Corporate Tax 2016: Expert Witnesses Analysis

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.

Global financial services giant PricewaterhouseCoopers leads our research this year with nine experts listed in the following pages. The “prodigious” Jaime Carvalho Esteves is recognised as a “leading authority on transfer pricing and international taxation”. The “technically gifted” Leendert Verschoor joins him in the firm’s Lisbon office and is commended by respondents for his considerable expertise in complex international taxation. Clara Dithmer, deemed an “absolute star” by respondents, is singled out as an impressive expert witness on account of her excellent knowledge of international tax law. Nacira Lamprea is held in high esteem in Latin America, receiving widespread praise for her expert witness testimony. “She conveys complex testimony in a simple and forceful manner,” said one source. Head of corporate tax in Copenhagen Thomas Bjerre is a transfer-pricing expert who impresses clients with his “superb technical aptitude”. The firm is also represented in England, Germany and Panama.

Fellow big-four powerhouse KPMG performs strongly in the research, garnering seven inclusions. The “insightful” Célia Castanheiro is praised by clients for her “outstanding commercial awareness” stemming from her time in-house at an oil major’s Portuguese office. An indirect taxation specialist, she has considerable expertise in transfer pricing issues and has provided clients with planning analyses and tax valuation studies. Catarina Breia is held in high regard in Europe for her significant experience providing expert testimony on transfer pricing issues in a wide range of sectors including the automotive, consumer goods, industrial products, construction and real estate sectors. In Washington DC, Joseph Pari is the first port of call for complex tax issues relating to domestic and cross-border M&A transactions with respondents praising his “wealth of experience” and “potent independent valuation judgements”. The “fantastic” Thomas Wessel is a “seasoned veteran” with over 25 years of experience. He is particularly knowledgeable in the area of federal income taxation and is a gifted testifier in complex tax matters relating to M&A transactions.

Six “outstanding” individuals are singled out at Ernst & Young. In Lisbon, managing partner João Alves is a “dominant player” in the Portuguese market with clients commending his “professional integrity” and “technical aptitude”. Paulo Mendonça is no stranger to tax disputes given his time serving as an arbitrator at the CAAD and clients commend his “effective and precise testimony”. In Washington DC, Andrew Dubroff is a specialist in consolidated returns and is praised for his “ability to get right to the heart of the issue”.

Deloitte is also blessed with a strong compliment in this year’s research, boasting five inclusions. The “internationally renowned” Patricia Matos specialises in evaluating pricing models with clients commending her “formidable analytical mind” and “intellectual rigour”. In the firm’s Washington DC office, Bryan Collins is recognised as a distinguished expert with a proficient practice focusing on consolidated returns and the tax implications of M&A transactions. Asger Mosegaard Kelstrup from the firm’s Copenhagen office is highly sought after for his “first-rate expert testimony relating to transfer pricing issues” across a diverse range of industry sectors.

North America

A number of excellent expert witnesses stand out in North America. Stephen Shay at Harvard Law School is an international tax law and income tax specialist and is a “prestigious name” in the market. At the University of Southern California, Edward Kleinbard, a former chief of staff of the US Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, is an “eminent intellectual in the field” with considerable experience as a testifying expert. Don Leatherman at the University of Tennessee is a “fantastic” expert witness with a particular proficiency in issues related to federal income tax for corporates and consolidated groups.

Europe

In Cologne, Oppenhoff & Partner’s Axel Bödefeld is known for rendering “excellent” expert opinions on transfer pricing issues. Berkeley Research Group’s UK chairman Richard Boulton QC is a celebrated testifying expert, thanks to his “calm and composed manner during difficult cross-examinations” and “keen intellect”. Frans Vanistendael at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven’s Department of Economics receives widespread praise for his “significant expertise” in both national and international taxation. According to clients, he is “a model of professionalism and integrity”. Tomi Viitala of Aalto University School of Business is described as a “consummate professional” and “a joy to work with” by respondents.

Rest of the World

Michael Potter at Axiom Forensics in Sydney is a “proficient” forensic accountant with considerable expertise providing expert opinions in relation to complex accounting matters. At the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo, Marco Aurélio Greco is singled out as an “eminent authority in the market”. Respondents praised his “prodigious expertise” and “tremendous credibility”. Humberto Ávila Advogados Associados’ founding partner Humberto Ávila is a “leading expert” and provides clients with “sophisticated expert opinions on the complex issues at stake”. Silvio Simonaggio at his own firm, Simonaggio Certeza Técnica, is a “client favourite” noted for his “meticulous preparation” and “sharp analysis”. Harvey Wainer at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa is praised for his “formidable analytical mind”.

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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.

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