Add a bookmark to get started

Paul McNab


Paul McNab is a tax partner with more than 30 years' experience advising clients on Australian taxation issues. He has extensive private sector experience advising on the interpretation of tax law and helping clients manage relationships with the ATO, statutory auditors and other stakeholders.

Paul has managed significant audits by the ATO, negotiated their settlement and prepared for and managed tax litigation against both State and Federal Governments. Assisted Boards of Directors, Management and statutory auditors in relation to management of revenue risk and their obligations to disclose it.

He is predominately active in the technology, infrastructure, resources and pharmaceutical sectors. With particular experience advising US clients with significant Australian assets on their cross-border tax needs.

Professional QualificationsSolicitor of the Supreme Court of New South Wales


  • Leading a team advising top 10 NASDAQ company on new Australian operating structure, including advice on new entities for additional business lines, review of drafting of intercompany and third party agreements, advice on Australian tax risks, Australian Tax Office engagement and review of the new arrangements.
  • Leading a team advising ASX top 10 Technology sector company on tax risks associated with it business model, including advice in relation to intellectual property ownership and related contract arrangments. Managing ATO engagement.
  • Leading a team assisting a NASDAQ top 50 company with an Australian acquisition including execution of the transaction, reorganisation steps and documentation, tax advice on the execution and rationalisation steps.
  • Leading a team litigating a research and development tax concession dispute.
  • Leading the team defending treatment of cross border payments under software licence and services agreements for S&P500 group (Australian tax liability at risk AUD100m). This involved identifying new defence approach and case theory, and negotiating agreement treatment that removed all risk.*
  • Leading litigation in the Australian Full Federal Court to defend Australian treatment of proceeds on the sale of a corporate group (Australian tax liability risk AUD50m). This resulted in the unanimous Full Court decision in favour of the taxpayer.*
  • Leading a team defending joint ATO/IRS value chain transformation for S&P500 company involving identification and re-domicile of intellectual property assets (Australian tax liability at risk AUD500m). This involved identifying new defence approach and case theory.*
  • Leading advisor to a foreign telecommunications group from initiation of their AUD2bn investment, through the entire life cycle of acquisitions, reorganisations to eventual exit from the Australian market over a nine year period. The key value delivered was preservation of the original investment basis to ensure exit reflected real economic cost of investment, while ensuring effective tax rate on operations was appropriate on a global consolidated basis.*
  • Advising on the business structure adopted by an Australian owned global marketplace for electronic assets, and advising on the business structure adopted by one of the largest global privately owned online service providers (including migration of business). These structures ensured no double tax, correctly allocated source taxation and appropriately matched tax to period of derivation. Defended both structures in ATO audits.*
  • Leading the project to assist the international clients of a Big 4 accounting firm to restructure or defend their Australian operations from Australia’s MAAL rules, and advised these clients on the effect of subsequent Australian DPT and anti-hybrid rules on their structures. This involved defending their structures and assisting with negotiation of agreements and APAs providing certainty in future years.*
  • Working with a number of clients in several sectors in relation to the ATO review of cross border payments and the question of whether some or all of the payments might be considered a royalty.*
* Denotes experience from a previous firm. 
  • University of Sydney, Master of Laws (Hons)
  • The College of Law, Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice
  • Queensland University of Technology, Bachelor of Laws


  • Legal500 Asia-Pacific recognises Paul as a Recommended Practitioner for Tax, 2021
  • Paul is rated as “Highly Regarded” for Tax Controversy by World Tax 2021


  • June 28, 2021 Bloomberg Tax - Australian Taxation Office Issues Draft Intangibles Guideline
  • INSIGHT: Australian Tax Office Appeals "Glencore" Transfer Pricing Decision
  • May 1, 2020 Bloomberg Tax Management Transfer Pricing Report
  • What do we learn from the ATO Notice of Appeal in the Glencore transfer pricing dispute?


  • IFA indian International Tax Conference 2018 Changing World Order and International Taxation, April 27-28, 2018, the lalit, New Delhi
  • Panel Member, Plenary 3 : Introduction and Enhancement of GAARs in Asia and Effect and Consequences for Treaty Shopping / Treaty Abuse – case studies
  • Panel Member, Plenary 4: Global tax developments - U.S. tax reform: Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT); Foreign-derived Intangible Income and Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income; Australian Federal Court decision in the case of Tech Mahindra Ltd.; Exchange of Information, FACTA – real life situations

Prior Experience

Prior to joining DLA Piper, Paul was a leading partner in the Tax Controversy group of a 'Big 4' accounting firm and was an experienced Tax partner at another leading accountancy firm. Paul also spent eight years at the Australian Taxation Office.

Pro Bono

  • Chair, Governance Committee – NSW Aboriginal Land Council, 2015 – Current
  • The Governance Committee assists the Council of the NSWALC (the State's peak representative body in Aboriginal Affairs) with strategic advice and direction on its decision making processes and structures.

  • Committee member – Sunshine Coast Sports Aviators Inc, 2013 – Current
  • Assisting with legal advice in relation to the management of operational authorisations required from Local Authority, Police, National Parks and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Entered in the High Court of Australia Register of Practitioners
  • Chartered Tax Advisor, The Tax Institute
  • Taxation Committee, Law Council of Australia
  • Law Society of New South Wales