Find Lawyers in Australia for Tax Law

Practice Area Overview

Taxes are levied by the State and Federal governments. At a state level there are payroll taxes imposed on employers in respect of salaries paid to employees, land tax imposed on landowners, and duty imposed on a transactional basis. At the Federal level there is income tax, capital gains tax on dealings in assets and goods, and services tax to name a few. 

Tax lawyers work within both traditional law firms and multi-disciplinary practices. The role of a tax lawyer is to assist both individuals and businesses to navigate the complex tax landscape and apply it to their circumstances. The role of a tax lawyer involves both advisory and dispute management services. 

From an advisory perspective, tax lawyers assist clients to:

  • Understand the tax implications of transactions and arrangements they have entered or propose to enter.
  • Seek assurance or guidance from a revenue authority where certainty is desired on the application of a tax law to a particular client’s circumstances.
  • Negotiate the terms of transactions and arrangements to give effect to the intended taxation consequences.
  • Implement their transactions and arrangements in an optimal manner having regard to the client’s personal or commercial interests and the taxation consequences.
  • Manage actual and anticipated tax risks that arise, including technical, strategic, and reputational issues.

From a dispute management perspective tax lawyers assist clients to:

  • Manage and respond to revenue authority reviews of their tax position (for example, a regulatory audit of a taxpayer’s tax liability for an income year).
  • Challenge the revenue authority view of the application of a tax law to the client’s circumstances through internal review and independent review avenues, including alternative dispute resolution and litigation.
  • Manage and minimise their penalty exposures in relation to any historic underpayment of tax liabilities.

The practice of tax law requires a broad understanding of the legal landscape as the resolution of many taxation issues is resolved not only by reference to tax laws but also the broader legal framework, for example, the law of property, contracts, and equity. 

Experienced tax lawyers are also often involved in the development of, and consultation in relation to, legislative and regulatory changes to tax law. Sometimes tax lawyers are active in advocating for legislative amendments where existing law is inadequate or impractical.

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