John moved into the philanthropy sector in September 2011, when he commenced as a Consultant at Prolegis Lawyers in Sydney. Prolegis is a boutique law firm, which focuses on the charity and not-for-profit (NFP) sector. The Sydney and Melbourne offices of the firm comprise the largest group of lawyers in any law firm in Australia that specialises exclusively in this area of law.
John’s focus has been on advising on complex tax and related issues affecting charities and other NFPs, and in advising philanthropists (including several leading public listed companies) on the most appropriate structures to best achieve their philanthropic intentions. Relevantly, among other things, he assisted Chris Cuffe is setting up Australian Philanthropic Services and obtaining its specific listing in the tax legislation as a Deductible Gift Recipient (as well as obtaining specific listing for a number of other charities).
Prior to joining Prolegis, John worked in the Sydney office of the law firm now known as King & Wood Mallesons from 1972 until 2010, and was a tax partner in the firm for more than 31 years, from 1979 until his retirement in December 2010. From 1986 to 1988, he was the resident partner in the firm’s then representative office in New York. Over his last 23 years with the firm, his work mainly involved tax and related issues, and tax disputes, affecting large domestic and foreign financial institutions (including fund managers and hedge funds), and tax and other advice on a variety of domestic and cross border derivatives. For more than a decade he was also primarily responsible for any tax advice provided by the Sydney office to charities and other NFPs, which included introducing workplace giving to Australia.
From 2010 until 2020, he was an independent member of the Australian Taxation Office’s Public Advice and Guidance Panel. He is (or has been) a director or trustee of several large charities, several private ancillary funds and several charities focused on individuals with disabilities.
John holds Bachelor of Arts and Law (Hons) degrees from the University of Sydney and a Master of Laws degree from the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE). He is also a Certified Tax Adviser (CTA).