Baker McKenzie’s reputation as a market-leader is underpinned by its breadth and depth of coverage in the tax arena. In addition to fielding a first-rate standalone tax team, it is also able to leverage the expertise of practitioners in the commercial and dispute resolution departments to provide a cohesive service to clients on transactional tax matters and tax litigation. The firm demonstrates strong credentials handling complex tax issues associated with high-value, cross-border transactions, as well as tax planning for large international businesses, global structuring and restructuring, and employment-related tax issues. Practice head Pierre Chan is recommended for local and regional matters, including dispute resolution and succession planning. Steven Sieker, who is the managing partner of the China and Hong Kong offices, is known for tax advisory matters, audits and disputes. Part-time senior consultant Michael Olesnicky is also recommended for tax advisory and disputes matters. Richard Weisman retired in June 2020.
Domestic and International Corporate Tax in Hong Kong
The tax group at DLA Piper in Hong Kong has a wealth of experience assisting global clients with devising and implementing tax-efficient strategies. It provides an excellent end-to-end user service, which makes it a strong choice for advice on M&A-related tax matters, and inbound and outbound investments, as well as transfer pricing. Beyond work for corporate clients, the firm also assists high-net-worth individuals with private wealth management and global estate planning. Anderson Lam is experienced in assisting businesses with structuring their operations in a tax-efficient manner, and is notably active in matters with a cross-border dimension. Daniel Chan advises domestic and international clients on PRC-related tax matters, with a focus on supply chain management, distribution and retail.
Gibson Dunn's nascent Hong Kong tax offering has gained momentum since experienced litigators Elaine Chen and Brian Gilchrist joined from Clifford Chance in May 2020. The firm is now well-equipped to handle the full range of tax and trusts disputes for corporates, funds, high-net-worth individuals, and family offices. Both Chen and Gilchrist are 'stand out performers in the field of trusts, tax, and disputes generally; together, they are definitely a team you want on your side'.
Other key lawyers:
‘The tax team at Gibson Dunn is ably led by Brian Gilchrist and Elaine Chen.’
‘Brian Gilchrist and Elaine Chen are excellent lawyers and both are efficient and skilled tacticians, strategists and lawyers.’
‘Brian Gilchrist and Elaine Chen are supported by an exceptionally able and hardworking team.’
‘What makes this practice unique is the skill and experience of the people who lead it.’
‘There is no other team operating in the Asia-Pacific region which can bring to a dispute or an issue the experience which this team can bring to a matter.’
‘Brian Gilchrist has enormous experience in all kinds of contentious dispute work and has immense knowledge of the law and customs in Hong Kong which he brings to any issue in which he is involved and which allows him to help bring about the right result for his clients.’
‘Elaine Chen straddles the English and Chinese worlds which co-exist in Hong Kong and has a remarkable instinct for the right answer to tax questions.’
‘Elaine Chen is a reliable guide to any client who is unfortunate enough to get involved in a tax dispute.’
- Advising a leading property development group listed on the New York Stock Exchange on matters relating to a claim brought by the Hong Kong Inland Revenue against various directors of its subsidiary for making incorrect tax returns on behalf of the company taxpayer.
- Advising the executrix of the estate of a prominent Hong Kong property developer on a dispute with the Commissioner of Estate Duty on whether estate duty was chargeable over certain offshore assets and the disallowing of a claim for allowance in respect of a liability indemnified by the deceased.
- Advising two companies in a leading pan-Asian retailer group on tax appeals and related judicial reviews before the Hong Kong Court.
Deacons handles a mix of tax planning work and dispute resolution for its clients, which include corporates, family trusts, charitable foundations and individuals. Cynthia Chung leads the team, whose non-contentious work includes advice on the tax aspects of M&A, reconstructions, joint ventures and the structuring of new businesses. Another key individual is Stefano Mariani, who was promoted to partner in January 2021.
Other key lawyers:
‘Deacons has done an excellent job helping us with Hong Kong tax issues.’
‘They are commendably willing to give firm, useable views on difficult issues, rapidly and very economically.’
‘Stefano Mariani is an excellent tax lawyer: highly knowledgeable, confident, clear in his advice and decisive.’
‘You can ask Stefano Mariani for a quick steer over the phone, and the written advice, when it comes, takes the same position and fortifies it against doubt.’
‘Stefano Mariani’s grasp of Hong Kong Inland Revenue Department’s practice, attitudes and priorities is immensely helpful.’