AGS has expert knowledge and experience in taxation matters. We provide advice and assistance to the Australian Taxation Office on a broad range of matters, including disputes, audits and investigations. We have assisted with the development of taxation legislation, and assist Commonwealth agencies on taxation issues that arise in a transactional context.
Taxation advice for Commonwealth agencies
AGS advises Commonwealth agencies on a range of taxation issues that arise in a transactional context. We can advise on GST requirements for agreements including grants and leases, and the GST obligations associated with complex procurements (including those with offshore considerations, as in the shipping and aviation industries).
We also advise on the implications of taxation indemnities, such as those often contained in leases used for financing purposes, and stamp duty obligations associated with a wide range of property transactions.
AGS has also provided advice about various other taxation issues affecting Commonwealth entities, such as PAYG withholding and fringe benefits tax.
Some examples of our work include:
- drafting GST clauses for inclusion in contracts
- advising Commonwealth entities whether supplies they make (or supplies that are made to them) attract GST, including advice about when supplies between government-related entities attract GST
- advising on the tax and superannuation arrangements for advisory committee members and consultants (e.g. about whether PAYG withholding is required for payments to such persons, and whether superannuation contributions are required to be made for the benefit of such persons).
AGS Tax Practice
AGS's dedicated tax practice has practitioners around the country. Having provided a broad range of services to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) over many years, we have a thorough understanding of the ATO's operations, policies and imperatives, including those specific to dispute resolution and litigation. We understand and support the principles embodied in Law Administration Practice Statement PSLA 2009/9 and seek to ensure adherence to those principles.
We have outstanding expertise in tax appeal litigation, and in defending the Commissioner's decisions and processes from attacks in the courts.
AGS has represented the ATO in a wide range of matters in all relevant jurisdictions and at all stages, for example:
- proceedings under Part IVC of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 in the AAT, the Federal Court and, where special leave is granted, on appeal to the High Court, in objection decisions in respect of assessments and private rulings, and other decisions that are subject to Part IVC
- declaratory proceedings in the High Court, the Federal Court and the Supreme Courts of the States concerning tax-related issues
- judicial review under s 39B of the Judiciary Act 1903 and under the ADJR Act of the exercise of powers and discretions conferred by Acts of which the Commissioner has the general administration
- matters where constitutional issues arise in relation to tax laws, ranging from serious challenges to spurious delaying tactics
- matters in which the Commissioner seeks to intervene or be joined as a party, or is joined as a party to a matter; attempts to challenge public rulings; claims for refunds of overpayments; and proceedings relating to departure-prohibition orders
- proceedings in which the Commissioner is acting as a regulator (such as for self-managed superannuation funds) or is seeking civil penalties (for example, under the promotor penalty regime)
- appearing in court where the ATO is responding to or dealing with subpoenas to produce documents or to give evidence in proceedings; and in matters concerning the operation of legal professional privilege and other protections
- proceedings for the recovery of tax, or to secure or freeze assets to ensure they are available for the payment of tax
- a broad range of individual and corporate insolvency matters, including insolvent arrangements, meetings of creditors, bankruptcy and winding-up processes and proceedings, and insolvent recovery proceedings.
AGS has provided litigation and advice services to the Tax Practitioners Board (and its predecessors, the Tax Agents' Boards). We have acted in numerous applications to the AAT (and on subsequent appeals to the Federal Court) concerning registration and decisions made under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 (and predecessor provisions), as well as in civil penalty proceedings against unregistered practitioners.