Brendan Brown

Brendan Brown

Partner since 2021.

Partner of another major law firm from 2003 – 2021.

Areas of expertise.

– Tax


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


ddi: +64 9 921 2231
mob: +64 21 245 6746


Brendan 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.

He has spent his over 20 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.

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

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 ‘Best of the Best’ in Tax law by Expert Guides 2020 and 2021, leading tax lawyer by Chambers and Partners 2020, Asialaw Profiles 2020, Asia Pacific Legal 500, and Best Lawyers® 2021 (‘Lawyer of the Year’, NZ), as well as a Leading Adviser by Tax Controversy Leaders 2017 (7th Edition). He was named in Australian Lawyer magazine’s 2016 ‘Hot List’ as one of the top private practice lawyers working in the Australasian legal market.

Recent Experience.

  • 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).
  • Westpac, BNZ and Suncorp on their issuances of 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 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.
  • Spark New Zealand (as the majority shareholder in Southern Cross Cable Network group) in respect of arrangements for the financing and construction of a new cable (SX NEXT) and a restructure of the Southern Cross group.
  • Infratil on the sale of NZ Bus.
  • Origin Energy on the sale of its shareholding in Contact Energy.
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • 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.