Winners Announced: Tax Adviser of The Year Awards 2020

12 March 2020 | ICC Sydney 

Tax Adviser of the Year Awards Winners 2020

Chartered Tax Adviser

Dr Julianne Jaques, CTA, Victorian Bar

Julianne is a barrister with over 25 years experience as a tax adviser. She spent five years with each of Coopers & Lybrand and Freehills before becoming senior tax adviser to the Federal Assistant Treasurer during the introduction of GST and business tax reforms. A barrister since 2002, she advises and acts for both taxpayers and the Commissioner and has appeared in all superior Victorian, New South Wales and Federal Courts. She holds a doctorate from the University of Melbourne for her thesis on corporate taxation. In 2019, Julianne was a member of the Tax Practitioners Board regulating tax practitioners, and a member and then acting chair of the Board of Taxation giving tax policy advice to the Federal Government from a business and community perspective.

Corporate Tax Adviser

Adrian Varrasso, ATI, MinterEllison

Adrian is the head of MinterEllison’s tax practice and also leads their corporate tax offering. He is a corporate tax specialist with extensive experience in commercial transactions across a full range of sectors, and a client base that spans many international markets. Adrian’s key areas of expertise are tax and structuring advice for mergers, acquisitions, divestments and demergers, and advising on infrastructure transactions. He is also on the Executive of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia, having previously been National Chair of the Law Council of Australia’s Taxation Committee, a member of the National Tax Liaison Group and the Consultation Steering Group, and continues to sit on the Commissioner’s Remedial Power Panel, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Taxation Committee and the Melbourne Law School Advisory Council.

SME Tax Adviser

Leanne Connor, CTA, WGC Business Advisors

Leanne is a Director of WGC Business Advisors Pty Ltd, a chartered accountancy firm specialising in taxation and strategic advice to SMEs and high net worth individuals. Leanne has over 30 years experience providing accounting, business advisory, strategic superannuation and taxation services. Leanne’s areas of expertise include tax and superannuation planning, business restructuring and understanding the fundamental issues relating to SMSFs, family trusts and private companies.

Emerging Tax Star

Donovan Castelyn, Curtin University and Curtin Tax Clinic

Donovan is the Co-Founder and Clinic Supervisor of the Curtin Tax Clinic, Australia’s first pro-bono tax clinic and the impetus for the National Tax Clinic Program. Donovan is also an Associate Lecturer at Curtin University where he teaches into the taxation major and LLB streams with a primary focus on international taxation and Australian tax jurisprudence. Donovan’s research interests include comparative taxation, tax pedagogy and policy and design. Holding qualifications in both law and commerce, Donovan is admitted as a Lawyer of the Supreme Court of Western Australia. Having recently completed his Masters in International Taxation, Donovan now intends to further his studies through the CTA qualification and doctoral research in the field of taxation law.

2020 Judges

Thank you to our 2020 Tax Adviser of the Year Awards judging panel:

  • Michael Barbour, CTA, Westpac
  • Catherine Dean, CTA, KPMG
  • Robyn Jacobson, CTA, TaxBanter
  • Katherine Patel, FTI, HLB Mann Judd
  • Nicole Peterson, CTA, PKF Adelaide
  • Grantley Stevens, CTA, Nexia Edwards Marshall
  • Ellen Thomas, ATI, PwC
  • Julie Van der Velde, CTA, VdV Legal
  • Peter Vilaysack, CTA, EY
  • Kenneth Wee, CTA, Deloitte

Categories & Criteria

The four award categories recognise excellence and achievement at different experience levels.

THE CHARTERED TAX ADVISER OF THE YEAR AWARD is given to a tax professional who has shown entrepreneurial spirit, strategic business expertise and innovative ideas. Nominees will demonstrate:

  • membership of The Tax Institute
  • more than 15 years’ tax experience
  • leadership in the tax profession
  • tax community involvement
  • outstanding ethics and professionalism

THE CORPORATE TAX ADVISER OF THE YEAR AWARD is given to a tax professional in the corporate environment. Nominees will demonstrate:

  • membership of The Tax Institute
  • more than 5 years’ tax experience
  • technical tax expertise
  • continuing knowledge development
  • tax community involvement
  • outstanding ethics and professionalism

THE SME TAX ADVISER OF THE YEAR AWARD is given to a tax adviser in the small to medium sized enterprise (SME) environment. Nominees will demonstrate:

  • membership of The Tax Institute
  • more than 5 years’ tax experience
  • technical tax expertise
  • continuing knowledge development
  • outstanding ethics and professionalism

THE EMERGING STAR TAX AWARD is given to a developing tax professional who has demonstrated commitment and passion in building their tax career. The winner of the 2019 Emerging Tax Star Award will receive a full scholarship into our Graduate Diploma of Applied Tax Law program valued at $9,900. The program provides you the expertise to offer superior professional tax advice, and undertake highly-skilled tax work across a range of contexts. Nominations are invited from members and non-members of The Tax Institute who can show:

  • completion of the CTA1 Foundations course or equivalent
  • less than 5 years’ experience in tax
  • technical tax expertise
  • tax community involvement
  • initiative in growing the tax profession
  • outstanding ethics and professionalism


If you’re a finalist or winner, you will be recognised for your achievements in the tax profession.

This recognition includes the use of a special logo for your website and stationery, and promotion through The Tax Institute’s marketing and social media.

In addition, if you are a finalist, you will receive flights, accommodation and delegate registration to attend The Tax Summit 2020 in Sydney on 11-13 March. At the Gala Dinner, you will be presented with a framed certificate.

The winner in each category receives a prestigious trophy and is acknowledged as an outstanding tax leader through a range of mainstream media, social media and marketing channels.

Terms and Conditions


Nominations for the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards are accepted from individuals only. However, you can nominate a peer through our simple online nomination process.

You can be nominated for only one award category per year.

If you are a previous finalist, you are eligible to nominate again in the same category or another. If you are a previous award winner, however, you are not eligible to nominate again in the same category.


Nominations are reviewed by an independent judging panel that comprises leading members of the tax profession.

The judging uses a score-based process and finalists are advised by telephone or email.

Judges are required to sign a confidentiality agreement and ‘conflict of interest’ disclosure statement.


The Tax Institute considers information provided in nominations as commercial-in-confidence.

This information is accessed only by organising staff and the judging panel. It is not published, or used for media or marketing, without the nominated party’s express permission and clearance.

Nominated parties are also expected to ensure their clients’ privacy in any examples they provide.

Highlights from last years awards