Tax Controversy

The MinterEllison Tax Controversy Team is widely considered to be Australia's premier tax controversy practice.

We have a unique value proposition. We provide objective, independent advice to clients and, where we do not represent clients, we will often represent the ATO in relation to their key and strategic tax disputes.

Our experience in working for both clients and the ATO gives us unique insights in relation to managing tax risk – particularly tax reviews, tax audits and tax disputes.

Our team brings the highest credentials in dispute resolution practice, tax technical expertise and the equally important ATO policies, procedures and priorities.

Our many years as tax litigators both for and against the ATO informs our approach to managing a client's tax risk. Time and again we have found that those clients who focus on early engagement and attention to their forensic and evidential burden of proof are best placed to manage the ATO's expectations when the ATO comes knocking at their door.

The team also benefits from the expertise of its Tax Controversy Advisory Board, the members of whom include Kevin Fitzpatrick (former Chief Tax Counsel of the ATO), Frank Drenth (former Executive Director of the Corporate Tax Association), Stephen Green (former Head of Tax of the ANZ Bank) and Paul Koenig (former Tax and Legal Services Leader of PwC).

21 April 2017

On 21 April 2017, the Full Federal Court of Australia handed down its judgment in the landmark transfer pricing dispute between Chevron and the Commissioner of Taxation.

26 April 2016

On 22 April, the Senate Economics References Inquiry released Part II of its report on Corporate Tax Avoidance, ‘Gaming the System’. The report highlights increasing concern with the conduct of multinational companies ‘gaming the system’ through lack of transparency of their corporate tax structures and their unwillingness to be forthcoming with information about those structures not only to the Inquiry but also to the Commissioner of Taxation.

5 April 2016

Yesterday, a number of news outlets reported on the investigation by the Australian Taxation Office of over 800 Australian clients of Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm. Given the ATO's previous offshore voluntary disclosure initiatives, taxpayers who have now come to the ATO's attention will likely face an investigation of amplified intensity.

25 January 2016

Late last year, the High Court handed down its decision in Commissioner of Taxation v Australian Building Systems Pty Ltd (in liq) [2015] HCA 48. The ATO has recently issued a Decision Impact Statement (DIS) setting out its view of the consequences of the High Court's decision.

23 October 2015

The Chevron case (Chevron Australia Holdings Pty Ltd (CAHPL) v Commissioner of Taxation) concerned the transfer pricing implications of a Credit Facility Agreement between CAHPL and Chevron Funding Corporation Inc, a Delaware based, wholly owned subsidiary of CAHPL. The central issue in the case was whether interest charged by CFC to CAHPL under the Credit Facility exceeded the arm's length amount.