Rebecca Clarke
Special Counsel, Melbourne
I have over ten years of experience acting for both the Commissioner of Taxation and taxpayers in matters involving the most significant tax audits and litigation cases in Australia. I advise clients from a unique and holistic perspective during all stages of a tax dispute.

I work with clients as part of the Tax Controversy team to achieve favourable outcomes at the earliest opportunity in the context of both litigation and audit matters. I combine my experience and insights into the ATO's audit processes, litigation experience and tax technical knowledge to formulate and develop legal arguments and dispute resolution strategies to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.

I have had conduct of significant and complex Part IVC proceedings acting for the Commissioner of Taxation, which have concerned various novel and complex tax law issues and issues in other areas of law, such as administrative and constitutional law. I have acted in numerous tax proceedings where the Commissioner has formed the opinion that there has been fraud or evasion by the taxpayer and where the Commissioner has issued default tax assessments.

I am experienced in ATO audit management and have advised in relation to disputes concerning transfer pricing and the anti-avoidance rules.

I also specialise in the area of gathering and reviewing audit evidence, including evidence located offshore before it is brought into the Australian jurisdiction. This includes having carriage of large offshore document reviews which have been undertaken for the purposes of responding to statutory notices issued by the Commissioner of Taxation.

I have also advised in relation to claims for legal professional privilege (LPP) and an independent review process in relation to LPP claims.

Career highlights

  • Acted as instructing solicitor for the Commissioner of Taxation in proceedings in the High Court, Federal Court of Australia, the Federal Circuit Court, the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Litigation proceedings include: Binetter & Ors v Commissioner of Taxation (2017) (High Court special leave applications), Hawkins v Commissioner of Taxation [2019] FCA 627, Stallion (NSW) Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation of the Commonwealth of Australia [2019] FCA 1306 and Oswal v Commissioner of Taxation.
  • Advised large corporate taxpayers in significant audits concerning transfer pricing and the general anti-avoidance rules.
  • Advised taxpayers in relation to responses to ATO requests for information issued by the Commissioner of Taxation pursuant to his information gathering powers, preparing and lodging responses to ATO Position Papers, preparing and lodging objections to assessments issued by the Commissioner of Taxation, and advising clients in relation to gathering audit evidence.
  • Achieved favourable outcomes in settlement discussions and other alternative dispute resolution processes, having instructed and appeared in various mediations and conciliations.
  • Advised in relation to General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) Panel hearing preparation, ATO independent reviews and formal interviews.
  • Prepared voluntary disclosures on behalf of taxpayers that have resulted in favourable outcomes.
  • Finalist in the 2017 Australian Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Awards in the Taxation category.