Rising Stars

Firms To Watch: Tax and customs

Located in Astana, GK & Partners Law Firm handles a broad scope of tax and customs related issues, including helping clients resolve problems through filing appeals to acts of taxes and customs authorities, to general tax advisory services.
VCC LLP features Kanat Skakov, formerly a leading light of GRATA International's tax offering.

Tax and customs in Kazakhstan


Considered a ‘trendsetter‘ by clients in the tax and customs space, Dentons is experienced in advising and representing clients in relation to tax matters, with an interdisciplinary team of pure tax experts. Alongside this, the firm offers clients an assessment of risks based on existing practice, potential arguments that may be raised in case of a dispute as well as comments on the position of the courts. Daniyar Toigonbaev focuses on complex tax disputes, while Stanislav Lechshak advises clients on tax and customs issues revolving around a number of industries including oil and gas, mining, construction and pharmaceutical sectors. Darya Vologodskaya focuses on providing tax consulting services on corporate tax issues, international taxation and customs matters.

Practice head(s):

Daniyar Toigonbaev

Other key lawyers:

Stanislav Lechshak; Darya Vologodskaya


‘Dentons’ tax and customs practice is one of the trendsetters in legal and court practice. Some of the cases they litigate are setting the tone for the industry. Their capability is their cumulative experience and fortitude to get things done no matter the obstacle.’

‘We would specifically highlight Stanislav Leshchak, Daria Vologodskaya and their leader, partner Daniyar Toigonbaev. We have been working together for almost a year on various tax litigation matters and it has been a very strong cooperation. Dentons team always delivers, is straight to the point, and is ready for a productive challenge and dialogue with the client, which is for the benefit of the matter. Highly recommended! ’


Key clients

ArcelorMittal Temirtau JSC

Kazzink LLP

Herbalife Europe Limited


Work highlights

  • Advised ArcelorMittal Temirtau JSC, on various Kazakhstan tax implications in the course of a full scope tax audit.
  • Represented Herbalife Europe Limited and Herbalife Kazakhstan LLP in several court disputes against the tax authority in relation to the refund of withholding tax.

GRATA International

GRATA International‘s tax and customs team offers tax consultancy services, assistance in customs control as well as representation  and protection of interest in disputes, with the firm’s lawyers comprising of tax and customs specialists with experience in the Kazakh authorities, including experience in performance of tax control. The frim continues to be a member of the Tax Committee of the European Business Association of Kazakhstan and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as participating in discussions of the draft of the new Tax Code. Assel Ilyassova  heads the tax and customs law department and has worked in the Almaty City Tax Authority as a senior tax inspector in charge of legal support. Kanat Adilbekov was a first category tax consultant prior to joining as counsel, while Kamila Urazalina has extensive experience in customs, having represented and protected the interests of the customs authorities and customs auditing procedures. Lyazzat Zhilkibagarova is a name to watch.

Practice head(s):

Assel Ilyassova

Other key lawyers:

Kanat Adilbekov; Kamila Urazalina; Lyazzat Zhilkibagarova

Work highlights

Sayat Zholshy & Partners

Noted for its 'unrivalled experience in tax disputes,Sayat Zholshy & Partners fields a team of licensed tax attorneys that represents clients in tax-related administrative and court proceedings, alongside offering tax dispute services. Cross-border tax issues using tax treaties are a notable area of expertise.. Rustam Ospanov  is experienced in both contentious and non-contentious work. ‘Highly esteemed’ Yelena Tyureikina  has extensive expertise in the tax structuring of transactions.

Practice head(s):

Rustam Ospanov; Yelena Tyureikina


‘Sayat Zholshy & Partners Dispute Resolution and Tax teams have unrivalled experience in handling tax disputes. Their approach to solving problems is highly professional and client-oriented.’

‘Managing Partner Vitaliy Vodolazkin (leader of the Dispute Resolution practice) and Partner Yelena Tyureikina (leader of the Tax practice) are highly esteemed in the Kazakhstan legal services market. They differ from other lawyers in their non-standard, but at the same time very professional approach to solving assigned problems. You can trust them to complete the most complex and challenging projects. ’

‘Sayat Zholshy & Partners is the best choice for legal support of tax audits and disputes. They have very professional tax team which includes dispute resolution and tax lawyers. The firm provides legal services of very high quality. They offer good value for money especially in compare with BIG4 firms.’

Key clients

RG Brands Kazakhstan

Nomad Insurance JSC


PM Lucas Kazakhstan LLP

Tranco JV

TengizTransGroup LLP

Work highlights


SIGNUM Law Firm is focused on advising international clients in relation to Kazakh transactional tax, general corporate tax and tax controversy matters. Managing Partner Sofiya Zhylkaidarova is focused on providing tax advice in the oil and gas, mining, sub-surface and financial institution sectors, while Nazym Argynbay is experienced within tax due diligence and advisory work on corporate structuring issues.

Practice head(s):

Liza Zhumakhmetova; Sofiya Zhylkaidarova; Abylkhair Nakipov; Talgat Sariev



Work highlights

  • Advised a Chinese construction and engineering company on tax structuring for $300m social infrastructure development projects in Kazakhstan.
  • Advising a South Korean automotive manufacturer concerning the alleged violation of Kazakhstan customs law by third parties..
  • Representing a Fortune 500 listed oil and gas company on a $1.2m VAT tax dispute.

Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited

Baker & McKenzie - CIS, Limited handles a multitude of tax issues, including tax structuring advice, tax and customs disputes, transaction planning and drafting and tax due diligence across the Kazakh and Central Asian region, Head of the practice Igor Kolupayev is on the steering committee of the Tax Working Group of the American Chamber of Commerce and is included in working groups to draft new tax legislation. Managing Partner Azamat Kuatbekov is experienced in litigation and arbitration matters, while Damir Abdrakhmanov joined the firm earlier this year from Rödl & Partner and is knowledgeable in cross-border tax structuring and tax disputes.

Practice head(s):

Igor Kolupayev

Other key lawyers:

Azamat Kuatbekov; Damir Abdrakhmanov


‘Perfect and timely advice.’

‘I would like to thank the following employees for their professionalism and excellent collaboration results: Andrey Yorsh, Kuben Abzhanov, and especially Igor Kolupaev and Gaukhar Myrzabayeva.’


Key clients

Johnson & Johnson


Cummins Inc.

Borusan Makina

Nelson Petroleum Buzachi B.V.

Potential Oil LLP

Metro Cash & Carry LLP

Andritz AG

Aggreko LLP

Air Liquide

Ernst & Young Kazakhstan LLP

Ernst & Young Kazakhstan LLP provides an integrated tax advisory service, ranging from domestic and international tax planning and compliance, to business accounting, payroll and tax litigation services. The firm services clients across various industries including FMCG, pharmaceutical, financial services and energy. Dinara Tanasheva heads the tax practice and helped build the tax litigation team in Kazakhstan, alongside being responsible for representing the interests of multinational and Kazakhstan companies with various state authorities and before courts. Gauhar Kudaibergenova recently joined from SIGNUM Law Firm and specialises in due diligence of Kazakhstan companies operating in various markets.

Practice head(s):

Dinara Tanasheva; Gaukhar Kudaibergenova; Nargiz Suleimenova; Sergey Zhidkov

KPMG Tax&Advisory LLC

KPMG Law in Kazakhstan provides a full range of tax and customs advice to domestic and multinational clients, advising clients on corporate, international taxation, transfer pricing, indirect taxation and customs matters. Inna Alkhimova heads the tax and legal practice in the Caspian region, and provides tax advisory and compliance services to international and domestic clients. Vyacheslav Sosnovskiy  is another notable name in the practice, while. Assiya Atekeyeva is noted for her engagement on tax issues with private customers related to tax compliance.

Practice head(s):

Inna Alkhimova; Vyacheslav Sosnovskiy

Other key lawyers:

Assiya Atekeyeva


AEQUITAS provides general tax law consultations, including client representation in court in connection with major tax disputes, drafting IFRS-compliant accounting tax policies for resident and non-resident legal entities, alongside providing tax registration of non-residents when opening bank accounts in Kazakhstan. Ardak Idayatova specialises in tax disputes and customs matters, whereas Yuliya Chumachenko is noted for her advisory work in the pharmaceutical sector. Kristina Mychka is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Ardak Idayatova; Yuliya Chumachenko

Other key lawyers:

Larissa Yemelyanova; Alexandr Chumachenko; Anton Alexeyev; Kristina Mychka


‘We appreciate AEQUITAS customer focus, efficiency, individual approach and high level of the provided services. ’

‘Ardak Idayatova, Kristina Mychka and Anton Alexeyev accompany our business related to tax issues. They have proven themselves as experienced professionals who in time can analyze the situation and offer the most advantageous solutions.’


Work highlights

Deloitte TCF, LLP

Deloitte TCF, LLP‘s tax team offers a full spectrum of tax advice, including tax review, due diligence, advisory services, tax structuring and tax management consulting. Andrey Zakharchuk is experienced in taxation and auditing, including conduction tax reviews and tax consulting for various companies and individuals. Yeldos Syzdykov expertise lies in international taxation, due diligence and M&A projects, while Aidana Abdaliyeva specialises in corporate tax services for multi-national and major companies operating across the Caspian Region. Meruyert Assilova is a name to watch for her advisory work on tax aspects of cross-border business transactions and operations.

Practice head(s):

Andrey Zakharchuk; Yeldos Syzdykov; Aidana Abdaliyeva

Work highlights

MG Partners

MG Partners is spread across Kazakhstan in Almaty, Astana and Karaganda, and is registered in the Astana International Financial Centre to provide tax related advisory work. Meruet Zhunubayeva is the head of the Almaty office and is experienced in tax legislation governing e-commerce, transfer pricing and foreign exchange contracts.

Practice head(s):

Meruet Zhunubayeva


‘Meryet Zhunubaeva is a really professional and structured lawyer, very good consulting.’

‘The team is very experienced and pleasant to deal with. They consulted on all matters within a short time. They discussed the client’s cases and questions first and only then the cost and other things, I liked that.’

‘Before choosing consultants for further work, I researched the market and chose between 3-4 options. I decided on MG for their customer focus, speed of responses and work in general. It is difficult to point out something unique in their work, it is all in a package and I am satisfied with the way they provided services.’

Key clients

Jamilco (Albert Trading LLP)


Medical Systems and Technologies


Burly LLP

Hager Eurasia Ltd.

Arca Holdings JSC

VBK ‘Vostochnaya Burovaya Kompaniya’ LLC

Sulmart LLP

LLP ‘Zavod Truyb PPU’

Work highlights

  • Legal support of the sale and purchase of 100% shares of the Client’s company. Provided support of thematic unscheduled tax audits, represent interests in tax authorities, appeal tax acts on additional accrual of income tax – royalty (tax on income of non-residents).
  • Provided full legal support in matters of Tax Law, Currency Contracts, transfer pricing and currency regulation in Kazakhstan.
  • Offered comprehensive support for the sale of a 100% stake in the amount of US$ 20 million to a resident of Germany.

Tukulov Kassilgov Shaikenov Disputes (TKS)

Tukulov Kassilgov Shaikenov Disputes (TKS) focusses on tax and VAT disputes, with the team consisting of nine lawyers servicing a wide client base including blockchain technology companies, construction companies and mining companies. Ravil Kassilgov represents companies in courts of all levels in tax disputes and international arbitration, while Aibek Kambaliyev has experience in advising clients on administrative and commercial disputes.

Practice head(s):

Ravil Kassilgov

Other key lawyers:

Aibek Kambaliyev


‘Their client-centric approach and attention to detail have consistently provided valuable legal support to our company. ’

‘In particular, we want to recognize Ravil Kassilgov for his exceptional professionalism, in-depth knowledge and commitment to addressing complex legal matters promptly and effectively. His focus on finding pragmatic solutions aligns seamlessly with our business needs.’

‘Our business in Kazakhstan faced an existential threat resulting from questionable tax charges. We engaged Ravil’s team after Deloitte lost our case in the first-level court. Ravil’s team managed to cancel unfavorable rulings in the Supreme Court and now is handling the case further. They use innovative approaches and are not afraid to do what no one tried before. We trust them irrespective of the results, as it is evident that our interests are represented by the best professionals on the market.’

‘Ravil showcased an excellent understanding of rarely applied nuances of international taxation and his style of performance in the court is captivating.’

‘TKL Partner, Ravil Kassilgov, adeptly represented several of our primary entities within the construction holding in multiple tax and customs disputes this past year. Through his expertise, we successfully averted over $6 million in unwarranted tax charges. Despite three different attempts by the tax authorities using varied strategies, Kassilgov consistently secured favorable verdicts. Throughout these proceedings, Senior Associate Aybek Kambaliyev provided invaluable support to Kassilgov. The service levels and responsiveness of Ravil’s team at TKL are exemplary. Whenever we have queries or require guidance, they swiftly respond and provide clear, actionable advice. They are prepared to address court cases almost immediately. Their commitment to client satisfaction is evident in their proactive communication and timely updates, ensuring we are always well-informed. ’

‘Ravil’s approach is uniquely personal and invested, handling every case with fervor as if he was the business owners himself. This deep-rooted sense of ownership not only speaks to their team’s legal acumen but also underscores their profound understanding of the commercial implications at stake. We have been immensely satisfied with Ravil’s contributions over the past eight years. His role in our business’s success is paramount. Ravil has an innate ability to distill complex matters into easily comprehensible terms for business owners. This skill extends to his representation in front of judges at all levels. When Ravil handles a case, we are confident it will be approached with our commercial objectives at the forefront, ensuring that the broader perspective is always maintained. ’

‘TKL team has unique experience, the team is aware of recent Kazakhstan practice, new trends and existing regulatory view and approach to tax issues. The team also has experienced tax litigation lawyers who are supplemented by huge experience of Mr. Tukulov who has extensive experience of litigation. ’

‘Given that Ravil’s team at TKL specializes solely in tax disputes, the depth and breadth of their expertise are truly remarkable. They are swift to respond and provide clear, actionable advice. They are prepared to address court cases almost immediately. Their commitment to client satisfaction is evident in their proactive communication and timely updates, ensuring we are always well-informed. TKL consistently adhere to the agreed-upon budgets and ensure that every Tenge spent provides substantial value. Beyond the immediate litigation support, TKL offers value-added services like in-depth analyses of court practices and generously sharing their unique know-how. In terms of both cost-effectiveness and the wealth of expertise they bring to the table, we believe TKL offers unparalleled value for money.’

Key clients

Exalo Drilling S.A

Bitfury DC Limited (Bitfury Group)

Exclusive Construction LLP

Efes Kazakhstan LLP

Samsung Electronics Central Eurasia


Work highlights

  • Represented Exalo Drilling S.A. (a Kazakhstan branch) in a tax dispute worth KZT630m after the case was lost in the first level court by another consultant.
  • Represented Bitfury, the world’s leading full-service blockchain technology company, in a number of tax disputes over VAT charges on digital mining services provided to international clients.
  • Successfully represented Exclusive Construction LLP in a series of tax disputes worth $6.2m.