Tax Adviser of the Year awards 2020 - Finalists revealed!


The Tax Adviser of the Year Awards this year unveiled a list of finalists with an unprecedented 11 female practitioners, signalling a shift towards a more diverse decade of tax leadership ahead. 

An integral part of The Tax Summit 2020, the awards honour the best and brightest in the Australian tax profession, across all levels of experience. 

In announcing the finalists’ names, The Tax Institute’s CEO, Giles Hurst, said, “The nominations this year have been plentiful and high in quality, and the standard has certainly gone up by another notch this year. It is inspiring to see the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards evolve and mature as we transition to this new and exciting decade. It’s a big year as we celebrate the future of tax leadership with 22 diverse and talented finalists who are all dedicated to shaping the future of the profession.”

Highlighting this year’s unprecedented female leadership cohort, Giles added, “As the changing composition across the broader profession takes place, it is great to see the rising presence of females in leadership positions. We are certainly seeing this across The Tax Institute’s membership and these awards are proof positive that we've made great progress in this regard.”

The awards are judged by an independent expert panel that comprises of leading members of the tax profession. The four award categories recognise distinction and achievement at different experience levels.

“The Tax Adviser of the Year Awards represent the pinnacle of professionalism,” Giles said. “If you’re nominated for one of these awards, you are either going places or you are at the top of your professional career and that’s probably the biggest accolade that anyone in the tax community could have.”

The finalists for the Emerging Tax Star award, which is given to a developing tax professional who has demonstrated commitment and passion in building their tax career are: 

  •     Christopher Annicchiarico from WRP Legal & Advisory;
  •     Melissa Bader, ATI from KPMG Law;
  •     Donovan Castelyn from Curtin University and Curtin Tax Clinic;
  •     Amy Liu, CTA from Kelly Partners;
  •     Peter Scott, FTI from Arnold Bloch Leibler; and
  •     Louise Van Wyk, FTI from Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills.

The Gordon Cooper Memorial Scholarship will be awarded for the third time in 2020 to the winner of the Emerging Tax Star award. This full fee scholarship, which is named after an honorary tax community leader who was passionate about tax education, fittingly provides the recipient with enrolment into the Institute's Chartered Tax Adviser Program.

The finalists for the SME Tax Adviser of the Year award, which is presented to an experienced tax adviser working with small-to-medium clients are:

  • Joanne Casburn, FTI from Australian Taxation Office;
  • Natalie Claughton from MC Tax Advisors;
  • Leanne Connor, CTA from WGC Business Advisors;
  • Karen Rooke, CTA from the Australian Taxation Office;
  • Chris Wookey, CTA from Chris Wookey Chartered Accountants; and
  • Tania Waterhouse from Waterhouse Lawyers.


The finalists for Corporate Tax Adviser of the Year award, which is given to a tax professional who advises large clients, are: 

  • Cameron Blackwood, ATI from Greenwoods and Herbert Smith Freehills;
  • Daryl Choo, ATI from EY;
  • Scott Farrell, ATI from KPMG;
  • Matthew Popham, CTA from Newmont Goldcorp Australia;
  • Norah Seddon, ATI from PwC; and
  • Adrian Varrasso, ATI from MinterEllison.

And finally, the finalists for the Chartered Tax Adviser of the Year award, which is presented to the year’s leading tax expert who has demonstrated outstanding tax community involvement and entrepreneurial spirit, are:

  • Matthew Cridland, CTA from K&L Gates;
  • Peter Feros, CTA from Clayton Utz;
  • Julianne Jaques, CTA from Victorian Bar; and
  • Manuel Makas, CTA from Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills.


The winners of The Tax Adviser of Year Awards 2020 will be announced at The Tax Summit Gala Dinner at the International Convention Centre (ICC), Sydney on Thursday, 12 March 2020.

“The Tax Adviser of the Year Awards is a wonderful chance for the finalists to showcase their achievements and contribution to the tax community - it’s an incredible opportunity,” Giles concluded. “And what better place than at The Tax Summit Gala Dinner at the ICC, the biggest event of its kind. It’s going to be an exceptional evening.”

Find out more about the Tax Adviser of the Year Awards at: 

Attendance at The Tax Adviser of the Year Awards and The Tax Summit Gala Dinner is included for all full registrants of The Tax Summit, with additional tickets available for guests or tables of ten. 

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