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United Kingdom > South West > Corporate and commercial > Corporate tax > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

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Who Represents Who

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According to clients, Burges Salmon LLP has one of the South West’s ‘premier’ tax teams. The group is headed by Nigel Popplewell, who advised Virgin and Virgin Active in connection with a number of issues, including capital allowances and transfer of a going concern (TOGC) aspects of the disposal of a variety of gyms and health centres. Popplewell acted for The Crown Estate on commercial and agricultural property transactions, which included VAT and SDLT advice on surrenders, re-grants and re-gearings. John Barnett makes up the other half of the two-partner team and focuses on matters involving owner-managed businesses, private equity, HMRC disclosure and remuneration and planning; Barnett’s clients include Yeo Valley Group. Specialising in structured transactions and funds work, Ian Carnochan part of a team assisting a corporate director on the merger of funds of a UK investment company into those of an Irish umbrella fund. Senior associate Nicola Manclark is also recommended.

Osborne Clarke’s three-partner corporate tax department attracts praise for its ‘uniformly excellent bench’ and ability to pool large cross-disciplinary teams from its sizeable international network. The group, which acts for public listed companies, family-owned businesses and investment funds, handles a range of tax matters, including property tax, partnership restructurings and tax aspects of fund formation. The ‘authoritative and extremely knowledgeable’ practice co-head Michael Bell assisted Progressive Digital Media, a company with offices in four continents, on the tax aspects of its acquisition of GlobalData and the subsequent corporate reorganisation. Bell also led a team advising the management of Odeon & UCI Cinemas on the international tax structuring of its proposed £921m sale to AMC Theatres. Tracey Wright is the tax team’s real estate and infrastructure specialist, and acted for M&G RPF on the tax structuring of two rented-sector forward-funding acquisitions for sites in London and Manchester. Erika Jupe heads the firm’s international tax team.

Ashfords LLP’s tax team regularly advises on the tax aspects of large, often multi-jurisdictional mergers and demergers. In addition to handling the gamut of taxation issues affecting businesses, such as land tax, VAT, EIS and SEIS, and stamp duty, the department also has expertise in employee share and share-option schemes. In 2016, practice head Angus Bauer acted for Schlumberger Oilfield UK on the tax aspects of multiple cross-border share purchase transactions, including the $110m purchase of Rubislaw Investments and the purchase of Meta Downhole’s issued share capital for $32.2m. Bauer provides ongoing assistance to The Planning Inspectorate on a number of taxation issues such as employment tax and VAT. In another highlight, the team advised Karhoo on obtaining approval for an enterprise investment scheme, and also helped with the implementation of an enterprise management incentives option scheme. Clare Werry has been involved in a number of multi-jurisdictional and national demergers in 2016.

A great proactive and technically proficient firm’, Foot Anstey’s tax group is known for providing ‘succinct and clear advice’ in relation to M&A, employee share schemes, company reorganisations and property investment structures. Noted for his previous experience working for HMRC, clients of practice head John Pindard consider it ‘difficult to get similar service at the same value’; his clients include investors, entrepreneurs and regional, national and international corporates. Pindard acted for Best Nature on the structuring of a property development programme with a joint venture party, and advised China Fleet on the formulation of an overpaid VAT claim and on liaising with HMRC and other tax tribunals. Other highlights for the group included acting alongside the corporate and financial services departments for Succession Group on tax due diligence and related post-transaction tax documentation in connection with multiple acquisitions.

At Michelmores LLP, Exeter-based tax specialist Brian Garner has extensive experience of corporate and transactional tax matters and regularly works alongside the firm’s corporate, employment, disputes, private client and family departments. With previous experience working for one of the Big Four accountancy firms, Garner has been exposed to various facets of tax; recent highlights include advising on the tax aspects of the £8m management buyout of EMCAS. He also advised Succession Group on tax issues related to a series of acquisitions, and assisted the same client with an employee share incentive programmes. Garner also acted for the ex-finance director of The Plastic Surgeon Limited regarding his decision to exit his role and sell his interest in the company.

TLT’s tax department ‘compares favourably’ to its South West competition. Practice head Nathan Williams, who splits his time between the firm’s Bristol and London offices, is noted for his ‘detailed knowledge’ of tax issues connected with M&A, private equity transactions, reorganisations, fund formation and joint ventures. He also has experience acting for borrowers in relation to the banking tax issues associated with loan facilities; as an example, he acted for BGL Group on withholding taxes in relation to a £130m revolving credit facility and another £240m securitisation facility. The tax team was also involved in a large cross-disciplinary matter regarding Swan Housing Association’s £250m Tower Hamlets regeneration project, advising on the SDLT and VAT planning, as well as corporation tax and charity tax issues related to a joint venture structure. Ben Watson is also recommended.

Bond Dickinson LLP’s corporate tax practice in Bristol has ‘good expertise’ in the energy and financial services sectors and is also noted for its private equity work. Managing associate Ronan Lowney acted for Rockpool Investments on international tax issues relating to VAT arising from the management buyout of Flightline Support. The tax team also acted for Piper Private Equity on an investment into Propercorn Group; the tax group worked with the corporate department to advise on management incentives, the debt and equity structuring for the investment, and the enterprise investment scheme. In the energy sector, Lowney is handling the VAT and SDLT aspects of the purchase of 13 UK wind farm projects by Dream Alternatives Wind.

VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) is well known for providing VAT and SDLT advice to charities in the education sector. The group also has experience of share option schemes and has been particularly active advising individuals on the proposed change of legislation regarding the taxation of non-UK domiciled persons. Practice head Emma Bradley advised Ripjar Limited on the terms of its existing share scheme. The tax group also advised Unit DX on the possibility of an HMRC agreement related to certain investment reliefs concerning a pioneering entrepreneurial laboratory and science incubator in Bristol. The team has also handled the tax aspects of multi-jurisdictional acquisitions in the hospitality sector and, in 2016, provided VAT assistance to an educational client faced with insolvency in connection with a property and business disposal.

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Legal Developments in South West for Corporate tax

  • US rules regarding offshore accounts

    The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act 2010, enacted on 18 March 2010, imposes a new US withholding tax and reporting regime, known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The FATCA regime applies generally to payments made after 31 December 2012, except on obligations (to be defined in future guidance) outstanding on 18 March 2012. Substantial effort is required by foreign entities to bring their worldwide operations and policies into compliance with the FATCA rules as of the effective date.

    - Jones Day

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