home : profile : 2004 - present

2004 to Present

Barrister, Stout Street Chambers, Wellington, New Zealand

Private practice specialising in tax litigation, tax law, and general litigation. 

Notable engagements in the past year or so have included:

  • Achieving the only award of indemnity costs against the Inland Revenue Department for (at least) 20 years, in an action to set aside a freezing order against my clients (CIR v Dymock)
  • Two 10-week long High Court trials defending taxpayers charged with tax evasion - including the largest ever tax evasion prosecution (R v Skinner)
  • Trademark litigation - Daimler AG v Sany Company Limited

Engagements while at the Bar have included:

  • Advice for taxpayers on a broad range of core tax and tax administration issues, including:
    • The tax and GST implications of various business structures
    • Tax avoidance compliance;
    • The likelihood of penalties;
    • Consequences of breach of the Unclaimed Moneys Act;
    • Capital/revenue issues;
    • The FIF/CFC regimes;
    • Evasion issues
  • Advice and representation for taxpayers involved in disputes with Inland Revenue on penalties, core tax and conduct of investigations;
  • Negotiation of settlements for taxpayers of their disputes with Inland Revenue;
  • Acting for taxpayers in pre-assessment (Part IVA) dipsutes relating to a broad range of issues, including:
    • Tax avoidance (Income Tax - section BG1 - and GST - section 76)
    • Evasion
    • Capital/revenue issues
    • Interest deductibility
    • Deductibility of business expenses
    • Liability for related taxpayers' assessments under section HK11/HD 15/section 76 GST Act
    • Whether receipts from liquidated companies are drawings or income
    • Penalties
  • Litigation for taxpayers against Inland Revenue in relation to a broad range of issues, including:
    • Capital/revenue issues
    • Interest deductibility
    • Tax avoidance assessments (Income Tax - section BG1 - and GST - section 76).  Of approximately 25 cases involving tax avoidance in the past 10 years, only three have been won by taxpayers.  I was counsel in one of those three.  I have also been part of the Commissioner's team in three of the more significant cases the Commissioner won.  And, regrettably, I have acted for two further taxpayers who have been unsuccessful in tax avoidance challenges.
    • Tax evasion assessments
    • Challenging Inland Revenue freezing orders over taxpayer assets
    • Lawfulness of search powers
    • Reopening statute-barred years
    • Withholding tax issues
    • Mutuality issues with incorporated societiesResidency issues
    • Penalties
  • Criminal defence in the High Court and District Court of taxpayers charged with tax evasion, Crimes Act fraud and obstruction of justice, and failure to account for PAYE deductions
  • Criminal appeals in the Court of Appeal on tax evasion matters
  • Advice for taxpayers in relation to potential action against accountant for negligent tax advice
  • Preparation of submissions for industry group in relation to proposed reform of the "Associated Persons" rule
  • Appearing in Privy Council (with English QC) for the Commissioner of Inland Revenue
  • Part of the Inland Revenue legal team in the “Trinity scheme” litigation – New Zealand’s then largest tax avoidance case, involving over $1bn of disputed tax and penalties, leading to a win in all Courts including the Supreme Court
  • Part of the Inland Revenue legal team in the "structured finance" litigation over tax avoidance assessments involving the Bank of New Zealand and Westpac Banking Corporation - New Zealand's largest tax avoidance case, leading to two High Court wins and a subsequent industry settlement leading to recovery of $2.2bn of disputed tax and penalties
  • Advice and formal opinions for Inland Revenue and the Crown Law Office on litigation and tax-related matters
  • High Court appeal against Charities Commission determination
  • Litigation for Inland Revenue on:
    • Capital/revenue issues;
    • GST liability, timing and apportionment issues;
    • FIF regime gains/losses
    • Admissibility of evidnece in tax disputes
  • Training for Inland Revenue on investigation and prosecution of tax evasion
  • Conduct of inquiries for Inland Revenue
  • Expert evidence on core tax and tax administration issues in the High Court
  • Advice to the Fiji Islands Revenue and Customs Agency on a variety of issues in disputes with taxpayers under the Fijian Income Tax Act, Value Added Tax Decree and Tax Administration Decree
  • Advice for the Commerce Commission
  • Legal adviser to NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants' disciplinary tribunal
  • Representation of Chartered Accountant in relation to charges before the NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants' disciplinary tribunal
  • Assistance to a Commission of Inquiry on tax-related aspects of the inquiry
  • Intellectual Property litigation in the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand, and to the High Court and Court of Appeal on appeals from IPONZ
  • Advice to government departments on
    • Restructuring aspects of their legal services
    • Cost-recovery issues
    • Compliance of proposed legislative amendment with the GST system
  • Advice and litigation at Family and High Courts of relationship property issues
  • Junior counsel for Commerce Commission in judicial review proceedings concerning the development of "Input Methodologies" 
  • Junior counsel for Commerce Commission in judicial review proceedings concerning a proposed determination under the Telecommunications Act 
  • Lecturing at the Auckland University Faculty of Commercial Law.  Subjects taught include conduct of tax disputes, and timing of income and deductions, at Masters level