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Who Represents Who

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Renowned throughout Bolivia for its tax capabilities, Araujo & Forgues has offices in La Paz and Santa Cruz, headed by Jannine Forgues and Jaime Araújo respectively. As well as handling standalone tax matters, the practice complements the firm’s other departments, such as the corporate team, on transactions. Clients include Repsol, Siemens and Yanabal. Senior associate Joyce Clavijo is also recommended and, notably, the firm fields accountants as well as lawyers.

Described as ‘excellent’ and ‘extremely knowledgeable’, tax boutique Benítez Rivas, Pérez & Asociados operates from offices in both La Paz and Santa Cruz. Department head Elbio Pérez ‘stands out for his contacts in several relevant areas’; while Adriana Sanjinés is highlighted for her technical expertise. Senior associate Jorge Ostertag is also noted and specialises in preventative tax work and defending clients against tax charges in administrative and judicial courts. The team also includes an in-house economist, Roberto Barragán. Clients include Maxus Bolivia, Soboce, Embotelladoras Bolivianas Unidas and Banco Nacional de Bolivia.

Advisory tax planning work and tax litigation are the key pillars of Tufiño y Villegas’ ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘professional’ practice, which is increasingly busy advising clients on the regulatory and financial risks of transfer pricing. Primarily based in La Paz and Santa Cruz, the tax boutique opened a branch in Cochabamba in June 2017 to handle additional tax and corporate matters. Headline matters saw name partner Alvaro Villegas advise JTI on the tax elements of its purchase of BIS Overseas Bolivia, and he also represented Avon Products in a lawsuit challenging various allegedly-excessive tax assessments. Villegas’ fellow name partner, the ‘analytical’ José Luis Tufiño is also widely recognised as a leading lawyer; and the pair can call on key senior associate Sandra Vasquez as required. Clients include Granja Avícola Integral Sofia, Millicom International Cellular and Industrias De Aceite.

Ferrere provides ‘excellent service and very good response times’, and is ‘very good value for money’; the practice’s key strength is international tax matters, including the tax aspects of cross-border transactions, although it also has a strong line in tax litigation. Pablo Ordoñez, who joined in September 2016 from an in-house position at Repsol, heads an increasingly consolidated team that is also developing transfer pricing capability. Other key members include Gerardo Villagómez and counsel Diego Bohrt (who are commended for their ‘integrity, availability, flexibility and strong industry knowledge’); and counsel Martha Martinic, who is singled out for her tax litigation experience. Clients include Ericsson, Maersk, Diageo, Petrobras and FOPECA.

Based in La Paz, Guevara & Gutiérrez S.C’s department primarily assists foreign clients with the tax aspects of incorporating subsidiaries in Bolivia, and representing clients in administrative and judicial challenges to tax assessments. Practice head Mauricio Dalman assisted Minoil with the reduction of its tax liability in front of an administrative court, and also acted for Alta Estética, Petrobras Bolivia and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on similar matters. Dalman and Rodrigo Rivera (who also has experience in tax litigation), advise Repsol E&P Bolivia on all its tax issues. The team also handles the tax aspects of M&A transactions.

Indacochea & Asociados is particularly strong in pre-emptive tax advice and regulatory compliance; it also represents clients in tax litigation. Mariana Pereira leads the team, which recently welcomed Candys Dorado from her public position at Gerencias de Grandes Contribuyentes, an arm of the Bolivian tax authority, the Servicio de Impuestos Nacionales (SIN). Dorado assisted Arreador with reducing an alleged $1m tax liability to $250,000, and advised Agropecuaria Algarrobal on similar matters. She also advises clients on the tax aspects of customs law.

Quintanilla, Soria & Nishizawa Soc. Civ.’s practice head Mauricio Torrico advises clients on both legal and technical matters, and is also active in litigation, particularly in the administrative courts. The team recently represented Fundación Hope Worldwide Bolivia in two administrative appeals requesting exemption from income tax; and advised JICA Bolivia on the tax aspects of donations and the transfer of goods to public entities. Associates Alexia Paravicini and Ingrid Reese are also noted.

Delfor Zapata and Luis Moreno lead the team at Moreno Baldivieso Estudio De Abogados, which welcomed Marcelo Herrera from his previous role as general counsel at the SIN, Bolivia’s tax authority. The team is particularly active in assisting other departments with the tax aspects of large matters for high-profile clients: Zapata and Herrera recently advised Constructora Ormachea on the tax aspects of a $14m public-hospital project. Tax litigation is also a key area for the department and Herrera represented Brinks Bolivia in hearings regarding alleged tax liabilities. Other clients include Red Nacional Bolivision and Macallum Group.

Largely acting as very capable support to the corporate practice, the tax team at Bufete Aguirre Soc. Civ. is led by Milenka Saavedra. It also acts for clients, including one very large mining company and various non-profit organisations, on appealing SIN tax assessment decisions. Fernando Aguirre and Ignacio Aguirre are active in the practice, where clients include Minera San Cristóbal, Embotelladoras Bolivianas Unidas and Childfund International.

Fernando Rojas heads the La Paz practice of C.R. & F. Rojas – Abogados, while certified public accountant Americo Melgar directs the Santa Cruz group; Antonio Sanjinés and senior associate Alejandra Bernal are also key practice members. Ariel Morales represented Shell in an appeal against the SIN regarding tax liabilities, successfully reducing the client’s liabilities from $1.25m to $290,000. On the regulatory side, senior associate José Manuel Canelas advised CADEX on structuring a legal strategy to challenge a recent tax that affects Bolivian exporters.

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