Professor Michael Littlewood
BA (Auckland); LLB(Hons) (Auckland); PhD (Hong Kong); barrister and solicitor, New Zealand; solicitor, England and Wales; solicitor, Hong Kong.
Michael Littlewood is a Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland. He is a New Zealander but has spent many years in Hong Kong. He has degrees in law and politics from the University of Auckland and a doctorate in tax from the University of Hong Kong. He is admitted as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand, as a solicitor in England and Wales and as a solicitor in Hong Kong. He is an authority on New Zealand tax law, Hong Kong tax law, tax policy and tax history. Much of his work has been in the fields of tax planning, tax avoidance and international tax. His work has been published and cited in leading journals in New Zealand, the US, the UK, Australia and Hong Kong. He is a fulltime academic but has also from time to time provided advice to business interests and to the governments of several countries.
Teaching | Current
Michael teaches Tax Law (LAWCOMM 403) and Advanced Tax Law (LAWCOMM 420) and sometimes also teaches masters level courses in tax. He also supervises student research in tax. In recent years, students whom he has supervised have written about various aspects of the tax system, including (a) international tax (for example, tax treaties); (b) tax avoidance; (c) tax history; (d) political and constitutional aspects of taxation (for example, fiscal responsibility); (e) tax policy; (f) tax competition; and (g) doctrinal analysis.
Many of the students who have undertaken research under Michael’s supervision have succeeded in having their work published, including the following.
- Hannah Yang “The Law of Wheel Clamping in New Zealand”  New Zealand Law Review (forthcoming).
- Sebastian Hartley “Retroactive and Retrospective Income Tax Legislation: The New Zealand Constitutional Perspective” (2020) 32 New Zealand Universities Law Review (forthcoming).
- Jillin Yan “The Amazon Tax: Introducing GST on Low-Value Imported Goods” (2019) 25 Auckland University Law Review (forthcoming).
- Anna Percy “New Zealand’s GST v Exclusions: A Case for the Exclusion of Basic Food and Menstrual Products from Goods and Services Tax in New Zealand” (2019) 25 Auckland University Law Review (forthcoming).
- Han Li “The Poll Tax on Chinese Immigrants in Australia and New Zealand” (2019) Curtin Law and Taxation Review (forthcoming).
- Andrew Grant “Tannadyce and the Place of Judicial Review in New Zealand Tax Disputes”  New Zealand Law Review 39-74.
- Lyall Taylor and Jack Alexander “Hall-Rabushka Flat Tax in New Zealand: A Legal Analysis” (2018) 24 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 289-315.
- Sam Johnston “The Introduction of Land Tax in New Zealand in 1878”  British Tax Review 113-135. The dissertation on which this paper was based won the Legal Research Foundation prize for best undergraduate student paper in 2016.
- Kate Roberts-Gray “Sugar Rush: Worldwide Momentum Toward the Taxation of Sweet Drinks and Implications for New Zealand”  Public Interest Law Journal of New Zealand 122-149.
- Timothy Plunkett “An Opportunity Missed: The Capital/Revenue Distinction, Feasibility Expenditure and Trustpower Ltd v Commissioner of Inland Revenue” (2018) 24 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 33-62; also published in (2018) 119 Taxation Today 12-22 (part 1) and (2018) 120 Taxation Today 10-21 (part 2); and, in part, as Timothy Plunkett “The Capital/Revenue Distinction, Feasibility Expenditure and Trustpower Ltd v Commissioner of Inland Revenue” (2017) 23 Auckland University Law Review 364-374.
- April Wong “Deductibility of Seismic Strengthening Costs” (2017) 23 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 204-234.
- Ana Lenard “Home is Where You Make it: the ‘permanent place of abode’ Test in Commissioner of Inland Revenue v Diamond” (2017) 23 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 235-257; also published in (2017) 109 Taxation Today 13-21 (Part 1) and (2017) 110 Taxation Today 14-21 (Part 2); an earlier version of part of this paper was published as “Commissioner of Inland Revenue v Diamond” (2016) 22 Auckland University Law Review 393-400.
- Jia Meng “The Thin Capitalisation Problem: An Analysis of New Zealand’s 2014 Reforms” (2016) 22 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 27-46.
- Gretta Schumacher “Taxing or Relaxing?: The Deductibility of Expenditure on Holiday Homes, Boats and Aircraft” (2016) 22 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 47-69; also published at (2016) 99 Taxation Today 14-23 (Part 1) and (2016) 100 Taxation Today 13-20 (Part 2).
- Conor Tinker “Taxing Employee Share Schemes: Solving the Question of Why New Zealand Falls Behind Australia and the United Kingdom in Employee Share Ownership” (2016) 22 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 278-309.
- Callum Burnett “Tax Litigation in New Zealand: An Empirical Analysis” (2016) 27 New Zealand Universities Law Review 315-336.
- Andrew Grant “An Examination of New Zealand Criminal Appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council 1841-2015” (2016) 27 New Zealand Universities Law Review 438-462.
- Finn Lowery “Scrambling to Undo Tax Avoidance: The Collateral Litigation in Ben Nevis” (2015) 26 New Zealand Universities Law Review 819-838.
- Jack Alexander “The Two Year Income Tax Bright Line Rule” (2015) Public Interest Law Journal of New Zealand 5-18.
- Zena Razoki “The GST Treatment of Bodies Corporate: Uncertainty, Change and Leaky Buildings” (2015) 21 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 405-426; also published at (2016) 95 Taxation Today 13-22 (Part 1) and (2016) 96 Taxation Today 14-20 (Part 2); also published in slightly revised form as “The GST Treatment of Bodies Corporate in New Zealand: Uncertainty, Change and Leaky Buildings” (2016) 16 Australian GST Journal 19-37.
- Jacob Spoonley “A Sanctuary from the Taxman? The Design of the Primary Residence Exemption” (2015) 21 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 69-89.
- Melinda Jacomb “A History of Taxing Capital Gains in New Zealand: Why Don’t We?” (2014) 20 Auckland University Law Review 124-147.
- Felicity Hullah “Computer Software Transactions and the Income Tax Definition of a Royalty” (2014) 20 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 251-276.
- Shiv Narayan “Goods and Services Tax on Privately-Imported Goods” (2014) 26 New Zealand Universities Law Review 470-494.
- Jingjing (Alice) Wang “Barter and Tax”  New Zealand Law Journal 433-435.
- Thomas Faulls “The Commissioner’s Power of Reconstruction under the General Anti-Avoidance Rule” (2013) 19 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 27-49; also published in Taxation Today, June 2013, 13-24 and July 2013, 14-20.
- James Ruddell “Statutory Interpretation, Parliamentary Intention and the General Anti-Avoidance Rule” (2013) 25 New Zealand Universities Law Review 497-521.
- Jing Jing (Alice) Wang “Is It Fair to Share? Income Splitting for Families” (2013) 19 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 75-90; also published in Taxation Today, August 2013, 17-21 and August 2013, 14-20.
- Matt Consedine “Commissioner of Taxation v Qantas Airways Ltd” (2013) 19 Auckland University Law Review 252-257.
- Chris Jenkins “1860: India’s First Income Tax”  British Tax Review 87-116.
- Patricia Meng San Ieong “Curbing Harms through Price Control: Alcohol Excises versus Minimum Prices”, (2012) 18 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 303-322.
- Kyle Rainsford “Tax Treaties with Tax Havens: The Hidden Tax Break” (2011) 17 Auckland University Law Review 60-87.
- Stephanie Cadelis “A Critique of Labour’s Recent Capital Gains Tax Proposal”, Taxation Today, August 2011, 3-6.
- Ogy Kabzamalov “New Zealand’s Forgotten Income Tax” (2010) 16 Auckland University Law Review 26-53. This article was the Joint Winner of the Minter Ellison Rudd Watts Prize for Legal Writing.
- Keefe Han “The Mistaken Removal of Article 14 from the OECD Model Tax Convention” (2010) 16 Auckland University Law Review 192-216.
- Sehj Vather “The Tax Treatment of New Zealand Firms’ Offshore Subsidiaries” (2009) Auckland University Law Review 139-168.
- Katrina Kelly “Trans-Tasman Imputation: Time for Mutual Recognition?” Taxation Today, April 2009, 34-40.
- Aditya Basrur “The Conception and Birth of the Stamp Duties Act 1866” (2008) 14 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 45-66.
- Annie Cho “The Five Phases of Company Taxation in New Zealand: 1840-2008” (2008) 14 Auckland University Law Review 150-175.
- Chye-Ching Huang “Constitutional Nonsense? The ‘Unenforceable’ Fiscal Responsibility Act 1994, the Financial Management Reform, and New Zealand’s Developing Constitution” (2008) 16 Waikato Law Review 264-290 (co-supervised with Professor Bruce Harris).
- Louisa Boyd “New Zealand’s Approach to Treaty Shopping” (2007) 13 Auckland University Law Review 63-88.
- Phil Norton “Is the Surrender or Extinguishment of an Option a Disposition for the Purposes of Section CE 2(3) of the Income Tax Act 2004?” (2007) 13 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 485-517.
- Joanna Khoo “China’s Evolution as a Capital Exporter: A Shift in Tax Treaty Policy?” (2007) 37 Hong Kong Law Journal 891-917.
- Shane McGregor “The Trinity Scheme: Accent Management and Ors v Commissioner of Inland Revenue” (2007) 13 Auckland University Law Review 223-227.
- Luke Facer “The Introduction of Income Tax in New Zealand” (2006) 12 Auckland University Law Review 44-70.
- Philip Gurney “Corporate Taxation in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore: Observations on Some Jurisdictional and Operational Distinctions” (2006) 36 Hong Kong Law Journal 259-276.
- Blair Keown “What’s A Supreme Court to Do? CIR v Peterson (2005) 22 NZTC 19,098” (2006) 12 Auckland University Law Review 194-198.
- Nicola Jones “A History of Taxing Married Women in New Zealand” (2005) 11 Auckland University Law Review 147-173.
- Chye-Ching Huang “The Repeal and Resurrection of ‘Responsibility’” (2005) 11 Auckland University Law Review 230-237 (co-supervised with Professor Bruce Harris).
- Sabrina Muck “The New Zealand-Netherlands Double Tax Agreement” (2005) 11 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 342-384.
- Greg Blanchard “The Case for a Simplified Tax Dispute Resolution Process” (2005) 11 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 417-440.
- Nicola Williams “The Scope for Invoking Legitimate Expectation in the New Zealand Tax Context” (2005) 11 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 92-120.
- Helen Wells “The Peculiar Nature of GST Avoidance” (2005) 11 Auckland University Law Review 223-229.
- Philip Gurney “Circumventing the CFC and FIF Regimes in Australia and New Zealand” (2004) 10 New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy 309-333.
See also Aditya Basrur, Chris Jenkins, James Ruddell and Sehj Vather (eds) Ten Years of Tax (Centre for Commercial and Corporate Law, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, 2016), which is a book comprising papers written by students under Michael’s supervision and also published in various journals.
Areas of expertise
New Zealand tax law, Hong Kong tax law, international tax, tax planning, tax avoidance, tax policy, tax history
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Littlewood, A. M. (2019). Legislating against tax avoidance. New Zealand Law Journal (8), 295-302. Related URL.
- Littlewood, A. M. (2019). Eric Watson and the Cullen Group Case. New Zealand Law Journal, 2019 (5), 165-167. Related URL.
- Littlewood, A. M. (2019). John Tiley and the Thunder of History. In P. Harris, D. de Cogan (Eds.) Studies in the History of Tax Law. Volume 9 (pp. 55-91). UK: Hart, Bloomsbury. 10.5040/9781509924967.ch-003
- Littlewood, A. M. (2018). What would a capital gains tax look like?. New Zealand Law Journal, 2018 (6), 179-181. Related URL.
- Littlewood, M. (2017). William Hobson and the origins of the New Zealand tax system, 1840-1842. New Zealand Journal of Taxation Law and Policy, 23 (4), 464-485.
- Littlewood, M. (2017). Foreign trusts, the Panama Papers and the Shewan Report. New Zealand Law Review, 2017 (1), 59-90.
- Littlewood, M. (2017). Using New Zealand trusts to escape other countries' taxes. Trust Law International, 31 (3), 113-136.
- Littlewood, M. (2017). Capital gains taxes: A comparative survey. In M. Littlewood, C. Elliffe (Eds.) Capital gains taxation: A comparative analysis of key issues (pp. 1-29). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. 10.4337/9781784716028.00009