As a partner in our commercial team, Fletch is responsible for managing a significant volume of tax and customs disputes, as well as providing tax advice across a range of commercial issues.
Fletch’s technical specialisations include income tax (including international tax and residency issues), GST, payroll tax, land tax, stamp duty and customs duties. His experience includes drafting notices of objection, private ruling applications, AAT appeals and litigation in the Federal Court.
In recent years, Fletch successfully acted for the taxpayers in 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, the ATO 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. Fletch was one of four finalists in Australia in the Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year 2016 and 2017 awards in the taxation category.
- Finalist in Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year 2016 and 2017 in the category of taxation
- Recommended tax lawyer in Doyle’s Guide (2015, 2016 and 2017)
- Listed in Best Lawyers Australia for customs and excise law (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018)
- 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
- Acted for the successful taxpayers in Hacon v Commissioner of Taxation  FCA 659, where Logan J ruled that the Commissioner was not entitled to decline to make a private ruling.
- 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 and superannuation audits.
- 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.
- Acted for the Office of State Revenue in relation to a number of appeals brought in the Supreme Court.
- 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.
- ‘”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.