Tax in India

AZB & Partners

AZB & Partners is ‘well versed in the practical aspects of tax law and has an understanding of business’, particularly in relation to high-value corporate transactions and planning. Co-founding partner Ajay Bahl leads the practice alongside ‘true professionalDeepak Chopra, whose ‘experience and performance in tax litigation is remarkable’. Both had recent success representing Google India and Google Ireland before the High Court of Karnataka in challenging adverse ITAT orders which created demands of over $1bn; all appeals were successful and sent back to the tribunal for a second adjudication. Other work ranges from transfer pricing and permanent establishment advice, with a particular focus on avoiding double taxation, to M&A and private equity deal structuring. Harpreet Singh Ajmani is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Ajay Bahl; Deepak Chopra

Other key lawyers:

Harpreeet Singh Ajmani

Testimonials

‘Well versed in the practical aspects of tax law and has an understanding of business. The approach is professional, setting out clear thoughts and strategy. An experienced team with diversified exposure.’

‘Deepak Chopra’s experience and performance in tax litigation is remarkable. He is a true professional and has a persistent approach towards the result and timelines.’

Key clients

Google India

Softbank Group

Vodafone Idea

GlaxoSmithKline Group (GSK)

Honeywell International (HII)

Amazon.com

Stryker India

Americom Asia Pacific

BT Global Communications India

LG Group

Honda Group

SABMiller Group

PepsiCo. India

Pernod Ricard

ZTE Corporation

Giesecke & Devrient

Nokia Networks

Hyosung Corporation

Hindustan Zinc

National Basketball Association

Max Group

Diebold Systems

Shanghai Electric Group

Bombardier Transportations

Twenty–First Century Fox, Inc. and News Corporation

M/s. Symphony Marketing Solutions India

Eastman Chemicals

M/s. Mitutoyo South Asia

Bharti Airtel

Jubilant Group

Asahi India

McKinsey Knowledge Centre India

GE India

Bharat Aluminium Company

Beam Global Spirits & Wine (India)

Indus Towers

Fun Fashion India Private

Oil & Natural Gas Corporation

Amorepacific Corporation

Infonox Software Private

TSYS Card Tech Services

AB Sciex

Singapore Telecommunications

Reckitt Benckiser India

ANI Technologies (OLA)

Sugam Vanijya Holdings

Stefanini India

Corteva AgriScience Group

Turner Group

Qatar Investment Authority

Expeditors Group

Ivanhoe Cambridge Investment Advisory (India)

FIS Payment Solutions and Services India

Bunge Group

Export Development Canada

Bank of Singapore

Vantage Drilling International

Sumi Motherson Innovative Engineering

Concentrix Group

Perfetti Group (Includes Perfetti Van Melle India and Perfetti Van Melle, Netherlands)

Cipla Limited

Work highlights

  • Acted for Reckitt Benckiser India in litigation concerning advertising, marketing and promotional (AMP) expenses; the ITAT gave a categorical finding that AMP expenses do not constitute an ‘international transaction’.
  • Advised Giesecke & Devrient India in a first- of-its-kind judgment wherein the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal held that Dividend Distribution Tax paid by a resident company to its non–resident shareholders would be subject to tax rates, as envisaged under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement as opposed to under domestic law.
  • Represented Concentrix Services Netherlands in a landmark ruling where the Delhi High Court extended the benefit of 5% tax rate provided in India-Slovenia Tax Treaty to dividend paid by an Indian company to its holding company resident in Netherlands by invoking the Most Favoured Nation Clause enshrined in the India-Netherlands Tax Treaty.

Economic Laws Practice

Economic Laws Practicehas a fantastic blend of advisory and dispute resolution expertise, and is exceptional in tax’ across the full spectrum of direct and indirect matters. Rohit Jain heads the team alongside Nishant Shah; both offer advice on indirect tax controversies including anti-profiteering disputes and transitioning credits following the implementation of GST. Jain and Kumar Visalakshare able to straddle their advisory and litigation roles with finesse’, while Visalaksh attracts further praise for ‘an approach which is preventive rather than curative’. On the direct tax side, matters range from transfer pricing issues to tax arrangements during corporate transactions, as well as inbound and outbound investment structuring. The firm also leverages its international commerce expertise to assist with customs valuations and foreign trade policy queries. Other significant names include Harsh Shah and Rahul Khurana, who made partner in April 2021.

Practice head(s):

Rohit Jain; Nishant Shah

Testimonials

‘ELP is a unique firm which has a fantastic blend of advisory and dispute resolution expertise and is exceptional in tax and commercial matters. Its professionals, even at the associate level, take ownership of the matters they are involved in. Their tax team in particular is very driven and is one of the best in the country.’

‘Rohit Jain and Kumar Visalaksh have exceptional knowledge in the subject and are able to straddle their tax advisory and litigation roles with finesse. Kumar Visalaksh is well regarded by clients for his litigation strategy. His ability to anticipate issues sets him apart from many other tax partners whose approach is largely reactionary rather than preventive. Kumar’s approach in running diagnostics to create a mechanism for the early detection of issues is a true value-add for clients. An approach which is preventive rather than curative is what clients love about Kumar.’

‘Great grasp of commercial and technical issues in indirect tax and customs-related matters. Easy to work with and available at short notice. Provides end-to-end solutions.’

‘Rohit Jain and Harsh Shah stand out for their delivery of service, knowledge of our industry and excellent technical skills.’

Key clients

Inox Leisure

Mondelez India Foods

Purulia Kharagpur Transmission Company

Anheuser Busch InBev India

Bacardi India

TTK Prestige

The Great Eastern Shipping Company

Khaitan & Co LLP

Khaitan & Co LLP‘s ‘responsive and thoughtful team’ is split into direct and indirect tax practices with an impressive pan-India presence. The firm’s full-service, integrated approach also means the breadth of its contentious and non-contentious offering is vast; recent matters include advising on acquisitions for high-end private equity funds and representing multinational corporates in transfer pricing litigation. On the direct tax side, Indruj Rai  ‘stands out for his practical advice’ and is a ‘very engaged and hands-on lawyer’, while Sanjay Sanghvi is ‘thorough, diligent and has a deep understanding of rules, tax codes and procedures’; Ritu Shaktawat and Bijal Ajinkya are other key players in the transactional space. Elsewhere, Dinesh Agrawal and Arvind Baheti provide the principal support on indirect tax instructions. The practice recently welcomed Sudipta Bhattacharjee from Advaita Legal, and Udayan Choksi from VoxLaw India, in spring 2021.

Testimonials

‘Indruj Rai is a very good partner.’

‘Excellent and practical advice. Very responsive and thoughtful team.’

‘Indruj Rai stands out for his practical advice. A very engaged and hands-on lawyer. A pleasure to work with.’

‘They have a deep understanding of the client’s business, and make the effort to develop this understanding and find solutions based on that. The partners are committed to acting for a client over the long term, sometimes over decades. The unique teamwork and cross-disciplinary cooperation to find integrated solutions is very unique. Excellent use of technology to enable cooperation.’

‘Sanjay Sanghvi is thorough, diligent and has a deep understanding of rules, tax codes and procedures.’

‘The tax team at Khaitan is thoughtful and experienced. They have provided us with well-thought-out and considerate advice on multiple issues, taking a holistic view of our company and the secondary implications of our actions.’

‘Indruj Rai has been a reliable partner. He has taken the time to understand our viewpoint, priorities and preferences, and adapted to them while representing us. He is experienced and insightful.’

Key clients

Metro AG

Unitop Chemicals

RMG Acquisition Corporation II

NewQuest Asia Fund IV (Singapore) (NewQuest Capital Partners group)

British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (“BCI”)

Tredegar Corporation

Manipal Health Enterprises

Deluxe Entertainment Services Group

MCPI Private Limited (“MCPI”)

Subway Group, USA (Subway India)

TVS Motor Group | Tax Advisory

JCT Limited

ATE Enterprises

Goodluck India Limited and Anr.

Brand Equity Treaties

Prahitha Constructions (RMZ Corp group)

Nirman Estate Developers

Prahitha Constructions (RMZ Corp group)

Connect Residuary

3I Infotech Limited

Qualys Inc.

Sapphire Foods India Private Limited

HT Media

JSW Cement

Go Airlines India

Arkade Developers

Shapoorji Pallonji and Company

Max Life Insurance Company

LICHFL Care Homes

M/s. Harinagar Sugar Mills

M/s. CRI

Emami Agrotech

Vinayak Agro Industries

Pramerica Life Insurance

BT Group PLC

University of Petroleum and Energy Studies

Work highlights

  • Advised Metro-NOM GmbH on its sale in Germany and that of Metro Systems Romania S.R.L. to Wipro.
  • Advising RMG Acquisition Corporation II with respect to its business combination agreement with ReNew Power and ReNew’s current investors, including Goldman Sachs, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, JERA, and GEF SACEF, which will result in ReNew becoming a publicly listed company on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange.
  • Acting for the Indian Bank Association (IBA), HDFC Bank, State Bank of India, Kotak Bank and 12 other private, public and foreign banks in obtaining relief in the form of a favourable interim order.

Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan

Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan‘s general ‘know-how as well as soft and interpersonal skills‘ supplement its ‘patient and very even-tempered‘ team, which has particular expertise in handling indirect tax matters. Founding partner V. Lakshmikumaran is the key name here, along with Ravi Raghavan and Charanya Lakshmikumaran, for whom recent work has included litigation over the carrying forward of credit to the newly implemented GST regime. There is also a significant direct tax offering, led principally by S. Vasudevan and Amar Gahlot, featuring advice on income tax assessments, M&A transactions, corporate expansions and transfer pricing disputes before the ITAT. The practice also has a reputation for establishing new jurisprudence; it recently represented camara companies Sony, Nikon and Canon in Supreme Court proceedings which established the jurisdiction of the Indian tax investigations authorities.

Practice head(s):

V Lakshmikumaran

Testimonials

‘All the partners and people within L&S are very professional. They have both know-how as well as soft and interpersonal skills. They put you at ease with Indian tax requirements as well as the Indian business and administration environment.’

‘The team are very prompt to answer questions. They understand business and the difficulties of their clients, and are patient and very even-tempered. This is much appreciated as we are coming to them, most of the time, with very difficult business and tax questions.’

‘L&S examine each matter in detail and discuss the various possibilities, but finally provide clear advice and maintain a high quality of work. They also tell us when litigation is unlikely to succeed.’

Key clients

Sony, Nikon and Canon

Arvind Beauty Brands Retail

Vertiv Energy

National Internet Exchange of India

Jaquar and Company

Sun Pharma Laboratories

Eris Lifesciences

Genus Power Infrastructures

Gas Authority of India

SC Johnson India and Unilever group

Nestle India, Johnson & Johnson, Jubilant Foodworks, Apex Meadows, Emmar Mgf Land

Jyothy Laboratories

Godrej Agrovet

VKC Footwear

Ultratech Cement, Nuvoco Cement, Lafarge, Sanghi Cement

Benaras Hotels Ltd. (Taj Group)

Work highlights

  • Representing Sony, Nikon and Canon in Supreme Court proceedings concerning the jurisdiction of the Indian tax investigation authorities.
  • Representing Arvind Beauty Brands Retail, Vertiv Energy, National Internet Exchange of India, Jaquar and Company in High Court proceedings pertaining to the carrying forward of credit from an earlier tax regime to the newly implemented GST regime.
  • Advising Sun Pharma Laboratories, Eris Lifesciences and Genus Power Infrastructures on the curtailment of exemption benefits, which were available to taxpayers under the earlier tax regime, under the new GST regime.

Nishith Desai Associates

Founding partner Nishith Desai and his team at Nishith Desai Associates specialise in international tax-related advisory and litigation work. Services include planning and structuring advice on cross-border transactions and the representation of parties in complex global disputes.

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co‘s practice counts high-profile global corporates and private equity funds among its clients, providing advice on direct (income and corporation) tax issues accompanying M&A deals, foreign investments and large-scale reorganisations. Other focus areas include digital taxation as well as audits, investigations and appeals before domestic and international appellate bodies. Amit Singhania, Gouri Puri, Abhay Sharma and Rajat Bose are the key contacts.

Vaish Associates

Vaish Associates has a strong reputation for tax litigation and acts in various domestic, international and transfer pricing-related proceedings. Clients include multinational corporations from the pharmaceuticals, technology and automotive sectors, for which the team also handles compliance as well as regulatory work on both the direct and indirect tax sides. Notable members of the team include Ajay Vohra and Abhishek Agarwal.

Other key lawyers:

Ajay VohraAbhishek Agarwal

ALMT Legal

ALMT Legal‘s ‘client service is excellent‘ and ‘nothing is too much trouble‘ for practice co-heads Aliff Fazelbhoy and Statira Ranina, who offer advisory and litigation services concerning both direct and indirect tax. Matters range from advice on cross-border structurings and permanent establishments to the characterisation of software payments or GST issues. Fazelbhoy also handles high-stakes disputes involving international tax, with recent success in transfer pricing disputes before the High Courts.

Testimonials

‘I am impressed with how well the team understand our business. The client service is excellent; nothing is too much trouble and the team are always extremely pleasant to work with.’

‘I am always impressed with the promptness of their responses to queries and the level of information that is provided in those responses. Statira Ranina has shown excellent knowledge and understanding that comes through in her correspondence and advice to us.’

‘ALMT’s strengths are client focus, clarity and expertise on the subject and responsiveness.’

‘Our main work has been with Statira Ranina. She is an expert in the subjects that she deals with, and very calm and level headed, with a tremendous capacity for patience and care for the client’s views. She has a great team to back her up and lives up to the promises she makes.’

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas ‘specialises in complex tax issues and is able to offer commercially workable solutions‘ on matters ranging from investment structurings to corporate reorganisations. Cyril Shroff co-heads the practice alongside SR Patnaik, who garners client praise for being ‘pragmatic in his approach‘ – particularly when advising on international tax treaties and M&A transactions. The team also handles disputes instructions, with ongoing involvement in a series of proceedings before the High Court of Telangana regarding import policy for maize corn under the domestic foreign trade policy, on behalf of Gourmet Popcornica. The team saw the departures of Mekhla Anand and Daksha Baxi – the latter to set up her own practice – but was strengthened at partner level by the promotion of Kunal Savani in spring 2021.

Practice head(s):

Cyril Shroff; SR Patnaik

Other key lawyers:

Kunal Savani

Testimonials

‘The team are extremely well-versed in the subject, both at a technical and practical level. They specialise in complex tax issues and are able to offer commercially workable solutions. They are also very dependable and responsive to the client’s needs and concerns.

‘SR Patnaik offers a wealth of experience in this very thorny and often complicated area of Indian law and regulation. He is pragmatic in his approach, and creative in finding solutions which work to achieve all objectives. He is also very responsive and quick to turn around matters.’

Key clients

Mitsui Sumitomu Insurance

Kirkland & Ellis LLP (New York)

Murugappa Group

Brightstar Logistics and Brightstar Corporation

Gourmet Popcornica

Work highlights

  • Advised Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, Limited on the structuring of a transaction in a tax-efficient manner, along with rendering assistance on negotiations and review of the agreements, in respect of a share swap transaction.
  • Working alongside Kirkland & Ellis LLP, advised on the tax implications of an acqusition transaction and assisted in finalisation of the transaction documents within stringent timelines.
  • Acted as counsel for Murugappa Group (TIIL), with the tax team assisting in analysing the tax implications of the restructuring, including recommendation of novel structures for undertaking the transactions in light of the new regulations as well as commercial exigencies.

Kochhar & Co.

Clients appreciate the ‘responsive, extremely knowledgeable but also commercial‘ approach at Kochhar & Co., which has recently advised on matters involving customs valuation rules, cross-border taxability issues and transfer pricing. Practice head Shahid Khan handles direct tax, with particular expertise in effective repatriation and exit arrangements under double taxation avoidance agreements. Reena Khair‘s arrival from her own firm to lead the indirect tax practice in July 2020 was also a boost to the team’s coverage; alongside Shampa Bhattacharya, Khair assists with GST, VAT and pre-market entry guidance work, as well as leading various CESTAT appeals.

Practice head(s):

Shahid Khan; Reena Khair

Other key lawyers:

Shampa Bhattacharya

Testimonials

‘Responsive, extremely knowledgeable but also commercial. Demonstrated flexibility in fees which was appreciated.’

‘The tax team at Kochhar & Co. have been meticulous in dealing with all our matters. They have the expertise to handle the matter entirely from the initial stage of notice till the Supreme Court. Unlike other firms, they do not outsource any work and efficiently deal with all aspects of the matter themselves. They have been able to deliver high-quality work in a timely manner. We are quite satisfied with the results the team has achieved for us.’

‘Reena Khair is an expert in the field of tax law. She has handled all our matters with the utmost integrity, professionalism and commitment. She is extremely forward-thinking in her advice. Her ability to simplify things and give practical solutions has helped our company in the long term.’

Key clients

Wells Fargo Bank

Vodafone India Services

Akamai India Networks

Lutron GL Sales & Services

NWRP Partners, Alberta, Canada

Labaton Sucharow LLP, as lead counsel in a class action suit against Dr Reddy’s Laboratories

Evalueserve.com and Evalueserve SEZ Gurgaon

A. Infrastructure

Capital Impex

Veekay Surgicals

Rajasthan Small Industries Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised Wells Fargo Bank on the impact of a newly introduced ‘equalisation levy’ on multinational companies operating via digital platforms without a physical presence in India.
  • Acting for Lutron GL Sales & Services in a CESTAT investigation relating to whether its relationship with a foreign supplier had influenced pricing.
  • Advising Labaton Sucharow LLP on whether compensatory damages awarded to US-based holders of Indian securities by the US courts in the settlement of a class action lawsuit brought against the Indian company issuing the securities are taxable in India.

Majmudar & Partners

Majmudar & Partners has become ‘a one-stop service‘ for international corporate clients and high-net-worth investors with tax issues pertaining to transfer pricing, permanent establishment and fund structuring from overseas. The practice is also experienced at handling domestic employee tax and ESOPs work, with Akil Hirani being well-versed in structuring equity compensation plans and M&A-related reorganisations. Ravi Raghavan remains ‘responsive and efficient‘ alongside fellow department co-head Hirani, particularly while forming litigation strategy. Rukshad Davar is another key name, particularly for US-based clients such as NapCloud, when preparing documentation for GST exemptions from service exports.

Other key lawyers:

Rukshad Davar

Testimonials

‘Majmudar & Partners have a tax practice which can offer clients a one-stop service. The tax people are helpful.’

‘Ravi Raghavan is responsive and efficient.’

Key clients

NapCloud USA

Equisoft

DLA Piper, Hong Kong

Govecs Group, Germany

Gibtele

McGill USA

Travers Smith LLP

Gunderson Dettmer Stough Villeneuve Franklin & Hachigian, LLP

Liberty Global Transaction Solutions, USA

Work highlights

  • Provided tax and transfer pricing advice to NapCloud, a leading US entity engaged in information technology, software development and programming services.
  • Advised Equisoft, a leading North American company, in a matter concerning the tax and regulatory issues around employee equity incentive plans.
  • Provided Indian law and tax advisory services to Govecs Group, Germany, regarding its proposed activities in India.

Trilegal

Trilegal‘s tax department contains a ‘strong team of people, able to deliver clear answers to tough questions‘ from a multinational client base including financial services, manufacturing and software service companies. Himanshu Sinha, who ‘has exceptional knowledge and commercial understanding‘, leads the team alongside Samsuddha Majmuder; both cover direct and indirect tax-related matters, including transfer pricing litigation, M&A deals, customs issues and regulatory investigations. At counsel level, Komal Dani and Nameer Khan provide strong support, particularly when assisting on international tax and foreign trade policy mandates. Among various new hires in 2020 and 2021, counsel Shashank Shekhar and senior associate Tushar Joshi joined from Advaita Legal.

Other key lawyers:

Komal Dani; Nameer Khan

Testimonials

‘Strong team of people, able to deliver clear answers to tough questions.’

‘Himanshu Sinha has exceptional knowledge and commercial understanding of the issues.’

Key clients

Mack Star Marketing

Norsk Hydro ASA

National Investment and Infrastructure Fund

Institute for Sustainable Communities

Tree Line (Asia) Master Fund Singapore

Canon India

ParadigmARQ Multi Asset Fund

Circulate Capital Management

BA Continuum

International Asset Reconstruction Company

Shorts International

OLX Group

CyberArk

Blackhawk Network

AastarUrmika Health Systems

Naspers

Ventures B.V (Prosus)

SBI Cards

Bombardier Transportation India

Work highlights

  • Assisting Mack Star in resolving a myriad of complex tax issues that occurred due to the mismanagement by the erstwhile management.
  • Advising Tree Line on its recent acquisition of shares of National Stock Exchange of India from Citigroup Strategic Holdings Mauritius Limited.
  • Advised Canon on a transfer pricing adjustment made by the income tax department on account of alleged excessive expenditure incurred on advertising, marketing and promotion (AMP) activities, and represented the client before the ITAT.

Amicus

Amicus is ‘seamlessly innovating to bring in newer tax offerings‘ alongside its established handle on transfer pricing issues and litigation. Practice head Ashutosh Mohan Rastogistands out for his versatility‘, with an increased focus on GST advice as well as customs valuations. In a recent victory for Cinestaan Entertainment before the Delhi High Court, Rastogi secured a stay order from the tax tribunal following the rejection of a fair market value assessment, which will aid future relief for start-ups and angel investors.

Practice head(s):

Ashutosh Mohan Rastogi

Testimonials

‘The firm is seamlessly innovating to bring in newer tax offerings. After starting with transfer pricing, the firm has now become our go-to for all tax advice including GST, customs and, more recently, valuation matters.’

‘Ashutosh Mohan Rastogi stands out for his versatility in tax matters and his ability to offer practical advice. He is supported by strong senior associates to form a stellar team.’

Key clients

Cinestaan Entertainment

Cinestaan Digital

Corbus India

Rubber Skill Development Council

Ekatra Hospitality

Astra Business Services

Pentax Group

Angus Group

Bene Group

Takenaka Group

Infrasoft Technologies

ICRA

ICRA Analytics

Alchem Group

Lemontree Group

Dabur India

Estee Group

DE Diamond Electric India

Corbus Group

Pyramid IT Consulting

Vertisystem Global

Richi Circuitronix

FMS Logistics

CM Logistics India

Alchem International

Work highlights

  • Represented Cinestaan Entertainment in an appeal before the Delhi High Court against the tax tribunal’s judgment, quashing the entire tax demand on the issuance of shares at a premium under section 56(2)(viib) of the Income Tax Act.
  • Represented Corbus (India) and succeeded in deleting/quashing the entire transfer pricing adjustment on receivables at Income Tax Appellate level.

HSA Advocates

At HSA Advocates, the firm has a notable focus on tax-related disputes and represents its clients during adjudications and proceedings before the High Courts. It has also developed a strong reputation in the energy sector – particularly the solar industry – thanks to Faranaaz Kharbari and Rahul Jain, who are well versed in power purchase agreement regulations and in contesting any associated entry tax levies. Other areas of work range from the direct and indirect tax implications of business reorganisations to advice on compliance frameworks.

Other key lawyers:

Faranaaz Karbhani; Rahul Jain

Key clients

Acme Yamuna Nagar Solar Power

Baillie Gifford Overseas

Assystum Engineering and Operation Service SAS

Dayakar Solar

Vishwakarma Solar Energy

Niranjan Solar Energy

Acme Cleantech Solutions

JSA Law

JSA Law‘ tax practice ‘provides comprehensive solutions for any litigation‘, in addition to handling M&A and corporate restructuring advisory work and cross-border GST and customs-related transactions. Manish Mishra and Kumarmanglam Vijay head the team from Gurugram, with Mishra overseeing the indirect tax practice and Vijay managing the direct side of cases. Mumbai-based Shareen Gupta offers strong support, particularly in the burgeoning area of the taxability – and the classification – of online gaming set-ups. Other sectors of focus include IT, fintech, energy and manufacturing.

Other key lawyers:

Shareen Gupta

Testimonials

‘JSA provides comprehensive solutions for any litigation because they have a complete team to analyse all the aspects of any case.’

Key clients

Schindler India

Lupin

Adyen Technologies India

Rattan India

Energy Efficiency Services

S.B. Packaging

Ford Motor Company

Sameer Mittal & Associates

Work highlights

  • Advised Rattan India on the illegality of a levy from a coal supplier and on challenging the same levy before the High Court of Delhi by way of a writ petition.
  • Advised Schindler India on the applicability of a local tax on the entry of specific goods into the municipal limits, under a specific agreement executed by the client for the supply and installation of elevators in a metro project in the State of Maharashtra, prior to the implementation of the GST law.
  • Advised Energy Efficiency Services on a comparative analysis of the direct and indirect tax implications of a transfer by slump sale versus asset transfer versus de-merger concerning the classification of solar power generating systems.

Phoenix Legal

Phoenix Legal‘s expertise lies in cross-border reorganisations and advisory work often pertaining to GST, transfer pricing and tax avoidance agreements. Abhishek SaxenaPranav Srivastava and Saket Shukla have recently advised on restructuring agreements between domestic subsidiaries of multinationals and their overseas group companies, as well as the outright tax structuring of new investments into India. Manjula Chawla is another key name to note, acting for a client roster that features names from the manufacturing, energy, retail and technology sectors. In September 2021, the team was bolstered by the arrival of Jatin Arora who joined from PwC India to lead the indirect tax practice.

Key clients

Intuitive Surgical

Navis Capital

Anant Raj Global

Volaris Group

Harris Computers

Linamar Corporation

L Brands

Pratham Books

ASTA Energy Transmission Components

Belectric Group

Asesorias e Inversiones Benjamin/South Lake One

Work highlights

  • Advised South Lake One (a Delaware company) on an investment in the SunEdison group in India, including on direct and indirect tax aspects of the deal involving the restructuring of the SunEdison group to carve out its under-developed solar power projects into separate holding entities in India and the UK.
  • Advised Padmini VNAon a joint venture with Vitesco Technologies, aContinental (a listed German company) group entity to offer selected powertrain technologies for the Indian market that meet the new emission standard Bharat Stage VI.
  • Advised Anant Raj group on a reorganisation and restructuring of its promoter holdings, businesses and assets amongst the two founders of the group.

Reina Legal

At Gurugram-based boutique firm Reina Legal, the team ‘is always hands-on and eager to go over and above the set deliverables‘, often on GST assessments and litigation mandates. It achieved recent success before the Delhi High Court, having filed a writ petition on behalf of Insitel Services challenging the constitutional validity of refund provisions under the Central Goods and Services Rules, 2017. Indirect tax expert and managing partner Gajendra Maheshwari heads the department alongside Prerna Chopra, who made partner in April 2021.

Testimonials

The entire team is always hands-on and eager to go over and above the set deliverables.

‘The involvement of the partners is excellent; it is not something I have experienced in other firms.’

‘A very professional and talented team as far as indirect tax is concerned.’

Key clients

Colt Technologies

Luxury Tech Services

Lupin

Wheelseye Technologies India

Freshpack Industries

Toshiba India

Indus Towers

CBRE South Asia

Cushman and Wakefield (India)

Mojorel India

Benetton India (United Colours of Benetton)

Samsung SDS India

Siemens

Sony India

Xerox India

Bharti Infratel

Tenon Group

Tower Vision India

Oracle India

Pioneer India Electronics

Jones Lang LaSalle India (JLL)

Light Ray Advisors LLP (Saif Partners)

Ireo

A.M. Marketplaces (Lime Road)

7MED India

SRIDE Tech

SPML Infra

Vertex Global Services LLP

Siemens Healthcare

Work highlights

  • Assisting Insitel Services with filing a writ petition before the Delhi High Court which challenged the constitutional validity of the refund provisions under Rule 90(3) of the Central Goods and Services Rules, 2017 as ultra vires Article 14 and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.
  • Assisting SPML Infra with filing writ petitions before the Rajasthan High Court challenging the non-continuation and non-extension of the benefits of tax exemptions under the GST regime that were available under VAT and service tax regimes.
  • Assisted Siemens Healthcare with filing an application before the Authority for Advance Rulings, seeking clarity on the issue of whether the provision of diagnostic imaging services under a proposed agreement would qualify for an exemption from the levy of GST.

S&A Law Offices

S&A Law Offices‘ practice was significantly boosted by the August 2020 arrival of indirect tax specialist Smita Singh from Ashok Dhingra Associates. Singh co-leads the ‘highly knowledgeable and vastly experienced’ team alongside managing partner Daizy Chawla, who in turn handles direct and international transfer pricing-related matters. Clients range from global corporates to domestic infrastructure providers, while typical advisory work includes evaluating GST issues, customs duty refunds and assessing double taxation avoidance treaties.

Practice head(s):

Daizy Chawla; Smita Singh

Testimonials

‘S&A Law Offices has far-reaching tax expertise. Their insight is always very useful and the availability of the team deeply appreciated. The deliverables, irrespective of the format (call, memorandum of understanding, etc) are well-structured and easy to understand even in the case of specific analytical content.’

‘I often have the opportunity to work with Daizy Chawla on various international tax and transfer pricing topics. Each time, it is a renewed pleasure to conduct various tax analyses together and I deeply appreciate her availability and her professionalism, as well as all the efforts provided to contribute to the success of our partnership.’

‘Highly knowledgeable and vastly experienced people.’

‘Good access to lawyers across the firm.’

Key clients

Vikram Solar

Adani Enterprises

JMC Projects India

Allseas Marine Contractors

IGT Solutions

Work highlights

  • Advised Vikram Solar regarding the GST implications of setting up a solar power plant project.
  • Advising Adani Enterprises on the GST implications of MDO services provided and the sale of coal rejects by one of its related entities (Parsa Kente Colleries), as well as the restructuring of the coal rejects transaction.
  • Advising Allseas Marine Contractors in a dispute under the Customs Act, 1962, relating to a refund of customs duty paid under protest during investigations by revenue officers.

BSA Law

Boutique firm BSA Law is known for its handling of indirect tax-related matters, providing advisory and litigation services relating to customs, excise, GST and foreign trade policy. With a team fronted by founding partners Ashok Kumar Bhasin and Vimal Sethi – who boast decades of experience between them – the firm acts for a roster of domestic clients across the shipping, telecoms, automotive, manufacturing and healthcare sectors.

Key clients

Havells India

M/S Swayambu Enterprises

Jaquar and Co.

Kadimi Tool Manufacturing Co.

Kanodia Technoplast

Maja Heathcare Division (VI-John Group)

M/S Kiwi Foods India

Active Prinpack

R.K. Associates and Hoteliers

Campus EAI India

Gateway Rail Freight

Machino Polymers

Pratham Infratech

Akmy Buildcon

Shivalik Exim

Pretty Petals

Lifescan Medical Devices India

Nissin Brake India

Work highlights

  • Advising Tsunami Venture Corporation on the rejection of a refund of CGST/SGST wrongly paid by the company.
  • Acting for M/S ASI Glass Solutions in seeking a refund of excess IGST following the import of a machining centre which was found to be defective and had to be exported to the supplier for a replacement.
  • Advising M/S B M Enterprises on an objection raised by the customs department to the filing of a shipping bill under claim of drawback for the export of goods of foreign origin.

BMR Legal

Managing partner Mukesh Butani heads the practice at BMR Legal, which specialises in transfer pricing and international tax advice. It handles contentious and non-contentious matters, with experience appearing before the ITAT in disputes for global corporate clients.

Fox Mandal & Associates

Fox Mandal‘s tax practice expanded in 2020 with the arrival of Mumbai and Pune-based international tax specialist Sandip Mukherjee, previously a tax partner at Deloitte India, as well as Bangalore-based Gopala Rao, a former chief commissioner of income tax. Mukherjee and Rao lead the practice with indirect tax specialist Pramod Banthia and director Ranganath Harirao, both also in Bangalore. Matters typically involve GST claims, tax incidence and transfer pricing regulations and the structuring of share purchase agreements.

Work highlights

  • Represented a well-reputed infrastructure company in proceedings before the Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals).
  • Advised an aerospace and aviation client on the implications of customs duty on the import of aircraft into India.
  • Advised an international telecoms company on the taxability of royalty payments made under a product licence agreement under the extant provisions of Indian Income Tax Act, 1961.

Lumiere Law Partners

Lumiere Law Partners‘s focus is on direct tax litigation before the High Courts and ITAT. Practice head Nishant Thakkar is adept at cross-border transfer pricing work and a range of domestic-oriented contentious matters. Recent work has also involved relief claims and advising on double tax avoidance agreements for Indian companies with subsidiaries abroad.

Practice head(s):

Nishant Thakkar

Key clients

Accenture Services (now known as Accenture Solutions)

Aegis

Airbnb

American Express Bank

Citigroup

Credit Suisse Group

Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz India

eBay International

Eight Roads Investment Advisors

Essar Communications

Foster Wheeler Group Entities

Faber Castell

GlaxoSmithKline

Goldman Sachs Group

Hindustan Unilever Limited & its Group Companies

Henkel Adhesive Technologies India

HSBC Holdings

Johnson & Johnson

Jefferies International and Jefferies LLC

Knight Riders Sports

L’Oréal India

Mahindra CIE Automotive

Mondelez India Foods

PayPal

Qualcomm Inc and its Group companies

Shelf Drilling Offshore Services India

Sodexo India Services

Stovekraft

SVB Financial Group

Swiss Re Insurance

Tata Steel

Uber India Systems

UCB India

Vantage International Management

Van Oord India and Van Oord Dredging and Marine Contractors

WNS Global Services

Wockhardt Limited and its Group companies

Zee Entertainment Enterprises

Work highlights

  • Assisted Mondelez Group, Wockhardt and Essar Group Entities with drafting and filing a writ petition before the Bombay High Court challenging the constitutional validity of section 3 of the Taxation and Other Laws Act, 2020 and the validity of notifications issued under section 3.
  • Assisted Shelf Drilling Group Entities, Mahindra CIE and Hapag Lyyod Group Entities with the drafting and filing of a writ petition before the Bombay High Court challenging the validity of notices and orders issued under the new Faceless Assessment Scheme.
  • Acting for Aegis before the Bombay High Court in a case concerning whether a transfer pricing officer could recharacterise a transaction in order to a make a transfer pricing adjustment.

NITYA Tax Associates

Boutique firm NITYA Tax Associates focuses on contentious mandates in relation to indirect tax and allied laws, with recent cases involving GST credits and classification, export costs and double taxation avoidance agreements. Litigator Puneet Bansal  heads the ‘clear and decisive’ team alongside Dharnendra Kumar RanaDeepak Suneja, and Gaurav Narula.

Testimonials

‘Experts in their field of law with a good understanding of practical business issues. Their approach is very clear and decisive, and provides practical solutions.’

‘Puneet Bansal’s experience and performance in tax advisory is notable. He has a professional approach and ensures deliverables.’

Key clients

Hero Motorcorp

Escorts Limited

CNH Industrial

Hindustan Unilever

Select Infrastructure

Somany Ceramics

Dabur India

Haier Appliances India

TAFE Motors and Tractors

Minda Corporation

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India

Avery Dennison India

EI Dupont

Sonalika International Tractors

Shriram Pistons & Rings

Krishna Maruti

Apollo Tyres

Whirlpool of India

Xerox India

Bira

Mahle Group

Swatch Group

Shree Cement

GSK Pharmaceuticals

McCain Foods India

Select Infrastructure

CIPLA Limited

Unified Credit Solutions

TLC Legal

TLC Legal‘s tax offering is ‘excellent, especially in the field of indirect taxation’, with a domestic and international client roster spread across the shipping, manufacturing, infrastructure and energy sectors. Vipin Jain heads the practice, which focuses on contentious matters before the CESTAT and High Courts involving VAT liability, GST and customs issues; Jain has notable support in litigation proceedings from Vishal Agrawal.

Practice head(s):

Vipin Jain

Other key lawyers:

Vishal Agrawal

Testimonials

‘The team at TLC Legal is excellent, especially in the field of indirect taxation. The response time is super-quick, the analytical power of the team is excellent and they are available at all times.’

Key clients

Welspun Corporation

VVF

ABG Shipyard

Reliance Jio Infocom

Vedanta

Reliance Industries

Rajasthan State Mines and Minerals

Cricket Club of India

Nayara Energy

Metro Shoes

Dream 11 Fantasy

Work highlights

  • Advised three Indian companies in the port infrastructure sector on an issue relating to the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017.
  • Advising Malaysian exporter Metrod on an appeal before the CESTAT, challenging the levy of CVD/anti-subsidy duty on imports of continuous cast copper wire into India.
  • Advising an Indian company in the port and air infrastructure sector on issues concerning the payment of GST on goods and services used for the maintenance and construction of facilities in the domestic tariff area.