Fletch draws on his experience managing tax and customs disputes to provide his clients with clear, practical tax advice across a range of commercial issues.
Fletch’s technical specialisations include income tax (including international tax and residency issues), GST, payroll tax and customs duties. In managing clients’ tax and customs disputes, Fletch helps with the audit stages, ATO interviews, notices of objection, appeals in the AAT, QCAT, Federal Court and Supreme Court.
In recent years, Fletch successfully acted for the taxpayers in Harding v Commissioner of Taxation  FCAFC 29 (a residency case), Wainwright and Commissioner of Taxation  AATA 333 (a self-managed super fund case), Hacon v Commissioner of Taxation  FCA 659 (ATO’s obligations to give a private ruling), Shadforth Lythgo Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue GAR098-15 (a payroll tax grouping case), Dempsey v Commissioner of Taxation  AATA 335 (a residency case) and Dominic B Fishing Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation  AATA 205 (an employee/contractor case), and has settled numerous disputes before the matter proceeded to hearing. Fletch has also presented sessions for Television Education Network, CPA Australia and the Tax Institute.
Before joining Cooper Grace Ward, Fletch was a tax lawyer in Baker & McKenzie’s Sydney office. Prior to that, Fletch worked for a Big 4 accounting firm in the UK and then China.
Fletch has been consecutively listed in Best Lawyers Australia for customs and excise law since 2014 and in Doyle’s Guide for tax law since 2015.
- Bachelor of Arts – University of Queensland
- Bachelor of Laws (Hons) – University of Queensland
- Master of Laws – University of Sydney
- Chartered tax adviser
- Solicitor – Supreme Courts of Queensland and New South Wales, and High Court of Australia
- Member – Law Council of Australia – Business Law Committee
- Fellow – The Tax Institute.
- Doyle’s Guide 2019 – Preeminent Lawyer – Tax Law
- Doyle’s Guide 2020 – Preeminent Lawyer – Tax Law
- Best Lawyers Australia (since 2014) – Customs and Excise Law and Tax Law
- Acted for the successful taxpayers in Harding v Commissioner of Taxation  FCAFC 29, where the Full Federal Court ruled that the taxpayer was a non-resident.
- Acted for the successful taxpayers in Wainwright v Commissioner of Taxation  AATA 333, where the Tribunal exercised its discretion to disregard amounts withdrawn from a self-managed superannuation fund.
- Acted for the successful taxpayer in Shadforth Lythgo Pty Ltd v Commissioner of State Revenue GAR098-15, where QCAT accepted that the client should be de-grouped for payroll tax purposes.
- Acted for the successful taxpayer in Dempsey and Commissioner of Taxation  AATA 335 by proving the client did not reside in Australia and had his permanent place of abode overseas.
- Acted for the successful taxpayer in Dominic B Fishing Pty Ltd v Commissioner of Taxation  AATA 205 by proving that there was no employment relationship.
- Recently settled appeals in the taxpayer’s favour on issues relating to transfer duty, payroll tax, income tax and GST.
- Negotiated settlements with the ATO before assessments were issued in the course of income tax, GST and superannuation audits.
- Successfully applied for private rulings from the ATO on distributions of capital from foreign trusts to claim an exclusion from section 99B.
- Successfully objected to ATO assessments on various tax and penalty issues.
- Assisted clients apply for remission of general interest charge (GIC).
- Assisted private business and high net worth individuals respond to ATO reviews and audits.
- Advised on complex income tax and GST issues for inbound investments into Australia.
- Provided tax advice as part of the Board of Taxation’s Division 7A panel, which includes members of the Commonwealth Treasury and Australian Taxation Office.
- Frequently advises clients on the tax implications of proposed structures and supply chains, including where the clients’ business activities or relationships extend outside Australia.
- Successfully litigated a matter on the meaning of ‘charitable institution’ for land tax purposes before the New South Wales Administrative Decisions Tribunal.
- Tax residency rules reassessed in recent Full Federal Court decision – how does Harding affect you? Mondaq, 6 March 2019
- Full Federal Court overturns tax residency decision, Accountants Daily, 27 February 2019
- Navigating input tax credits for the GST paid on imported goods, Mondaq, 27 February 2019
- Taxing sale proceeds: income or capital? – that is the question, Mondaq, 20 August 2018
- Impact of Amendments to Part IVA Anti Avoidance Provisions, Legalwise Seminars, 16 August 2018
- ATO set to audit more Australians receiving income into foreign bank accounts, Mondaq, 3 July 2018
- Ex-pats beware – recent residency decision makes it much harder to be a non-resident, Mondaq, 11 June 2018
- Part IVA –What is it all about in 2017? 25th Noosa Tax Intensive, Taxation Institute of Australia, 16 November 2017
- Connected with Australia” rules and audit activity on GST base erosion’, Tax Planning International: Indirect Taxes, April 2015
- ‘Incentive payments in the Australian motor vehicle industry’, Tax Planning International: Indirect Taxes, June 2014.
- ‘Transfer pricing in Australia’, Transfer Pricing International Journal, Vol 15 No 3, March 2014, Bloomberg BNA.
- ‘Australia’s first responses to base erosion and profit shifting’, Tax Planning International: Asia-Pacific Focus, Vol 13 No 6, June 2013, Bloomberg BNA.
- ‘Australia: High Court decision in Commissioner v Qantas’, Tax Planning International: Indirect Taxes, Vol 10 No 12, December 2012, Bloomberg BNA.
- ‘Think you are a non-resident of Australia for tax purposes? Think again’, Mondaq, November 2012.
- ‘Courts uphold the ATO’s power to gather tax information’, Tax Planning International: Asia-Pacific Focus, Vol 12, No 10, October 2012, Bloomberg BNA.
- ‘Commissioner’s appeal dismissed in landmark decision’, Transfer Pricing International Journal, Vol 12 No 7, July 2011, Bloomberg BNA.
- ‘GST and its consequences for property developers in Australia’, Tax Planning International: Indirect Taxes, Vol 9 No 5, May 2011, Bloomberg BNA.
- ‘Profit based methods’, Transfer Pricing International Journal, Vol 11 No 8, August 2010, Bloomberg BNA.
- ‘Australia promises to streamline its GST rules to help non-residents’, Tax Planning International: Indirect Taxes, Vol 8 No 7, July 2010, Bloomberg BNA.