The Legal 500

Colombia > Tax

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Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Tax
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

An ‘outstanding actor in the tax field’, Brigard & Urrutia attracts praise for its ‘in-depth knowledge of tax legislation and its practical advice, which is not just appropriate but clever and innovative’; its service is ‘fast and high value for money’. The group acts for a wide range of clients, in areas such as infrastructure, energy and natural resources, private equity and real estate. Recent work included acting for Producciones RTI/Telemundo in a COP20bn dispute concerning the applicability of export-of-services regulations to films sold outside the country and released in Colombia; and advising a major property developer on the tax structuring of a new private equity fund. Other clients include Isagen, Grupo Bancolombia and Disney. The team is led by José Andrés Romero, Carlos Fradique-Méndez and Lucas Moreno.

A member of the global tax network TAXAND, Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta attracts praise for its ‘fantastic assistance across the tax field’, covering transactions, tax planning and contentious matters. The ‘efficient, knowledgeable and hardworking’ five-lawyer team is led by Mauricio Piñeros, who has more than 25 years of experience and is well versed in investment matters and estate planning. He is assisted by tax litigation specialist and transfer pricing expert Álvaro Andrés Díaz, and senior associates Ignacio Vélez and Carolina Bobillier. The team acted for the shareholders of Malco Cargo and Agencia de Aduana María Londoño on tax structuring matters connected to the companies’ $9.3m sale to TCC Inversiones and others. It also advised Almacenes Éxito on the tax aspects of its indirect acquisition of supermarket chain Libertad in Argentina and a 50% stake in Brazilian Pão de Açucar from Casino Group, including designing the new tax structure applicable to the investment in Libertad; the aggregate value of the transaction was $1.6bn. Other clients include Bavaria, Avianca, LAN and Colpatria.

With more than three decades’ experience in the area, Lewin & Wills, Abogados is ‘one of the most recognisible names in tax matters’. It undertakes instructions ranging from advice on new legislation and interpretation/analysis of the law, to inter-company tax structuring and tax planning. The 12-lawyer team serves local and international corporations and governmental and multilateral organisations, and is highlighted for its ‘professionalism, sophistication, high level of service and constant availability’. Founding partner and department head Alfredo Lewin is ‘an authority in the area’, and tax planning and restructuring specialist Adrián Rodríguez and Laureano Gómez are also recommended. Clients have included ExxonMobil, Carbones del Cerrejón and Pacific Rubiales.

Posse Herrera Ruiz’s group is ‘first class: efficient and resourceful, with great knowledge of tax affairs’. The 25-strong practice is one of the largest in the country, and covers the full range of tax matters across transactions, transfer pricing, general consultancy, litigation and wealth management and planning. Co-head of the practice, Juan Guillermo Ruiz is ‘an authority in tax issues not only in Colombia but in Latin America, and is highly respected by the authorities’. Barranquilla-based Felipe Aroca co-leads the group, and is notable for his expertise in contentious matters and transfer pricing. Associate Juan Camilo de Bedout is also recommended. The team is acting for Anadarko in the structuring and development of its offshore operations in the country; and also assisted Interconexión Eléctrica on corporate and finance structuring matters relating to its $450m Colombia-Panamá electricity interconnection project. Other clients include Shell, Bancolombia, Diageo and Terpel.

Baker & McKenzie S.A.S. has an ‘efficient, friendly and committed’ team covering transactions and litigation, and has been particularly active in the oil-and-gas, and mining sectors. Work highlights include advising Advent International on the tax due diligence relating to its $350m acquisition of a minority stake in LifeMiles from Avianca; and assisted Coca ColaFEMSA in relation to its $250m free trade zone project in Colombia. The team is led by the ‘client-oriented’ Ciro Meza, who is ‘a great professional’; and Jaime Girón, who brings his litigation expertise to the practice. Chevron, Pacific Rubiales, AngloGold Ashanti and Drummond are also clients.

Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas’ compact but ‘experienced and resourceful’ tax group covers planning, structuring, due diligence, day-to-day advisory matters and litigation, with Ernesto López a newly promoted partner on the contentious side. The team advised Plus Petrol in relation to the acquisition of oil-and-gas corporation APCO, and their merger in Colombia; and is acting for America Flor Group in $4m VAT proceedings, and also in an administrative claim before the Colombian tax authorities. The practice is led by Camilo Cortés, with Carmen Sanabria also noted.

Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría’s tax team ‘exceeds clients’ expectations’; ‘it excels at every level and its advice is always pragmatic and solid’. The ‘reputable and very knowledgeableMartín Acero is in charge of the practice and advises on tax planning and corporate structuring matters in the oil-and-gas, mining, infrastructure and transport sectors. The firm is also noted for its work designing and implementing cross-border products and tax structures for private equity investors. A ‘great leading figure’, Carolina Rozo is vastly experienced in planning, structuring and transactional matters; and associate María Alejandra Buitrago is ‘diligent, professional and knowledgeable’. The practice advised Brookfield on the tax due diligence and tax litigation contingencies related to its COP6.4bn acquisition of Isagen; and also devised a tax structure for Mitsubishi and Daabon Group’s project to develop port facilities and operations on the Colombian coast. Goldman Sachs and Celsia are also clients.

Praised for ‘its independent advice and emphasis on finance sector matters’, tax boutique Quiñones Cruz has a wide-ranging non-contentious and contentious practice, including domestic and international tax planning, arbitration, administrative proceedings, transfer pricing litigation, and public policy design and constitutional tax law matters. It acted for Citibank before the Colombian tax authorities, and for Emgesa in administrative claims relating to special contributions. Other clients include Sacsa and the Colombian Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (Confecamaras). Founding partners Lucy Cruz and Antonio Quiñones are highly recommended, with Diego Quiñones and Natalia Quiñones also noted.

Under the leadership of Fernando Zarama, and able to draw on the firm’s international network, the team at Garrigues maintains a strong practice offering creative and practical advice to clients, and has experience of challenging and complex instructions, including tax planning and contentious mandates. Key figures include the ‘creative’ Camilo Zarama and César Cermeño, a former senior manager at Ernst & Young and Deloitte. The firm is currently acting for Fondo Financiero de Proyectos de Desarrollo (FONADE) in a $35m dispute with the tax authority relating to the validity of several administrative decisions; and also advised Cementos Molins on the tax implications of its $370m joint venture with Colombian multinational Corona for the development of a cement business. OHL, Grupo Winner, CODAD and Grupo Legis are also clients.

Led by ‘excellent communicator’ Catalina Hoyos, Godoy & Hoyos Abogados has ‘an excellent team of lawyers’ with a strong reputation for tax litigation and also active in planning, foreign trade and due diligence, and has an impressive track record advising major local and international corporations. It also maintains a strategic alliance with global tax player Ryan, increasing its activity in international matters. On the transactional side, it advised Brookfield in relation to its $2bn acquisition of a 57.6% stake in Isagen; and is also instructed by Perfilamos del Cauca (Grupo Ternium) in relation to transfer pricing disputes with the tax authorities. Other clients include Grupo Nutresa, BNP, BTG Pactual and ExxonMobil.

Agile but rigorous’ tax boutique Mauricio A. Plazas Vega Abogados & Asociados is well regarded for its work for corporate and investment clients. As well as handling general tax advisory and planning matters, it has a particularly well-regarded litigation practice, covering areas including constitutional and community law. It is currently acting for an energy corporation in disputes with the authorities relating to the applicability of VAT legislation to products used in its production process. Other clients include Grasco, Cemex Colombia, Yanbal de Colombia, and ExxonMobil.

An ‘active and reputed’ boutique, Cahn-Speyer, Paredes & Asociados is particularly well known for its contentious work, and is also recommended for inbound and outbound investment, restructuring, and transfer pricing matters. ‘Very talented and experienced litigator’ Paul Cahn-Speyer leads the practice, he is well versed in international taxation and trade and commerce matters, and stands out for his expertise in sanctions imposed for non-compliance with tax obligations.

Holland & Knight’s eight-strong team is led by Juan Carlos Valencia and serves an array of major corporations in the mining, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and food and drink industries. It covers tax planning, day-to-day matters and litigation, and has been involved in some of the most significant claims against the Colombian tax authorities. Recent matters include advising the shareholders of Bogotá Beer Company on the tax implications of its acquisition by AmBev.

The team at Norton Rose Fulbright acts for local and international corporations on matters including cross-border transactions, litigation, and the structuring and development of efficient national and international tax structures. Previous clients have included Pacific Rubiales, Bridgestone, IAMGOLD and YPF.

Parra Rodríguez Abogados has a longstanding practice in the area, assisting local and foreign clients on matters such as tax planning, regulatory issues, and litigation before administrative and court authorities. The practice is directed by Álvaro Parra, who is experienced in complex mandates, and associate Luis Fernando Díaz is also recommended. Clients include Petreve, Knauf international, Aktivos Inmobiliarios and Reiko Inversiones.

The four-strong team at Pinilla, González & Prieto is known for its capability in the construction, pharmaceutical, education and communication sectors, and is led by ‘specialist in tax law and customs’ Camilo Caycedo. The practice acted as counsel to Agropecuaria 2G on tax planning matters relating to real estate properties with an aggregate value of around $160m; and is also acting for Makro Computo in proceedings seeking the annulment of administrative decisions and a rebate on grounds of undue tax assessment by the Finance Secretariat of Bogotá.

Rodriguez Azuero Contexto Legal Abogados covers cross-border tax planning, litigation and due diligence, and also handles foreign exchange instructions and estate planning for high-net-worth individuals and families. The team is led by Federico Escobar Benavides, and counts Plásticos Truher, Capitalia Colombia and Corporación San Pablo among its clients.

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