Tax in Argentina
The ‘all-star tax team’ at Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi continues to impress with its ‘deep and broad experience’ and ‘excellent senior partners’. The firm prides itself on the comprehensive coverage of its impressively wide-ranging practice, which spans corporate tax, domestic and international tax planning, and tax litigation — including criminal matters. Lawyers are noted for ‘understanding the business consequences of their advice’, with department head Matías Olivero Vila particularly highlighted for his ‘strategic mind’; he paired up with tax and customs specialist Liban Kusa (‘great knowledge of the tax environment’) to represent HSBC Bank in a high-profile case relating to alleged tax evasion. The same team is also advising the Association of Argentine Banks (ABA) on its Supreme Court challenge to the constitutionality of a turnover tax withholding regime created by the Province of Córdoba. In another contentious highlight, the group acted for American Express Argentina on a complex claim, which includes a challenge to the constitutionality of the tax rate applicable by the Tax Authority as regards recovery actions. On the transactional side, Ezequiel Lipovetzky and recently made-up partner Daniela Rey are advising CNH Industrial on corporate tax matters related to the merger of several Argentine companies into its subsidiary, Iveco Argentina. In addition, the firm provides ongoing tax counselling advice to Cargill, Despegar and Prosegur. The group also benefits from a talented second line of senior associates, which includes Nicolas Nogueira Castellini and Maximiliano Yudica Bartels. Senior counsel Jorge Damarco recently retired, while newly promoted partner Javier Malamud moved to Cerolini & Ferrari Abogados to establish its new tax practice.
‘A leader in the tax field’, Marval O’Farrell Mairal houses a ‘major internationally strong practice’, which is noted for its ‘impressive strength-in-depth’ and the ‘sheer quality of its lawyers’. As one would expect from Argentina’s largest law firm, the department is well versed across the full spread of tax matters, with strong skill sets in advisory matters, tax planning, transactional issues and tax litigation. Among its non-contentious highlights, heavyweight tax specialist Gabriel Gotlib advised Terrifico Capital on the creation of a foreign private fund to invest in cryptocurrency and initial coin offerings. María Inés Brandt, highlighted as ‘very knowledgeable on tax matters related to M&A’, advised Sociedad Química y Minera de Chile on the tax aspects of the sale by its subsidiary SQM Potasio of its stake in Minera Exar, which owns the Cauchari-Olaroz lithium project. In another headline transaction, Walter Keiniger acted for Bioceres on the tax aspects of its $456m share exchange agreement with Union Acquisition Corporation. Keiniger also assisted POSCO with the Argentine tax aspects of its $280m acquisition of lithium mining rights from Galaxy Resources. On the litigation side, Keiniger represented AMX Argentina in several lawsuits against municipalities disputing requirements to pay local taxes for inspection services rendered upon commercial establishments. The group also benefits from the senior experience of Horacio García Prieto, who is widely regarded as a market leader in tax and customs matters, and Fernando Vaquero.
‘Practical, effective and business-oriented’, Baker McKenzie’s tax practice shines in cross-border matters, with clients asserting that ‘its ability to manage complex global transactions is difficult to match’ — it also has notable expertise in international tax planning and transfer pricing litigation. Group head Martin Barreiro is a ‘seasoned and respected expert’ and recently teamed up with Juan Pablo Menna (‘responsive and knowledgeable’) to advise Marriott on the tax aspects of its $105m sale of the Sheraton Hotel in Buenos Aires, which was structured as a stock rather than asset deal. On the consultancy front, the same team advised UBS on the implications of the recent Argentine income tax reform. On the contentious side, the firm successfully represented Magna in a reimbursement proceeding concerning income tax. Other representative clients include Dart Container, Starbucks and Vestas. The team was recently boosted at junior level by the arrival of two associates: Bárbara Roca joined from Basílico, Santurio, Cainzos & Fernandez, while Lara Inés Paulucci Cornejo arrived from KPMG Argentina.
‘Knowledgeable, analytical and responsive’, Estudio O'Farrell is distinguished by its ‘solution-focused approach’ and its ‘dedicated professionals’. The group is particularly lauded for its ‘holistic tax offering’, with clients quick to highlight the ‘fluid coordination between the tax practice and other departments’. Miguel Tesón, who leads the group, is a ‘recognised specialist’; he teamed up with Guillermo Lalanne (‘demonstrates a mastery of provincial taxation’) and Valeria Estathio (‘provides innovative and practical solutions’) to represent Droguería del Sud in administrative and judicial claims concerning the applicability of turnover tax. María Celina Valls, who ‘stands out for her technical strength and clarity of expression’, is also recommended and, alongside Tesón, assisted Telefónica de Argentina with a $10m tax refund claim. Other key clients include Ford Argentina and Pampa Energía.
Rosso Alba, Francia & Asociados
Rosso Alba, Francia & Asociados houses an ‘effective and efficient tax practice’ that ‘excels in delivering results for clients’. The group, which covers the full waterfront of tax issues, packs a punch in transfer pricing and international tax matters and is highly sought after for complex litigation. Key figure Cristian Rosso Alba is a ‘very capable expert’ and recently assisted Biosidus with the tax aspects of its sale to ACON Investments in partnership with Humus Capital Partners. Juan Marcos Rougès spearheads the tax controversy and customs law department; he paired up with Rosso Alba to successfully represent Vicentin in an appeal confirming the unconstitutionality of set transfer pricing standards enacted by the former government. In another headline piece of litigation, the firm advised the Chamber of the Oil Industry of the Argentine Republic and the Centre for the Export of Cereals in a class action challenging a state tax for violating the international commerce clause. Other representative clients include AB InBev, Ford and Pan American Energy. In 2018, Juan Manuel Soria was appointed a judge of the Tax Court, while senior associate Irina Mizrahi joined from Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi.
Teijeiro & Ballone, Abogados
Leading tax boutique Teijeiro & Ballone, Abogados maintains a premier reputation in the market for its tax litigation expertise — it is also routinely engaged on transactional matters. Among the names to note, Guillermo Teijeiro is an ‘impressive tax expert’ and noted academic, while Mariano Ballone is recommended for tax planning and controversy matters. The practice handled a steady stream of contentious work on behalf of clients from the TMT industry over the past year, notably handling precedent-setting cases discussing the tax treatment of foreign digital platforms. IP-related tax is also a key area of expertise. On the non-contentious tax side, the team brings to bear strong experience in corporate finance and private equity-related transactions.
‘Detail-oriented and highly committed’, Bomchil is valued by sources for its ability to ‘provide innovative solutions’ and for ‘taking the time to understand the client’s business’. The ‘very solid practice’ handles a mix of tax planning, corporate support and contentious matters, with strong experience in advising domestic and multinational companies from heavily regulated industries. Key contacts include group head Alejandro Messineo, who has ‘deep experience in tax law’, as well as ‘excellent professional’ Ariadna Artopoulos; together, they advised Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 on the tax aspects of its $400m issuance of secured bonds on the international and local markets. Other representative clients include Albwardy Investment, Enel Group and PSA Finance Argentina.
Pérez Alati, Grondona, Benites & Arntsen
The ‘hard-working and business-savvy’ group at Pérez Alati, Grondona, Benites & Arntsen secures a significant volume of tax litigation cases and it also has a solid track record in transactional and tax planning matters. The ‘experienced and dedicated’ Manuel Benites, who is adept in both contentious and non-contentious matters, recently represented Axion Energy Argentina in a gross income tax claim. Luis Nuñez, who is advising on several cases arguing the unconstitutionality of higher tax rates in relation to gross income tax, is also recommended.
Allende & Brea’s group, which ‘differentiates itself through its strong availability and involvement’, continues to raise its profile in the market, particularly on the tax litigation side. The practice also impresses with its ‘deep knowledge in cross-border tax matters, which makes it easier for clients to realise international business’. Names to note include specialist Raúl Fratantoni (‘extremely well-informed, committed and solution-oriented’), who is highly regarded for his tax planning expertise, and Nicolás Procopio (‘provides a 360-degree view’), who has solid contentious and non-contentious experience.
Asorey & Navarrine
At midsize business law firm Asorey & Navarrine, key contact Ruben Asorey is recommended for his deep academic and practical experience in the tax area. A popular referral choice, the firm is known for its experience in highly technical tax matters, particularly transfer pricing, tax-free reorganisations and multi-jurisdictional tax planning. Notable clients include Coca-Cola, Nestlé and Burger King.
‘Reliable, timely and professional’, Beccar Varela provides ‘insightful and quality advice’ backed up by ‘efficient and personalised service’. Clients reserve particular praise for department head Santiago Montezanti, who ‘steers clients through decisions with the confidence that comes from paying attention to detail’. Among Montezanti’s highlights, he advised Deutsche Bank, London Branch on the tax aspects of its $300m loan to Telecom Argentina. The group also advises on contentious matters. Senior associate María de los Ángeles Olano is also recommended.
Beretta Godoy’s signature strength in energy and mining matters translates into a solid niche practice specialising in natural resource taxation. The compact group, led by Tomás Balzano, has robust experience in international and domestic tax planning, corporate reorganisations and double taxation treaties. Of counsel Omar Beretta is also a name to note.
Deloitte & Co. S.A.’s Buenos Aires outpost handles a broad range of tax issues, with strong skill sets in both contentious and transactional matters. Senior manager Cynthia Calligaro has a strong focus on tax controversy, including dispute resolution and tax audit strategy. The group’s ability to plug into its wider global network for international tax planning is also a big draw for clients.
Luna Requena Abogados Tributaristas
At tax boutique Luna Requena Abogados Tributaristas, founding partner Alvaro Luna Requena is highly regarded for his extensive experience in complex tax litigation, including administrative law cases. In addition, the team enjoys close referral links with major and midsize law firms and is routinely called upon to provide support on M&A transactions, project financings and corporate restructurings.
Mitrani Caballero & Ruiz Moreno Abogados has a focus on non-contentious issues, under the leadership of department head and transactional tax specialist Corina Laudato. Highlights included advising LSC Lithium Corporation on the tax aspects of its joint venture with wholly owned Pluspetrol subsidiary Litica Resources — Laudato led that work alongside senior associate Juan Manuel Iglesias Mamone, who recently joined from EY Argentina. The team also draws on its administrative and public law department to offer capability in tax litigation.
Salaberren & Lopez Sanson (SyLS)
Sophisticated boutique Salaberren & Lopez Sanson (SyLS) ‘punches above its weight in the tax area’. Founding partner Sebastián López Sanson is widely acknowledged as a safe pair of hands for technology and cross-border matters; he recently advised KaszeK Ventures on structuring its investment into Argentine consumer lending platform Agilis. Other representative clients include Coca-Cola, Eventbrite and Jaguar Ventures. Ruben Atim, who leads the tax litigation practice, was recently promoted to partner.
Wiener Soto Caparrós’ tax group, which is regularly involved in both contentious and non-contentious matters, acts for an impressive roster of multinational clients, including Coca-Cola Andina, McCain Foods and Ferro Argentina. Of counsel Alfredo Bisero Paratz recently advised farming services company Maricopa Orchards on the tax aspects of the restructuring of its three local entities.
The tax team at Zang, Bergel & Viñes Abogados continues to consolidate under Diego Embon, who has been at the helm since his arrival from Brons & Salas in 2017. Among Embon’s recent matters, he represented postal services company Organización Coordinadora Argentina in successfully appealing the imposition of several precautionary measures filed by the AFIP (the Federal Administration of Public Income).