By Silvio Simonaggio, Simonaggio Certeza Técnica
Tax is an economic phenomenon requiring legal integration into the market, which distinguishes it from other economic occurrences. The need for order in taxation creates its own need for legal mechanisms of control and the application of economic measures – with the ultimate aim to protect the common good.
Who’s Who Legal brings together Anders Oreby Hansen of Bech-Bruun, Devon Bodoh of KPMG and Shane Hogan of Matheson to discuss recent trends in the marketplace, including enforcement and the impact of globalisation.
Who’s Who Legal brings together Michael Schler of Cravath Swaine & Moore, Michael Honiball of Webber Wentzel, Jennifer Fuller of Fenwick & West and Jean-Blaise Eckert of Lenz & Staehelin to discuss the impact of increasing inter state collaboration on tax avoidance, competition from accountacy firms, and the continued emphasis of governments on tax disclosure and transparency on their practices.
In our most comprehensive research to date, we identify the leading corporate tax practitioners across 62 jurisdictions.
In this year’s edition, we recognise over 100 of the world’s leading corporate tax expert witnesses.
We define a corporate tax expert witness as an expert in tax, who will usually be from an accountancy firm or possibly an academic background, who is called upon during tax trials to give evidence on usual/acceptable tax practices, or may be asked to give their opinion on the matter at hand when a case is being built.
The following individuals are able to offer in-depth technical advice and explanations and may also offer advice and fair valuation judgements on transfer pricing matters.
The market is still undergoing considerable regulatory upheaval, as tax avoidance on an individual and corporate basis remains at the forefront of public consciousness and, subsequently, political discussion. The OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project remains a key focal point in the market with governments actively implementing legislative changes to harmonise tax legislation to meet international standards. The Action Plan has also led to a significant change in the attitude of tax authorities worldwide and disputes are expected to rise during this period of formative adaption for both sides. Transparency and compliance are still the watchwords of lawyers worldwide as corporates, keen to avoid negative exposure, actively seek to ensure that tax practices remain acceptable in the eyes of the public.
We are pleased to announce the 2015 findings of our corporate tax research in which we identify the leading advisory and controversy practitioners from 376 firms in 61 countries.
Leading this year’s research is Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer with 28 lawyers included from its offices in Europe and the US. Following closely behind are Baker & McKenzie, with practitioners recommended in nine of its offices, and Loyens & Loeff, which impresses with its network of experts in Europe, the US, the Middle East and Asia.
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has a strong showing in the US with its Washington, DC office particularly well represented.
Meanwhile French firm CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre is the standout firm in that jurisdiction.
Our research also singles out several accountancy firms that perform impressively including EY, Deloitte, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
To top things off we single out the most highly regarded individuals in advisory and controversy corporate tax work.
In this section we highlight the leading corporate tax expert witnesses. We have selected 84 nominees from 25 countries whose expertise during tax trials is “market-leading”. Whether they are giving evidence on usual and acceptable tax practices, opinions, in-depth technical advice or explanations and fair valuation judgements on transfer-pricing matters, the experts named always deliver.
Global scrutiny of tax avoidance schemes has not subsided in the past 12 months, with the OECD’s base erosion and profit-sharing scheme’s first deliverables released in September 2014, giving a clearer projection of the course the project is likely to take. Common reporting has also been an issue, particularly in the US with its recently implemented Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act keeping lawyers in that market busy. With more and more moves by governments, via these projects, to clamp down on aggressive tax avoidance structures, there has been plenty of compliance and contentious work in recent months.
This year, 808 practitioners from 360 firms in 60 countries are selected as leaders in this field. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer leads our research, boasting an exceptionally strong pan-European presence. Following closely behind is Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom whose New York office is especially well represented, and Baker & McKenzie also performs very strongly.
We also single out the most highly regarded firms and individuals in Europe, North America, South America, Asia-Pacific and Africa.
In this section, for the first time, we single out the leading corporate tax expert witnesses. We have selected 85 nominees from 28 countries who stand out for their expertise during tax trials when giving evidence on usual/acceptable tax practices, opinions, in-depth technical advice, explanations and fair valuation judgments on transfer pricing matters.
The fallout from “tax shaming” has continued since our report in last year’s edition. Scrutiny over tax avoidance schemes now generates more than just public outcry; tangible effects on the legislation, development and practice of the global tax market are universally visible. The report on base erosion and profit-sharing (BEPS) produced by OECD in February last year is picking up speed and ambitious plans to re-regulate tax systems in jurisdictions multilaterally are being pursued with some force.
In this section we single out the best represented firms in our research this year and the most highly regarded practitioners in different regions throughout the world.
For the fourth consecutive year Loyens & Loeff leads our research in this field with 26 nominees from across its offices in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the US. Following closely behind is Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which fields 22 lawyers to this edition, eight of whom hail from the firm's London office. Eighteen lawyers represent Baker & McKenzie from the firm’s offices in Europe, Asia, South America and the US and Linklaters earns 16 listings, with its German offices securing five nominees.
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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.