Ben Symons

Date of call:2014

Areas of Practice
Taxation Law
Income tax (Domestic, International and GST)
Administrative Law
Constitutional Law
Corporations (including insolvency and tax related matters)
Equity
Succession (including tax related matters)

Education:
2011 – 2013
Birkbeck College London
Graduate Diploma in Economics

2002 – 2005
University of Sydney
Master of Laws – Taxation major

2001 – 2002
Admission as a solicitor in New South Wales

1996-2000
University of New South Wales
Bachelor of Laws; and
Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting major)
Double degree awarded

Career highlights / Outline of skills:
- Excellent understanding of Australian tax issues;
- Excellent understanding of administrative law issues;
- Excellent understanding of commercial law issues;
- Excellent understanding of tax issues related to mergers and acquisitions and group restructures;
- Excellent understanding of Australian CFC rules;
- Excellent understanding of Australian tax issues;
- Excellent understanding of international tax issues (US, UK, EMEA, Latin America and Asia-Pacific);
- Excellent understanding of transfer pricing issues;
- Excellent understanding of tax issues in relation to financial products (securitisation, securities lending, collateral management etc);
- Extensive exposure to financial modelling;
- Excellent understanding of accounting;
- Excellent understanding of valuation issues in relation to acquisitions including valuations undertaken using the discounted cash flow method, EBITDA multiple basis and binomial tree method.

Work Experience:
September 2014 - Present
State Chambers
Barrister at State Chambers. Chief practice areas: taxation law (taxpayer and Australian Taxation Office), administrative law, commercial law and employment law.

Selected cases:
Federal Court - Taxation
- Commissioner of Taxation v Macoun [2014] FCAFC 162 – Acting for the respondent in relation to an appeal by the Australian Taxation Office (“ATO”) to the Full Federal Court from a decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (“AAT”). The AAT had decided in favour of the respondent, a retired World Bank employee, that pension payments made to the respondent were exempt from Australian taxation under section 6 of the International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1963 (Cth) and clause 8 of the Specialized Agencies (Privileges and Immunities) Regulations 1986 (Cth). This matter largely involved statutory construction.

- Commissioner of Taxation v Todd Stephen McGrouther – [2015] FCAFC 34 – Acting for the respondent in relation to an appeal by the ATO from an interlocutory decision of Justice Edmunds in the Federal Court that a notice given by the taxpayer pursuant to Section 14ZYA of the Taxation Administration Act was irrevocable. This matter largely involved statutory construction.

- Commissioner of Taxation v Seymour – [2015] FCA 320: Acting for the respondents resisting an application for certiorari by the ATO to quash a decision of the AAT made in favour of the respondents that they should be permitted to give evidence in the substantive matter before the AAT by video link. This matter has since proceeded to an appeal to the Full Federal Court and decision is pending in that matter.

Administrative Appeal Tribunal - Taxation
- Kamal Jayasinghe v Commissioner of Taxation – [2015] AATA 456 - Deputy President Tamberlin considered whether pension payments to a retired World Bank employee were exempt from Australian taxation under section 6 of the International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1963 (Cth) and clause 8 of the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Regulations 1986 (Cth). This matter involved both statutory construction and consideration of underlying multi-lateral treaties and how these treaties influence the interpretation of the statute in accordance with principles of public international law.

- Commissioner of Taxation v Hamzeh (pending) – Superannuation - acting for the Australian Taxation Office resisting an appeal by the taxpayer to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal claiming that an amount was validly rolled over from one superannuation fund to another and was not therefore assessable income.

District Court – Employment law
-Phillip Moss v Central Coast Mariners – matter in progress – acting for the Central Coast Mariners defending an unfair dismissal action brought against them by a former coach of the club, Phillip Moss.

District Court – Professional negligence
- Lucy Adriaans v Blaxland, Mawson & Rose – matter in progress – acting for the plaintiff in a claim for professional negligence against a firm of solicitors who gave negligent advice to the plaintiff in respect of the purchase of a property by instalments.

District Court – Medical negligence
- Penelope Rompel v Western Sydney Area Health Service – matter in progress – acting for the plaintiff in a medical negligence claim against the Western Sydney Area Health Service for failing to provide appropriate post-operation care to the plaintiff that resulted in the plaintiff getting foot drop.

Federal Court – Construction law / Misleading and deceptive conduct
-Joey Construction Pty Ltd v IT Environmental (Australia) Pty Ltd – matter in progress – acting for the plaintiff in a $3 million claim against an environmental engineering company for misleading and deceptive conduct in producing an expert report that cleared a former service station site to be safe for residential development when the site had not been properly remediated.

Federal Circuit Court – Migration
- SZUWM and Ors v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection [2015] FCCA 2153 – Acting for the applicant in an application for judicial review of a decision of the Refuge Review Tribunal (“RRT”) in which the applicant had been denied an adjournment after presenting a valid medical certificate to the RRT before he was due to give evidence.
- SZUXE and Ors v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection – decision to be given 16 March 2016 – Acting for the applicant in an application for judicial review of a decision of the RRT in relation to whether the tribunal member was biased and whether the Tribunal Member had failed to take account of a relevant consideration.

Selected advice
Advice on whether a discretionary trust should make a family trust election and the benefits of making a family trust election. The advice included:
- consideration of how best to utilise losses of a group of companies that were part of the property of the trust estate;
- consideration of whether capital gains and franking credits could be streamed to beneficiaries and how this could be done; and
- general advice as to the benefits of making a ‘family trust election’, in particular, in relation to utilisation of losses by the trust itself and passing franked dividends to beneficiaries.

Amendments of various trust deeds to account for a change of beneficiaries. Advice in relation to whether these amendments would result in a resettlement.

Advice to a foreign hedge fund on the trading activities it conducted, including:
- the circumstances in which it would be considered to be non-resident in Australia;
- whether it would have any Australian sourced income;
- how any Australian sourced income could be exempted from tax, specifically with regard to the ‘investor manager regime’; and
- consideration of transfer pricing issues that may impact on the activities of the fund, in particular, whether the servers it was using may amount to a permanent establishment and if so, whether the licensing of intellectual property through these servers may create a transfer pricing issue.

Selected matters as a Solicitor:
2013 – 2014: Tax due diligence (direct and indirect tax issues) on the following financial products on a global basis:
- Securities lending – equity, fixed income, and REIT’s;
- Derivative instruments;
- Collateral management;
- Rehypothecation of collateral; and
- American Depositary Receipts.

Numerous jurisdictions covered including: UK, USA, Germany, Russia, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Canada Ireland, Mexico, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, Finland, Norway, Kuwait, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Egypt;

Primary responsibility for structuring of Irish, Luxembourg and Swiss funds to hold both complex debt and equity instruments.

2009 - 2012: Acting head of corporate tax at UniCredit. Responsibility for execution of all group restructures and provision of tax advice on all product matters (typical transaction size = €300 million)

Primary responsibility for all EMEA group restructures: particularly a complex reorganisation of UBS’s Dutch and Belgian business, working in conjunction with the CFO’s of those businesses (transaction values – greater than €500 million);

Primary responsibility for all transfer pricing issues in the EMEA region. Implementation of transfer pricing policies / documentation for UBS’s French, Italian, Spanish, and Irish businesses;

2006 – 2009: Responsibility / execution for numerous Controlled Foreign Companies reviews on a worldwide basis (covering the Asia-Pacific, the US, Latin American and Europe).

Tax team lead, project management and execution of all aspects (tax, legal, valuations, secretariat work etc) of the demerger of a large Latin-American Beverages company including listing on the NYSE, a $1 billion transaction;

Research and analysis of the benefits from a tax / transfer pricing perspective of shifting front-office trading staff into low-tax jurisdictions: - Extensive financial modelling; and - Preparation of a presentation to management to demonstrate the tax arbitrage benefits and labour arbitrage benefits of shifting staff into various low tax jurisdictions.

2000 – 2005: Extensive review of superannuation products from an Australian tax point of view to ensure that they complied with all aspects of Australian corporate tax law and superannuation regulations;

Extensive involvement in CFC reviews for various multi-national corporate groups.

Provision of tax advice in relation to Cable & Wireless plc on the sale of their Optus Australia subsidiary, a A$17 billion transaction

Contact Details:
Tel: +61 2 9210 1473
Fax: +61 2 9210 0565
e-mail: bsymons@statechambers.net