Tax and customs in Kazakhstan

Dentons

The interdisciplinary team at Dentons is highly experienced in the intersection of tax law and practice areas such as real estate and customs law. The group frequently advises clients active in energy and oil and gas, but the team's experience extends to cover the complexities of niche areas such as the aviation and manufacturing sectors. Team leader Kanat Skakov has successfully represented a wide range of international companies, financial institutions, and manufacturers in high-stakes tax and customs litigation in Kazakhstan, while associate Stanislav Lechshak deals with tax and customs matters relating to the oil and gas, mining, and construction sectors.

Practice head(s):

Kanat Skakov

Other key lawyers:

Stanislav Lechshak

Key clients

Firma Meda

Arcelormittal Temirtau JSC

Kazzinc LLP

Trans-Asia Gas Pipeline Company LLP

Beineu-Shymkent Gas Pipeline LLP

Kaz Minerals Aktogay LLP

Rail and Section Mill Kazakhstan LLP

Digital Spring Ventures LLP

Work highlights

  • Advising Arcelormittal Temirtau on tax and anti-monopoly issues associated with potential sale/transfer of shares of a Kazakhstan entity.
  • Assisting a client with various legal issues in relation to the project for the transfer of unprocessed raw gas to a third party’s processing facility.

GRATA International

GRATA International consults on significant and high-value tax and customs matters for both local and international clients, particularly regarding tax disputes for clients in the oil and gas, mining, construction, and transportation sectors. Head of the tax and customs team Assel Ilyassova is highly regarded for representing clients in tax courts. She works alongside tax specialist Kanat Adilbekov. The team has grown at associate level with the arrival of Aizhan Alibekova and Damir Abdrakhmanov.

Practice head(s):

Assel Ilyassova

Other key lawyers:

Kanat Abdilbekov; Aizhan Alibekova; Damir Abdrakhmanov

Testimonials

‘GRATA International has high quality specialists in wide range of disciplines. Due to this GRATA International provides high quality services in a timely manner.’

Sayat Zholshy & Partners

With a 'profound knowledge of tax law', Sayat Zholshy & Partners provides wide-ranging expertise and 'creative thinking' for international clients seeking assistance regarding Kazakhstani law, including the issuance of legal opinions, structuring transactions for tax optimising, and systemic assessment of associated risks. Senior partner Rustam Ospanov is highly regarded and frequently defends high-profile energy and transportation clients in tax appeals. Yelena Tyureikina focuses on corporate tax planning and disputes.

Practice head(s):

Rustam Ospanov; Yelena Tyureikina

Testimonials

‘Profound knowledge of tax law coupled with broad legal experience and strong liaison with government authorities, plus high-level integration with the client’s team and commitment to the goal, make the SZP team so unique. ’

‘The most distinctive feature of this team is their creative thinking outside the box which allows them to offer sometimes unexpected, but highly efficient solutions. We value them for commitment to the work they are doing and to the client they are serving. Compared to their competitors they are very dexterous and agile. We would like to single out the leader of SZP tax practice, namely, senior partner Rustam Ospanov who is extremely hard working and responsible.’

‘We are impressed by the coherent, well-coordinated and highly efficient teamwork of Sayat Zholshy & Partners’ tax lawyers. They indeed have extensive experience and ample knowledge not only of tax law but of other related domains as well, such as corporate law and M&A. All of the above makes sure that the team always delivers well-thought-out, rigorous and effective solutions.’

‘We value this team for their operational excellence, ample experience and broad knowledge. We have found a reliable and experienced counsel with extensive and well-established tax practice and strong liaison with tax authorities and other government agencies serving the interests of their clients.’

‘It is worth mentioning that this team is hardworking and well-orchestrated. The most successful and efficient performance of Senior Partner Rustam Ospanov is worth special attention.’

Key clients

TengizTransGroup

Work highlights

  • Advising TengizTransGroup on the tax optimising and structuring for the sale of its subsidiary, which owns a pool of oil tank cars and gondola cars, together with a subsidiary maintenance enterprise.
  • Advising on optimal tax structure and structuring the transaction for the sale of the TengizTransGroup’s subsidiaries owning large facilities for the overall repair of railway cars carrying extremely hazardous cargoes.

Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited

Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited focuses on providing complex cross-border tax structuring advice, as well as representation on tax and customs disputes. The team's experience extends to transaction planning, tax due diligences, and general tax consulting. Director Curtis Masters is qualified to practice in the US, specialising in cross-border transactions on behalf of clients in the insurance, telecoms, and real estate sectors. Igor Kolupayev is tax and corporate counsel, with extensive experience in tax disputes, customs, and tax matters related to M&A and reorganisations.

Practice head(s):

Curtis Masters

Other key lawyers:

Igor Kolupayev

Key clients

Abbott

Accenture

Amazon

ArcelorMittal

Bechtel

Frank’s International

Johnson & Johnson LLC

Nelson Petroleum Buzachi B.V.

Panasonic Avionics

SC Johnson

Weatherford

Work highlights

  • Representing Frank’s International in connection with an ongoing dispute with the tax authorities over the results of a tax audit of the client’s Kazakhstan branch.

Deloitte TCF, LLP

Deloitte TCF, LLP provides a broad spectrum of tax advice on matters including tax review, due diligence, tax structuring, and general accounting and tax compliance. Managing partner Anthony Mahon has advised on large-scale due diligence projects and complex cross-border tax structuring. Certified public accountant Andrey Zakharchuk is particularly experienced in tax accounting for subsoil use contracts. Tax department director Yeldos Syzdykov is known for advising on transfer pricing services and tax structuring and consulting. Director Aidana Abdaliyeva is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Andrey Zakharchuk; Nazira Nurbayeva; Yeldos Syzdykov; Aidana Abdaliyeva

KPMG Law in Kazakhstan

KPMG Law in Kazakhstan pulls on its strong relationships with other offices in CIS countries, as well as an experienced team of tax lawyers to advise on cross-border tax matters, as well as general tax advice, including licence and permit requirements and customs-related issues. Rustem Sadykov focuses on corporate and indirect tax, tax planning, and inbound investment work, while Inna Alkhimova is highly experienced in international taxation and currency regulation matters. Tatyana Novikova handles tax reports and assessments.

SIGNUM Law Firm

SIGNUM Law Firm's relatively young but 'very strong tax practice' advises both international and local clients in the renewables, fintech, and aviation sectors on the full range of tax-related issues, including tax litigation, consultancy, and due diligence. The team is well placed to advise on cross-border tax work, and has built up strong relationships acting alongside international law firms as co-counsel. Managing partner Sofiya Zhylkaidarova focuses on tax matters and dispute resolution, as well as M&A-related tax work; Talgat Sariev is recommended for his 'excellent insight' into tax litigation and international arbitration matters.

Practice head(s):

Sofiya Zhylkaidarova

Other key lawyers:

Talgat Sariev

Testimonials

‘Talgat Sariev is the best points of reference for tax dispute resolution matters. He has excellent insight into the regulators’ practice and is able to anticipate issues before they evolve into a legal risk.’

‘Our focal point is Sofiya Zhylkaidarova. She very promptly responds to queries and is always on-call. Ms. Zhylkaidarova and her team lead a very strong tax practice by understanding the business and its objectives and making suitable recommendations.’

Key clients

Excellence Logging Limited

MoninRus

BNG

Kviku Holding

Wolt

AEQUITAS

AEQUITAS focuses primarily on advising international and Kazakh clients in the construction sector on tax-related matters concerning major industrial facilities, infrastructure projects, and residential complexes. Olga Chentsova and Nurlan Sholanov are the practice heads.

Ernst & Young Kazakhstan LLP

Ernst & Young Kazakhstan LLP advises on the full range of tax matters for both Kazakh and international clients who operate primarily in the oil and gas sectors, as well as metals and mining. The team also has extensive experience in customs cases, as well as advising on tax disputes and tax reviews. Dinara Tanasheva is a key name for tax controversy cases and has considerable experience representing clients before various state authorities and courts, as well as in administrative proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Dinara Tanasheva; Borys Lobovyk

Key clients

Medtronic Kazakhstan LLP

Work highlights

  • Represented Medtronic Kazakhstan LLP before the Supreme Court against the State Revenue Authority’s decision on the classification of imported goods.

Integrites

The 'highly practical' team at Integrites assists local and international clients with international tax and customs law, and frequently represents clients in judicial and administrative disputes with tax authorities. Managing partner Kurmangazy Talzhanov leads on corporate law, as well as banking and finance.

Practice head(s):

Kurmangazy Talzhanov

Testimonials

‘Highly practical and case-based experiences and knowledge possessed by the company.’

‘Integrites has a great team who can think about any case with wide view, practical and target oriented. Main difference from other firms are their big network in Kazakhstan. And they always develop new ideas for all cases in order to get best results.’

‘The Integrites Law firm performs its services in the field of Kazakhstani and international taxation at the top notch level. Being the highly qualified professionals with strong professional background and experience in practically each field of Kazakhstani taxation. The tax advisors of Integrites Kazakhstan are able to represent and protect the interests of our Company at each tier of the Kazakhstani taxation authorities.’

‘The team consists of professionals, which has ability to react quickly and efficiently on any changes, unpredictable circumstances, so clients may rely on them. The team has a commitment on good results and is goal-oriented.’

‘Initiative and perfect communication skills with every counter-party of the project (client, tax authority, customs authority, ministries, etc). Perfect knowledge of both legislation and practice.’

Key clients

Universal Energy Co., Ltd

Gedeon Richter KZ LLP

Hydratight (ENERPAC)

ESSAI and MENAC

Turkish Airlines

Enerpac Tool Group

KazPetrolGroup LLP

SITEK Caspian

Equinor ASA

MAGNUM CASH&CARRY

Mercury Properties

Tarkett KZ

Work highlights

  • Advising Universal Energy on concluding investment agreements with the Investment Committee of Kazakhstan for building a wind power plant in Kazakhstan.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Tax & Advisory LLP

With three teams stationed in Almaty, Nur-Sultan, and Atyrau, the multidisciplinary team at PricewaterhouseCoopers Tax & Advisory LLP advises on the full range of tax and customs matters, including corporate income tax, transfer pricing, double taxation treaties, and VAT. The team has particular expertise advising clients in the oil and gas, mining, telecoms, and retail industries. Michael Ahern leads on major M&A-related tax matters and Elena Kaeva focuses on domestic direct taxes and international tax advice regarding inbound investments into Kazakhstan.