Who’s Who Legal brings together three leading experts to discuss issues facing tax lawyers today.
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.
Ana Cláudia Akie Utumi of TozziniFreire Advogados explores the future of tax planning in light of the increasing focus on tax transparency by governments around the world:
"Tax has always been on government agendas, but the current debate is about more than what taxes will be created or changed. What’s now being discussed is the fundamentals of each tax system, and how limits might be established for companies to have less flexibility to decide where and how to operate."
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 judgments on transfer pricing matters, the experts named below 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 (BEPS) 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 (FATCA) 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.
In this section we analyse the findings of our research in greater depth to identify the firms and practitioners who stand out worldwide. This year’s edition sees both the leading advisory and controversy practitioners recommended, with just over 1,200 listings from 376 firms in 61 countries, following votes from clients, in-house counsel and peers.
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.
“Tax shaming”, the culture of naming companies seeking to avoid paying tax in the countries in which they are doing business, is on the rise; the past year alone has seen multinational corporations such as Starbucks, Google and Amazon criticised for their tax structures. While these companies - and many others - are not doing anything illegal, public opinion is clearly turning against them. The result is that companies are rethinking their tax strategies to avoid reputational damage, putting an end to the days of “aggressive tax planning” for good.
With the benefit of over 15 years of research and tens of thousands of votes from clients and private practitioners, Who’s Who Legal takes a closer look at developing trends in the corporate tax legal market place worldwide, focusing on tax avoidance, the rise in litigation, transfer pricing and restructuring and shifts in legal marketplace.
In this section we analyse the findings of our research to single out the firms and practitioners who stand out worldwide for their corporate tax practices. From Amsterdam-based law firm, Loyens & Loeff, 27 lawyers feature as leaders in the field. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer lists 21 experts, followed by Linklaters with 17 and Baker & Mckenzie with 10.
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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.