Tax in India
AZB & Partners
Ajay Bahl heads up the advisory aspect of AZB & Partners' deep, full-service tax practice. Typical mandates for the 10-partner team involve advising multinational names on cross-border mergers, demergers and other corporate transactions, tax efficient restructuring exercises, establishing trust and estate structures and advising on the evolving legislative landscape. Deepak Chopra heads the litigation team; recent mandates involved transfer pricing disputes, nature of payment disputes and contesting tax liabilities before the ITAT and upper courts.
Ajay Bahl; Deepak Chopra
‘A highly qualified and refreshingly practical and efficient team.’
‘Experienced and highly knowledgeable professionals who understand the issues and obtain resolutions without wasting time.’
Americom Asia Pacific
BT Global Communications India
Giesecke & Devrient
National Basketball Association
Inter Globe Enterprises
Shanghai Electric Group
21st Century Fox
Symphony Marketing Solutions India
Mitutoyo South Asia
New Zealand Consulate General
McKinsey Knowledge Centre India
Bharat Aluminium Company
Beam Global Spirits & Wine
Indus Towers Limited
Fun Fashion India
Oil & Natural Gas Corporation
- Represented Pepsi Co. in a transfer pricing dispute.
- Represented Honda Group in an INR2.9bn tax dispute concerning the nature of certain transactions.
- Represented Seagram Distilleries (now merged with Pernod Ricard) in an INR1.6bn tax assessment dispute.
- Advised GSK Group in relation to its proposed divestment of Horlicks and certain other consumer healthcare nutrition brands to Unilever.
- Represented Google in a tax liability dispute valued at INR25bn.
Rohit Jain leads the tax practice at Economic Laws Practice, which offers the full suite of transactional, advisory and litigation support. Recent direct tax issues involved transfer pricing structuring and disputes while Nishant Shah led on indirect issues pertaining to GST transition strategy, customs tax, central sales tax and state levies. The firm routinely represents big-ticket global clients before all court levels in disputes concerning tax classification, valuation, exemption and refunds. Investigations by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and other authorities are regularly handled and niche expertise with issues concerning classifications under the SCOMET list is also provided. Exemplifying the firm's steady growth, a suite of partner promotions were made including Harsh Shah and Jitendra Motwani in Mumbai.
Rohit Jain; Nishant Shah
Warner Bros. Pictures
Schneider Electric India
Bank of America
Parker Hannafin India
WS Retail Services
Bharat Petroleum Compan
Bontaz Automotive India
BP Exploration (Alpha)
Reliance ADAG Group
Jet Airways (India)
Johnson & Johnson
Tetra Pak India
Atlas Copco (India)
- Providing Juniper Networks with indirect tax advisory services including its transition to the GST regime and relevant optimisation of the supply chain.
- Advising GE India Industrial on litigation strategy concerning the classification of imported goods under the Customs Act.
- Advising Ericsson the the implications of the revised SCOMET list, including drafting and preparing applications to the Directorate General of Foreign Trade seeking clarification on the coverage of three types of telecoms equipment.
- Assisting BMW India with a Directorate of Revenue Intelligence investigation concerning the alleged undervaluation of import prices on account of Advertisement, Marketing and Promotional expenses.
- Provided strategic input, comprehensive advocacy support and presentation material for the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council’s various representations before the authorities for seeking a favourable GST regime.
Khaitan & Co LLP's tax practice offers dedicated teams focusing on direct and indirect tax issues (the latter headed by Dinesh Agrawal), covering the full-spectrum of matters concerning international taxation, cross-border tax structuring, tax-efficient global M&A support, transfer pricing and GST compliance. The robust litigation team handles tax disputes through all judicial fora, with recent instructions concerning complex issues of contested tax liabilities, transfer pricing disputes, excise duty rebates and levies. The firm has an established reputation for contributing to national policy developments, which enables to team to provide market-leading regulatory knowledge to its clients.
Sanjay Sanghvi; Bijal Ajinkya; Arvind Baheti; Dinesh Agrawal; Abhishek A Rastogi; Kabir Bogra
DUAL Corporate Risks
UK Climate Investments
CK Birla Group
Avendus Capital Private
The Tata Power Company
Bharat Aluminium Company
Nectar Life Sciences
- Provided tax advice, including on tax indemnity provisions, for Advent International’s $343m controlling stake acquisition in Manjushree Technopack.
- Provided income tax and regulatory advice for CK Birla Group’s €72m strategic acquisition of Parador Holdings. Complex issues involved advising on recently introduced anti-tax avoidance and place of effective management laws.
- Handled the complex tax structuring aspects of Birlasoft’s two-tier transaction involving a merger with KPIT Technologies and subsequent demerger into a new corporate entity.
- Represented Mahindra & Mahindra before the Supreme Court regarding the contended tax implications of a loan waiver.
- Represented Ballarpur Industries before the High Court in an income tax appeal.
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan is highly praised by peers for the full scope of tax litigation and advisory services provided by the likes of V Lakshmikumaran and Charanya Lakshmikumaran. Indirect tax expertise encompasses customs and excise duty, GST and VAT provisions and foreign trade policy, while direct tax expertise encompasses corporate and international taxation, transfer pricing and expatriate taxation.
Other key lawyers:
Nishith Desai Associates
With outreach offices spanning the US, Asia and Europe, Nishith Desai Associates is India’s go-to name for international taxation support for an extensive list of multinational corporations. The firm provides tax planning and structuring advice on cross-border transactions and representation on complex tax litigation and international tax controversy.
The core of Vaish Associates’s market-leading tax offering involves representing significant global clients in high-value transfer pricing, domestic tax and international tax disputes, of which Ajay Vohra has a market-leading presence. Professionals such as Neeraj Jain and Gaurav Jain are renowned for their in-house litigation expertise, routinely handling highly complex cases before all levels of judicial fora. On the non-contentious side, the firm provides expertise with large-scale corporate restructurings and strategic tax planning for clients across all sectors such as oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, IT and consumer goods.
Neeraj Jain; Rohit Jain; Gaurav Jain; Kavita Jha
Other key lawyers:
Whirlpool of India
Honda Siel Power Products
Haier Appliances India
Global Logic India
Magneti Marelli Powertrain
BG Exploration and Production India
Pitney Bowes India
Brillio Technologies India
- Represented Mitsubishi in a transfer pricing dispute involving issues related to application of Berry ratio (gross profit to operating expense) as the profit level indicator.
- Represented Adidas in a matter involving a transfer pricing dispute on the creation of marketing intangible.
- Represented BG Exploration in a case relating to transfer pricing adjustments on account of payment of interest on loan and management service charges.
- Rerpresented GlaxoSmithKline in a dispute involving complex corporate taxation issues and transfer pricing on account of creation of marketing intangible.
- Represented Technip UK in a case involving complex issues relating to taxability of receipts of a non-resident service provider engaged in the oil and gas sector.
ALMT Legal provides detailed tax structuring advice to multinational corporate clients, whether they are entering the Indian market, restructuring the business or establishing large-scale ESOP schemes. Further expertise in the direct tax field involves transfer pricing and loan structuring advice. Indirect tax expertise encompasses GST compliance, import duties and classification of taxable goods. A number of recent instructions involved advising on the tax implications of non-resident workers entering the Indian workforce. Practice heads Aliff Fazelbhoy and Statira Ranina bring significant experience to international tax matters.
Aliff Fazelbhoy; Statira Ranina
‘Statira Ranina provides depth of research, clarity on the unique needs of the client, quickness of response and feasible and relevant solutions.‘
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
The tax practice at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas offers the full range of advisory services to a sizeable list of domestic and international corporate clients. Key names Mekhla Anand and S.R. Patnaik provide expertise in indirect and direct tax issues respectively, with an emphasis on handling significant corporate M&A transactions and restructurings. Daksha Baxi strengthens the team’s international taxation knowledge; she provides particular expertise in global restructuring strategy, anti-avoidance compliance and providing regulatory advice for corporate names entering the Indian market.
S.R. Patnaik; Mekhla Anand; Daksha Baxi
State Bank of India
MAN Trucks & Bus AG (a Volkswagen group entity)
Procter & Gamble
Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board
Gillette Diversified Operations
Mumbai International Airport
- Devised a bespoke tax structure for a consortium of lenders led by the State Bank of India in relation to the formulation and implementation of a resolution plan involving the acquisition of SKS Power Generation.
- Provided direct and indirect tax advice to MAN Trucks on the acquisition of its manufacturing subsidiary by Force Motors.
- Advised Hindustan Unilever on its acquisition by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, including developing various modules with related tax implications.
- Represented Engineers India before the High Court in a $10m challenge to tax demands.
- Assisted Procter and Gamble in challenging the $16m coercive recovery proceedings initiated by the tax department before the High Court.
L&L Partners Law Offices’ tax vertical enjoys a healthy split of tax litigation and transactional mandates. Recent court applications involved complex transfer pricing disputes and high-value service tax demands. Vikas Srivastava leads on direct tax issues while Jatinder Pal Singh is the go-to name for indirect tax; both lend their expertise to devising optimal tax structures on global M&A deals, business restructuring exercises and inbound and outbound investments.
Rajiv Luthra; Vikas Srivastava; Jatinder Pal Singh
- Represented Nokia before the Supreme Court in a transfer pricing dispute, obtaining a dismissal of an appeal filed by the Income Tax Department.
- Rendered tax advice, transaction structuring and tax due diligence for Global Infrastructure Partner’s $26m acquisition of IDFC Alternatives’ infrastructure fund management business.
- Represented ChrysCapital before the ITAT and High Court in a transfer pricing dispute.
- Provided extensive tax advice to Nutanix on its $24m global acquisition of Minjar.
- Represented Abbott Healthcare before the Income Tax Commissioner, successfully dropping an $85m service tax demand.
Majmudar & Partners
Majmudar & Partners provides tax structuring support on corporate transactions such as M&A, offshore recapitalisations, EPC contracts and cross-border restructuring exercises for a client list with a substantial emphasis on US-based multinationals. The team provides indirect tax advice and is also regularly approached to assist with tax litigation strategy. Practice heads Akil Hirani and Ravi S. Raghavan also provide expertise on investigations and surveys conducted by the tax authorities.
Akil Hirani; Ravishankar Raghavan
Zephyr Software Holdings
HRB Centre USA
Wikborg Rein Advokatfirma
Starkey Hearing Technologies
Epsilon International Consulting Services
- Provided tax structuring advice to Aims Impex for a $15m M&A sale to Eternis Fine Chemicals.
- Provided tax restructuring advice to Zephyr Software Holdings as part of a recapitalisation transaction.
- Provided the full suite of tax advice to Chart Industries as part of its acquisition of VRV Asia.
- Provided Wikborg Rein Advokatfirma with tax advice on a dispute concerning the sale of ships to a Marshall Islands-domiciled company.
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co’ top-tier corporate offering is supported by a robust tax vertical which provides direct and indirect tax advice on M&A transactions, business restructuring exercises and joint ventures. Recent matters saw the team advising on state-specific excise duty, GST compliance, foreign trade policy and customs duty. The firm often represents clients in investigations by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the Directorate of Income Tax and other agencies.
New Vernon Group
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company
Kia Motors Corporation
- Provided strategic tax advice to TPG Group on the sale of its controlling stake in Sutra India to Quinang Acquisition Limited.
- Provided state-specific excise tax advice to Carlsberg India for the manufacture and supply of beer.
- Provided extensive tax advise to Abu Dhabi National Oil Company in relation to its agreement with the government of India to store and build crude oil reserves.
- Provided tax advice for New Vernon Group’s 100% share sale to Godrej Group’s private equity arm.
- Provided key tax advice to Kia Motors, particularly in relation to the applicability of import duties on motor vehicle parts.
A number of global names in private equity, financial services and aerospace have recently strengthened the client base of Trilegal’s tax practice, for which the team handles tax disputes, advisory services and policy support. On the contentious side, Himanshu Sinha appeared before the ITAT on issues pertaining to the designation of fees and royalties, transfer pricing and TDS liabilities. Newly promoted counsel Nameer Khan provides indirect tax and foreign trade policy expertise. The firm advises on large-scale corporate restructurings, GST implications, customs investigations and foreign trade policy. As an integrated practice in the firm’s corporate and M&A verticals, the team is well-placed to assist with high-value transactions.
Himanshu Sinha; Samsuddha Majumder
Other key lawyers:
‘A quality tax practice led by Himanshu Sinha that delivers commercial and pragmatic advice.‘
‘The firm is always available and a pleasure to work with both at the partner and associate level.‘
‘A high quality, technically strong and very responsive team.‘
‘Himanshu Sinha is highly technically competent, very commercial and makes difficult issues easy to understand and deal with. A pleasure to work with.‘
‘Komal Dani is a pleasure to work with and a great lawyer.‘
Proterra Investment Partners
Pitney Bowes Group
SC Lowy Financial HK
Samsung Electronics Company
Max Life Insurance Company
Mentor Graphics India
Associated British Foods/AB Mauri India
Sumitomo Corporation India
Income Tax Department, Ministry of Finance, Government of India
BG Exploration & Production India
Société De Promotion Et De Participation Pour La Coopération Economique
- Assisting Proterra Investment Partners with the tax classifications of its hydroponics business and potential tax benefits available under domestic tax laws.
- Advising on the India leg of Pitney Bowes’ $361m sale to Platinum Equity.
- Represting Ciena before the ITAT in a tax dispute involving the issue of deduction of TDS on payments made for import of telecom hardware embedded with software.
- Successfully represented BG Exploration, an oil exploration company, in an international tax matter involving the issue of royalty and fee for technical services before the ITAT.
- Representing Max Life Insurance Company before the Delhi High Court and the ITAT in defending an appeal against a favourable ITAT ruling pertaining to taxation of life insurance companies.
Advaita Legal focuses on direct and indirect tax litigation for mostly domestic clients operating in sectors such as energy, natural resources, FMCG, financial services and tech. Recent mandates involved appearances before the upper courts in matters concerning GST backdating, RPT applicability, customs duty, liquor license fees and income tax. The firm also provides tax relief strategy and other advisory services such as contract structuring, legal due diligence and tax-efficient corporate restructuring assistance.
Sudipta Bhattacharjee; Kamal Sawhney; A R Madhav Rao; Kanupriya Bhargava
Bharat Petroleum Corporation
Indian Oil Corporation
Oil & Natural Gas Corporation
India Coke & Power
Hindustan Construction Company
Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturer’s Association
International Seaport Dredging
Summit Online Trade Solutions
Shapoorji & Pallonji Group (Various divisions)
Disney Broadcasting India
Oracle (OFSS) BPO Services
Cholamandalam Investment & Finance Co.
Agilent Technologies (International)
Humboldt Wedag India
NIIT Limited and NIIT Technologies
Jabil Circuit India
Advertising Agencies Association of India
Ceva Freight India
- Formulated a strategy to file a writ petition in the Bombay High Court on behalf of Bharat Petroleum Corporation seeking effective tax relief.
- Successfully defended United Spirits in the Orissa High Court concerning a payment demand by the Service Tax Department for liquor license fees.
- Represented NIIT before the National Company Law Tribunal in a company petition against income tax objections.
- Assited Kesoram Industries Limited with filing a writ petition before the Honorable High Court for the State of Telangana, challenging the vires of Section 28 of the CGST Amendment Act.
- Filing a writ petition for Oil & Natural Gas Corporation to challenge CGST and SGST levies.
Initially established as a transfer pricing boutique (and still predominantly working in this field as a member of global network Altus Alliance), Amicus now acts on a wider set of mandates including GST compliance, international taxation, corporate advisory and niche tribunal representation concerning angel tax. Sole partner Ashutosh Mohan Rastogi is regularly instructed through the High Court on transfer pricing litigation for clients in sectors such as media, entertainment, manufacturing, IT, electronics and textiles. The team also helps to implement transfer pricing policy and risk mitigation strategy.
Ashutosh Mohan Rastogi
DE Diamond Electric India
Pyramid IT Consulting
- Successfully represented Pyramid IT Consulting in quashing a transfer pricing adjustment in the ITAT.
- Acted for Cinsestaan Entertainment in a share valuation matter before the Tax Tribunal.
- Represented Renus Creations before the Tax Tribunal, successfully quashing a tax liability determined by the Assessing Officer.
- Acted on a transfer pricing dispute in the High Court for De Diamond Electric.
Mukesh Butani of boutique tax firm BMR Legal is a leading figure in the field of transfer pricing law. His team provides support with litigation, policy, regulatory advice and international taxation. Tarun Jain has recently rejoined the team, strengthening it’s GST, customs and trade offering. Other areas of expertise for the firm include foreign direct investment, exchange controls and IBC laws.
‘BMR Legal has very good knowledge of transfer pricing issues.‘
Spencer Stuart India
General Motors India
Serdia Pharmaceuticals India
Make My Trip
Estée Lauder – ELCA Cosmetics
Goldman Sachs Services
Wacker Metroark Chemicals
Wolters Kluwer India
Carlson Wagonlit Travel India
Spencer Stuart International
- Represented Spencer Stuart India before the ITAT in a transfer pricing dispute.
- Represented Goldman Sachs Services before the ITAT in a transfer pricing dispute.
- Represented General Motors before the ITAT in a transfer pricing dispute.
- Represented Rajputana Properties before the Supreme Court in a bidding dispute concerning the insolvency of Binani Cement.
- Represented Marvell India before the ITAT in a transfer pricing dispute.
Recent contentious issues for the HSA Advocates tax offering involved the provision of newly implemented GST laws, contested tax burdens and niche matters regarding safeguard duties in the solar industry. The firm has a strength in international taxation matters, particularly concerning Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements and cross-border M&A transactions. Clients are sourced from sectors such as financial services, manufacturing, FMCG, healthcare, media and energy.
Hemant Sahai; Apoorva Misra; Faranaaz Kharbari; Shreshth Sharma
ACME Cleantech Solutions Private Limited
Yash Raj Films Private Limited
Asia-Pacific Flight Training Academy
Avantor Performance Materials India
- Successfully negotiated remedies through the High Court for ACME Cleantech Solution allowing the client to manually file GST refund claims.
- Represented ACME Solar Holdings through the upper courts on high-stakes litigation concerning the imposition of safeguard duty on solar panels.
- Provided advice to Avantor Performance Materials concerning the classification of its chemical compound imports and the relevant customs duty obligations.
- Advised Yash Raj Films on indirect tax obligations throughout various states, including a contentious issue involving service charges on cinema ticket sales.
- Advised Mumbai International Airport on the applicability of royalties in respect to on-site developments carried out by the client.
Kochhar & Co. provides direct and indirect tax advice to the firm’s corporate clients in support of large-scale transactions handled by the firm. Litigation partners are able to handle tax-related disputes when they arise.
The experts at Reina Legal offer the full range of advisory services and court representation with a particular focus in the field of indirect taxation such as GST, customs duty and entry tax. Recent contentious applications involved landmark hearings concerning the eligibility of input tax credits in the telecoms infrastructure sector as well as drafting responses to show-cause notices forwarded by the various tax authorities.
Gajendra Maheshwari; Tripti Dhar
‘A practical, effective, responsive and solutions-oriented practice.‘
Cushman and Wakefield
Bertelsmann Marketing Services India
Verint Systems India
Benetton India Private Limited (United Colours of Benetton)
Samsung SDS India
Tower Vision India
Anton Paar India
Amdocs Development Centre India
Viavi Solutions India
CBRE South Asia
Pioneer India Electronics
Jones Lang LaSalle India
Light Ray Advisors (Saif Partners)
- Represented Tower Vision India and Indus Towers (two leading passive infrastructure operators) in a dispute concerning the eligibility of input tax credits.
- Representing Sistema Shyam Teleservices before the Supreme Court in a dispute involving the applicability of tax-withholding provisions on payments made to overseas entities.
- Advising Samsung SDS India (and a number of other significant corporates) on the GST implications of its business transactions.
- Obtained a tax refund for Viavi Solutions India based on the principle of whether ‘unjust enrichment’ applies to the export of services.
- Represented Cushman & Wakefield in obtaining an adjudication from allegations of irregular availment of input tax credits.
Bhasin Sethi & Associates
Boutique tax firm Bhasin Sethi & Associates focuses on providing indirect tax advice to predominantly domestic clients, with expertise in central excise tax, customs tax, Foreign Trade Policy and GST compliance. Founding partners Ashok Bhasin and Vimal Sethi have a strong dispute resolution offering, with recent issues concerning GST exemptions, denial and service tax credits and Foreign Trade Policy contraventions.
Ashok Kumar Bhasin; Vimal Raj Sethi
Gateway District Park
Rail Vikas Nigam
Rajat Trading Co.
KSS Abhishek Auto
- Advised railway construction company Rail Vikas Nigam on the implementation and interpretation of the GST regime.
- Drafted the reply to a show cause notice sent to Haryana Forest Development Corporation in a matter involving the payment of excise duty.
- Drafted the reply to a show cause notice sent to NV International in a matter involving the payment of GST.
- Drafted the reply to a show cause notice sent to Veer Overseas in a matter involving the export of goods in contravention of Foreign Trade Policy provisions.
- Drafted an appeal for Jindal Mectec against the Ministry of commerce and Industry’s decision to withdraw GST exemptions.
Gagrats provides a range of tax advisory services to support the large-scale aircraft and other transactions in the aviation sector that the firm is instructed on. Typical issues include assisting with tax indemnity negotiations, leasing transactions, GST compliance and TDS-related claims. The team also handles contentious tax claims before the High Court.
Rustam Gagrat; Ujjwal Rana; Haseena Tapia Shahpurwalla; Uma Nagarajan; Ipshita Sen; Zeeshan Farooqui
Bar Bar Hospitality Private Limited
Forbes Marshall Limited
- Assisted a publicly listed company with seeking a tax indemnity from GE for tax claims under cross-border leasing transactions.
- Represented a textile conglomerate in in proceedings before the High Court seeking tax refunds.
- Advised numerous airlines on the structuring of lease transactions from a tax perspective.
- Advised an international air carrier in relation to a leasing transaction for over 75 B737-8 Max aircraft.
LexCounsel’s recent tax mandates involved advising a range of international clients on compliance with the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement. Other direct tax advice centred on income tax interpretations, while the team also advised on compliance with GST laws.
- Advising Taxconsult on the implications of the India-Belgium Double Tax Avoidance Agreement.
- Advising Audalis on the direct and indirect tax implications of its acquisition by a foreign company.
- Advising the Kamonohashi Project non-profit on the India-Japan Double Tax Avoidance Agreement.
- Providing GST advice to Emerald Heights School.
- Advising Takshila Educational Society on direct tax issues.
Direct tax matters at Phoenix Legal are handled by Abhishek Saxena, whose experience involves tax efficient transaction structuring (including joint ventures and M&A), foreign investment and Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement compliance. Pranav Srivastava leads on indirect matters and also brings his tax expertise to commercial disputes.
Abhishek Saxena; Pranav Srivastava
Daizy Chawla leads on tax issues at Singh & Associates Founder – Manoj K Singh Advocates and Solicitors, providing expertise with indirect tax laws such as VAT, excise duty and GST.
TLC Legal specialises in the field of indirect tax, routinely acting on contentious issues before the CESTAT and other fora on disputes concerning customs duty, excise tax, VAT, Foreign Trade Policy and GST exemptions. Experts such as Vipin Jain and Vishal Agrawal also provide a robust advisory service to a healthy list of domestic clients.
Vipin Jain; Vishal Agrawal; Aqeel Sheerazi
‘TLC Legal has excellent interpretational skills which brings results for the client.‘
‘The firm is results oriented, dedicated and easily accessible.‘
Helios Food Additives
Ratnamani Metals & Tubes
M/s. Shriram Life Insurance Company
- Represented Marico before the CESTAT concerning the principle of ’rounding off’ in regards to coconut oil imports.
- Defended Ratnamani Metals & Tubes befrore the CESTAT in a dispute concerning the applicability of tax exemptions.
- Represented life insurance company SLIC before the CESTAT in a dispute concerning service tax credits.
- Represented mining company Vedanta before the CESTAT in a customs duty dispute.
- Represented Welspun Corp before the CESTAT in a customs duty dispute.