Tax Disputes

In this section

Proactively resolving issues which may pose a tax risk.

The Australian Tax Office is taking a more holistic approach to system health. Instead of focusing efforts on time-consuming and costly audits, they now seek to work with large market taxpayers to get better outcomes.

This aligns to what we're seeing in the market, where relatively few organisations have the appetite for protracted disputes and litigation. A majority of our clients are instead seeking support to proactively resolving issues which may pose a tax risk. Your key focus should be to minimise reputational and legal risks, and to limit disruption to your business, board and management.

How we can help

Allens has a long-standing reputation for having deep industry knowledge, technical excellence, outcomes-focused advocacy and credibility in front of tax authorities.

Judgement of when and how to resolve complex tax audits and disputes

Early, seemingly small decisions can disproportionately impact the ultimate outcome. Avoiding this requires multidisciplinary skills in evidence, technical tax knowledge, strategic dispute management and Board/stakeholder management, and excellent judgement of when and how to resolve complex tax audits and disputes.

However you seek to resolve your matter with the ATO – whether through settlement and Alternative Dispute Resolution, or by way of vigorously prosecuting your case – Allens acts with utmost integrity in the conduct of your dispute, yet are always conscious of maximising your position in these highly leveraged circumstances.

Preserving legal professional privilege

The consequences of not responding adequately to ATO requests and demands, of handing over the wrong document, or of not giving the right information, can have serious consequences for your prospects in the substantive tax dispute. Deciding what to do in such cases is often a matter of judgment and strategy, requiring Allens' care, experience, and expertise to find the best way forward.

Allen's fully integrated the tax and litigation teams ensure that legal professional privilege is preserved and that your interests are protected by the law at all times.

Managing large-scale effort with leading litigation experience

Tax is often an issue of broader commercial sensitivity within your organisation and we have the experience to guide you through the necessary internal and external stakeholder interactions while navigating the complex dispute process.

Our team specialises in significant international tax issues in relation to transfer pricing (particularly marketing hubs, intangibles and related-party financing), stapled structure reforms, hybrid mismatches, Part IVA (general anti-avoidance), deductibility of wages on construction of capital assets, thin capitalisation, consolidation and restructuring.

Experience

For decades, multinationals and Australia's highest-cap corporates (including from the resources, technology, manufacturing, financial and pharmaceutical sectors) have entrusted the Allens Tax and Dispute Resolution Groups with their most sensitive and strategic legal and tax disputes.

Much of our work is highly confidential and resolved without protracted litigation, and consequently does not reach the public domain.

BHP's longstanding transfer pricing dispute with the ATO

Advised on BHP's agreement with the ATO to settle the transfer pricing dispute relating to its marketing operations in Singapore. The settlement fully resolves the longstanding dispute for all prior years, being 2003 to 2018.

Confidential multinational taxpayer manufacturing complex devices

Advising on a dispute with the ATO on the correct taxation arising from its manufacturing and licensing activities in Singapore.

This dispute tests the intersection between Australia's transfer pricing laws and the Singapore/Australia Double Tax Agreement , and the application of Australia's general anti-avoidance regime in such circumstances. 

Confidential multinational in the mining sector

Advising on a transfer pricing dispute, which will test the application of those laws to a centralised marketing and buy/sell model located in Singapore relating to commodities .

This dispute will further test the application of Australia's transfer pricing laws to centralised models established in Singapore.

Confidential stapled company and trust investment vehicle

Advising on the Australian tax treatment of the stapled structure arrangement. The Australian Taxation office is disputing the tax treatment and is invoking the general anti avoidance provisions, thin capitalisation rules and related provisions.

This dispute is at the forefront of the ATO's attempt to apply the anti avoidance laws to stapled structure groups.

Confidential multinational in the oil and gas sector

Advising on a dispute with the ATO on the tax treatment of expenses incurred relating to exploration arising from its purchase of a stake in a $30 billion exploration project. 

This dispute will define the treatment of exploration expenditure when acquiring interests in oil and gas joint ventures.

Confidential ASX listed company

Acting for our client in relation to a complex dispute with the ATO involving the applicable functional currency rules and tax consolidation.

The matter is highly complex, cross-border, and deals with the intersection of multiple bodies of Australian tax law and jurisprudence.