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Central America 2016: Corporate Tax

In total, 26 lawyers are highlighted in this practice area across 15 law firms. With seven countries boasting corporate tax experts, there is a thorough spread of high quality legal services available across the region in this field.

Costa Rica features as a centre of legal expertise with 10 lawyers recognised in our research, as demand for corporate tax services here is being driven by the increasingly attractive nature of the country for foreign investment by large multinationals. Indeed, January 2016 saw a constitutional ruling whereby no corporation tax will be incurred by corporations, limited liability companies, collectives, individual limited liability companies and branches of foreign companies. Panama too enjoys a strong legal presence, with the country’s economy particularly benefiting from the Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) with the United States which came into force in 2012. Practitioners from Guatemala also feature prominently in our research, as the country’s tax laws, have been subject to significant reformation over the past few years. Though historically Guatemala’s tax laws have been weak and open to avoidance, income tax and transfer pricing gained attention and generated a high demand for legal services; rules on transfer pricing were enacted in 2012, but then suspended the following year and only came back into force at the beginning of 2015.

The international law firm Pacheco Coto leads the way across the region, with five impressive lawyers identified in three countries. Stiff competition is provided by the regional heavyweight Arias & Muñoz, home to four practitioners across three different countries and reflecting the firm’s strong market foothold throughout the region.

Costa Rica

Pacheco Coto garners an impressive three listings in  it’s Costa Rica office. Humberto Pacheco has over 30 years’ experience advising individual and corporate multinational clients on creating tax-efficient structures. He is considered a “sensational” practitioner and “commands great respect worldwide”, particularly for his work relating to the Briefcase Trust tax structure. Hernán Pacheco is known for having “pragmatism and creativity” throughout his practice. He has particular expertise pertaining to the tax aspects of cross-border transactions. Alejandro Antillon assists numerous real estate developers with their complex real estate ventures and international tax structures. Sources praise his “intelligence and skilful approach to matters”.

Two further firms stand out in our research with a double listing. Arias & Muñoz is home to the “wonderful” Daniel Araya. He is praised for his “insightful and erudite” advice to his clients, who include major banks, financial institutions and multinational companies. Alongside him Carolina Flores has led the firm’s tax department since 2011. According to respondents, “She excels at providing creative and strategic advice on tax-efficient structuring.”

At Facio & Cañas, Adrián Torrealba leads the tax group and receives praise for “consistently providing the highest-quality advice” to an impressive portfolio of domestic and international clients. José Maria Oreamuno is a well-known and highly regarded tax litigator, who respondents feel is “a definite inclusion”.

At Asesores Fiscales Corporativos Diego Salto has an “astute legal mind” and “excellent reputation” among international clients for his tax-planning practice.

BLP is home to Carolina Trejos, whom clients and peers rate for her “well-informed advice” and “responsiveness” when confronted with complex issues for major international clients.

El Salvador

Lilian Arias at Arias & Muñoz is described by clients and peers as “in a league of her own”. She has worked for over 20 years with some of the largest national and international companies in the region, advising them on tax planning, structures and regulatory issues.

Guatemala

Two practitioners are highlighted in our research from QIL+4 Abogados. José  Quiñones is the “first port of call” for clients, and is known for his particular success advising foreign financial institutions on the tax implications of their cross-border transactions. He is joined by Ana Alfaro, who has built a “great reputation” for her advises on the tax structuring of M&A transactions.

At Pacheco Coto, Ruby Asturias is described by clients as “responsive and very effective”, with more than 17 years of experience handling a wide range of national and international tax matters.

At Consortium Legal, Alfredo Rodriguez Mahuad is “one of the country’s premier tax practitioners”. Clients say there is “no one better” for handling their complex tax compliance issues.

From Mendez & Araujo, William Mendez offers “comprehensive and effective” tax-planning and compliance advice, integrating both local and foreign tax issues within his services. According to one source, “with such tremendous experience he is a great asset to clients”.

Honduras

Armando Manzanares at Consortium Legal has earned a reputation for being a “leading figure” in the market with clients praising his “unmatched marketplace knowledge”. He has particular experience of tax litigation and arbitration.

Nicaragua

Arias & Muñoz’s Ana Teresa Rizo is a “first-class lawyer” in this space. She advises international financial institutions and foreign investors in relation to their corporate organisation in Nicaragua.

Minerva Bellorin from Pacheco Coto acts for major clients on their tax structures and she commend for her “extremely capable and informed approach”.

Panama

Two impressive lawyers are listed from Arias Fábrega & Fábrega. Estif Aparicio is a “big name” in this area. His advises clients on a wide variety of tax issues including those pertaining to domestic and cross-border M&A and joint ventures, real estate transactions and local and foreign direct investment in Panama. He is joined by Fernando Cardoze, who garners significant praise for his “unparalleled market knowledge of  Panamanian tax law”. Clients praise his “strong commercial acumen” combined with “close attention to detail”.

Alfaro Ferrer & Ramírez’s Rodrigo Moreno is “a certain inclusion”. He advises clients on a broad range of tax matters including tax efficient structuring. Clients particularly praise his “in-depth knowledge of the complexities of Panama’s tax code.”

Jose Javier Rivera Jimenez from Rivera, Bolivar y Castañedas receives praise for being “immaculate in his thinking and presentation”. He handles a broad range of tax structures for major international clients.

The “very capable” Ramón  Anzola R at Anzola Robles & Asociados is recommended for “seamlessly guiding clients through their most complicated tax issues”. Clients particularly praise the “high standards which he always adheres to in his work”.

At Fábrega Molino & Mulino, founder José Agustín Preciado Miro has “an excellent international reputation”. His “vast experience” consists of advising national and foreign clients in relation to tax aspects of transactions conducted in Panama.

Edgar Herrera from Galindo Arias y López is considered “exceptional across the board”. He focuses his practice on international taxation for domestic and foreign clients who praise his “ability to see the bigger picture without losing an appreciation of the detail”. 

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