Catalysts containing zirconia and alumina were tested for their activity in the selective oxidation of tar and ammonia in biomass gasification gas. Their performance was compared with that of nickel and dolomite catalysts. Synthetic gasification gas with toluene as tar model compound was used as feed. In the presence of oxygen, zirconia and alumina-doped zirconia gave high toluene and ammonia conversions even below 600 °C. They were the most active catalysts for toluene oxidation below 700 °C and for ammonia oxidation below 650 °C. At higher temperatures than these, the impregnated ZrO2/Al2O3 catalysts performed better: oxidation selectivity was improved and toluene and ammonia conversions were higher. The presence of both zirconia and alumina in the catalyst promoted toluene and ammonia conversions at low temperatures: zirconia enhanced the oxidation activity, while alumina improved the oxidation selectivity. The presence of H2S had little effect on the activity of alumina-doped zirconia.