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Clear market leaderChévez, Ruiz, Zamarripa y Cía SCis undoubtedly an institution’ and it ‘works extraordinarily well’, being especially noted for its litigation work and its legal opinions. Founded as an accountancy firm 35 years ago, it maintains one foot in legal work (which it has undertaken for over 20 years) and another in accountancy, and operates from offices in Mexico City, Monterrey, Querétaro and New York City, as well as its new Madrid office (opened in February 2018) under the leadership of Pere M Pons, a lateral hire from Uría Menéndez who was previously based in NYC. In total the firm houses some 400 professionals, of which approximately half are lawyers who cover tax consulting and litigation, transfer pricing, social security and international trade matters. As corporate law firms have started to establish or grow their tax practices, CRZ lawyers have been much in demand; recent moves saw associates Alicia Abundez and Arturo Portilla A join Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C. and Galicia Abogados SC, respectively. However, the firm has continued to respond fittingly and made up four new partners in Mexico City at the beginning of the year (Valentín Ibarra, Alfonso García and Gerardo Canseco in strategic administrative litigation, and Rodrigo Adam in tax consulting), as well as making the above mentioned lateral hire of Pons. The practice has been active with clients in the construction, real estate and projects sectors, recently, assisting CIM Group on tax matters related to its MXN$4.2bn acquisition of six residential towers from PGIM Real Estate (Prudential); and the buyer with the tax aspects of a MXN$322m acquisition of 70% of a retail project located in Guanajuato. It also remains busy with restructuring cases, having been present on the restructuring of Empresas ICA. The hefty team includes Ricardo Rendon, a transfer pricing specialist who also handles international work and issues related to BEPS; René Meza is known for his tax planning work and specialises in M&A and cross border transactions (he also has capital markets expertise), and Raul Navarro Becerra also handles tax planning, with a focus on international transactions and expertise in energy, restructuring and trusts. Armando Lara joined the firm in 2016 having previously been Director General for International Treaties at the Ministry of Finance (SHCP); his specialisations include international taxation (including BEPS) and treaty-related work; while Ricardo Cervantes, Manuel Sáinz Orantes, and Alejandro Torres all have over 25 years’ experience in the sector and handle disputes; as do Eudenio Franzoni and César G Meraz, managing partners of the Querétaro and the Monterrey offices, respectively. Pablo Corvera is especially known for his work in financial matters; Daniel de la Parra leads the firm’s anti-money laundering practice; and Eduardo Valenzuela manages the firm’s New York office and has expertise in real estate and M&A transactions, finance and energy, and also leads the firm’s FATCA and CRS practices. Non-lawyer Samy Lazarov covers wealth management and estate planning.

A ‘very strong’ one-stop-shop practice that includes lawyers and some accountants and which provides tax planning, transactional tax advice (including on M&A, private equity, capital markets and financial products), and representation in tax disputes to national and international companies, as well as consultancy and estate-planning services to individuals, Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C. continued its run of impressive mandates. The team acted as counsel to GE Power on the Mexican aspects of the global $3.4bn sale of its water business to Suez, and in another high-value transaction, acted as tax counsel on Banorte’s $1.3bn acquisition of Interacciones. In the context of Magenta Infraestructura’s tender offer for OHL Mexico, in which Santander acted as underwriter, the team advised the latter on developing a structure through which the client could conduct the offer without significant adverse tax consequences in Mexico, advice which involved tax treaty analysis given the cross-border aspects of the transaction. In another deal, a team, led by Alejandro Santoyo assisted Vista Oil and Riverstone with the innovative tax structure required for the efficient functioning of a SPAC investment-vehicle (valued at $650m) upon placement in the Latin American market. The team also worked on two CKD issuances, for Black Creek and Thermion, respectively. In addition to establishing a transfer pricing capability with the May 2017 hire of a number of new team members, including accountant and counsel Laura Frias (a former head of transfer pricing at General Electric and manager of tax planning at Televisa), the firm added another string to its fiscal bow – this time in the social security segment, with the incorporation of Alicia Abundez, formerly a senior associate at Chévez, Ruiz, Zamarripa y Cía SC, allowing the practice to provide (in conjunction with the firm’s employment and labour department) integrated advice regarding payroll structures. Moreover, following the amnesty and repatriation programme launched by the Mexican tax administration in 2017, the firm has strengthened the wealth-management side of the practice, which is led by Santoyo (whose experience includes working with private banking groups in New York and Miami). Other key team members include Jorge Correa, who works closely with Santoyo and led the Black Creek and Thermion CKDs, as well as assisting Grupo Bafar with the $195m issuance by Fibra Nova; and Omar Zúñiga, who represented GE Power on the sale of its water business to Suez as well as advising Rheem Manufacturing on its MXN$3.9bn acquisition of Grupo Industrial Saltillo subsidiary, Calorex. Zúñiga also worked in conjunction with counsel Eduardo Michán (whose practice has an oil-and-gas focus) on Endo International’s $125m sale of Grupo Farmacéutico SOMAR; while young partner Luis Vázquez, who works closely with Santoyo, led advice to Financiera Independencia on a tax inquiry questioning the deductibility of non-performing loans, financial derivatives and unwinding of financial derivatives entered into by the client. Clients include First Reserve, KKR, Cadillac Fairview, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Banco Interacciones, American Express, Honeywell, Union Investment Real Estate, Luxottica, The Abraaj Group, Iberdrola, Prudential, Logoplaste, Vista Oil and Gas, ThyssenKrupp, Fibra UNO, RLH Properties, Arroyo Energy, and Nomura Securities.

Tax boutique Turanzas, Bravo & Ambrosi houses ‘a great group of lawyers’ who handle both tax litigation and consultancy, as well as transactions, but are especially known for the first two. Clients praise the practice group’s ‘responsiveness and great industry knowledge’ suggesting it ‘is more responsive and more practical than many of its competitors’. ‘TBA has been the best law firm that I have used in Mexico to date. The level of service is excellent. The lawyers are very knowledgeable about current issues and trends in relation to audits by the Mexican tax authority. It has been great working with the firm over the past year on difficult tax issues and tax audits’, effuses one client. The practice has, however, lost some of its lawyers over the last year (senior associate and star-in-the-making Martha Ruelas left to establish her own firm, Jorge Cabello moved to Cancino Ayuso Abogados, and associates Gonzalo Mauricio Breña Labarrère and Erika Padilla to Jáuregui y Del Valle, S.C. and Galicia Abogados SC, respectively) as Mexico’s legal tax services market goes through a paradigm shift, with corporate law firms bolstering their tax teams by recruiting talent from the ‘Big-4’, CRZ and the tax boutiques, and with tax experts setting up their own outfits. Despite its losses, the firm has maintained it pre-eminent role in the sector, a position consolidated by the firm’s becoming the Mexican member of the tax and legal consulting-focused WTS Global alliance in 2016. The group has seven partners: Mauricio Ambrosi covers tax litigation, international taxation (particularly in relation to the marine and transportation industries and the pharma sector), and consultancy relating to transfer pricing; he recently assisted Pernod Ricard with the tax implications of its $70m sale of certain of the group’s brands and business segments, and he regularly represents some of the main global shipping companies in tax matters, including VAT. Mauricio Bravo handles corporate, indirect, and local and international taxation, tax litigation and estate planning; recent mandates saw him act for Panamerican Silver in tax audits before the Mexican Tax Authorities and advise New Mountain Capital and Grupo Frondoso on tax matters related to real estate projects. Jorge Fuentes represents clients in tax litigation and before the tax authorities; in conjunction with Bravo he successfully defended Gentera in a tax controversy case regarding financial reserves. Carl E Koller (who joined the firm as its first lateral partner hire, from Deloitte Legal Mexico in 2016) covers corporate and international taxation, tax planning for foreign direct investment and financing and tax consulting for private equity and variable return securities, and litigation; Francisco Ortega (‘very responsive and easy to deal with’) provides advice on corporate tax and representation before the tax authorities, as well as coverage of direct sales matters (a segment in which the firm has deep expertise). Ortega advised Key Energy on the resolution of several tax audits; and Pico-Cheiron Energy Group on the tax planning for one of the first ever farmout projects in Mexico, including on the negotiation of special tax rules covering these projects. Pedro Ramírez focuses on estate planning and also handles corporate tax; and Angel J Turanzas is involved in the direct sales sector but also covers oil-and-gas matters, wealth management and representation before tax authorities. Clients regard Turanzas as ‘an excellent tax lawyer’ who has ‘in-depth knowledge of the Mexican tax system, current trends in relation to SAT tax audits and general overall knowledge of tax issues that oil field services companies face in Mexico’; working in conjunction with Koller he assisted Halliburton in transfer pricing and tax audits performed by the Mexican Tax Authorities. The team also focuses on the transport, energy, financial, manufacturing and retail sectors; its clients include Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, Hamburg Süd, Latam Airlines Group, PEMEX, Compañía de Nitrógeno de Cantarel, Fresnillo, Blue Marine, Noble Corporation, Techint, Banco de México, Banorte, Banobras, UBS, JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Avon, Herbalife, Usana Health Sciences, SeneGence, Infinitus, Belcorp, Isagenix, Younique, Jamberry, Yves Rocher, GT Global, ArcelorMittal, Pinfra, Dupont, Liverpool, Suburbia, Costco, Truper, and Walmart.

Baker McKenzie Abogados, S.C.’s ‘excellent’ tax practice is particularly known for transfer pricing and tax disputes, both areas in which the team is ‘very strong’, say peers. For one client, the team is the ‘first choice, because the lawyers never put the company at risk. They offer a great service; they are very capable and knowledgeable of the industry. Their response times are good, and they are very professional’. The practice also stands out since, with 70 lawyers (including 15 partners) operating from five offices, it arguably offers unrivalled national coverage. Headline work saw practice head Luis Carbajo assist KBR with the design and implementation of a legal strategy to reach an out-of-court settlement regarding a tax inspection representing tax liabilities of approximately $209m. In another ongoing highlight case, Jorge Narváez and Roberto Cardona advised Adidas de México on a negotiation with the tax authorities regarding a transfer pricing adjustment following a disallowed deduction for income tax purposes of royalty and advertising expenses amounting to $20m. Narváez heads the firm’s Global Tax Dispute Resolution Group and handles tax litigation, transfer pricing and corporate reorganisation; Cardona has a ‘strong litigation background’ which he combines with tax planning. The two lawyers were supported by Carlos Linares who has ‘excellent transfer pricing skills and great experience’; he heads the firm’s regional transfer-pricing practice (and can draw on the expertise of the firm’s principal economist and TP specialist Moisés Curiel). Key figure Héctor Reyes (acting in conjunction with Cardona) assisted Walt Disney Studios Sony Pictures Releasing de México with the implementation of a legal strategy to recover a significant proportion of the single rate business tax ("IETU") paid during the fiscal years 2008 to 2013. Reyes also has extensive experience in international tax planning, M&A and cross-border transactions and inter-company pricing. Further support comes from Ulises Castilla, who assisted Carbajo with the KBR mandate; a former head of contentious matters at the SAT’s department for major contributors, he handles tax strategy and litigation. Victor Morales-Chavez was made partner in early 2018; his practice focuses on corporate taxes, non-resident taxation, international tax treaties and general tax planning; and José P Barnola Jr, a partner at the firm’s Caracas office, is currently working out of Mexico City and will do so for two years as part of the firm’s mobility programme. Other clients include Maersk, Cisco Systems, Reckitt Benckiser, and Bristol Myers Squibb.

Clients and peers sing the praises of the ‘outstandingBasham, Ringe y Correa, S.C. tax team. The firm – with offices in Mexico City, Monterrey, Querétaro and León – is especially rated for its tax dispute resolution expertise, although in the last few years it has been developing its practice to include preventative issues, tax planning and transactional tax, as well as transfer pricing matters; it also maintains its reputation as leader in mining-sector tax issues. The lawyers (26 in total) are ‘extremely precise; their in-depth knowledge is great, and they have the ability to translate complex matters into the client’s language so that complex situations can immediately be understood’. The group’s impressive list of clients includes Colgate Palmolive, Saint Gobain, Aeromexico, Herbalife, Eli Lilly, Volkswagen, IMM Research México (Immunotec), Sandvik, British Columbia Investment Management, Tesa Tape México, Sumitomo Corporation (Serviláminas), Costco, Greyhound Lines, Lafarge Holcim, and Petrofac; recent work involved complex litigation, VAT, legal planning, royalties, transfer pricing, and administrative appeals relating to tax liability. Senior practice partners Gerardo Nieto, Gil Alonso Zenteno and Alejandro Barrera all have over 25 years’ experience in fiscal matters. Nieto handles consulting, litigation, audits, restructuring and planning and is considered ‘one of the best tax litigation lawyers in the country’; Zenteno handles complex litigation; and Barrera is head of tax consulting, planning and strategy, and regarded as ‘as very capable in this area – a real standout practitioner’, both nationally and internationally. Wealth management specialist Victor Barajas is identified as a ‘first class tax advisor. He has strong knowledge of international law and cross-border transactions and a very good understanding of foreign investment vehicles such as funds, trusts, and the like’. Mario Barrera left to join Thompson & Knight LLP.

In line with the move by major firms to increase their tax capabilities, in August 2017 DLA Piper Gallastegui y Lozano integrated tax boutique González Luna, Moreno y Armida. The move is seen by the market as a good one for both sides, and while the tax practice previously dedicated approximately half of its activity to advising private individuals, the expectation is that it will become increasingly focused on corporate clients, particularly on cross border matters. The now 12-strong team is noted for covering the full range of tax matters, including consulting, structuring, transactional, and litigation, as well as international trade and customs, having also built a name for itself working on FIBRAs. Ramiro González Luna is respected by peers for being one of the longest standing practitioners in the market to carry out transactional work. A former associate director-general at Mexico’s SAT, he has recently assisted clients on the tax implications of joint ventures, with real estate developments, and tax structuring in relation to FIBRAs. Diego Armida handles the disputes side of tax, having recently represented clients before the tax authority and the federal tax court regarding defining VAT treatment for specific sectors and situations. Luis Carlos Moreno covers customs, foreign trade, corporate and international tax matters. These three partners are supported by associates Fernanda Estrada and Cristina De la Torre.

Important’ and still ‘the strongest and most relevant of the big 4’, Ernst & Young, like other leading tax firms, has suffered some losses recently with the departure of a number of its lawyers: Rocio Gonzalez Alcantara, who had joined in February 2016, left in May 2017 to establish De Salvidea y Gonzalez Alcantara and Fernando Luján joined Galicia Abogados SC as the Mexican tax market continues to adapt to the wholesale incorporation of –primarily transactional– tax practices at corporate firms. Such losses notwithstanding, peers note that ‘E&Y has a very strong team in all areas. Every practice area has at least one partner who is a leader in the market’. Albeit covering the full range of tax services, the outfit is especially noted for its international tax and disputes work; moreover it has offices in 16 cities across the country, including key outposts in Monterrey, Merida and México City. As for individual practitioners, keys figures include, in tax consultancy: Manuel Solano, who is the tax and law services-manager for Mexico and Central America (New York-qualified, he divides his time between the US city and the Mexican capital) and focuses on tax planning within the context of international taxation; and Koen van’t Hek, who heads the international tax services, has over 20 years’ experience in tax planning, and focuses his practice on M&A, tax efficient supply chain management, financing and intangible structuring. On the contentious side, Enrique Ramírez Figueroa is head of tax controversy and Nora Morales concentrates on tax litigation within the context of transfer pricing, tax treaty benefits and financial entities – the two are considered ‘among the best litigators’; support comes from Jorge Libreros and Manuel González, as well as from Antonio del Campo who previously worked as head of contentious matters for major contributors at the SAT. Elias Adam Bitar heads the private clients’ practice, and also covers international tax, with a focus on the technology sector, energy, real estate and financial services. Also dividing his time between Mexico City and New York, Alfredo Alvarez leads the energy segment for Mexico and Central America and specialises in international tax. Other key practitioners include Nadja D Ruiz, who spent about a year (from June 2016 to April 2017) at the SAT in charge of the implementation of FATCA and CRS in Mexico; and Jose Zozayacorrea, who manages the Guadalajara office, and is head of legal for Central-West Mexico.

Arias y Meurinne SC houses ‘a great group of litigators, the aspect of the practice for which it is especially renowned and which constitutes about 75% of its workload, although the 17-strong, five-partner tax boutique also undertakes the range of consultancy work, bar transfer pricing. The team has represented clients before the tax authorities in audits and in cases regarding federal, income and other taxes, importation and other duties, VAT, and in constitutional amparo and administrative cases. Name partner Pedro Arias is a well-known litigator and his practice includes constitutional amparos and administrative litigation; fellow name partner Humberto Rodríguez and Salvador González Escamilla also undertake contentious work; while third name partner Luis Eduardo Meurinne is an expert in consultancy, auditing and litigation, and tax efficiency matters. All three name partners are also able to provide coverage on anti-money laundering in relation to tax. Support comes from junior partner Pamela Orozco and senior associates Elizabeth Lastra and David Salguero, who both handle administrative work and have over 12 years’ experience; and Leah Sánchez, who has 9 years’ experience and was previously at the tax prosecutors’ office.

The significant growth in Galicia Abogados SC’s tax practice shows how committed the firm is to investing in this area. Five new associates joined the team in 2017, all from stalwart tax firms: Fernando Gómez Mazin from Ortiz Abogados Tributarios S.C., Guillermo Garza from Ortiz, Sosa Y Asociados, S.C., Fernando Luján from Ernst & Young, Arturo Portilla A from Chévez, Ruiz, Zamarripa y Cía SC, and Erika Padilla from Turanzas, Bravo & Ambrosi, bringing the practice group to nine – with Gabriela Pellón at the head – and equally balanced between tax consulting and tax litigation. In the former area, the team provided regular advice to new client, real estate developer Artha Capital, regarding various of its real estate properties and trusts. In another mandate, the firm advised Credit Suisse Asset Management in the context of a tax, legal and labour audit of a company that requested certain finance facilities from the client. Of particular note was the team’s advice to international maritime company CMA CGM México, on the tax implications of a corporate spin-off with the intention of restructuring the group’s companies; and to Leagold México on its $350m acquisition of a mining company from Goldcorp, specifically, through the negotiation and conclusion of a tax allocation agreement for any tax matters deriving from the acquisition. On the litigation side, the lawyers represented Walt Disney Studios Sony Pictures Releasing de México in several litigation cases initiated by the client against resolutions issued by the tax authorities as well as against a number of tax reforms enacted by the legislature. The team did, however, lose senior consultant Arturo Pérez Robles who left to establish his own firm Pérez Robles Abogados. Despite this Pellón is praised for the way she is growing the practice, which also includes senior associates Denise Lester – who acts as right-hand woman in litigation, to Pellón’s consulting work – and Gabryela Valencia who lends key support on the consulting side. Clients include Fisterra Energy Mexico, Grupo TMM, Ivanhoe Cambridge, and Grupo Industrial Morgan.

Jáuregui y Del Valle, S.C.’s practice is primarily oriented towards consultancy work, with a specialisation in structuring and operating real estate funds – public and private – for which it is well known. The 12-strong team was reinforced by the arrival of two junior lawyers: Gonzalo Mauricio Breña Labarrère from Turanzas, Bravo & Ambrosi and Jessica Paz González from Soluciones Fiscales, Administrativas y Penales. Highlight work saw the firm assist FIBRA Terrafina, one of its main clients, on the acquisition of a large industrial portfolio identified as "Puma". The transaction, valued at $190m, required a complex tax structure in order to meet the needs of the sellers and the client related to recovering VAT. In another notable case, the team assisted CKD Finsa I and CKD Walton on the refinancing of a large portfolio of industrial properties identified as Verde-Ferrari and owned by both CKDs in a joint venture; in this $230m deal the complexity centred on the tax structures of the three sellers. Other fund work included advising Prumex IV on the structuring of a CKD focused on industrial and residential real property; and CKD Walton on the sale of a hotel located in one of the main business corridors in Mexico City, as well as assisting others with a variety of matters including acquisitions and the recovery of VAT credits. On the contentious side, the team continued to represent PLA Industrial Fund I (a PE fund sponsored by PGIM Real Estate), in tax litigation contesting a VAT tax assessment issued against one of the Mexican vehicles of the fund and involving analysis of the VAT implications on transactions carried out through Mexican trusts. These cases were led by name partner and practice co-head Luis Gerardo del Valle, supported by fellow co-head Eduardo Medina Zapata who handled the transactional highlights. Key support comes from senior counsel Luis Carballo Balvanera who handles both transactional tax matters and tax litigation; and associate Ricardo David García Robles who focuses on transactional matters. Other clients include Mota Engil, CKD Planigrupo, Walton Street Capital, Fraccionadora Industrial del Norte (FINSA) and Clarion Partners.

The tax team at Jones Day is ‘competent, always available, and provides useful advice’. One of the first corporate firms to establish a tax practice (in 2011), while the team assists clients with tax planning and litigation, the practice is very much connected to transactional work. The core team is formed by practice head Rodrigo Gómez (‘he does important work’), and associates Luis Rodrigo Salinas and Andrés Lieja. The group has been active assisting with the tax aspects of a number of transactions, including BBVA Bancomer’s $861.6m global offering of common shares by GMéxico Transportes; Banco del Bajío’s $475.2m global IPO on the Mexican Stock Exchange; Group Kuo’s $450m and TV Azteca’s $400m international offerings of senior notes; and Methode Electronics’s $114m acquisition of Pacific Insight Electronics. While the Mexico office team remains smaller than many of its local competitors, it has the competitive advantage of being able to draw on the expertise of the firm’s international network. Other clients include BCP Securities, Jefferies, Morgan Stanley, Pacifico Aquaculture, and Fundación Appleseed Mexico.

Definitely a good firmOrtiz, Sosa Y Asociados, S.C. continues to progress as an independent tax boutique (having de-merged from KPMG in March 2016 after a two-year partnership); composed primarily of accountants, and mostly focused on preventive advice and tax planning, the firm is also well regarded for its contentious practice. Six partners and nine associates assist clients in the tourism, financial, and telecoms sectors, among others, with tax authority audits, international taxation and M&A transactions. Recent work involved advising several clients on the application of the capital repatriation decree for 2017, (published in January of the same year) which granted an incentive to tax residents and to foreign tax residents with a permanent establishment in the country for the repatriation of income kept abroad before the end of 2016 and repatriated by October 19 of 2017. The team is led by accountants Miguel Ortiz and Ignacio Sosa (with over 30 and 20 years’ experience, respectively), and lawyer Luis Curiel, the key legal practitioner at the firm. In addition, José Manuel Trueba (both a lawyer and an accountant, he was previously a legal advisor at the SAT before joining the firm in 2008), and associate Eduardo F Lalieu handle procedural matters. Fernando Gómez Mazin and Guillermo Garza left to join Galicia Abogados SC.

With 20 offices in the country, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SC does what the big-4 do best, namely provide a broad spread of diversified tax consultancy and representation across the country. Individual practitioners who stand out include Jesus Francisco Morales, formerly of ‘OSY’; José Ricardo Soto, who heads the administrative litigation practice; and Jorge Castellon Velarde, transfer-pricing practice head and formerly at Ernst & Young. Eduardo Méndez Vital has over 30 years’ experience and handles disputes before the tax authorities and consulting. Sandro Castañeda and Raúl Bolaños V both have over 25 years’ experience, and, as well as litigation, handle tax consulting in relation to M&A. Based in Monterrey, José Antonio Garduño has over 25 years’ experience, handles consulting and litigation, and heads the legal tax practice for the northeast of the country. Other key practitioners include Carlos Manuel Martinez in El Paso, and Alejandro Aceves Pérez in Mexico City, as well as senior associates Cynthia Angélica Covarrubias (tax litigation and amparo cases), Alberto Diaz de Leon (tax and administrative law), and Juan Manuel Pérez. Past clients include Aeropuertos Mexicanos del Pacífico, Médica Sur, Corporación GEO, The Pepsi Bottling Group México, Alsea, Samsung Mexicana, Tyco Electronics México and Grupo Marítimo Industrial.

Admired and recommended, corporate powerhouse Ritch, Mueller, Heather y Nicolau, S.C.’s tax team provides ‘high quality, objective tax services, with timely responses; well oriented, it shows consistent knowledge of the industry and applicable regulations, both tax and non-tax’. The now 13-strong practice, which combines lawyers and accountants, has developed rapidly since the January 2017 arrival of two energy-focused tax partners (and their seven-strong team, which includes accountants) from Ernst & Young. While it does represent clients in controversy and litigation issues, its core practice is decidedly transactional and it has demonstrated strong activity not only in the oil, gas and energy sector, but also in capital markets, banking and finance and real estate. Oscar Lopez Velarde Pérez leads the team; his recent mandates include acting as special Mexican counsel to Credit Suisse Mexico and Citibanamex Casa de Bolsa, as Mexican lead underwriters, and Credit Suisse and Citi, as initial purchasers, on Vista Oil & Gas’ $650m IPO (the first IPO of a Special Purpose Acquisition Company -or SPAC- in Latin America, and the first listing of an oil and gas exploration company in the Mexican Stock Exchange); assisting HSBC Taiwan, as joint managers, on CFE’s 750m notes offering on the Taipei Exchange; and Blackrock México Infraestructura II in a Rule 144A/Reg S private placement of Senior Secured Notes. Key practitioner Santiago Llano Zapatero is recommended for his ‘solid background, experience and results-oriented advice. He is able to understand and deliver good quality services and to go beyond his scope of work to add value via a holistic view of the company’s activity and agenda’. Llano assisted Sabadell Bank on determining the principles under which it should finance the so-called "Value Added Tax Loans" in light of reforms made to the country’s VAT Law; Sunedison in a group restructuring; and Pattern Energy with the tax aspects of the structuring of its investments into Mexico as part of its participation in awarded long-term PPAs for wind energy production. In other work the team advised Hess México Oil and Gas on obtaining one of the first ever VAT refunds related to seismic operations in Mexico. Key support comes from associate and accountant Santiago Díaz Rivera. Other clients include Thor Urbana, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs International, The Bank of Nova Scotia, Morgan Stanley, Banorte-Ixe Securities International, Artha Capital, IFC Corporation, Mizuho, Santander, UBS AG, Abraaj, Atlas Renewable Energies, Canadian Solar, Ecoplexus, EVM Energía del Valle de México, Pattern Energy, Voltalia, Baker Huges, BHP Billiton, CENAGAS, Citla, Cotemar, Diavaz, Enagas, Glencore, Hess, Roma Energy, Sanchez Oil & Gas, and Tidewater.

SMPS Legal’s tax practice shares the firm’s overall characteristics: it offers a broad and transversal service, including litigation (but not transfer pricing), from a platform with a unique geographical footprint, the firm having offices in Mexico City, Bogotá, Dallas and Calgary. The 11-strong team is led by lawyer and accountant Jorge San Martin, who recently assisted major firm client, Group Axo, regarding the tax issues arising from private equity firm General Atlantic’s acquisition of 38% of the company from Alsea and Glisco Partners, and in the subsequent capital subscription of the company by the buyer. Within the context of another private equity acquisition, the team, once again led by San Martin and supported by noted associate Federico Scheffler, assisted Nexxus Capital with the restructuring of Immunotec (a company traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange and with subsidiaries in several countries), following its acquisition by the client as part of a joint venture. Partner Ana Paula Pardo is second-in-command to San Martin; her recent workload included advising ECOME México on a tax authority income tax and VAT audit procedure; and, in conjunction with Scheffler, representing Danone/Bonafont in a case concerning a federal tax audit related to income tax and VAT obligations arising from inter-company transactions – the pair achieved a favourable settlement through an amicable procedure initiated before PRODECON. In other work, the team counselled Gerdau/Sidertul on day-to-day tax issues concerning the group’s activity, and assisted Lufthansa Systems with procedures before the tax and regulatory authorities for the establishment of an office in Mexico. Partner Christian Solis also provides important support regarding tax and administrative litigation matters. Other clients include Lufthansa Global Business Services, Excel Nobleza, Trade Finance Solutions and AutoAhorro/Planfia.

Sánchez Devanny has a ‘solid’ 16-strong tax team that advises on the full range of tax matters; ‘The service is good but the fees are high’, noted one client. Based in Monterrey, the ‘strongly recommended’ Ricardo León Santacruz (one of four partners) continued to act for Arca Continental on the $13.5bn corporate tax reorganisation of its beverage and snacks business into two separate Mexican sub-holdings (and encompassing its subsidiaries in Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Spain and the United States); as well as on the client’s $2.5bn joint venture with the Coca Cola Company to allow integration of the Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and New Mexico bottling operations into its bottling sub-holding company. León Santacruz was supported by relatively new tax partner Mariana Eguiarte (‘she has technical capacity and is attentive to the client’); his practice covers private wealth management and estate planning, international tax planning, corporate restructurings and transfer pricing, while Mexico City-based Eguiarte handles corporate tax, M&A, corporate restructurings, transfer pricing, legal audits and tax audit reviews. In another highlight matter Abel Mejía (in Querétaro) and Guillermo Villaseñor (in Mexico City) acted for FEMSA-KOF on setting up an institutional in-house programme to ensure appropriate legal and tax compliance for high-level executives working between and across jurisdictions in the multinational group. Dual-qualified (Mexico/California) Mejía heads the firm’s French desk, and his practice includes US and Mexican pre-migration and cross-border income and estate tax planning for ultra-high net worth individuals, as well as tax planning for corporations. Villaseñor has expertise in cross-border tax litigation, transfer pricing, cost-sharing arrangements, and multinational restructures, as well as having strong experience in the energy sector. He worked with the firm’s energy and corporate departments to assist Repsol Downstream with the incorporation of a legal business structure (including tax optimisation) to operate gas stations in Mexico, as well as on mergers and acquisitions of pre-established groups in the country. Other clients include Gas Natural Ganamex, Eaton Corporation, Dr. August Oetker, H&M Hennes Mauritz, Banque Pictet, Grupo Vise, Hewlett Packard, Libbey, Clariant, Publicis, Grupo Angeles, OneLife, Kellogg Company, Technoplastics, Hitachi Cable, Hydraulic Supply Company, and Buldmetal.

As of April 2018, the former Gardere, Arena y Asociados has become the Mexican office of new international firm Foley Gardere Arena, following the merger of US-headquartered international firms Foley & Lardner and Gardere Wynne Sewell. The local six-strong tax team provides comprehensive tax advice, including to regular clients, with recent work examples including assistance to Faurecia with tax planning related to a corporate restructuring; Herbalife in two tax litigation cases concerning VAT on imported goods; and IGT (previously Gtech Corporation) with a tax assessment before the Mexican Treasury; as well as other cases involving tax planning, corporate transactions, transfer pricing, permanent establishment and maquiladora issues. Roberto Arena and Fernando Camarena co-lead the team. Arena specialises in treaty structuring, M&A, real estate, corporate restructurings, and litigation (and also serves as the firm’s managing partner); Camarena covers M&A, corporate matters and litigation, and has expertise in issues affecting foreign and particularly US corporations, joint ventures, and country-specific treaties on double taxation. Other key members of the team include associates Aldo Mendoza (domestic tax litigation and complex international tax litigation), and Maria Fernanda Mateospayro (tax litigation and counselling, and administrative litigation, amparos and administrative appeals, as well as foreign trade and customs). Clients include Whirlpool, Brightstar, Ford Credit, Littelfuse, Peugeot Finance, Tesco, and Worldventures.

The tax lawyers at Spanish powerhouse Garrigues work on clients’ matters with ‘involvement and high reactivity. They make themselves available for our last-minute meetings, and they have a good knowledge of our group which allows them to provide us with the most adapted solutions for our needs, at reasonable fees’. In addition to this, the practice has the added value of ‘understanding the concerns and concepts of international companies, and consequently suggests the best solutions’. The five-strong team handles tax related to corporate and M&A, tax planning and international taxation connected to the application of double taxation treaties; it also has a growing litigation practice. In fact, the whole department is still regarded as in development and appears to be doing so healthily with a growing caseload and several new clients. Work highlights include assisting new clients Howden México Calentadores Regenerativos (a subsidiary of Colfax) with the contestation of a post-audit MXN$100m tax assessment (which the team helped reduce to MXN$31m); Corporación Andina de Fomento regarding the tax regime applicable to it given an agreement entered into with the Mexican government; Equipamientos Urbanos de México (part of JC Decaux) regarding the Mexican and Argentinian tax implications (and a possible tax loss) arising from the transfer of an Argentine company owned by the client in Mexico; and another new client, Prodemex, with the tax treatment applicable to a public-private partnership (in this case with the Instituto Mexicano del Seguridad Social (IMMS)). Practice head Santiago Chapón leads on all cases and, in addition to having impressive experience spanning almost 20 years and including periods in São Paulo and London, his practice covers international tax, disputes and M&A; clients value him for his availability and commitment, as well as his understanding of their businesses, which allows him to provide tailor-made solutions. Support comes from senior associates Ricardo Fernández de Arellano (tax disputes, and tax planning for corporates – especially in the healthcare sector), and Diego López Vargas (tax advice for foreign companies expanding into Mexico, tax planning for corporate restructurings and M&A, and value supply chain transformation projects), who are also noted. In other work the team assisted new client Avenger Flight Group with the tax planning for the initiation of its operations in Mexico; and Grupo Iberdrola with the tax planning of a transaction to exchange assets maintained in Bulgaria by a third-party. Other clients include Telefónica, OHL, Aernnova Aerospace, International Finance Corporation, Navigator Company, Instituto de Empresa, and Aicox Solutions.

Two partners and seven associates handle tax at Hogan Lovells BSTL. The ‘very interesting team is on the rise’ according to one commentator, with its balanced practice, covering both consultancy and litigation, acting from offices in Mexico City and Monterrey and also able to call on the firm’s international network, notably support from the London office. Mexico City-based practice head Arturo Tiburcio focuses on tax consultancy; tax audit procedures related to income tax, VAT, and international tax –including double tax treaties; and transfer pricing. Tiburcio’s recent work highlights include representing Lufthansa in litigation before the Mexican tax authorities regarding the statute of limitations in order to offset VAT; assisting Iberia with obtaining a confirmation of criteria for the application of a double tax treaty; and advising Conservas La Costeña on obtaining a resolution affording the client a sizeable tax deduction, NYK on a VAT reimbursement, and Givaudan on an appeal before the tax authorities concerning an assessment regarding the reality of services. In Monterrey, Jaime Espinosa covers tax consulting, litigation and the tax aspects of transactions and finance operations. He, like Tiburcio, had a busy year: acting for Jaguar Land Rover regarding the tax aspects of its acquisition of a Mexican entity; Grupo Aeroportuario Centro Norte on recovering asset tax paid before 2008, and on a reorganisation to comply with outsourcing tax rules; and Zuma Energia on designing a tax strategy based on local tax laws to obtain a licence from the Municipality of Reynosa for the construction of a wind farm. Tiburcio and Espinosa are supported by senior associates Francisco Palmero and María Teresa Garza, respectively. Both handle consulting on domestic and international matters along with litigation, while Palmero also has expertise in audit procedures. Other clients include ESPN International, Acciona, and Caterpillar.

Nader, Hayaux y Goebel, SC is intent on developing and consolidating its tax practice (established in 2015), and, according to market feedback, it is gradually doing so, albeit the size of the practice group remains a question. The team currently numbers one partner, three associates, and a law clerk; peers admire the quality of its work, as do clients, adding, however, that ‘as the client base for tax mandates grows at the firm, the depth of the tax team and strength of associates will need to increase’. In any case, according to one client, ‘in terms of tax-efficient acquisition structures, the team has a creative and most knowledgeable approach not seen in other firms’. This is largely due to ‘fantastic’ practice head Adalberto Valadez H, whose ‘out-the-box thinking’ is ‘probably the best in tax advisers in Mexico’. The practice covers the tax aspects of high-end transactions and projects, including M&A and capital markets, as well as day-to-day tax matters, and it has also recently advised clients on the tax implications arising from reforms in the energy sector. It does not currently undertake tax litigation or transfer pricing. Valadez moved to the firm after 14 years at Chévez, Ruiz, Zamarripa y Cía SC and his well-rounded practice is evidenced by his ‘knowledge of the Mexican tax code and his latest involvement with the government tax reforms, which is instrumental and unique’, as well as his ‘great dedication and skill at explaining complex tax structures’. Since his arrival he has been building the team, with the lateral hire of three associates (Paola Plaza in March 2016, María Concepción Vaca G in February 2017, and Alejandro Gordillo R in April 2017), and a law clerk (Rebeca de la Garza in June 2017). In line with some of the firm’s other departments (such as capital markets), recent highlights include assisting Desarrollos Delta with the tax law issues related to the structuring and placement of MXN$4bn in CKDs, involving consideration of the tax-exempt nature of the intended main investors in the CKD and identification of the most efficient structure to fund the investment vehicles used. In a cross-border highlight, the team assisted with the tax due diligence and structuring of a $1.35bn transaction whereby Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and CKD Infraestructura México (CKD IM) acquired an 80% stake in a portfolio of renewable energy projects developed by Enel in Mexico, involving several tax regimes and the possibility of new projects being added to the structure. It also provided tax advice to BlackRock on structuring its acquisition of Citibanamex’s asset management business in Mexico. Other clients include Artha Capital, Banyan Tree, DILA Capital, EMX Capital and General Electric.

Following a restructuring that took place in early 2016, (José Miguel Erreguerena moved to Rizo, Erreguerena y Garza-Cantú, S.C., and Arturo Pérez Robles (now at Pérez Robles Abogados), Gabriela Pellón and junior partner Denise Lester moved to Galicia Abogados SC) the former Ortiz, Sainz y Erreguerena emerged as Ortiz Abogados Tributarios S.C., a tax boutique focused on – and strongly recommended for – litigation, although it also covers consulting, estate planning and foreign trade. Name partner Gabriel Ortiz is a former president of the Mexican bar association (2013-15), and is renowned for his litigation skills, although he also handles advisory matters. His fellow partners Carlos Yáñez Alegría and Carlos Monarrez handle litigation, advisory and administrative matters, and litigation and planning, respectively, with associate Pablo Ramirez Morales providing support in both litigation and consultancy. Angel Escalante (who had joined the team in mid-2016 from Ernst & Young) left to set up his own firm, Escalante & Asociados, in September 2017.

Rizo, Erreguerena y Garza-Cantú, S.C.is a small tax boutique with good partners’; ‘it has been gaining in strength lately and its partners are highly recognised in the market’. The firm was founded in 2013, and all three partners have over 20 years’ experience working in the practice. The team covers consultancy work, representation before the tax authorities, and litigation on tax and administrative matters, including before constitutional courts. Founding partner Juan Carlos Rizo spent over 10 years at the SAT, handling litigation and amparos; while his fellow name partner Carlos Garza also worked at the tax authority for over a decade where he undertook domestic and international tax matters. Name partner José Miguel Erreguerena (who joined the firm from what is now Ortiz Abogados Tributarios S.C. in mid-2016) covers consultancy work.

The tax team at full-service Santamarina y Steta mainly lends support to the firm’s corporate, transactional and bankruptcy and restructuring departments, with issues regarding state and federal taxes, transfer pricing, representation before the tax authorities and social security. The five-strong practice group is led by Mariano Calderón, who has over 20 years’ experience in the practice, and whose specialisation includes tax, constitutional and administrative litigation, anti-money laundering, and international trade. Key support comes from senior associate Karina Robledo, who also covers anti-money laundering and international trade; and senior tax counsel Agustín Gutiérrez, who has over 30 years’ experience in fiscal matters.

The tax team at Von Wobeser y Sierra, SC is fully integrated with the firm’s other practice areas. It handles preventive measures, consulting and litigation. The core team is formed by practice head Fernando Moreno and senior associate Jorge Diaz Carvajal, who generally work together on all deals. Recent stand out mandates saw the pair continue to assist BMW with all tax aspects of the company’s $1bn investment in a new luxury car factory in San Luis Potosi; provide tax advice to Italian company Gualapack regarding the ideal structural vehicle for the acquisition of Mexican target entities for its expansion in the country; counsel Mitsui on a resolution issued by a government agency regarding fees that were unpaid by a company acquired by the client; and advise Brazilian start-up PrimeiroPay on its e-business and the best tax structure to adopt considering the clients’ transactions with companies in other countries. The team can also call on support from head of litigation, Marco Tulio Venegas. Clients include Grupo Modelo, Cámara Nacional de las Industrias Azucarera y Alcoholera, Burger King, Horizon Global, Procter & Gamble, Cimentaciones Mexicanas, Bosch, Anheuser Busch InBev, and Mars.

Growing in strength’, according to one market commentator, White & Case S.C.’s tax team ‘always shows great knowledge as pertains to the matters we are consulting on, the industry and country environment and tendencies. The lawyers have a sense of urgency, accountability and availability’. A relatively new practice, but one that includes three partners and six associates, the group divides its time mostly between transactional and litigation work. Guillermo Aguayo heads the team (and played a leading role on all mandates); according to clients he’s ‘one of the best tax lawyers, he is useful, efficient and effective, and is able to foresee issues that may generate difficulties in the future’. Key partner-level support comes from Ismael Reyes-Retana whose expertise lies in litigation, administrative and regulatory matters; and Antonio Cárdenas (litigation, administrative, regulatory and constitutional matters); while senior associate Juan Ignacio Lopez handles both litigation and transactional work. In a recent highlight, the Mexico and New York offices teamed up to assist Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) (including tax advice) with its MXN$16.38bn global offering of energy and infrastructure investment trust certificates in Mexico and abroad (pursuant to Rule 144A/Reg S); Aguayo’s team handled all tax aspects of that issuance as well as assisting the same client with its July 2017 offering of MXN$7bn in cebures. The group also acted as Mexican tax counsel to Kansas City Southern in a private ruling case before the SAT related to VAT charged on global transport services that begin outside Mexico and terminate in the country; and on the tax structuring of its joint venture agreement with Bulkmatic Transport Company for the construction and operation of a refined-energy-products fuel terminal in Nuevo León. Other matters included assisting Deutsche Bank with the tax structuring for the sale of its Mexican mortgage portfolio assets to Alsis Funds.

The tax team at Acedo, Santamarina, S.C is praised for its ‘attention, personalised service, very quick response regardless of the query or request, and reasonable fees’. One client adds that the ‘treatment of clients is amazing, with deep understanding of the legal issues and hard work ethic. It gives the results of a big law firm, but with more efficient work’. The firm was established in 2009 and the tax practice in 2014; to some extent an on-going project, clients foresee it gaining increasing relevance in the years to come. Recent work included advising national and international clients on constitutional court cases related to local and municipal tax, acting in an administrative litigation case relating to the tax charged on lotteries, advising on special taxation related to production and services, as well as handling matters concerning international taxation, VAT, social security and corporate and other taxation. According to clients, practice head Rafael Tena Castro ‘never disappoints’. ‘He always proposes different ways to solve issues, he has international knowledge and skills, and he understands the corporate needs of international companies’. He is also noted for the well-rounded nature of his practice and knowledge of other legal areas. He leads on all mandates, and the three-strong team also advises clients on tax audits before local and federal authorities, tax planning, compliance and private letter rulings. Clients include Pepsico, Top Victory Electronics, Servicios Eólicos Globales, Fidelity Marketing, Compañía Mexicana de Radiología, Ghenova Ingeniería, PRGX, Centros Culturales de México, and Vicrila Glass Manufacturing Company.

The ‘exceptional’ four-strong tax team at Creel Abogados, SC is part of the firm’s broader corporate palette, and works on matters related to M&A, capital markets, financing, estate planning, corporate reorganisations, and international trade, as well as litigation. Clients appreciate the group because it is ‘knowledgeable about the US and Mexico tax systems, efficient, proactive and customer-service oriented’. Highly recommended, the ‘awesome’ Carlos Martinez R co-heads the team and was busy on several mandates, including advising Cummins on the tax aspects of its joint venture with Eaton Corporation for the establishment of a manufacturing operation; regular client Corporación Inmobiliaria Vesta on the legal and tax implication of the $14.1m acquisition of land in San Luis Potosí from Artha Capital Fund; and Kerzner Group on the tax and legal implications of its financial restructuring, which involved jurisdictions including New York, Dubai, Delaware and the Bahamas, and required advice on structuring, transfer pricing and tax compliance. His fellow co-head Javier Portas was also busy: he represented the Mexican subsidiary of Xylem in a refund process for VAT on imports and assisted Belcorp International with the tax aspects of the corporate reorganisation of its Mexican subsidiaries to implement a tax efficient structure. The two worked together on the advice given to Edgewell Personal Care México regarding the tax and legal implications of its corporate restructuring in order to optimise operational efficiency and facilitate compliance with tax law. Support comes from senior associates Esteban Gómez Aguado whose 15 years’ experience includes eight as tax controversy and dispute resolution manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers, SC, and five as tax litigation lawyer at Chévez, Ruiz, Zamarripa y Cía SC; and Patricia López Padilla who joined the firm in January 2018 after eight years as litigation-specialised senior associate at Ortiz Abogados Tributarios S.C.. In another work highlight, Martínez and Gómez Aguado advised Altum Capital and Altum Mexico on the structuring and tax implications of a public issuance of debt-backed securities (CKDs) on the Mexican stock market. Other clients include Grupo Medios, Vector Partners, and Danone.

Deloitte Legal Mexico brings ‘efficiency, knowledge and value-added advice’ to the table. With offices in nine cities across the country, it is perhaps the smallest of the "Big-4" in Mexico but is distinguished by its litigation capability – although the firm has also been diversifying and expanding into the consultancy and advisory side of the practice. Five partners and 45 other lawyers cover tax nationally. Stand out names include tax litigation directors Abel Camacho Brito (Querétaro), and Ricardo Santoyo (Mexico City); and litigators Carlos Alberto Ramirez (Monterrey) and Hugo Romero (Mexico City). Romero is described as ‘efficient, clear and experienced’; his recent highlights include advising an infrastructure concessionaire on a VAT refund and an energy company on a $130m tax assessment case. Previously at the Ministry of Finance, business tax partner Eduardo Revilla joined the team in September 2016 as part of its strategy to broaden and strengthen its high-end offering in transactional and advisory matters – he recently assisted a large Mexican business group with the settlement of a tax deconsolidation process regarding a $50m tax assessment. Also noted are Raciel Flores Talavera (Guadalajara), who undertakes tax controversy, transfer pricing, customs and social security; and Jorge Antonio Jimenez, who, in addition to his tax practice (general corporate taxation, VAT, international taxation, double taxation treaty application and customs law, tax audits, and constitutional litigation) also works in the insurance and finance sectors. Rounding out the group are international partners Laura Rodríguez Berron, who has extensive experience of the Central American region as well as Mexico and handles tax planning, corporate income tax, VAT, and special taxes on production and services; and Eduardo Barron who advises on international tax and transfer pricing. In other work highlights, the outfit assisted a technology company in a case regarding a VAT refund, and several large Mexican business groups with the reduction of tax assessments. Gonzalo Mani de Ita left to set up his own firm, Mani de Ita Abogados.

EC Legal Rubio Villegas enters the tax ranking on the strength of client feedback and a strong caseload. The nine-strong team (including four partners) is the result of the merger of Rubio Villegas y Asociados with Ciudad Juarez-based EC Legal in June 2017; the new firm also has an outpost in Querétaro. The team assists with tax planning, transactional tax matters, investments and reorganisations; audits, administrative appeals and other tax litigation, real estate, social security, and wealth management. Recent mandates included advice on tax relating to a timeshare business, customs and VAT, asset sales and day-to-day tax advice, tax assessments by PRODECON, income tax for foreign residents in the country, payroll tax, property tax and extraordinary contributions, audits and state tax. Clients appreciate the ‘very high level of specialisation and proficiency in all the issues handled’. Practice head Arturo Bañuelos is singled out for his ‘professionalism and high standards of quality’. He is supported by Edmundo Hernández in Mexico City, and Felipe Mendoza and Fernando Holguín in Querétaro and Ciudad Juarez, respectively.

Tax is one of Escalante & Asociados’ main practice areas, along with corporate matters and international trade and customs. The firm covers both tax consultancy and litigation and is ‘always available and business focused – it has excellent technique and a friendly approach’. One client adds that ‘its excellent knowledge allows us to optimise resources, so the value for money is very good’; ‘I recommend the firm hands down’. Recent activity includes assisting: Cervecería Mexicana, a maquiladora company, in an audit before the tax authorities regarding income tax, flat rate business tax (IETU) and the special tax on production and services (IEPS); real estate investment fund Capitalia México on matters involving income tax for Mexican and foreign residents; and GS Corporación in an amparo contesting the constitutionality of 2017 amendments to both the Income Tax Law (LISR) and the Value Added Tax Law (LIVA), as well as in other cases pertaining to import tariffs, VAT and sales. ‘Straightforward’ founding partner Ángel Escalante led on all cases. He is ‘very experienced and has considerable technical knowledge’. He previously worked at Basham, Ringe y Correa, S.C. and handles both consultancy and litigation as well as having international trade and customs expertise.

The ‘irrepressible’ Manuel E Tron primarily handles tax controversy, planning, and wealth management. Among the foremost figure in Mexican tax circles, Tron is ‘very well-known’, having previously worked at White & Case S.C. and Ernst & Young – and more recently in association with the tax team at SMPS Legal; he has now returned to a boutique operation: Manuel Tron SC.

A small tax boutique set up in 2014 when Luis Ortiz-Hidalgo retired from Basham, Ringe y Correa, S.C., Ortiz, Hernández y Orendain, S.C. has the air of a quietly confident firm, one with very longstanding experience, an excellent reputation and a select roster of clients. The six-strong team is composed of ‘very renowned and respected partners and good tax lawyers who work on complex international cases’. The three name partners, Ortiz-Hidalgo, Gerardo Hernández R and Ignacio Orendain ‘are truly an institution’, with Ortiz-Hidalgo distinguished as a ‘hugely experienced’ tax ‘heavyweight’, especially with regard to litigation matters.

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