Frequently Asked Questions

What types of cases do you handle?
I spend my time fighting with the ATO and helping clients to deal with tax disputes. This comes in many forms – I negotiate the reduction of tax debts and arrange how they will be paid, I help clients through audits to minimise the downside, I object to the ATO’s decisions and take them to Court when they’re wrong, and I help clients who are charged with tax-related criminal offences.
I'm in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Darwin, Tasmania or Canberra - can you still help me?

Yes, even though I am based in Adelaide, I can help you with most tax disputes. This is because I deal with Federal tax, which means the issues are the same across Australia. I have helped clients all over Australia with these issues and they have been very happy with my work. To see a recent example, have a look at Rachael’s comments on my testimonial page.

Hartigan Law is set up to work with you no matter where you are. There are many tools that we can use to make this happen, like phone, email, SMS, Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and Zoom. I can talk you through how to use all of these. Clients often tell me that they appreciate how easy it is to have a video call with me, because they don’t have to spend any time travelling to meet with me.

If we need to meet outside of Adelaide, then I can arrange that too. This might be necessary if we need to negotiate a settlement of a serious tax dispute with the ATO, or if we need to file an appeal in your local Federal Court.

The only case in which I can’t represent you outside of Adelaide is if you’ve been charged with an offence under section 8C of the Taxation Administration Act 1953 for not lodging your tax returns or BAS.

I have an accountant helping me - why do I need a lawyer?
Lawyers and accountants have different skill sets and often you need both to help you through a serious tax issue. I work with a lot of accountants who turn to me for specialist advice when negotiating with ATO or when they need technical advice on how the law applies to their client’s situation.

I can work with your accountant to find a resolution to your legal issue, or even give you a second opinion if you’re unsure whether your accountant is on the right track with your concerns.

Representation by a lawyer rather than an accountant also provides the advantage of legal professional privilege. This means that documents provided to me and advice that I provide to you is protected by law from being disclosed to anyone.

Why are you the right lawyer for me?
There are a lot of reasons why I might be right lawyer for you.

I know the ATO can get it wrong

The ATO doesn’t always come to the right conclusions when working out how much tax, penalties and interest you owe. When that happens, I can help you to challenge their interpretation of the law and facts to make sure you don’t pay more than you should. When the ATO gets it wrong, I help make it right.

I will own your tax dispute

I’ll treat your tax issue like it’s my tax issue. I’ll think about it day and night — so you can think about it a lot less. I know you have better things to do.

I see things differently to other lawyers

My priority is you – not my ego, or how many assistants I employ, or how many hours I can bill a day.

I love being right

I help my clients get the right outcome, as quickly as I can. That’s my priority and it’s how I’ve earned a reputation for getting the right result. I’m focused, efficient and obsessed with delivering quality service — just like my clients.

I’ve helped many happy clients over the years – you can see what some of them have had to say about my work here.

How do I communicate with you?
You can communicate with me in the way that best suits you. Some of my clients prefer to meet me face-to-face, whereas others prefer a mix of phone, e-mail and texts. If you’re interstate or in a regional area, we can keep in touch using Google Hangouts or Skype.
How much will it cost?
I charge a standard fee of $495 (inc GST) for an initial consultation of 1 hour. This can be in-person (in Adelaide), or over the telephone or video conferencing software.

During the first consultation, I will review any ATO documents you have and we will discuss your situation in detail. I will advise you on the options available to you and make recommendations about the steps to take to resolve your tax dispute.

After our meeting, I will provide you with a fixed fee quote or an estimate of my fees for taking those next steps. I will offer a fixed fee if I can, but this isn’t always possible.

How do I pronounce your name - 'Catriona'?
It’s pronounced “Katrina”. The Irish spelling makes it a bit tricky, so most people call me Cat instead.
What types of cases don't you handle?
I believe in being an expert in what I do, which is why I can’t help you with issues like worker’s compensation, personal injury, family law, drafting wills, challenging Estates, drink driving offences – and a whole lot more. If you can’t find someone to help you with these kinds of issues, then I may be able to help you find someone who can.