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Who Represents Who

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Jannine Forgues and Jaime Araújo jointly head Araujo & Forgues’ widely respected practice; they are based in La Paz and Santa Cruz respectively. Senior associate Joyce Clavijo is also recommended, although the team – which handles standalone tax matters as well as supporting the firm’s other departments, including corporate – is noted for fielding accountants as well as lawyers. Representative clients include Repsol, Siemens and Yanbal.

With offices in Santa Cruz and La Paz, tax boutique Benítez Rivas, Pérez & Asociados is directed by Elbio Pérez; technical specialist Adriana Sanjinés, and Andrés Ostertag, who focuses on preventive tax work and defending clients against judgments handed down by Boliva’s tax authority (Servicio de Impuestso Nacionales or SIN), are also linchpins of the practice. The team’s client roster is drawn from a wide range of industries; key names include Banco Nacional de Bolivia, Embotelladoras Bolivianas Unidas, Repsol Bolivia, Telecel and Soboce.

Tufiño y Villegas’ practice gives clients ‘ample support with its decisions and strategies’ and the team counts tax litigation, transactional tax matters and restructuring as its core pillars. ‘Solid, direct’ group head Álvaro Villegas is ‘highly reliable, responsible and always timely’; he assisted Industrias de Aceite with the tax aspects of its acquisition of ADM SAO. Praised by clients for its oil and gas industry knowledge, the practice assisted YPFB Andina, Petrobras Bolivia and Total E&P Bolivie (Sucursal Bolivia) – as operational owners of the San Alberto and San Antonio oil and gas blocks – with VAT credit distribution. Other matters saw Amtrust Insurance Spain instructed Villegas on the tax-planning aspects of establishing a trust for investing in Bolivian real estate. José Luis Tufiño is also active in the sector; Sandra Vasquez and Milenka Salvatierra are both well-regarded senior associates. The department operates from the firm’s La Paz, Santa Cruz and Cochabamba offices.

International tax matters and tax work relating to multi-jurisdictional transactions are the key strengths of Ferrere’s ‘very good, highly proactive’ practice, which prides itself on its accounting capabilities, is often active in litigation, ‘adds value’ and provides ‘timely advice’. ‘Innovative, highly knowledgeable’ group head Pablo Ordoñez represented Uber Technologies in administrative proceedings against the SIN after the latter attempted to close Uber’s Bolivian headquarters in Santa Cruz. Other clients include HBO Latin America and Nestlé. Alexandra Ortíz and Miguel Ángel Gumucio are senior associates well versed in tax matters.

Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C’s La Paz-based team frequently assists the firm’s other departments, particularly the corporate and energy practices, with the tax aspects of complex mandates; it also handles standalone tax matters, especially litigation. Tax planning and litigation expert Mauricio Dalman heads the group and recently advised Alicorp on the tax aspects of its $200m acquisition of Industrias de Aceite; he also represented Alta Estética in administrative tax litigation against tax authority SIN. Associates Belen Montes and Mauricio Viscarra are regularly seen on tax matters. Other clients include Repsol E&P Bolivia, American Airlines and Export-Import Bank of China.

Noted for its ‘very fast response times, creative legal solutions and multidisciplinary approach’, Indacochea & Asociados’ department has ‘very strong structuring knowledge’ and leaves clients ‘very happy’. Defending clients against tax rulings, assisting them with corporate matters and advising them on transfer pricing matters are the team’s key strengths. Mariana Pereira heads the group and senior associate Candys Dorado is also particularly active in the tax sector: she represented Servicios Petroleros Marlin Bolivia in proceedings to reduce a $600,000 tax obligation imposed by the SIN. In addition, the team was further strengthened with the incorporation of tax-dedicated junior associate Rina Montaño, who arrived from an in-house position at Repsol. Bayer Boliviana, El Arreador and Argentine company Gibraltar are also clients.

Especially active in supporting other departments with sizeable and complex mandates, Moreno Baldivieso Estudio De Abogados’ tax practice is also strong in litigation. Delfor Zapata, who co-leads the group with Luis Moreno, assisted regional development bank CAF with various matters, including securing its tax-exempt status. Vestas Wind Systems instructed the team on a cross-border matter involving the establishment of a tax structure in support of Vestas’ bid to construct and operate a 93MW wind park in Warnes, Bolivia. Energy and mining are particularly active sectors for the practice, where its clients include Pan American Energy, Pan American Silver, Taunus and Macallum Group. Amaury Sport Organisation is another client on the contentious side. Senior associate Teddy Mercado is also recommended.

The tax department at the newly-formed Bufete Aguirre, Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa combines teams with expertise across both contentious and advisory matters, including tax compliance and appeals against SIN tax-assessment rulings. Clients have ‘nothing but praise’ for a practice which is ‘responsive, understanding and excellent in all respects’, demonstrates ‘excellent response times, business knowledge’ and ‘value for money’, and ‘analyses potential solutions thoroughly’ as well as ‘investing time in understanding client needs’. Key practitioners include the ‘strategic’ and ‘analytic’ Mauricio Torrico, along with Milenka Saavedra and Fernando Aguirre who are ‘proactive, methodical’ and ‘good communicators and negotiators’. Recent mandates saw Torrico lead advice to Agropecuaria Chia Corp Bolivia on the tax structuring of one of its acquisitions and representing LATAM Airlines Group in tax litigation before the SIN. Tax specialist Gonzalo Prudencio joined the Santa Cruz office from an in-house role at YPFB Chaco in January 2018.

Luis Valda heads the practice group at banking and finance boutique Criales & Urcullo, which includes accountants as well as lawyers; it has particular experience in international tax work, including transfer pricing matters. Valda provided tax and accounting advice to a Bolivian mining company on the structuring of a new company to develop a mineral treatment plant. Rubén Acuña is a financial auditing expert who assists Valda on numerous transactions; financial adviser Gabriel Galarza is also well regarded. Other clients include Banco Mercantil Santa Cruz and, on the transactional tax side, D&M Group.

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