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Ross Hocking


Ross is Special Counsel in the Dispute Resolution and Litigation Team. He has nearly 30 years’ experience as a lawyer practicing predominantly for private and government clients in tax controversy and dispute resolution. As a trusted advisor, he has advised and represented corporate and high wealth individual clients from a wide variety of sectors including, retail, financial, automotive, telecommunications, technology, advertising, property development, sports and leisure and State Government departments and agencies in their disputes with the ATO, AusIndustry and State revenue authorities.

He has also represented, advised and appeared on behalf of the Commissioner in tax disputes, FOI, debt recovery, Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) and litigation matters. He has significant experience in commercial litigation, Royal Commissions and administrative law, with a focus on Freedom of Information and prosecution matters.

Ross has considerable experience working and liaising with colleagues, clients, regulators and counsel (including preparing numerous memoranda and briefs) and a great understanding of their needs. He brings dedication, practical thinking, sound judgement and strong legal and evidential skills to matters on which he works. He has led teams and mentored numerous junior staff. He has provided training internally, to clients, regulators and externally.


Ross’ experience involves representing large corporate taxpayers and high wealth individuals in reviews and disputes with the ATO in relation to all Commonwealth taxes and AusIndustry (Research and Development (R&D)) in the context of early engagement, information requests, formal notices, reviews (including SARS, NARS and CARS) and audits, drafting submissions and objections to tax, interest and penalty assessments (ATO) and submissions and internal reviews to AusIndustry.

 His recent experience includes matters involving the:

  • preparation of reasonably arguable position papers and audit ready files for numerous clients in relation to all areas of tax, specifically R&D
  • assisting clients with the early engagement, provision of voluntary disclosures and in ADR
  • evidence gathering and responding on behalf of clients to formal notices issued by the ATO, including managing information/litigation databases
  • representing large sporting clients in relation to submissions, reviews, audits and court proceedings relating to payroll tax
  • managing ATO and state revenue office audits and providing advice in relation to employee/contractor issues for clients
  • representing a large corporate in its AusIndustry and ATO reviews and audits in relation to R&D and GST
  • representing a mining taxpayer in R&D proceedings against AusIndustry in the AAT
  • providing advice, lodging submissions and preparing rulings for large Not-for-Profit clients in relation to their income tax exempt status
  • providing advice in relation to legal professional privilege and its application to ATO reviews and formal notices
  • providing specialist, strategic transfer pricing advice regarding technical issues and evidence gathering for a large pharmaceutical client
  • representing a multinational client in a review, audit and at an in-house facilitation in relation to Taxable Australian Real Property
  • representing a client in a land tax exemption dispute with the Victorian SRO
  • representing taxpayers in recoveries action and litigation commenced by the Commissioner
  • conducting Freedom of Information requests on behalf of clients
  • representing clients in their response to ACNC investigations.


20 June 2024 - Knowledge

Payroll tax grouping and de-grouping

#Taxation, #Workplace Relations & Safety

Grouping entities for payroll tax can greatly impact each business’ tax liability. While de-grouping is possible, it requires an active exercise of a discretion and an application initiated by the entities involved.

29 April 2024 - Knowledge

Relevant contractor payroll tax provisions extended to financial services

#Taxation, #Superannuation, Funds Management & Financial Services, #Workplace Relations & Safety

A recent NSW Supreme Court case involving mortgage brokers and a mortgage aggregator demonstrates how wide relevant contractor provisions can be when it comes to payroll tax liability.

27 March 2024 - Knowledge

Are your employees’ travel expenses tax deductible?


We review the recent case of Bechtel Australia Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation and discuss whether travel expenses incurred in travelling for work are tax deductible.

27 February 2024 - Knowledge

R&D tax incentives: Customised basketball shoe not eligible


We explore the rigorous approach to compliance and enforcement of R&D tax regulations by discussing a case that seeks to determine whether certain R&D activities undertaken by a manufacturer were eligible.

27 February 2024 - Knowledge

Update: Medical centres and payroll tax

#Taxation, #Workplace Relations & Safety

Relevant contractor provisions under current payroll tax legislation could impact medical and healthcare centres’ employment arrangements with practitioners.

20 February 2024 - Knowledge

R&D tax incentives: Integrity rules and taxpayer alerts


Given the number of issues with R&D claims, we explore the Research and Development Tax Incentive Program and provide guidance and clarification on tax transparency and expected compliance.

14 December 2023 - Knowledge

Commissioner to appeal AAT Bendel decision: Key implications for taxpayers


The Commissioner of Taxation is appealing the Administrative Appeals Tribunal’s decision in Bendel and Commissioner of Taxation [2023] AATA 3074 which conflicts with the ATO’s ruling on unpaid trust entitlements and loans.