New Zealand's leading tax practice

Russell McVeagh's Tax team is New Zealand's strongest legal tax practice, providing a complete range of advice on all types of direct and indirect taxation. Clients choose our Tax team for our range of expertise, depth of experience and our commitment to advancing our clients’ interests.

Our tax specialists are embedded across our firm, combining a deep knowledge of tax law with industry expertise. They bridge the gap between the tax and other legal issues that need to be managed in any transaction or dispute.


Our Tax team provides advice on a wide variety of issues relating to financing and capital raising, mergers and acquisitions, business establishment and reorganisations, investment products, PPPs, employee remuneration packages, customs and excise, transfer pricing, and tax investigations and disputes.

Much of our work has an international dimension and we are experienced in dealing with the additional tax issues that arise in cross-border arrangements. That experience, and our relationships with leading tax lawyers in a number of countries, enable us to work seamlessly with leading foreign tax advisors on cross-border matters. 

We are often asked to advise investment funds, businesses or individuals looking to invest in New Zealand or move into the New Zealand market for the first time.

Our team has participated in all aspects of the tax reform process, including appearing before parliamentary committees and making representations at ministerial level. Close involvement in the tax reform process means that all team members are familiar with the latest developments in law and procedure, and have a full appreciation of the approach of the policy makers and tax administration.

Tax Disputes
We act on New Zealand's most significant tax disputes involving alleged tax avoidance, capital/revenue, transfer pricing and customs and excise issues. 

We are familiar with the different procedural options for resolving disputes, including the pre-litigation tax disputes process, litigation before the courts and the mutual agreement process in respect of double tax agreement matters. Most tax disputes do not result in litigation, however, and we have considerable experience in assisting in the negotiation of settlements with Inland Revenue and Crown Law. 


Our experience includes:

  • Advising ANZ on the tax implications of the sale of its asset finance business, UDC, to Japan's Shinsei Bank. Running parallel to the M&A process, we advised UDC and ANZ on the on the structuring, syndication and implementation of UDC's $2 bn securitisation stapled financing.
  • Advising BNZ, as facility agent on behalf of a syndicate of lenders, on the financial settlement in relation to the Transmission Gully project Public Private Partnership (PPP). Our team advised on the tax components.
  • Advising Westpac Group on the sale of its New Zealand life insurance business to Fidelity Life for NZ$400m, including a 15-year life insurance distribution arrangement between Westpac NZ and Fidelity Life.
  • Advising Smartpay on the sale of their New Zealand EFTPOS terminal business to Verifone. The deal involved complex negotiations across two jurisdictions' tax regimes – that of the U.S.A and New Zealand.
  • New Zealand Local Government Funding Agency (LGFA) on four syndicated bond offers, the most significant of which was the largest single issue of bonds in the New Zealand domestic debt market.
  • Advising Infratil in respect of the tax aspects of the sale of NZ Bus to Next Capital.
  • Advising Fonterra on the sale of its 50% interest in DFE Pharma. The transaction was complex as it involved negotiation of tax indemnities and warranties with multiple bidders across a number of jurisdictions.
  • NZ Propco on its acquisition of the Todd Property Group assets
  • Hancock on the tax components of establishing AVA Timber LP – a joint venture between Rayonier and Hancock to undertake the export of harvested timber to key markets in Asia.
  • Major New Zealand banks (through the New Zealand Bankers' Association) on the tax consequences of the new Basel III based regulatory capital requirements (including working with Inland Revenue and Reserve Bank of New Zealand officials to obtain in principle guidance as to the tax consequences of the new requirements).
  • Acting for Trustpower in its dispute concerning the deductibility of feasibility expenditure. The case resulted in Inland Revenue rewriting its interpretation statement on the deductibility of feasibility expenditure. 
  • Acting for Vector in its dispute concerning the income tax treatment of payments it received from a third party for the right to lay and install cables and other equipment in a tunnel. Vector successfully resisted Inland Revenue’s challenge to the capital treatment of the payments in the High Court and in the Court of Appeal.
Related People
Related Expertise