William Thompson
I am a trusted adviser to Australian and multinational businesses, high-wealth private groups, large not for profit bodies and state government agencies. My clients engage the team that I lead to create solutions that provide certainty in relation to their tax risks.
  • +61 7 3119 6221
  • +61 402 894 528

The tax legal work I undertake covers tax advice and implementation, and is informed by my extensive experience resolving controversial tax issues with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and state revenue offices. My areas of expertise include corporate taxation, specifically international tax, capital gains tax, goods and services tax (GST), stamp duty and other state taxes.

I have also conducted major disputes and landmark litigation concerning federal and state taxes, including in the High Court of Australia.

Career highlights 

  • Queensland Treasury Corporation – provided tax legal advice in relation to transaction structure and submissions to the ATO on the proposed leasing of the Queensland electricity network
  • Queensland Coordinator-General and Department of Sport and Recreation – advised on the GST and stamp duty negotiations and contract provisions and transaction structures relating to the Brisbane Cruise Terminal and the Queensland Tennis Centre
  • Queensland Treasury – counselled on transactional tax matters on the Queensland Airports divestment
  • Queensland Coal and Oil Shale Mining Industry Superannuation Fund – advised on all aspects of the fund’s formation, its operation over 17 years, and its $3 billion merger with NSW CoalSuper to form AUSCOAL Super
  • Eastern Nitrogen Limited – instructed the client’s solicitor in a landmark decision against the Commissioner of Taxation on the tax treatment of the sale and leaseback of an ammonia plant and the operation of Australia’s general anti-tax avoidance rule at all stages of litigation in the Federal Court, Full Federal Court and High Court
  • AGL Energy – advised on all tax issues that arose in the share sale of the operating company of the Hallett Power Station and the asset purchase of the Torrens Island Power Station
  • Lightning Jack Film Trust – devised a structure allowing tax concessional treatment for a publicly listed unit trust to raise the funds and own the film rights, and obtained private binding tax rulings for investors
  • Australian Coal Association Low Emissions Technologies Limited – devised a structure for the $1 billion COAL21 Fund; obtained private rulings as well as class rulings for deductibility and research and development tax concessional treatment of contributions to the fund by all Australian black coal producers; completed subsequent work on research funding for projects; and negotiated and drafted the Clean Coal Technology Special Agreement Act 2007 (Qld) with the Queensland Government
  • Resolved disputes in major federal and state taxation audits of public listed and private groups in industries including franchising, hotel and tourism, insurance, metals processing, professional services, real estate, retirement villages and timber
  • Advised significant not-for-profit organisations on their tax exempt and gift deductible status, including energy and resources industry bodies, environmental organisations, private schools, professional associations, public benevolent institutions, racing industry bodies, scientific and medical research funds, and universities
  • Guided high-wealth private groups and family offices on structuring family wealth tax effectively for succession, asset protection and inter-generational wealth transfer
  • Gained a strong understanding of business as the Brisbane Office Managing Partner and as a member of MinterEllison’s Executive Leadership Team
  • Am a member of the Advisory Panel to the Board of Taxation (Commonwealth) and a former national chair of the Law Council of Australia Taxation Committee and state chair of The Tax Institute (Queensland Division)

Awards and recognition

  • Leading Individual, Tax – Who’s Who Legal: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014,2015, 2016
  • Lawyer of the Year (Queensland, Australia), Tax – Best Lawyers, 2014
  • Recommended, Tax – Best Lawyers: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Recommended, Wealth Management and Succession Planning – Best Lawyers: 2013, 2014, 2016