Damien has over 20 years’ experience dealing with complex tax litigation and for the past 10 years has been exclusively involved in litigating with the various Revenue authorities.
Damien has particular expertise in tax disputes and is based in the Firm’s Brisbane office. A former partner at Ernst and Young law he led the firms Queensland tax disputes practice. He advises on all aspects of Australian and State revenue disputes as well as complex cross border tax investigations, tax litigation, management of raids by revenue authorities and strategic discussions with tax authorities. More recently Damien has practiced in his own specialised tax disputes and litigation firm.
He is recognised as one of the leading tax advisors and prior to joining with Holding Redlich the firm (Bourke Legal) was recommended by Doyle’s guide as one of the leading tax litigation firms.
He has recently been involved in successful payroll tax litigation against the Queensland revenue authorities. He is a leading authority on trusts and has had considerable success in both the Federal and High court in this area.
Damien is a qualified solicitor and advocate and is a member of the Tax Institute. He is a member of the Queensland Law Society Revenue Committee (which advises the Society on all aspects of State Revenue taxes including stamp duty and payroll) as well as being on the Law Council’s Business Tax law committee – which advises the national body on all aspects of Federal Tax law.
His focus over more recent times has been around negotiated settlements of Tax disputes and particular strategies which bring the ATO to the settlement table at an early stage of proceedings. He has been the principal negotiator in both income tax and GST as well as legal professional privilege disputes for both Small to Medium Enterprises as well as for larger listed corporations.
He has advised on a large range of tax and trust law issues; including the abuse of administrative powers and their review by the Federal Court – a jurisdiction where he has also appeared for taxpayers in both Part IVC disputes and other administrative controversies. He has advised in malicious prosecution proceedings as well as misfeasance in public office by taxation officers (which he also prosecuted).
His current work focus is:
- The provision of (“front end”) legal advice to corporations on the management of tax risk reviews and the handling of disputes with the ATO;
- The settlement of disputes with the ATO through tax risk management strategies – principally for clients of large Accounting firms, as well as other mid-tier accounting firms;
- The preparation of a claim against Innovation and Science Australia contesting the disallowance of registration of “R&D activities” under the Industry Research and Development Act 1986;
- Advising on part IVA and an asserted reimbursement agreement under s100A;
- Proceedings in the Supreme Court of Queensland under the Payroll Tax Act (‘grouping’ and ‘subcontractor’ provisions);
- Claimed ‘Fraud/Evasion’ – High Court Special leave application.
- Representing law firms, their partners and clients before ATO enquiries established under section 264
- Obtaining injunctive relief under the Administrative Decisions Judicial Review legislation against ATO section 264 notices issued and found to be beyond power
- Successfully acted as solicitor in the defence of criminal proceedings for alleged breaches of notices (under section 264)
- Advised on and acted for partners of law firms in proceedings to seek access to ATO documents under Freedom of Information legislation
- Prosecuted actions against ATO officers personally for failing their duties and maliciously prosecuting the partner of a law firm
- Maintained objections against and filed many proceedings in both the AAT and Federal Court against amended assessments
- Conducted negotiations with ATO audit officers on reviews and audits of clients (advising on a range of issues – including containment of the process and legal professional privilege)
- Appearances before the AAT on FOI applications made upon the ATO