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  1. VAT and indirect tax
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

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Baker McKenzie LLP’s specialist team, headed by non-lawyer Mark Delaney (who attracts praise for his ‘experience, judgement and technical knowledge’), leverages the firm’s extensive global network to provide international tax structuring advice to a multinational client base. Other key contacts include tax director Mark Agnew and senior associate David Jamieson, who stands out for tax litigation.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP combines transactional expertise with an extensive track record on contentious matters. Heather Gething is representing Telefónica Europe in its judicial review of HMRC’s change in assessing tax linked to roaming charges. The practice also handles regulatory issues such as VAT rules on pensions investment services. William Arrenberg is a key contact in this regard.

Ashurst has ‘a very detailed technical understanding of the issues at play’ in indirect tax, enabling it to ‘provide guidance in a diverse range of subjects’. On the disputes front, Nicholas Gardner continues to act for Bookit in its appeal on the VAT exempt status of card handling services. In another highlight, Simon Swann and Paul Miller, who lead the way on real estate matters, are advising the London Legacy Development Corporation on VAT issues pertaining to the development of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP has ‘strong technical and practical knowledge of property tax’, making it ‘one of the best for real estate issues’. Elizabeth Bradley and Alan Sinyor are the key real estate contacts and act for a client list including Land Securities and Carlyle Europe Real Estate Partners. Sinyor has also handled cases involving the VAT treatment of a number of services including international phone calls.

At Clifford Chance, practice head David Saleh (‘a leading expert in real estate tax’) advised Deloitte on its pre-let of a 275,000 sq ft office building. Saleh also handles tax-related disputes. Other clients include Hammerson and TIAA Henderson Real Estate.

At DLA Piper, practice head and real estate expert Richard Woolich advised office-space provider WeWorks, a new client, on VAT issues. The team, which includes tax litigation head Geoffrey Tack, is also active in the online gambling sector for clients including LeoVegas, as well as the financial services sector.

Eversheds LLP has continued to grow its practice under the leadership of indirect tax disputes specialist Giles Salmond, who ‘identifies opportunities others would miss’. On the advisory side, legal director Camilla Spielman handles financial services tax issues, particularly those affecting asset managers, while tax head Cathryn Vanderspar regularly advises on real estate structuring matters for on real estate funds and investment trusts.

Counsel Lee Squires (who ‘displays a wide knowledge of indirect taxes’) leads Hogan Lovells International LLP’s practice, which acts for a diverse client base including technology companies such as Amazon, financial institutions including Citibank and Prudential, and corporates active in the real estate and consumer sectors.

At Norton Rose Fulbright, European VAT group head Chris Bates is handling a number of pensions-related VAT recovery claims. Other key contacts include Angela Savin and renewable energy expert Matthew Hodkin.

Olswang LLP is noted for its breadth of indirect tax expertise. Key contacts include Stephen Hignett, who has ‘incomparable knowledge and experience of gambling tax’; Cliona Kirby, who is ‘very savvy on property tax’; and the ‘solutions-oriented’ Graham Chase, who acts for clients including Kaupthing and Ronson Capital Partners.

Pinsent Masons LLPcombines deep technical knowledge with a savvy commercial approach’ and its team has ‘real forensic talent should litigation be necessary’. Darren Mellor-Clark is recommended for financial services related indirect tax issues, and the key disputes contacts are group head Jason Collins, Ian Hyde and Stuart Walsh.

Rosetta Tax LLP is a specialist firm with a team of ‘distinguished VAT lawyers’, which includes Linda Adelson, who is a key contact for financial services and insurance-related matters; Nick McChesney, a leading landfill tax expert who also handles issues relating to cross-border supply of goods and services; and barrister Peter Mason, who is singled out for his ‘excellent track record in winning cases against HMRC’.

Simmons & Simmons’ team, headed by Nick Cronkshaw, acts for a wide-ranging client base including Macquarie Bank, British Land and Fidelity Investments. On the advisory side, the practice has a particular focus on asset management, energy and infrastructure, financial institutions, life sciences and TMT matters. Nick Skerrett, who ‘knows how to get results for his clients’, is a key contact on the contentious side.

Bark&co is recommended for criminal and civil contentious VAT matters. In a standout First Tier Tax Tribunal case, civil litigation manager Khalil Makonnen successfully represented a former mobile phone trader in its appeal of a VAT assessment by HMRC.

Clive Jones is now the key contact at King & Wood Mallesons following Heather Corben’s departure. He is recommended for his real estate expertise and regularly advises clients such as Goodman Real Estate Adviser and The Stage Shoreditch on transactional matters.

Mayer Brown International LLP’s Sandy Bhogal provides standalone structuring and planning advice, in addition to handling transactional tax matters, to clients in the real estate and financial services sectors.

At Nabarro LLP, Nick Burt works closely with the firm’s wider real estate practice to provide tax advice on big-ticket real estate transactions. Clients include Great Portland Estates and Lend Lease Group.

Peters & Peters Solicitors LLP regularly handles VAT cases involving parallel criminal and civil investigations. Key contacts include Neil Swift and the highly experienced Monty Raphael QC.

At Stephenson Harwood, Maryanna Sharrock regularly handles real estate related transactional indirect tax issues for clients such as Schroder UK Real Estate Fund. Hugo Jenney has broad-ranging expertise spanning tonnage tax, asset finance and private wealth.

At Wedlake Bell LLP, Michael Ridsdale handles a wide range of transactional indirect tax matters, and acts on a standalone basis for FTSE 100 companies and foreign multinationals.

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