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Colombia > Tax > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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Index of tables

  1. Tax
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Who Represents Who

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Brigard & Urrutianot only knows the sector but goes the extra mile to help clients’; ‘its experience and quality of service is outstanding’. The team is advising OCENSA on tax planning and structuring matters; and has also been engaged by Producciones RTI/Telemundo to act in a dispute relating to the applicability of export regulations to productions sold outside the country and screened in Colombia. Other clients include AIG, Disney, ISAGEN, Univisión and Ashmore Group. The team is led by José Andrés Romero, with Lucas Moreno and head of international trade José Francisco Mafla also active members of the team.

Gómez-Pinzón Zuleta has a ‘top-notch’ tax practice with ‘deep knowledge of the area and an outstanding capacity to combine academic tax knowledge with necessary pragmatism’. Tax and capital markets expert Mauricio Piñeros is the key figure, with assistance coming from tax litigation and estate planning specialist Álvaro Andrés Díaz and senior associate Ignacio Vélez. A team led by Díaz successfully acted for Avianca and affiliates in an administrative dispute with the Superintendence of Ports and Transportation, challenging the claim of a surveillance fee. Another highlight saw the team represent Emgesa in appeal proceedings before the Colombian Tax Office (DIAN), the authority having challenged a deduction for investments in the construction of a power energy plant and rejected the application of a tax stability contract between the client and the Colombian Ministry of Mines and Energy. Other clients include Empresas Públicas de Medellín (EPM), Bavaria and LAN.

An important name in the tax arena in Colombia’, Lewin & Wills, Abogados draws on three decades of experience in the sector, handling instructions ranging from assistance with newly enacted legislation to inter-company structuring and tax planning matters. The ‘authoritative’ Alfredo Lewin heads the 12-strong team, which provides services to local and international companies, governmental bodies and multilateral organisations. Clients have included ExxonMobil, Carbones del Cerrejón and Pacific Exploration and Production (formerly Pacific Rubiales).

One of the best firms in the country for tax issues’, Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría’s 12-strong team is led by the ‘knowledgeable and creativeMartín Acero and ‘leading practitionerCarolina Rozo. Recent work includes advising Schrader Camargo on general tax issues and the structuring of two infrastructure projects in Colombia and the Dominican Republic; and acting for Daabon Group in a complex tax structuring for the acquisition of Odinsa’s interest in Sociedad Portuaria de Santa María. Procafecol, Stanton Group, Terranum Corporativo and WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff are also clients.

The ‘efficient and resourceful’ tax team at Posse Herrera Ruiz is one of the largest in the country, and attracts praise for ‘its high standards, constant availability and ability to deal with complex issues’, covering general tax advice, tax structuring, litigation and wealth management for high-net-worth individuals. Practice head Juan Guillermo Ruiz is respected internationally as an authority on tax matters, and recently advised Petrobras on the tax aspects of the $1.2bn sale of its Argentinian subsidiary to Pampa Energía. Among its other work highlights, the team advised Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana on tax-efficient structures for a $550m international bond issuance; and Anadarko on tax and customs issues relating to its offshore operations in the country. Felipe Aroca and senior associate Juan Camilo de Bedout are also noted for their expertise.

Baker McKenzie S.A.S. has a ‘robust’ practice covering general tax issues, wealth management, litigation, compliance and transfer pricing. It assisted PSP Investments in tax due diligence matters connected to its $150m acquisition of real estate corporation Amarilo; and represented AngloGold Ashanti in tax litigation proceedings relating to its accounting methods concerning the taxation of income. Other clients include Pepsico, Terranum, Herbalife and Copa Airlines. The ‘client-oriented’ Ciro Meza leads the practice together with Gustavo Sánchez and Rodrigo Castillo.

Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas’ group covers day-to-day tax advisory matters, tax planning, transaction structuring and litigation, advising local and international corporations and attracting regular instructions from international law firms to assist with Colombian tax legislation. The practice was engaged by BBDO Worldwide to advise on tax due diligence issues relating to its purchase of a majority interest in a group of Colombian corporations with an aggregate value approaching $40m. It also advised Siemens and Dresser Rand on transfer pricing issues connected to inter-company transactions and compliance with the ‘arm’s-length’ principle. Camilo Cortés leads the practice, with Carmen Sanabria also recommended.

Well-reputed boutiqueCahn-Speyer, Paredes & Asociados has a very active tax litigation practice, and is also highly sought for advice on inbound and outbound investment, restructuring and transfer pricing matters. ‘Experienced and respected’ litigator Paul Cahn-Speyer leads the practice, and is vastly experienced in matters of international taxation, trade and commerce, and sanctions imposed for non-compliance.

Boutique Quiñones Cruz is ‘a well-established name in the tax arena’. It acts for clients in a wide variety of areas including domestic and international tax planning, arbitration, administrative proceedings, transfer pricing litigation, public policy design and constitutional law disputes. Lucy Cruz and Antonio Quiñones are both key figures, with Diego Quiñones and Natalia Quiñones also recommended. The team’s track record includes representing Citibank before the tax authorities and Emgesa in disputes concerning tax contributions. Sacsa and the Colombian Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (Confecamaras) are among its clients.

The ‘creative and practical’ team at Garrigues has been involved in some of the country’s highest-value tax disputes, and is also very active advising public and private bodies on tax reforms and government policies, with a strong track record in tax planning. Fernando Zarama, who has more than 30 years’ experience in tax and customs, heads the practice with Camilo Zarama, with support from principal associate César Cermeño. A team led by Camilo Zarama successfully represented Praco Didacol in relation to an official audit of $25m expenses recorded by the client in its tax declaration under amortisation of purchased goodwill, which the tax authority questioned as non-deductible. The team is currently advising the Post-Conflict Ministry and the EU on a project to draft a tax benefits bill for private corporations willing to invest in areas affected by the armed conflict between military forces and FARC guerrillas.

Under the leadership of ‘respected practitioner’ Catalina Hoyos, Godoy & Hoyos Abogados SAS’ ‘impressive’ team of ‘excellent lawyers’ covers tax planning, foreign trade and due diligence, and has recently been busy in tax arbitration disputes and infrastructure-related mandates. The firm represented the Colombian state in an $80m infrastructure arbitration involving tax issues, initiated by Coviandes (a subsidiary of Corficolombiana Group); and also assisted Almacénes Exito in tax structuring issues related to its Viva Malls real estate project (the largest of its kind in the country).

Tax boutique Mauricio A. Plazas Vega Abogados & Asociados is known for its advice to corporate and investment clients, and is recommended for litigation as well as general tax advice and planning assistance. Mauricio Plazas is a leading figure in the tax arena. Clients have included Grasco, Cemex Colombia, Yanbal de Colombia and ExxonMobil.

Pinilla, González & Prieto’s tax practice covers compliance, general advisory, planning and litigation, with strength in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, education, construction and communication. The team is representing Constructora Bolivar before the Colombian Tax Authority (DIAN) in connection with preliminary corporate tax enquiries; and is also acting for Makro Computo in two disputes against the authority related to industry and trade tax. Camilo Caycedo leads the six-lawyer practice.

Working closely with the firm’s other departments, DLA Piper Martinez Beltran’s tax group is led by Felipe Ospina, and is very active on the tax aspects of M&A transactions, recently advising on the acquisition of the La República newspaper. The team is also advising Connair on tax issues triggered by its opening of operations in the country. Ospina is also experienced in tax litigation and tax planning, and has advised several state bodies in these areas.

Holland & Knight has a wide-ranging tax practice, covering both preventative and remedial matters at all levels including tax planning, day-to-day advice and litigation. The eight-strong team, led by Juan Carlos Valencia, serves clients in the mining, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and food and drink sectors. It advises Ventura Capital and associated companies on tax and foreign exchange issues regarding their day-to-day operations and other taxable activities; and also assisted Constructora NIO on tax matters relating to the construction of a hotel in the city of Neiva.

Parra Rodríguez Abogados’ tax practice is one of the oldest in the country, advising local and foreign clients on tax planning, regulatory matters, and disputes. Practice head Álvaro Parra has more than 20 years’ experience in the area, and is supported by senior associate Luis Fernando Díaz and dual-qualified Cristoph Möller, who is very active for German-speaking clients. The team advised Knauf International in relation to its acquisition of assets and business activities in the country, and has since been engaged to provide ongoing tax advice to the client. It has also advised major aircraft lessors such as GE Aviation Capital, Nordic Aviation Capital and SMBC in relation to their dealings with local air corporations.

The six-lawyer team at CMS Rodríguez Azuero Contexto Legal Abogados is led by Federico Escobar. It covers cross-border planning, litigation and due diligence, as well as foreign exchange matters and estate planning for high-net-worth individuals and families. It is currently assisting a corporation in devising a tax-efficient structure for the sale of several real estate assets owned by associated companies in insolvency proceedings.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s tax team works for local and foreign clients on cross-border transactions, litigation, and the structuring and development of tax-efficient structures. It has advised clients such as Bridgestone, IAMGOLD and YPF.

Oscar Gutiérrez Herrán and José Alejandro Herrera lead the tax group at Palacios Lleras, which has a growing profile in the market. It advises on strategic issues including tax planning, regulatory matters and pricing, as well as assisting major international corporations in judicial claims against the tax authorities. The group provides ongoing tax advice to Acción Fiduciaria, one of the largest fiduciary corporations in Colombia, on matters including long-term tax planning and litigation. It is also representing Drummond in complex litigation connected to transfer pricing and the applicability of certain tax legislation to its activities in the country. Cecolor, Imsajor and Inversiones Raad are also clients.

A new entry to the ranking, boutique Rodriguez Bravo Abogados is active across tax planning, due diligence, reorganisations and litigation. The three-lawyer practice is led by the experienced Sebastián Rodriguez, who is a former head of Norton Rose Fulbright’s tax department. The team is currently advising Desarrollo Urbano y Agroindustrial de la Sabana as well as other companies which are part of the largest flower-growers group of the country.

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