs

Vanguard

Aldi

AIG

AMP

Dexus

Bupa

Tabcorp

Qantas Airways

Australian Super

Aware Super

Work highlights

  • Advised NAB on the strategic divestment of its financial advice, superannuation and platforms, and asset management businesses to IOOF.
  • Advised Telsta on its proposed restructuring into three separate legal entities – InfraCo Fixed, InfraCo Towers and ServeCo.
  • Advised OPTrust on its third party co-investment in Kinetic Group.

Minter Ellison

Minter Ellison has a broad offering across front-end transactional tax, indirect tax and tax controversy work, fielding specialists in all three key areas. The team acts for an array of domestic and international clients, handling cross-border transactional tax issues, ATO investigations and litigation, and complex matters relating to transfer pricing and GST issues. The firm’s sector expertise is also notable, with standout expertise in the health, real estate, infrastructure and technology industries. Melbourne’s Adrian Varrasso heads up the corporate tax offering, working with a number of major clients on business-critical transactional tax, while Sydney-based Rhys Guild leads the indirect tax practice, and Melbourne’s Carmen McElwain leads the specialist tax controversy team, and is recognised as a leading figure in contentious tax matters. Nathan Deveson in Sydney is noted for his expertise in stamp duty and land taxes, while Melbourne’s Elissa Romanin and Sydney-based Rimma Miller are emerging leaders within corporate tax and controversy matters respectively. Brisbane-based special counsel Craig Bowie advises on transactional tax, stamp duty issues and tax disputes, with a focus on the energy and resources sectors.

Testimonials

‘Technically strong. Ability to turnaround work/tasks quickly. Good co-ordination with other parts of their legal practice.’

‘Adrian Varraso – good practical tax insights. Experience of matters with ATO.

Key clients

Investec

Kudu Capital

Bauer Media Australia

Commissioner of Taxation, ATO

Crown Melbourne Limited

Queensland State Government

Landcom

Brookfield

CIMIC

Heal Fund

Work highlights

  • Advised Investec on the demerger of its asset management business.
  • Advised Kudu Investment Management in relation to its $56m investment in funds management business Channel Capital.
  • Advised Bauer Media GmBH on its divestment of its Australia and NZ business arms to Mercury Capital.

Arnold Bloch Leibler

Arnold Bloch Leibler is a standout choice for major companies and high-net-worth individuals, with its specialist tax team handling commercial taxation, tax controversy, trusts and charitable giving matters. Alongside a strong domestic client base, the team also regularly works with international entities with interests in Australia, and handles cross-border work. Mark Leibler co-leads the team and is a vastly experienced practitioner with a successful record in corporate tax advice, with co-head Paul Sokolowski handling transactional taxation alongside regular involvement in ATO proceedings, alongside advising the ATO on revenue reviews. Sydney’s Clint Harding combines commercial tax advice with regular work on ATO disputes, and advised the Australian government on tax considerations of its Covid-19 response, while senior associate Kaitilin Lowdon specialises in complex tax disputes for corporates and high-net-worth individuals. Lawyers are in Melbourne unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

Mark Leibler; Paul Sokolowski

Other key lawyers:

Clint Harding; Kaitilin Lowden

Testimonials

‘The Team is made up of highly client serviced individuals and has a particular focus on giving practical advice that is technically correct.’

‘Strong technical capabilities coupled with good commercial sense and application.’

‘Very personable and approachable.’

‘Solid strategic approach to working through problems in a cost effective manner.’

‘One of a kind talent with deep subject matter expertise in Australian Taxation, not just pure law but sentiment of Australian Tax Office.’

‘They are more commercial than other practices. They are uniquely placed to negotiate settlements with the ATO.’

‘Mark Leibler – ability to negotiate outcomes with ATO.

Key clients

Members Equity Bank

SEEK Limited

Sleeping Duck

Zip Co Limited

Israel Discount Bank Limited

Honda Australia

Starwood Capital Partners

Bennelong Funds Management

Work highlights

  • Advised ME Bank on its $1.3bn sale to the Bank of Queensland.
  • Advising SEEK Group on structuring and transitional advice and the relevant incentive arrangements related to corporate restructure.
  • Advised Zip Co on the cross-border tax implications and key transaction documents in connection with its $400m acquisition of New York-based QuadPay Inc.

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie provides integrated tax advice to its corporate clients, with particular expertise in indirect taxation alongside broad tax planning, income tax and dispute support. The team has a strong record within the technology space, especially health technology and digital economy matters. The team is led by John Walker, who advises on a range of international tax issues, while Amrit MacIntyre is a specialist in GST, stamp duty and other indirect taxes, and contributes regularly to thought leadership within the space. Simone Bridges combines transactional tax advice with experience in tax controversy matters, and is active in global digital economy work, with Miles Hurst handling fund structuring, transactional, and infrastructure taxation. All lawyers mentioned are in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

John Walker

Testimonials

‘Technically strong and a safe pair of hands.’

‘Amrit MacIntyre has provide practical and clear advice in the complex areas of the tax implications for aboriginal land agreements and indigenous land use agreements. He is always available and in particular, his strength is client meetings where he is able to answer ad hoc questions clearly providing the relevant legal principles, considering the risks and providing solutions, that assists them to progress the agreements. His written advice is clear and concise and digests complex factual situations with ease.’

‘The team has a good balance of experience and technical skills and produce timely and reliable advice. I have confidence in their work output.’

‘Each member of the team is enjoyable to work with. Incredibly thorough.’

Key clients

SK E&S

Mastercard, Inc.

Cobre Ltd

Santos Ltd

AccorInvest

Work highlights

  • Advised SK E&S on the tax (direct tax and indirect tax) aspects of its $390m acquisition of a 25% interest in the Bayu-Undan and Darwin LNG projects from Santos.
  • Advised Mastercard on the tax aspects of structuring and implementing the acquisition of Australia-based payment-solutions provider Wameja Ltd.
  • Advised Cobre Ltd on the tax aspects of the structuring and acquisition for scrip of up to 51% of UK-based Kalahari Metals.

Clayton Utz

Clayton Utz advises on significant tax projects, transactions and disputes, working with corporates, insolvency practitioners, public sector bodies and financial institutions. In litigation, the firm enjoys a strong relationship with the Australian Tax Office. Practice head Andrew Sommer specialises in indirect taxation, advising a wide range of clients on issues such as GST, state taxes and FBT. Mark Friezer focuses on business taxation, particularly high-level taxation of financial instruments, while Peter Feros is noted for his work on M&A taxation and fund structuring work. Keshni Maharaj has a strong and emerging stamp duty practice, advising on a number of significant recent corporate transactions. Angela Wood and Andy Bubb, who have joined from KPMG Law in Australia, have added further heft to the team. All lawyers mentioned are in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Sommer

Testimonials

‘Good commercial tax advice which is practical and easy to follow.’

‘High level of customer service.’

‘Commercial thinking. Personal partner interaction. Very strong corporate tax and GST focus. Result oriented. Value for money. At call service.’

‘Andrew Sommer is an expert in his field. Excellent interpersonal skills. Strong governmental agency relationships and understanding. The undisputed leader in large business tax structuring and dispute resolution.’

Key clients

Pallion Group Pty Limited

Virgin Australia

O-I Operations

Tattarang

Gerbr Kanuf KG

Tianqi Lithium Corporation

Heineken International B.V.

Pacific Equity Partners

Woolworths Group Limited

Chevron

Macquarie Bank

Children’s Investment Master Fund

Work highlights

  • Represented Pallion Group in support of its former subsidiary, known as EBS & Associates, in a GST dispute matter in the Full Federal Court.
  • Advised Deloitte Restructuring Services partners as the voluntary administrators appointed to Virgin, including complex tax considerations associated with the successful restructure and sale of the airline to Bain Capital.
  • Advised O-I Operations on tax considerations associated with its sale of its Australian and New Zealand business to Visy Glass.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Corrs Chambers Westgarth expanded its tax team with the hire of Jennee Chan from Allens in mid-2020, with the specialist indirect tax practitioner bolstering the firm’s offering particularly in relation to real estate and infrastructure work. The team has continued to work on tax structures for a variety of high-profile M&A, as well as working with major corporate and private equity clients on GST-related issues. Practice head Rhys Jewell  takes the lead on M&A tax structuring, working with corporate and private equity clients on an array of cross-border deals, with Sydney’s Mark Payne  also specialising in corporate taxation. Cameron Rider combines transactional advisory work with support in tax controversies and litigation. Lawyers are in Melbourne unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

Rhys Jewell

Testimonials

‘Timely, friendly, diligent.’

‘The team is very responsive and provides timely and commercial advice, which is important to us, given the different time zones that we operate in and the underlying timing pressures on the transactions that we underwrite.’

‘Jennee Chan (Partner, Corrs Melbourne) was very responsive and helpful.’

Key clients

Wesfarmers Limited

Coca-Cola European Partners plc

Coles Group

Macquarie Bank Limited

Accenture

BP Australia

Department of Health and Human Services (Victoria)

REA Group

Deliveroo

Serco

TNS, Inc

Southern Cross Austereo

ENN Group

Silverlake Partners LLC

CCMP Capital Advisors, LP (CCMP)

EBOS Group

Greenstone Resources

Federation Asset Management Pty Ltd

PayPal Giving Fund

Trident Royalties Plc

JMI Equity

eShares, Inc. d/b/a Carta Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advising Coca-Cola European Partners on all aspects of the initial tax planning of the acquisition of Coca Cola Amatil.
  • Advising Macquarie Bank Limited on the tax aspects of the financing of GenesisCare under a sale and leaseback arrangement.
  • Advised The Returned Services League NSW on its negotiations with shortlisted bidders on the Goods and Services Tax treatment of the A$95m sale of two commercial properties.

Johnson Winter & Slattery

Johnson Winter & Slattery combines active transactional and commercial tax advice with a strong record in tax disputes and controversies, working with listed companies and multinationals, alongside regularly collaborating with leading UK and US tax practices on cross-border issues. The practice was bolstered by the arrival of corporate tax specialist Alison Haines to the Melbourne office from an in-house position in early 2021. Melbourne-based practice head Stewart Grieve  is focused on tax disputes and audits, with a number of multinational clients, while Sydney’s Prashanth Kainthaje advises on corporate and financing transactions, with expertise in state and federal taxation. Also in Sydney, Andy Milidoni advises on transfer pricing, superannuation and trust mandates, while the vastly experienced Richard Gelski continues as a consultant, advising on corporate structures and cross-border investments. Melbourne’s Kathryn Bertram  handling stamp duty, land tax and the associated disputes.

Practice head(s):

Stewart Grieve

Testimonials

‘Our primary contact at JWS is Prashanth Kainthaje, who in my view is one of Australia’s leading cross-border tax practitioners. He is very proactive and innovative.’

‘Stewart Grieve has provided us with a wide range of expert advice in a timely manner.’

Key clients

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV

Gazal Corporation

Cartula International Pty Ltd

Johnson and Johnson Pty Ltd

Godolphin Australia Pty Ltd

Strike Energy Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV on the income tax and stamp duty aspects of its sale of Carlton and United Breweries to Asahi.
  • Leading on the entry into Advance Pricing Agreements for all business units of Johnson & Johnson operating in Australia.
  • Represented Strike Energy in a dispute regarding the availability of the R&D tax incentive for certain core and supporting R&D activities.

White & Case LLP

White & Case has established a strong tax practice, handling significant transactional tax and tax controversy cases for public and private sector clients, with a particular strength in multi-party privatisation and public infrastructure transactions. The Melbourne-based team is led by Aldrin De Zilva, who joined from Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills in late 2020, and is an experienced tax counsel in both litigation and transactional tax work, alongside contributing regularly to thought leadership and changes to Australian tax regulations. Also of note is counsel Tim Neilson, who advises on high-value acquisitions for corporates and investment funds.

Practice head(s):

Aldrin De Zilva

Other key lawyers:

Tim Neilson

Testimonials

‘Small team but with excellent breadth of knowledge and clear expertise in assisting with complex transactions and reorganisations.’

‘Aldrin De Zilva is outstanding when addressing complex transactions.’

‘Advice that goes beyond the tax technical, extending to accounting impacts, commercial considerations, reviews of long term modelling and tax impact on investors. The team is extraordinarily client focused, always available and strong on obtaining the best outcome for clients whilst maintaining tax risk front of mind.’

‘Specifically, Aldrin De Zilva is an extraordinarily client focused tax partner. He consistently identifies value adding ideas and risks. Available at all times and always on top of issues, with great attention to detail. He develops strong relationships with clients at various levels and is pleasant to work with. He leads a strong team of professionals who follow his lead regarding client focused relationships.’

‘The White & Case tax team (lead by Aldrin De Zilva) that we have dealt with in respect to a recent acquisition has been very personable and accessible. A good level of client communication was maintained throughout the engagement. The necessary reliance on technology during Covid adopted by W&C has worked very well.’

‘Aldrin De Zilva is well informed in respect to tax matters. Aldrin provides tax advice that is practical and very measured. Aldrin maintains good client relations. He is engaging, and also very accessible.’

Key clients

Transurban

WestConnex

Sydney Transport Partners

NorthConnex

AusNet Services Ltd

AusNet Services (Transmission) Ltd

IOOF Holdings Ltd

UniSuper

Sole Luna Pty Ltd

Realwise Investments Pty Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising STP Consortium on the NSW Government’s announced sell-down of the remaining 49% equity stake in WCX.
  • Advised AusNet on the restructure of its dual-listed (Australian/Singaporean) stapled securities structure.
  • Advised IOOF on its successful acquisition of the MLC wealth management business from National Australia Bank.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has a globally-integrated team with strong cross-border capabilities, advising on transactional tax issues and transfer pricing work. The practice was also bolstered by the arrival of tax disputes specialist Paul McNab in mid-2020. Clients include major corporates and international investment funds, alongside public sector bodies. The team is led by Jock McCormack , an experienced transactional tax adviser with broad expertise, while Eddie Ahn has a strong focus on real estate mandates including handling complex tax structures for listed REITs. Partner Adam Smith (noted for his W&I insurance work and advice on high-value transactional tax issues) arrived from Norton Rose Fulbright in June 2022.

Practice head(s):

Jock McCormack

Other key lawyers:

Eddie Ahn; Paul McNab

Testimonials

‘DLA Piper has technical depth and breadth, but is able to apply it in a practical manner.’

‘Jock McCormack is a seasoned International Tax Partner. He has vast knowledge and is able to distil complex tax matters into basic understandable terms.’

‘Eddie Ahn was a great help to our international company in structuring a transaction with a large Australian company. Tax became the sticking point and may have prevented the deal from moving forward. Eddie structured a creative solution and provided the confidence that the ATO would approve via a formal ruling. He was correct, we proceeded with the transaction and ultimately received ATO approval. Win / win all around. Go Eddie Ahn!’

‘DLA has a relatively strong Tax team with a unique global network to leverage off for multinational transactions.’

Key clients

HCL Technologies

Auctus Resources

Speedcast International Limited

Charter Hall

Manulife Financial Corporation

Dropbox

Namoi Cotton

AirTrunk

Work highlights

  • Advising Auctus Resources on a R&D dispute and litigation with KordaMentha in the Federal Court of Australia.
  • Advising on all tax aspects of the Manulife Financial Corporation’s participation in the 50/50 joint venture with ICPF, including the upstream structuring arrangements and the establishment of relevant entities in Australia.
  • Advising US-based Palo Alto networks on execution of an acquisition including creation of relevant documentation, and advice on the tax and other legal consequences of the documentation.

Gilbert + Tobin

Gilbert + Tobin has continued to expand its transactional tax offering, recruiting Mark Goldsmith and Melbourne’s Julian Cheng from positions at Big 4 firms into the team led by Muhunthan Kanagaratnam. The practice regularly advises on tax structuring and regulatory issues relating to major public M&A transactions, working closely with the firm’s top-tier corporate team, and also has notable expertise in the private equity space, with new director Kyle Teh specialising in work for funds including acquisitions, exits, and restructurings. Hanh Chau  is noted for her indirect tax knowledge, advising corporate, financial services and private equity clients on GST and stamp duty considerations. Lawyers are in Sydney unless otherwise stated.

Practice head(s):

Muhunthan Kanagaratnam

Testimonials

‘Willingness to engage with client. For example, providing information sessions to our finance team on new areas of tax development.’

‘Quality advice and commercial acumen.’

‘Since engaging Gilbert & Tobin we have felt confident that we are being represented by qualified individuals who sincerely want to assist us in our matter. As time passes our confidence increases as they have demonstrated their capabilities defending our case with confidentiality.’

‘The individuals we deal with stand out because they show immense patience with our matter but retain their focus. They are different from their competitors because they understand the complexity of our matter (from the outset) and continue to plan as we move forward. The qualities we value in Muhunthan is his calm manner but always has information at his fingertips. He consistently communicates with us and has a great ability to arbitrate with our opposing side. We feel confident with his knowledge of tax law and how it effects us.’

Key clients

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV

The Stars Group Inc.

Ernst & Young/Sargon Capital

KKR

QuadPay

Tilt Renewables

Quadrant Private Equity and APM Management

Morrison & Foerster

Opthea Limited

Telstra

Crescent Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised AB InBev on the tax aspects of the sale of Australian brewer Carlton & United Breweries to Asahi.
  • Advised KKR on the tax aspects of the acquisition of its majority stake in Commonwealth Bank’s superannuation and investment business, Colonial First State.
  • Advised The Stars Group on its merger with Flutter Entertainment.

Hall & Wilcox

The team at Hall & Wilcox has broad expertise across transactional tax issues, disputes and compliance work, with specialists in key tax regimes including GST, international tax and superannuation. A key development for the practice has been its government-side practice, with the team now advising public sector organisations at state and Commonwealth level. Practice head Peter Murray  specialises in corporate tax work, including the tax elements of M&A and restructurings. Anthony Bradica focuses on federal tax regimes and compliance, with a strong record in tax planning advice.

Practice head(s):

Peter Murray

Other key lawyers:

Anthony Bradica

Testimonials

The team has been quick to respond, providing succinct and timely professional advice. Given the size of the firm, they are able to leverage their experience across multiple partners and think outside the box.’

‘We have been able to establish a long standing relationship with this firm. This has attracted competitive pricing and a thorough understanding of our complex operations.’

‘The culture of this practice is to respond to client phone calls promptly, have a main point of contact who in turn recommends the lawyer with the relevant expertise. Follow up is quick and the communication style is warm, professional and respectful in all areas. There is always a willingness to assist.’

‘Anthony Bradica goes to the extra length, returns calls promptly. Specialist areas have been of great value to me. Is able to convey complex taxation law matters in easy to understand terms.’

Key clients

2XU Pty Ltd

AirAsia X Services Pty Ltd

Arborsafe

Attvest Finance Pty Ltd

Australian Taxation Office Tax Technical Panel

Australian Unity

Banner Asset Management Pty Ltd

Big Ant Studios

Bucher

Channel Capital Pty Ltd

Driver Group Australia Pty Ltd

Fletcher Building Group

Focus Financial Partners

Orora Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Australian Unity on the income tax and state taxes aspects related to the establishment of its new Future of Healthcare Fund.
  • Advising MAI Capital on the income tax and cross-border aspects for the establishment of the Adelaide Central Market Arcade Redevelopment Fund to facilitate funding into the joint venture project.
  • Advising Big Ant Studios on the sale of its Australian sports video game development business to French-listed company Nacon SA.

Jones Day

Led by specialist tax litigator Niv Tadmore, the team at Jones Day works with major domestic companies and a number of multinational clients on high-level tax litigation, regularly working with and against the Australian Tax Office. The team has significant sector expertise and is attuned to regulatory changes within the tax space, and also advises on front-end issues relating to M&A taxation. Other key members of the team include Simon Bowden, Lauren Moses and senior associate Alexandra Frazer. All lawyers are in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Niv Tadmore

Testimonials

‘Jones Day’s tax team has a strong focus on international tax litigation, particularly in relation to cross-border issues such as transfer pricing. Their technical skills with respect to tax and civil procedure are excellent, but what really sets them apart is probably the strategic aspects of their offering – in particular, their ability to negotiate settlement outcomes.’

‘The partner who leads the practice, Niv Tadmore, is well respected and has deep connections within the ATO, which gives him very good access to decision makers to advocate on behalf of his clients. He can be very tenacious in pursuing negotiations, but does so in a respectful way that maintains good relations with ATO officials. He is also remarkably good at some “outside the box” thinking when it comes to devising settlement offers, framing them in a way that best achieves the objectives of both parties.’

‘Niv Tadmore leads a team of high performing individuals who consistently produce exceptional work. Team members are not afraid to challenge and contribute their own opinions.’

Work highlights

  • Advised a large multinational group on a large-scale Australian Taxation Office (ATO) investigation concerning imbedded royalties, transfer pricing and diverted profits tax.
  • Advised a multinational group on a series of transfer pricing investigations concerning software, financing and support services.
  • Advised a multinational group on the alleged application of the Australian tax integrity rules to a restructure of the financial and operational affairs of a multinational group.

Allen & Overy LLP

Led by Ka Sen Wong, the Sydney-based team at Allen & Overy LLP advises on a wide range of transactional tax matters and tax disputes, including a number of cross-border matters. The practice is integrated with the firm’s global tax platform, and also offers domestic expertise on state and property taxation through senior counsel Angela Melick.

Practice head(s):

Ka Sen Wong

Other key lawyers:

Angela Melick

Testimonials

‘The A&O Tax team have a great ability to be able to understand our, often quite, complex business. Coupled with their capacity to distil complex tax problems into simple, relatable language has made them a very successful fit to our requirements.’

‘Very down to earth tax partner, Ka Sen Wong. There is no feeling of an inferior/superior relationship which can often be the case with senior tax firm practitioners.’

Key clients

Asahi Group Holdings

CIMIC

Honeywell International Inc

ING Bank

National Australia Bank Limited

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Macquarie Group

Fortescue Metals Group

Nuveen Real Estate

Ørsted

Work highlights

  • Advising Asahi on aspects of its acquisition of Carlton & United Breweries.
  • Advised Ørsted on tax aspects of the simultaneous construction arrangements and sale (and related purchaser financing arrangements) of a 50% stake in the 605.2MW Greater Changhua 1 offshore wind project.
  • Advised Honeywell on tax aspects of its $100m acquisition of an Australian tech start up with subsidiaries in Europe and the United States.

Jackson McDonald

Jackson McDonald is a strong choice for Western Australia-based tax work, enjoying strong relationships with the Big Four within the state, and offering expertise in state-level taxation, native title trusts and payments, charity taxation, and transactional tax relating to WA-based M&A and resources transactions, acting on behalf of businesses and high-net-worth individuals. The Perth-based team is led by WA tax specialist Jemal Zagami.

Practice head(s):

Jemal Zagami

Testimonials

‘Expertise in niche fields such as taxation of native title trusts and indigenous holding entities.’

K&L Gates

K&L Gates works on a wide range of tax structuring matters on behalf of domestic and international corporates, investment funds, high-net-worth individuals and accountants. The team enjoys productive relationships with the Big 4 and other consultancies, and handles cross-border work, integrated closely with the firm's global platform. Betsy-Ann Howe leads the Sydney-based team, and is praised by clients for her cross-border international tax and corporate tax expertise. Matthew Cridland focuses exclusively on indirect taxes, including GST, land tax and stamp duty issues.

Practice head(s):

Betsy-Ann Howe

Other key lawyers:

Matthew Cridland

Testimonials

‘Knowledgeable, efficient, responsive.’

‘Matthew Cridland is a leading practitioner in the area of indirect tax. He is a wealth of knowledge, helpfully, legally creative and consistently meets deadlines.’

‘Excellent on cross border transactions.’

‘Betsy-Ann Howe is technically strong and always delivers clear advice on complex structures.’

Key clients

CaLPERS

Centennial Property Group Limited

Cluey Learning Ltd

Cornerstone

Employee Retirement System of Texas

Dicker Data Limited

Omni Bridgeway Limited

Pioneer Credit Limited

Slalom LLP

Wingate Group Holdings Limited

Powerhousing Australia

Work highlights

  • Advising CalPERS along with consortium partners Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC), Australia’s Future Fund, OMERS pension fund, and Global Infrastructure Partners in the successful bid to acquire a 50-year lease of the Port of Melbourne.
  • Advising Cluey Limited on its successful initial public offer and listing on the Australian Securities Exchange.
  • Advising litigation funder Omni Bridgeway on a variety of tax issues.

KPMG Law in Australia

KPMG Law in Australia carries out a wide variety of tax controversy work for major domestic and international clients, alongside collaborating closely with the wider consultancy on tax advisory matters, pulling together multidisciplinary teams. The firm’s litigation capabilities are most notable, with practice head Angelina Lagana regularly appearing before federal courts and tax tribunals in high-value cases, acting on behalf of major corporates, high-net-worth individuals and multinationals. Alexandra Patrick was promoted to the partnership in early 2021 in a further boost to the team. Lawyers mentioned are in Melbourne.

Practice head(s):

Angelina Lagana

Other key lawyers:

Alexandra Patrick; Keith Swan

Testimonials

‘I’ve particularly been impressed with Angelina Lagana. She is highly knowledgeable on tax matters – but I’ve been most impressed by the way she is able to manage difficult processes in a calm and measured fashion. She seeks commercial resolutions and positions and deals with our senior management well.’

‘Very client focused and responsive.’

‘One particular feature of the KPMG Tax team is that it is able to draw upon the knowledge of KPMG, including KPMG accounting, more broadly. I have found the additional perspective that this provides to be very helpful and something that traditional law firms generally cannot provide.’

‘Keith Swan is highly engaged, considered, and dedicated. He is a pleasure to work with.’

‘Keith Swan is a delight to work with; pleasant, well organised and thoughtful when it comes to all aspects of managing tax disputes. He gets along well with clients and has good relationships within KPMG too. He is also knowledgeable about both Federal and the State tax litigation, which makes him somewhat unusual in the industry.’

‘Alex Patrick is a relatively new partner, who shows great promise in terms of her work. She’s well-liked and competent, and has an excellent knowledge of Federal income tax laws.’

‘Angelina Lagana has good relationships within the ATO, and is an effective advocate for her clients.’

‘A great team that brings a depth of tax litigation and audit experience that few firms can match. Their strength comes from the wide and varied experience of their partners, which ranges from having worked with the Australian Taxation Office as a client to having acted against the Commissioner of Taxation in an array of disputes. That unique experience means the team knows how to properly manage a tax dispute, from risk review to litigation, and how to deal with the Australian Taxation Office through the various stages of a tax dispute.’

Mills Oakley

Mills Oakley advises mid-market domestic corporates, financial investors and private clients on a wide range of tax matters, including GST and stamp duty matters relating to property transactions, W&I insurance, and tax structures, alongside notable capabilities in blockchain and cryptocurrency taxation. The team is led by Andrew Spalding, an indirect tax specialist with experience in handling tax investigations, litigation and broad advisory work. Marina Raulings is noted for her expertise in land taxation.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Spalding

Other key lawyers:

Marina Raulings

Key clients

Fusion Specialty Insurance Pty Ltd

Ambridge Partners LLC

Woolworths Ltd

Crane Data LLC

Australian Trade & Investment Commission

Viburnum Funds Pty Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advised Fusion on a warranty and indemnity insurance policy relating to an M&A transaction.
  • Advised Crane on its proposed expansion into Australia.
  • Advised Austrade on the administrative review of a decision by Austrade in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal which turned on a GST issue.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright has standout expertise in W&I insurance, advising a number of major insurers, alongside experience in state-level tax regulations and a notable offering to the non-profit sector. The Sydney-based team is led by Greg Reinhardt , a regular adviser to state bodies on complex tax matters. Partner Adam Smith departed in June 2022.

Practice head(s):

Greg Reinhardt

Other key lawyers:

Adam Smith

Testimonials

‘The NRF tax team is led by an outstanding new partner, Adam Smith. Both Adam’s tax team and the corporate W&I team has extensive expertise in our specialty area (warranty and indemnity insurance). The team is standout in terms of commerciality, responsiveness and collaboration.’

‘Adam Smith has countless years of experience underwriting tax issues on M&A transactions. He is the go-to tax adviser of choice for warranty and indemnity insurance – not only by our team, but by our competitors as well. Adam is exceptionally commercial, always responsive, and goes above and beyond to deliver exceptional service and tailored advice.’

‘Adam Smith – Adam is an exceptional Tax lawyer and has a great relationship with our business/team and consistently delivers top results. He is very well regarded.’

‘Very commercially focused team able to draw on local and international resources easily to meet needs on transactions.’

Key clients

NSW Rural Fire Service

The Chappell Foundation

Royal Humane Society of New South Wales

Work highlights

  • Advised the NSW Rural Fire Service on drafting the rules for the establishment and operation of the NSW RFS Bushfire Disaster Relief Fund.
  • Advised on the structuring and establishment of The Chappell Foundation.
  • Advised the Royal Humane Society of New South Wales on its application to the Treasury requesting the amendment of income tax legislation.