Alexander Erasov

Counsel, Tax Dispute Resolution Group | Tax Crime Defence

Alexander specialises in dealing with the tax and law enforcement authorities, including for dispute resolution, and advising and supporting clients on different tax matters.

Before joining Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Russia) Alexander worked with the tax litigation and tax dispute resolution practice of Ernst & Young.

At the start of his professional career, Alexander worked with the Russian tax authority responsible for the administration of all foreign companies with branches and representative offices in Moscow. This allowed Alexander to develop a deep understanding of internal processes and administrative procedures and how to use them effectively in the client’s favour. 

Alexander has accumulated extensive hands-on experience of providing legal support to clients during field and office tax audits and tax sphere research and investigations by law enforcement bodies. He also has a track record of successful tax dispute resolution both at the pre-litigation stage and in courts, including preparation of a complete range of procedural documents and acting for clients before courts and assorted government bodies.

Alexander has also extensively advised international and Russian companies regarding the tax consequences of various transactions, Russian and international tax planning and tax optimisation, structuring of operations and establishment of businesses, transfer pricing and permanent establishment issues. Additionally, Alexander participated in a series of tax review projects that included tax due diligence reviews on the acquisition of Russian targets by foreign and domestic investors.

In 2017 2019 years prestigious international publication International Tax Review has included Alexander in Tax Controversy Leaders as one of the leading professionals in Russia in the resolution of tax disputes. The Legal 500 says Alexander is “a name to note for tax-related disputes, criminal defence and investigations”, while Best Lawyers 2020 Edition includes him in the list of the best Russian criminal defence lawyers. 

Track record:

  • A major French glass manufacturer. Successfully defended the Client from the tax authorities attacking its structure in Russia, which could lead to a collapse of the Client’s most crucial business processes.
  • A major Russian railway carrier. (1) Successfully challenging additional tax charges of withholding tax based on the Tax authority applying the dependent agent concept. In this case, the loan agreement with the Cyprus company was signed by a Russian physical body on the ground of respective power of attorney (the amount in dispute was about 2.8 million USD). This case was the first court case in Russia concerning the application of the dependent agent concept. (2) Successfully challenging the Tax authority’s refusal to reimburse VAT based on the treatment of transactions related to the acquisition of cistern wagons as sham transactions (the amount in dispute was about 25 million USD).
  • A major international pharmaceutical company. (1) Successfully resolving a tax dispute with respect to the Tax authority’s refusal to refund a tax overpayment due on the expiration of a 3-year period (the amount in dispute was about 3 million USD). (2) Successfully challenging several Tax authorities’ decisions in respect of input VAT relating to the acquisition of marketing and information services (the amount in dispute was about 3.5 million USD). (3) Successfully challenging additional charges for failing to meet the date to submit a tax return. Contesting the decisions in a judicial procedure led to the fines being reduced to 100 RUR (the amount in dispute was about 0.2 million USD).
  • A major German automaker. Successfully challenging additional tax charges imposed by Tax authorities because of leasing security deposits being requalified to the Company’s income, at the moment that they were received by the Company. The Company, which was acting as a lessor in the leasing agreements, had treated the security deposits as advance payments. (the amount in dispute was about 5 million USD).
  • A major German bathroom and lavatory equipment producer. Successfully challenging additional tax charges that related to the treatment of bonuses and advertising expenses for VAT and profits tax purposes (the amount in dispute was about 0.7 million USD).
  • A Cyprus company that owned immovable property in Russia. Participated in successfully challenging the Tax authority’s refusal to reimburse VAT based on the ground that the Cyprus company was registered as the immovable property owner with the Russian tax authorities , not as a branch or as representative office (the amount in dispute was about 0.8 million USD).

Alexander is a member of the International Fiscal Association (IFA), gives lectures on tax law at the Kutafin Moscow State Law University (MSAL) and serves on the Tax Committees of the Association of European Businesses and the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia.