Brendan Brown

Partner

Tax

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Profile

Brendan is National Chair of Russell McVeagh's Tax practice and specialises in corporate and international taxation. He has represented clients in respect of some of New Zealand's most significant commercial transactions and tax disputes.

Brendan has spent his 17 years in legal practice helping clients with a wide range of taxation matters and is well known as a leading tax lawyer in New Zealand.

Experience

Brendan's clients have included Westpac, Bank of New Zealand (BNZ), Spark, Origin Energy and ExxonMobil. Brendan's experience includes advising on transactions, obtaining binding rulings from Inland Revenue and representing clients in tax audits, disputes and litigation.

His experience includes advising:

  • 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).
  • BNZ on its NZ$550 million issuance of subordinated notes, qualifying as Tier 2 regulatory capital.
  • Telecom New Zealand (now Spark) on the demerger of Chorus (which required the enactment of special legislation governing the transaction's tax consequences).
  • Westpac in its successful application for judicial review of the exercise of Inland Revenue's power to amend assessments (Westpac Securities NZ Limited v Commissioner of Inland Revenue (2014) 26 NZTC 21-118).
  • Westpac on the separation of its New Zealand retail banking business into a locally incorporated registered bank and on the subsequent transfer of its institutional business to the locally incorporated bank (effected by Private Acts of Parliament).
  • BNZ on the establishment of the first covered bond programme in New Zealand.
  • Cheung Kong Infrastructure on its acquisition of Envirowaste.
  • Origin Energy on the sale of its shareholding in Contact Energy.
  • Queenstown Airport on its appeal to the Court of the Appeal concerning the ability to depreciate the costs of constructing a runway end safety area (Queenstown Airport Corporation Limited v Commissioner of Inland Revenue [2017] NZCA 20). 
  • Acting on several transfer pricing disputes, including cases in which proceedings have been filed in Court, as well as representing clients in the MAP (mutual agreement process).
  • BNZ in litigation involving cross-border sale and repurchase arrangements (BNZ Investments Limited v Commissioner of Inland Revenue (2009) 24 NZTC 23,582).
  • Deutsche Bank in litigation concerning the tax consequences of a cross-border structured financing arrangement (Deutsche Finance New Zealand Limited v Commissioner of Inland Revenue (2008) 23 NZTC 21,758).
  • Individuals on the tax consequences of gains and losses relating to property investments. 

Credentials

LLB (Hons), BCom, University of Otago.
LLM, University of New South Wales.

Professional

Brendan has been a partner at Russell McVeagh since 2003.

He is a member of the Taxation Institute of Australia, the Practice Council of the New York University International Tax Program and the New Zealand Branch Committee of the International Fiscal Association, and is an honorary lecturer at the Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Law. 

Brendan is recognised as a leading tax lawyer by Chambers Asia-Pacific, Asialaw Profiles 2018, Asia Pacific Legal 500 and Best Lawyers® 2019 in New Zealand, as well as a Leading Adviser by Tax Controversy Leaders 2017 (7th Edition). He was recently named in Australian Lawyer magazine’s 2016 'Hot List' as one of the top private practice lawyers working in the Australasian legal market.

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