Tax in Belgium

Linklaters

Linklaters' team has strong capabilities in domestic and international tax planning, which includes tax structuring relating to holding companies, research and development, financing, sales and marketing activities. Another pillar of the practice is centred on tax advice in the context of corporate, real estate and finance transactions. Tax litigation (including VAT and criminal tax litigation) is also an area of strength. The lead partners in the group are department head Henk VanhulleNicolas Lippens and Guido De Wit. Managing associates Caroline Borgers and Wouter Verhoeye are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Henk Vanhulle; Nicolas Lippens; Guido De Wit

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Borgers; Wouter Verhoeye

Testimonials

Caroline Borgers is a very knowledgeable tax lawyer in terms of technical content, and is also a sounding board when taking strategic decisions. She transmits her own enthusiasm about tax to her clients

Loyens & Loeff

Loyens & Loeff's team provides standalone advice on the full range of domestic and international tax matters for clients in industries such as energy, real estate, retail, automotive and food and drink, among others. It also works closely with other departments, such as corporate, real estate, banking and finance, and employment. With this multidisciplinary approach the firm provides transactional support and also assists with state aid cases and corporate investigations. It also has a strong capability in the transfer pricing arena, where practice head Natalie Reypens leads a specialist group advising on transfer pricing policies, the set-up and conversion of business models, restructurings, profit allocation to permanent establishments and disputes. Xavier Clarebout is experienced in the tax aspects of corporate restructurings, M&A and structured finance transactions, among other areas. Saskia Lust and Nicolas Bertrand specialise in advising high-net-worth individuals and families on wealth optimisation techniques. Bertand was part of a cross-office team which assisted a client with the restructuring of its intragroup financing and treasury activities. Other key figures include Christian Chéruy, who leads the Belgian tax controversy and litigation group, Marc DhaeneBert Gevers and senior associate Aldo Engels.

Practice head(s):

Natalie Reypens

Key clients

BNP Paribas Fortis

Ferrero

Unitronics

Mc Cain

Bayer

Agilent Technologies

Carrefour

Edenred

Flir Systems Inc

Yara

Viacom Inc

Rio Tinto

STEF Logistics

IBM

Aurubis Belgium

Work highlights

  • Assisted a Belgian manufacturing and distribution company of a large French agribusiness group with a transfer pricing audit.
  • Is assisting an ultra-high net worth family with cross-border estate planning.
  • Assisted Unitronics with obtaining what was the first ever published ruling confirming that a foreign partial demerger should not be considered a taxable event in Belgium.
  • Is advising a client on the trade, customs and VAT liabilities of its EMEA operations, with a view to restructuring and optimising its supply chain.
  • Advised a UK-based e-money institution on the restructuring of its activities through a newly incorporated Belgian company for regulatory and compliance reasons after Brexit.

Tiberghien

Tax boutique Tiberghien is equally highly regarded by corporate, private and institutional clients across all areas of tax law. It generates a strong flow of work from entities based throughout the Benelux region, as well as foreign multinational corporates with operations in Belgium. Team head Koen Morbée is knowledgeable about the tax aspects of corporate, finance and real estate transactions. He has a particularly notable specialism in EU tax and international tax. Bernard Peeters has specialist knowledge of double tax treaties and Alain Van Geel's tax expertise has an interface with areas such as Belgian and international family law, matrimonial property law and inheritance law. Gerd Goyvaerts handles tax issues associated with Anglo-Saxon trusts and foundations, and anti-money laundering legislation. Another key figure is Stijn Vastmans, who heads up the VAT, customs and excise department. Notable individuals furthermore include Claudine BodeuxGriet Vanden Abeele and Robin Minjauw. In a significant development, the sports departments of Tiberghien and ALTIUS joined forces to form a new legal services provider dedicated to the sports sector, which is known as ATFIELD; tax expert Daan Buylaert is one of the key contacts at the new entity.

Practice head(s):

Koen Morbée

Testimonials

Well regarded as top level tax professionals, all of them being specialists in their subdomain. Vincent Vercauteren and Stein de Maeijer are highly experienced tax profesionnals. Clear communicators, hands-on and practical in their approach, and also theoretically very strong

Vincent Vercauteren and Stein de Maeijer are very familiar with the specific ecosystem of not-for-profits, social enterprises and hybrid structures, thus allowing them to easily connect with this type of clientele

Stijn Vastmans provides outstanding tailored tax and legal advice and has the ability to coordinate a Europe-wide team efficiently, if necessary

The team members are highly skilled technicians, both in civil and tax law, very proactive and provide for practical and understable solutions to the clients

Counsel Emilie Van Goidsenhoven is a very highly skilled technician, providing for tailor-made and practical solutions. She is highly competent in cross- jurisdictional matters, particularly those involving French/Belgian issues. She is very efficient when coordinating different advisors (lawyers, notraies, accountants) from different jurisdictions. In addition, it is a real pleasure to work with her and she is always available to discuss technical matters

Koen Morbée is very responsive and available, has very broad and in-depth knowledge, which is combined with a huge dose of business reality and pragmatism

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP's fast-growing practice was significantly strengthened on the real estate tax side - which is led by counsel Stéphanie Houx - by the recent hires of Rudy Dupont and an associate from Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL. Houx, who has over 25 years of tax experience, is also an expert in VAT and indirect tax matters. Patrick Smet heads up the tax team, which is at the forefront of novel transactions in the market, and combines tax expertise with extensive knowledge of company law, civil law and accounting law. It has been particularly active in advising clients on the set-up and structuring of the increasingly popular 'private privak' investment fund in Belgium; a group including Smet, recently promoted counsel Isabelle Panis and Houx recently handled a related mandate for Vendis Capital. In addition to assisting clients with tax risk management (either on standalone tax matters or in the context of corporate/real estate/finance transactions), tax litigation is another mainstay of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Smet

Testimonials

Patrick Smet has incredible knowledge and is solution-oriented

The team has strong skills in litigating complex tax files. Patrick Smet is technically very strong, and able to convert his technical skills into hands-on advice

Key clients

House of HR

UCB SA

Waterland private equity fund

Robeco

Chequers Capital

CVC Capital

BNP Paribas

Gilde Private Equity

Primonial

ELIA

Vendis Capital

Immobel Generali Allianz

Deka

Solvay SA

Work highlights

  • Acts as lead adviser to House of HR group for all tax- related work, which recently included a restructuring and refinancing connected with a possible sale of the group company. Following the aborted sale, the firm acted on the tax aspects of a recapitalisation, including the issuance of a high yield bond (the first capital market transaction for this group).
  • Provided tax structuring advice to Waterland in connection with its acquisition of Belgian software company Imagine Line.
  • Successfully represented Robeco in proceedings at the Brussels Court of Appeal over the treaty entitlement of Luxembourg and Dutch collective investment funds, and is now representing the client at the Belgian Supreme Court on this matter.
  • Is representing a Belgian company (part of a French group) in a groundbreaking tax litigation case, where the Belgian Special Tax Inspection Unit made an unprecedented application of the new general “tax abuse” concept.
  • Assisted BNP Paribas with obtaining a landmark tax ruling in relation to a new financial product, which is to be marketed to Belgian high net worth individuals.

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

With Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's Belgian practice forming a key part of a wider global network, clients are well served in the full range of domestic and cross-border tax matters. Led by Alain Huyghe, who has a first-rate reputation and is the chairman of the Belgian branch of the International Fiscal Association, the team advises Belgian and multinational companies on inbound and outbound planning strategies, tax litigation, and also matters involving an interplay between tax and private equity, as well as fund structurings. Philippe Lion's experience includes the tax aspects of M&A and real estate transactions. The firm is also home to a number of economists, which makes it effective in assessing transfer pricing issues; Géry Bombeke is the head of the Belgian transfer pricing practice. Other notable individuals are Luc Meeus and senior associate Thomas Gernay, who assisted M80 Capital with the tax issues associated with the structuring and establishment of a €100m private equity fund in 2018. Senior associate Julie Permeke is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Alain Huyghe

Key clients

Johnson Controls

Tupperware

Procter & Gamble

Unisys

M80 Capital

KBC Securities NV

Belgian Growth Fund

TINC

Pierre & Vacances-Center Parcs (PVCP)

TA Associates

Lubrizol

Work highlights

  • Advised Federal Holding and Participation Company on the tax and legal aspects of the structuring of a new fund of fund marketed to institutional investors.
  • Advised KeBeK Services on the tax aspects of structuring and establishing a new private equity fund, which had an initial closing of €45m in capital commitments.
  • Advised TA associates and other shareholders of PhysIOL Group SA on the tax aspects of the sale of PhysIOL Group SA to BVI (backed by TPG Capital), and related investments in the purchaser.
  • Advised Pierre & Vacances-CenterParcs on the tax aspects of the acquisition and resale of the real estate company operating the Center Parcs De Haan holiday park.
  • Acted for a client in a tax dawn raid by the Special Tax Investigation Office.

Deloitte Legal

Deloitte Legal fields a circa 56-strong tax department, which works closely with Deloitte Belgium, enabling clients to benefit from a full spread of legal and consultancy services. Annick Visschers heads up a specialist tax controversy group, which advises on voluntary disclosure, tax audits and negotiations with authorities, and represents clients in tax litigation. Also notable is that an advisory team jointly led by managing partner Danny Stas (a specialist in VAT in real estate and financing transactions) and corporate international tax expert Tim Wustenberghs assists clients with matters connected with inbound and outbound tax planning, reorganisations and the tax aspects of corporate transactions. In addition to acting for multinational companies, the firm also attracts a significant amount of wealth management work from ultra-high net worth individuals and families; Mathieu Ex and Caroline Costermans co-head the private client team. Eric von Frenckell and Filip Smet are other names to note at the firm, which recently provided support to the European Parliament on a study concerning the protection of EU financial interests on customs and VAT.

Practice head(s):

Danny Stas (Brussels-Zaventem); Tim Wustenberghs (Antwerp); Annick Visschers (Brussels-Zaventem); Mathieu Ex (Brussels-Zaventem); Caroline Costermans (Brussels-Zaventem)

Other key lawyers:

Eric von Frenckell

Testimonials

Deloitte Legal has a strong team, whose excellent, in-depth technical knowledge is combined with a very pragmatic and solution-oriented approach. Mathieu Ex is an absolute tier one private wealth adviser. His technical knowledge is impeccable, but it’s his human approach that sets him apart from other advisers

I worked with Bart Verdickt, and found that he was a very good listener, capable, proactive and seemed lead the associates he was working with well. He was also a gifted communicator with other members of my legal team. It was a very positive experience and I would love to work with him again in the future

Key clients

KBC Bank

Deutsche Bank

Johnson & Johnson

Belgacom

Kuwait Petroleum Corporation

Rosy Blue

DEME

Celanese

Antwerp World Diamond Centre

ID&T (Tomorrowland organiser)

Work highlights

  • Acted for Farys – TMVW on the tax aspects of IMVW’s liquidation and the transfer of assets.
  • Assisted a Belgian real estate developer with obtaining a ruling on the commercialisation of a hotel in the Brussels area.
  • Acted for investors investing in health care real estate in a challenge against a reduced VAT rate adjustment.
  • Acted for a client on a detailed risk assessment of its current group tax structure, which was followed by advice on various alternatives for a new BEPS compliant tax setup.
  • Supported the European Commission in a technical study on the Energy Taxation Directive.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Practice head(s):

Axel Haelterman

Other key lawyers:

Nikolaas Van Robbroeck

Bloom Law Firm

The expertise of Bloom Law Firm's tax team is reflected by the fact that five of its six partners are professionals in one or more Belgian and Dutch universities. In addition, members of the team are regularly invited by the Belgian and regional governments to express their opinions on new tax legislation. The group is sought out by multinational companies and high net worth individuals for specialist legal advice on all types of complex advisory and contentious matters; their expertise spans areas such as personal and corporate income tax, registration duties and inheritance tax. It has made a name for itself securing favourable rulings from tax authorities, particularly where it represents foreign investors setting up operations in Belgium. It also provides standalone advice to clients on international tax planning, corporate reorganisations, tax treaty application and estate planning, among many other areas. Recent highlights included Michel Maus representing the Belgian cities of Blankenberge, Bruges and Ostend in tax litigation. In addition, Mark Delanote acted for the Belgian government at the Constitutional Court in an application for annulment of the so-called Cayman tax (as applicable to trusts). On the non-contentious side, Denis-Emmanuel Philippe is noted for his tax structuring expertise. Counsel Pieterjan Smeyers and Aymeric Nollet are also recommended. Bart Buelens recently departed to set up an independent law firm.

Practice head(s):

Denis-Emmanuel Philippe (Brussels); Mark Delanote (Brussels); Michel Maus (Bruges)

Other key lawyers:

Pieterjan Smeyers; Aymeric Nollet

Key clients

Flemish Tax Authority

Belgian Government

Belgian Premier League Football Clubs

Belgian Cities

Work highlights

  • Is assisting Solvay with cross-border tax issues.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance's Belgian tax practice, which is integrated into the firm's wider global network, is an equally strong performer handling mandates on a standalone basis and working with other departments. Alexandre Ooms  leads the team, which has a strong track record across all types of transactional, advisory and contentious tax matters. One of the many areas of strength is in the REIT space; the tax practice has been involved in setting up most of the major private and institutional REIT structures in Belgium. Also notable is that the team is highly active assisting private equity and fund clients with carried interest structuring. In one highlight, Ooms and senior associate Pierre-Olivier van Caubergh are acting for Belgium-based investment fund Mitiska on the structuring of its carried interest vehicle. Other drivers of work include advice on transfer pricing and Brexit-related tax issues. On the contentious side, Ooms is representing a multinational company in a dispute with the Belgian tax authorities over a 'leveraged recap' transaction; this is one of the first and largest claims based on anti-abuse rules which were introduced in 2012.

Practice head(s):

Alexandre Ooms

Other key lawyers:

Pierre-Olivier van Caubergh

Testimonials

The team is easy to work with, highly responsive, helpful with prompt and valuable feedback (as needed), and efficient

Alexandre Ooms is very knowledgeable about a broad range of subjects, always up-to-date and has a very pragmatic and great commercial sense. I very much appreciate his clear and to-the-point communication and briefings. He is very constructive and has a great ability to anticipate solutions. Associate Baptiste Antoine is also very knowledgeable and helpful, responding to queries raised by the client in an efficient way

Alexandre Ooms is a trusted adviser, who brings great expertise to fiscal matters

Pierre-Olivier Van Caubergh interacts with clients in a very personal and tailored way. His commitment to deliver is very strong

State of the art knowledge of current market practices, well-suited advice and a very pragmatic approach makes it very pleasant to work with Clifford Chance

Key clients

Primonial

Straco

Mitiska

AB InBev

Real IS

CACEIS

Patrizia Immobilien

Fluxys

Union Investment

Coca-Cola

Waterland

Gilde Buy-Out Partners

Home Invest

ATREAM

Work highlights

  • Working with the real estate department, the tax team assisted ATREAM and a joint venture between Home Invest, Belfius and Tinc with the structuring, acquisition and financing of the ‘Center Parcs’ leisure village in De Haan.
  • Working with the corporate group, the tax team assisted the senior management of Armonea with the sale of the company to Colisée.
  • Assisted Belgian gas distribution company Fluxys with the tax aspects of the pan-European reorganisation of its holding activities.
  • Is assisting German pension fund Real IS with its acquisition of a portfolio of office and residential buildings from AXA Belgium. It is also assisting the client with the Belgian and German tax and regulatory aspects of the conversion of its Belgian portfolio into several private REITs, which will later be merged into a single FIIS, which will own all the assets directly.
  • Is representing a multinational operator of elderly care housing in a potentially precedent-setting VAT dispute with the Belgian tax authorities.

Eubelius

Eubelius offers a full spread of services to clients in the tax arena. Although the team acts for clients across a wide range of industries, it particularly distinguishes itself in the real estate sector, where it advises real estate developers, listed REITs and non-listed real estate funds. On the non-contentious side, the main contacts are Wouter Claes and counsel Korneel Decroix. Claes is well-known for his real estate tax expertise - notably in the structuring of structuring real estate investments - and also his deep knowledge of M&A-related tax issues. In a recent highlight, he assisted the selling shareholders of Bricsys Group with the tax aspects of the sale of their shares to Hexagon. Decroix is recommended for his strengths in VAT matters, which mainly relate to the real estate, public, healthcare and not-for-profit sectors. Contentious work is led by Svjatoslav Gnedasj, who has excellent credentials in tax controversies (encompassing tax investigations and litigation). In one matter, he was part of a cross-practice group, which assisted a number of entities - including Magnetrol International, Puratos and Delta Light - with obtaining an annulment from the General Court of the EC's decision in February 2019 over Belgian excess profit rulings.

Practice head(s):

Wouter Claes; Svjatoslav Gnedasj

Other key lawyers:

Korneel Decroix

Testimonials

Svjatoslav Gnedasj is a dedicated lawyer with great knowledge of Belgian tax law, but he also knows when to call in the help of specific experts in a very particular field. He is always coordinating, so that we have one contact on the whole matter

The Eubelius tax team is on top of new developments, response and creative. In my view their are unique in the Belgium market

Wouter Claes is a really top-class tax lawyer. He is pragmatic, creative and always goes that extra mile to achieve the best outcome for his client

Key clients

Leasinvest (REIT)

Xior Student Housing (REIT)

Care Property Invest (REIT)

Banimmo (listed real estate development company)

NMBS / SNCB (public railway company)

Triple Living (real estate development company)

Siemens Industry Software (industry & technology)

Zorgnet – Icuro (umbrella organisation of the Flemish Healthcare institutions)

Liantis (HR Services)

Bpost (listed operator of postal services)

Work highlights

  • Has been representing three major real estate project developers in 20 corporate tax and VAT litigation cases before the Belgian Courts over the re-characterisation of share deals into asset deals/services.
  • Is acting for bpost in various court proceedings over the imposition of taxes on the distribution of advertising materials.
  • Provides general tax advice to Belgian REIT Care Property Investment. Recent work included corporate tax advice on the structuring of the acquisition of real estate companies, tax advice on post-acquisition restructurings of real estate companies and negotiations with VAT authorities following a VAT audit.
  • Advised Liantis (formerly ADMB) on tax issues associated with the creation of the KidsLife group.

PwC Legal

PwC Legal has carved out an outstanding reputation in difficult Belgian and cross-border tax disputes involving both direct and indirect taxes. This is an area where the firm attracts a growing body of work from domestic and international clients. The practice in Belgium is integrated with the firm's global tax controversy and tax litigation network. Senior counsel Véronique De Brabanter has an enviable track record in administrative and court proceedings, which dates back more than 25 years and spans all types of taxes. Beyond tax controversies and litigation, tax policy work is another area of focus. The firm generates related mandates from a broad base of clients, including multinational corporates, trade associations and non-governmental organisations. In a notable development in 2018, Tim Van Sant joined the team, having previously served as an adviser on fiscal policy for indirect taxes to the Federal Minister of Finance, Johan Van Overtveldt. Senior managing associate Charlène Herbain and managing associate Liesbeth Vermeire are other key figures in the group. De Brabanter and Vermeire recently represented an American multinational company in a complex transfer pricing matter at the Court of Appeal of Antwerp. Ine Lejeune departed the firm to become an independent practitioner.

Practice head(s):

Tim Van Sant; Véronique De Brabanter

Other key lawyers:

Charlène Herbain; Liesbeth Vermeire

Testimonials

The team is very hands-on, and practical experience is combined with technical expertise

Work highlights

  • Is representing a payment services provider in proceedings at the Court of First Instance of Antwerp, which relates to an investigation by the Special Tax Inspectorate into transaction data involving the use of foreign credit and debit cards in Belgium during 2015 and 2016.
  • Is representing a multinational tobacco company in a dispute with Belgian customs authorities over the client’s alleged liability to pay import duties, VAT, excise duties and special excise duties in connection with a theft of cigarettes in Belgium.
  • Is acting for a Belgian publishing company in a challenge by the Special Tax Inspectorate of the way the client processes the copyrights paid to freelance journalists in its accounts.
  • Is acting for a manufacturer and supplier of raw materials to bakeries in a case concerning the tax deductibility of a cartel fine that was imposed on the client, as well as its parent company.
  • Is handling a tax matter concerning the deductibility of invoices received from an entity that groups multiple retirement homes.

Stibbe

Stibbe's Belgium-based tax team is integrated into a wider Benelux group, making the firm well placed to assist clients with a full range of domestic and cross-border tax matters. Team head Wim Panis is an expert in VAT and public sector taxation. In addition, his real estate sector expertise covers both direct and indirect taxes, and he has particular knowledge of Belgian REITs and real estate investment funds. Thierry Denayer has specialist expertise in domestic and cross-border compensation benefits for executives and pension schemes. Also notable is that the firm's tax litigation capabilities were strengthened by the arrivals of Henk Verstraete and three other practitioners from Liedekerke Wolters Waelbroeck Kirkpatrick in 2018. The group is also highly active in headline M&A/private equity, capital markets and finance transactions, as well as PPP projects. In one matter, Verstraete and recently promoted counsel Giovanni Smet assisted Spirit Aerosystems with its $650m acquisition of Asco Industries. Transfer pricing matters are another key workstream for the group, which also includes senior associate Lizelotte De Maeyer.

Practice head(s):

Wim Panis

Testimonials

Henk Verstraete is accessible, professional and has excellent knowledge of the topics we deal with

Key clients

ACCOR

Accent

AG Real Estate

BNP Paribas Fortis

Eurocommercial

The Flemish Government

ING

Japan Tobacco International

KBC Real Estate

ORA (Optimised Radiochemical Applications)

Proximus

Storm

Vertellus

Zodiak Belgium

KBC Asset Management Orior Europe

Distrilog

Work highlights

  • Assisted Beaver Visitec International, a TPG-backed portfolio company, with its acquisition of Physiol from TA Associates Management for over €500m.
  • Assisted an investment fund with the Belgian tax aspects of the creation and structuring of a new high-profile investment fund, which will focus on US investments.
  • Assisted the Mobility and Public Works Department of the Flemish Government with a study on the introduction of a road tax for passenger cars in Flanders, in collaboration with KPMG, TML, Common Ground and ARUP.
  • Assisted the French private equity fund Andera Partners with its acquisition of the Belgian infrastructure company Infra Group for over €100m.
  • Assisted real estate developer and business park operator Alinso with its €50m acquisition of a large business park.

ARGO Law

ARGO Law's tax practice, which is led by Philippe Rens, attracts a loyal following of private clients, corporates, private equity firms and venture capital funds. On the corporate client side, the team advises entities on the tax aspects of M&A, financial operations, fund structurings and other business matters. In a recent highlight, Rens assisted Integra Fund with set-up and structuring of the new private equity fund Integra Fund CommV. Another name to note is Hannes Casier, who heads up the private client practice, and advises on national and international wealth management, estate planning, family property law, and inheritance and gift tax, as well as issues concerning family businesses.

Practice head(s):

Philippe Rens

Other key lawyers:

Hannes Casier

Testimonials

We have been working with Philippe Rens for many years. For us, he is like a priceless treasure you don’t want to be deprived of

This is the only tax team we’ve worked with that doesn’t end up making things more complex, but delivers actionable and well thought-of solutions

Hannes Casier combines a very high level of technical knowledge with a good sense of what would work for the client (and his family) in practice. He inspires his team to be enthusiastic and extremely client-centric, which makes our co-operation fun

Philippe Rens is very proactive and has an exceptional knowledge of international tax law. He thinks together with you at every step of the process in order to achieve outstanding results

Key clients

ADB Safegate

ZF Wind Power

Van Hool

Down 2 Earth

Hummingbird Ventures

argenx

Ackermans & van Haaren

Iteos Therapeutics

Fund+

Telenet

Life Sciences Partners

Vectis Private Equity

REstore

Oxurion

Sapim

Euronav

CMB

Sofindev

Reynaers Aluminium

Work highlights

  • Assisted argenx with the tax aspects of a license and collaboration agreement with Johnson & Johnson in 2018.
  • Acted for imec and fund manager imex.xpand Partners with the tax structuring of the new imec.xpand venture fund.
  • Acted for Down 2 Earth Partners on the tax structuring of its second fund Down 2 Earth Capital II.
  • Acted for We Are Jane on the tax structuring associated with the set-up of its first private equity fund.

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird's tax practice is particularly active in industries such as aviation, life sciences, media and IT and e-commerce. Another area of strength is in the not-for-profit sector, where it handles a wide range of direct and indirect tax issues for a sizeable number of international associations with a presence in Belgium. The main contact at the firm is Brent Springael, who is a member of institutes such as the Tax and Legal Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) and the Belgian branch of the International Fiscal Association. Recent highlights included Springael acting as tax counsel to BBAM in an aircraft lease novation transaction. He also assisted UK non-profit organisation the International Currency Association with corporate and tax issues connected with the structuring of its conference activities in Europe. Also notable is that Springael has particular expertise in tax matters that have an interplay with intellectual property issues.

Practice head(s):

Brent Springael

Key clients

CERTA

International Association of Privacy Professionals

Industeel Belgium

Cefaly Technology

ArcelorMittal Belgium

Liege Steel Industry (aka Liberty Liège Dudelange)

Titan

Swedish Orphan Biovitrium

PRACE

Work highlights

  • Assisted Cefaly Technology with the renewal of its patent box ruling.

CMS

CMS, whose practice is jointly led by Olivier Querinjean and Didier Grégoire, is strong across all areas of direct and indirect taxation. The firm's ability to coordinate resources across disciplines and across the global network ensures that it consistently attracts high-end, strategically significant work. The group has proven expertise assisting clients with matters such as transfer pricing, reporting obligations and international tax structuring. It also provides day-to-day advice on VAT, tax incentives and local taxes, among other areas. Recent highlights included Grégoire assisting Dassault Aviation group with the tax aspects of the reorganisation of its intra-group financing company and real estate assets in Belgium. Tax litigation is another strong suit of the team, as was evidenced when Grégoire and others successfully represented Groupe Partouche in court proceedings over Caskno's international transfer of seat from Belgium to France.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Querinjean; Didier Grégoire

Key clients

Airbus

Ministry of Defence

Deliveroo

Unibail Rodamco

Galapagos

ING Lease

UEFA

TOTAL

Toyota/CFAO

VINCI

Work highlights

  • Represented a member of international media and film group Umedia before the Belgian Council of State over the Belgian Minister of Finance’s new interpretation of the tax shelter regime.
  • Acted for a consortium – comprising of Unibail-Rodamco, Besix and CFE – on all tax issues that arose upon the completion of the “Mall of Europe” project.
  • Chosen by the Belgian ministry of defence as its exclusive counsel when representing it before the tax courts.
  • Assisted Besix and its partner (a listed Belgian company) with structuring a major real estate investment in Portugal.
  • Is advising Deliveroo (both the parent company based in the UK and its Belgian subsidiary) on various Belgian tax matters.

DALDEWOLF

At DALDEWOLF, department head Olivier Bertin has extensive expertise in a broad cross-section of direct and indirect taxes. His wide-ranging practice covers areas such as corporate tax, income tax, and international tax, as well as taxes on non-profit and public sector entities. Bertin works with VAT and real estate taxation specialist Yaël Spiegl. Under his leadership, Bertin's team advises on the tax aspects of corporate and M&A transactions, real estate development projects, usufruct and bare ownership schemes, and tax relocation, among other matters. Contentious work is another key source of mandates, with the group representing clients in all administrative and civil proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Bertin

Other key lawyers:

Yaël Spiegl

Testimonials

The partners in the tax team are solution-oriented and communicate clearly to business entrepreneurs

The team is able to provide a complete answer to complex and multidisciplinary tax issues

Olivier Bertin stands out in litigation

DLA Piper

The arrival of practice head Philippe Hinnekens at DLA Piper in May 2018 has led to the firm winning work from a number of new clients, such as BBVA, the European Free Trade Association and Magic Leap. The tax team works closely with the firm's other departments in Belgium, and other tax practices in the international network, to provide full-service support to clients. Hinnekens has a wealth of experience advising on the Belgian and international tax aspects of real estate investments, M&A, corporate restructurings, employee incentive plans and investment fund structuring, among other areas. In a recent highlight, Hinnekens and Gregory Komlosi advised Five Arrow Managers SAS on tax issues associated with the proposed set-up of two double Luxembourg investment fund structures, which would raise capital in several countries, including Belgium.

Practice head(s):

Philippe Hinnekens

Other key lawyers:

Gregory Komlosi

Key clients

BBVA

BNP Paribas SA

Conair Corporation

European Free Trade Association

Five Arrow Managers SAS (an investment arm of N M Rothschild & Sons Limited)

Greentube Ltd

Hamilton Hotel Partners Ltd

Magic Leap

Mast Capital (UK) Ltd

School Invest NV (acting for the Flanders Region)

Tioga Capital Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised Mast Capital (UK) Limited on whether it could invoke the dividend withholding tax exemption provided by domestic law and/or under the UK-Belgium tax treaty in a very specific set of facts.
  • Advised BNP Paribas on tax issues associated with the set-up of a Luxembourg investment fund that would raise investments from different countries, including Belgium.
  • Is advising School Invest NV on tax issues associated with the construction of a large number of schools in the Flemish region.
  • Advised online betting company Greentube Malta Limited on a draft Belgian law on its activities in Belgium.
  • Advised BNP Paribas on the tax issues associated with the provision of financing to Boluda Corporacion, a multinational company active in the field of towage, for the acquisition of a competitor, Kotug Smit Towage.

Mayer Brown

At Mayer Brown, the Brussels office is the main base of the firm's specialist European Transfer Pricing Centre, which is led by Astrid Pieron and assists clients with optimising their transfer pricing strategies on a pan-European level. Pieron's team also advises on transfer pricing audits and litigation, as well as the tax aspects of M&A and finance transactions.

Practice head(s):

Astrid Pieron

Key clients

Santo Domingo Group

CACIB

ING

Altice

Solvay

Fenwal Europe

Apotex

Société Générale

Monard Law

Monard Law's tax advisory work to corporate clients covers M&A, demergers, reorganisations, the development of stock option plans and tax rulings. Frédéric Lettany is an expert in tax issues associated with alternative financing methods, such as crowdfunding and starter funds. The firm also has strong credentials advising private clients; its estate planning team has expertise in inheritance tax issues, succession issues relating to family businesses and acquisitions of foreign real estate. Tax litigation and tax audits form another cornerstone of the firm's work for corporates and individual clients. Hilde Van den Keybus is the overall head of the practice. Christiaan Barbier and counsel Reinhold Tournicourt are also names to note.

Practice head(s):

Hilde Van den Keybus

Key clients

Hydroko

Indoor Collection

Work highlights

  • Assisted BVO with filing an action for annulment before Belgium’s Constitutional Court over the rewritten article 44 of the Belgian VAT code, which excluded a VAT exemption for osteopaths.
  • Advised several companies and individuals on the tax regime of stock option/warrant plans.
  • Is advising a worldwide hotel group on registration matters.
  • Is representing a worldwide industrial group in several tax litigation cases.

NautaDutilh

NautaDutilh has increased its headcount at associate level to handle a growing volume of tax work from new and existing clients. Daan Verhaegen, who recently joined from Greenyard, is one of the names to note. The tax team works alongside various other departments across the firm and is sought out in its own right to provide standalone advice.  The scope of its work includes cross-border transactions and international tax structuring, assistance with applying for tax rulings, management incentive plans, VAT and registration tax, and tax litigation. Team head Ken Lioen and Verhaegen advise American insurance company Travelers on the tax aspects of various insurance policies. Also notable is that Lioen and Verhaegen recently assisted Confinimmo with the tax issues connected with the acquisition of 15 nursing and care homes in Belgium.

Practice head(s):

Ken Lioen

Other key lawyers:

Daan Verhaegen

Testimonials

Ken Lioen is responsive and an excellent tax lawyer

Ken Lioen is available, has a strong technical skillset and demonstrates deep & qualitative analysis

Key clients

Travelers

Work highlights

  • Assisted ABN AMRO with the tax aspects of the acquisition of the Belgian private banking subsidiary of the French banking group Société Générale.
  • Acted as counsel to Novosanis on the acquisition of the company by OraSure Technologies.
  • Advised IBM on the tax issues connected with the establishment of a joint venture between IBM and Belfius.
  • Acted as tax counsel to the underwriters on argenx’s $300.6m public offering and EU private placement in 2018.

Osborne Clarke

Osborne Clarke's practice head Laurent Donnay de Casteau has strong capabilities across multiple areas of tax, which is reflected in his involvement in M&A, corporate structurings and restructurings, private equity transactions and investment funds. Since his arrival at the firm in 2015, the firm has also increasingly become a first port of call for advice on transfer pricing issues. A significant portion of the firm's tax work has an international element, particularly in the digital business, life sciences, retail, real estate, finance and private equity industries. De Casteau works with Olivier Lambillon, who was promoted to counsel in April 2019. In one highlight in 2018, de Casteau and Lambillion acted as tax counsel to TiGenix on the tax aspects of its €520m acquisition by Takeda.

Practice head(s):

Laurent Donnay de Casteau

Other key lawyers:

Olivier Lambillon

Testimonials

Laurent Donnay de Casteau is highly skilled, reliable and effective

Very good knowledge of legal and tax constraints in many jurisdictions

Laurent Donnay de Casteau is a client-centric tax practitioner. He combines technical knowledge with clear explanations and valuable solutions

Key clients

TiGenix

Visiomed

Work highlights

  • Acted for Bone Therapeutics on the tax aspects of an €8.5m private placement.