Tax consulting / tax litigation

Russia Tax Firm of the Year in both 2017 and 2018 – 
European Tax Awards | International Tax Review

WHAT WE DO/ SPECIFIC AREAS OF FOCUS

The Russia-based team of our global Tax Practice is one of the biggest among the international law firms in Russia and includes 17 tax and customs practitioners.

The Legal 500 2019

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Russia) LLP's full-service tax practice has a strong reputation as ‘one of the best tax advisory and tax litigation teams in Russia’, according to one client. The sizeable team, headed by the ‘outstanding’ Evgeny Timofeev, who ‘always suggests the most practical and efficient solutions’, attracts domestic and international clients with its 'professionalism, sound technical knowledge of tax matters and outstanding experience'.

The practice specialises in tax structuring of investment in the Russian economy, with a special focus on industries where significant foreign investment has been made over the last 15 years – primarily the consumer goods, real estate, automotive, pharmaceutical and oil & gas industries.

Tax considerations (especially as they relate to the initial investment) often impact significantly on the form and viability of a contemplated transaction or investment. Our advice is always integrated with civil law, regulatory, forex and other aspects, meaning we are able to deliver practical and commercially viable solutions to our clients.

Chambers Europe 2019

Well-reputed tax team offering expertise in contentious matters as well as tax advisory issues such as structuring, indirect taxation and VAT regulations. Particularly recognised for its tax disputes work and also assists with customs issues.

WHAT MAKES US STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD?

  • We are best known as hard-hitting litigators: for us, no-way-out situations simply do not exist; so
  • Our advice is targeted on how the court, not the Ministry of Finance, views the situation; and, as a result,
  • We do not produce heaps of paper, but give real, practical advice in words you will understand. On the other hand,
  • We tell you not what you want to hear, but the actual truth. And
  • You can count on a partner’s attention to your problem. To sum up:
  • We are Special Forces geared not to wage war but to achieve a victory. Our job is to resolve your problems, not just describe them!

OUR SERVICES

Tax structuring

  • Tax advice on foreign investments in Russia;
  • Tax advice and assistance with corporate structuring, including negotiations and drafting of corporate documents (tax aspects);
  • Tax risk assessment and recommendations on building a tax-efficient and safe contract structure (including structuring of intra-group services and licensing);
  • Drafting documents to minimise tax risks of the target contract structure.

Private clients

  • Asset holding structuring in Russia and foreign jurisdictions;
  • Advice on the CFC and deoffshorisation laws, including development of restructuring plans for foreign holding structures;
  • Tax advice, including on private investment funds, building and restructuring of foreign holding structures, etc.;
  • Tax planning for private clients in Russia and abroad; tax advice for individuals.

Ongoing tax advice and tax checks

  • Risk assessment and recommendations on all kinds of tax issues arising from business operations;
  • Developing tax accounting systems and accounting policies;
  • Conducting tax health checks focusing on compliance (to identify tax reserves, unjustified overpayments, unbooked expenses or deductions);
  • Identifying tax risks during pre-investment due diligence, target acquisitions.

Tax audits and tax disputes

  • Challenging individual regulatory acts issued by tax authorities following tax audits;
  • Acting for clients before the Federal Tax Service Central Office and superior courts, including the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation;
  • Defending and supporting clients in tax and customs audits to mitigate the risk of unjustified claims and minimise any additional assessments (including support in questionings, inspections, searches or other control actions).

Transfer-pricing services

  • Drafting documentation to legally justify the choice of pricing methods and as protection against tax claims;
  • Updating and defending transfer pricing documentation before tax authorities and courts in tax audits or disputes;
  • Assessing tax risks and providing recommendations on practical challenges of applying the transfer pricing laws.

Tax crime defence

  • Identifying and assessing tax and other economic crime risks;
  • Defending international structures to minimise criminal law risks;
  • Support during field tax audits with law enforcement officers involved;
  • Developing a defence strategy against criminal law risks; collecting evidence, including arrangement of expert reviews; assistance during interrogations/questionings;
  • Staff training on interacting with tax, law enforcement and other supervisory authorities.

For more details about our international experience in tax consulting / tax litigation, please click here.

Experience

Tax consulting / tax litigation

HeadHunter Group PLC

We have been advising HeadHunter Group PLC (the leading online recruitment platform in Russia and the CIS focused on providing comprehensive talent acquisition services) on various tax issues related to the group restructuring, while the company was engaged in the IPO process, including relocation to Russia in terms of effective management and tax residence status obtained by foreign companies, advice on various intragroup financing and profit repatriation issues, employee option plan taxation.

Guardian Industries

Represented the Guardian Group in complicated tax disputes, in several Russian regions, following Russian tax authorities’ refusal to allow VAT and costs relating to intragroup service contracts to be deducted.

Abbott Laboratories

Developed a cooperation model between Abbott Laboratories and pharmacy chains to encourage the latter to promote pharmaceutical products and purchase bigger volumes of products when bought from independent distributors rather than directly from manufacturers.

Wine Brandy Plant Alliance-1892 LLC

Defended Wine Brandy Plant Alliance-1892 LLC, a major Russian cognac and whiskey producer, in a landmark tax dispute. We proved to the Supreme Court that the adjustment made to VAT deductions upon importation of goods into Russia had been illegal.

LafargeHolcim

LafargeHolcim: evaluated whether the client correctly applied or intended to apply regional property tax benefits in two different Russian regions: for one property, application of the above tax benefit in the elapsed period was to be assessed, while for the other property, located in a different region, the possibilities of the benefit being applied were to be assessed given established court practice and the risks the taxpayer might face in applying it evaluated. 

Ferronordic Machines AB

Advised Ferronordic Machines AB, an authorised dealer of Volvo Construction Equipment, Terex Trucks, Dressta and other related equipment in Russia, on the tax aspects of having ordinary company shares offered and listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange NASDAQ. We conducted a tax due diligence and analysed tax risks and tax assets in connection with the IPO contemplated by the client.

Sealed Air Kaustik

Sealed Air Kaustik JSC: the team won a complicated tax dispute related to bad faith suppliers in the Povolzhskiy District Commercial Court (case No. А12-11807/2017). Even though this type of dispute currently sees very few taxpayer wins, the team managed to convince the court by developing effective defence tactics and providing comprehensive evidence that the client had not received any unjustified tax benefit.

X5 Retail Group NV

Advised X5 Retail Group NV listed in London on tax and corporate aspects of cross-border restructuring of the group’s IP and real estate assets. The advice covered multi-jurisdictional issues (including the respective domestic laws of a number of European jurisdictions) and the possible implications from the Russian law and case law standpoint.

Mars

Mars: extensive ongoing tax assistance to  and their Russian subsidiaries in relation to their distribution activities in Russia aimed at tax-efficient structuring of the client’s advertising, promotion and distribution activities in Russia, including adaptation of distribution agreements, structuring of the distribution of point-of-sale materials (POSM) and justifying a no-VAT status of bonuses paid to retailers.

Jaguar Land Rover, Avtoframos (Renault), Volvo Cars, Philips

Jaguar Land Rover, Avtoframos (Renault), Volvo Cars, Philips, Xerox, Alliance Healthcare: Successfully representing companies before the Supreme Commercial Court concerning VAT on bonuses granted by suppliers to their dealers.

Rusklimat Group

Providing comprehensive legal and tax advisory support to Rusklimat Group, the biggest Russian manufacturer and importer of climate control equipment, in relation to its programme for restructuring the Group’s business units and divisions. This programme is designed to optimise the distribution network structure and raise the Group’s attractiveness to investors.

News & Insights:

Tax consulting / tax litigation