Jonathan Ortner is a partner in the firm’s taxation group and practices in all areas of direct and indirect tax with a particular focus on the taxation of trusts and corporate income tax and mergers and acquisitions.
Jonathan has also advised extensively on cross-border taxation issues; employment taxes, including the tax treatment of employee share schemes, termination payments and fringe benefits; and the GST implications of transactions and dealings in the development of property.
Using his technical tax knowledge, Jonathan works with clients to obtain commercial and practical outcomes. He has particular experience in dealing with the Australian Taxation Office on complex tax issues in a dispute resolution and transactional context.
Jonathan is a keen and active member of the tax community. As well as presenting on tax topics at various sessions and authoring a number of published articles, papers and bulletins, Jonathan is the Chair of the Tax Institute’s SME committee, a former member of the GST committee and the co-chair of the ATO’s Private Groups Stewardship Group.
In 2017, Jonathan won 'Emerging Tax Star' in the Tax Institute's "Tax Adviser of the Year" Awards. Jonathan is also recognised as a key tax lawyer in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific and is recommended by Who’s Who Legal: Australia and New Zealand 2023 report, in the area of corporate tax.
Prior to joining Arnold Bloch Leibler in 2012, Jonathan worked in a financial advisory role at a top investment bank and a top four accounting firm. He was appointed as a partner effective July 2019.
Jonathan holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New South Wales. In addition, Jonathan completed his Masters of Tax (with Distinction) at the University of Sydney in 2017.
“I was thoroughly impressed with Jonathan’s professionalism, responsiveness and above all, his commerciality and ability to see the bigger picture.”
Jonathan’s practice focuses on the following areas:
- advising clients on, and managing, all stages of ATO audits and reviews of clients' income tax and GST affairs (mainly in relation to large business, high wealth and private group audits) and resolving disputes with the ATO
- advising on the operation of, and the Tax Office’s practice in applying, income (and capital gains) tax laws to domestic and international transactions, and corporate and family group restructuring, including the implications of recent legislative and ATO policy initiatives
- advising on the GST implications of property transactions, cross border transactions and on the sale of businesses
- advising clients on, and managing, all stages of making a voluntary disclosure, including liaising with the ATO
- corporate and international income tax, including the Australian tax implications of mergers and acquisitions, consolidation, group restructuring (solvent and insolvent), investment into and out of Australia, and the application of Australia's tax treaty network
- taxation issues affecting individuals including the taxation of offshore assets and structures, issues and disputes concerning tax residency and advising on asset protection
- taxation of trusts and funds advice, and
- employee incentive arrangements and employment related taxes.
Jonathan has acted for both domestic and international clients in a wide range of taxation matters, including:
- Liquidators of Lehman Brothers: Advising the liquidators of Lehman Brothers Australia on complex and novel taxation matters relating to the insolvency of the international Lehman Brothers group.o Liquidators of Lehman Brothers: Advising the liquidators of Lehman Brothers Australia on complex and novel taxation matters relating to the insolvency of the international Lehman Brothers group.
- Arrium Limited: advising Kordamentha and the company on the complex pre-sale restructure of the East Coast Steel business and the implementation of the various ground-breaking deeds of company arrangement. Advising on the sale documentation and diligence issues.
- Zip Co: provided tax advice in relation to its entry into the US market through its $400 million acquisition of New York based BNPL QuadPay Inc; its $200 million capital raising with US Private Equity, Heights Capital; and its proposed acquisition of Sezzle for approximately $500 million.
- Various listed companies: in relation to the design and implementation of employee share scheme arrangements – including structuring tax-efficient carried interest and executive co-investments
- Various property funds in relation to managed investment trust structures and fixed trust matters, and
- Large domestic and international financiers: in relation to structuring and taxation advice for various domestic and cross-border lending arrangements.
- Numerous high-net-worth individuals and family groups: in relation to the cross border tax considerations arising from their immigration to Australia.
- A large private group: tax aspects of a rationalisation and restructuring of financing arrangements in a complex group of companies and trusts.
- Numerous high-net-worth individuals and family groups: in relation to ATO audits and disputes.
- Large tech company: in relation to the sale by the founder to US private equity for $500 million.
- Various not-for-profit clients: in relation to applications for income tax exempt and deductible gift recipient status.
Directorships & memberships
- a director of the Sydney Swans Foundation;
- a fellow of the Taxation Institute of Australia;
- Chair of the Tax Institute’s SME committee;
- co-chair of the Australian Taxation Office's Private Groups Stewardship Group;
- a member of various ad hoc Taxation Office and other external professional consultation groups;
- a member of a tax discussion group comprising eminent tax professionals; and
- a member of the International Fiscal Association.
Awards & recognition
Jonathan is recognised as a leading lawyer by an international guide to lawyers and law firms:
- Legal 500 Asia Pacific: tax
- The Tax Institute: Emerging Tax Star, 2017
- Lawyers Weekly: Finalist 30 under 30 Awards, and
- Who's Who Legal: corporate tax.
“Jonathan is able to decipher complex taxation issues quickly and is completely across all matters for my clients when required.”