Tax in Peru
'Consistently ranked among the best in Peru', Hernández & Cía. Abogados has built a successful full-service firm around its market-leading tax practice and the reputation of founding partner Luis Hernández Berenguel. He leads a heavyweight team that is rated for its 'outstanding experience and relations with authorities' and includes three other expert partners: Leonardo López, client partner to Proctor & Gamble; Fernando Nuñez, who is widely respected across the market; and 'Milagros Bustillos, one of the leading tax lawyers in Peru', who has 'further developed the expertise of the firm'. The practice provides both ongoing and punctual tax advice, including handling administrative and judicial proceedings. It also has expertise on double taxation and tax treaties, advising clients including Interbank, Telefónica, Perupetro, Backus y Johnston and Petrex, among others, on their overseas dealings. Recent mandates include providing tax advice to Panamerican Silver Corp on the local aspects of its $1.1bn acquisition of Tahoe Resources (which included international tax treaty considerations); and acting as local tax counsel to Metlife, Allianz, BlackRock and COFIDE on Longitudinal 2 PAMPI Funding's $350m private placement, the first infrastructure securitization in Peru since 2015. A large second line of advisers include senior associates Roxana Terrones and Patricia Tamashiro, who play key roles in many of the practices critical mandates.
The tax team at Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uria comprises 'excellent professionals' who are 'always willing to help', 'understand clients' needs and meet deadlines efficiently'. The practice is divided into three: international taxation and tax planning, litigation, and advisory and consulting, with the practice exceling in all areas. It is currently acting for Doe Run (in liquidation) in the Supreme Court in a $60m dispute with tax authority concerning VAT - having won in the lower courts SUNAT took the matter to a final appeal. The case, which will set a precedent in the mining sector, is led by co-practice head and 'standout partner' Walker Villanueva, a leading figure in the market; he also led advice to Breca Group on the tax planning of 20 of its companies across different sectors as diverse as construction, fishing and hospitality.His fellow practice co-head, Dante Sanguinetti is particularly well-known for his experience in the tax aspects of inbound investments by foreign companies. Also of note is director of tax litigation Carlos Moreano. Other clients include Lindcorp, Uber, LATAM and Spanish renewable energy company Grenergy.
Rodrigo, Elías & Medrano – Abogados is a giant in the sector: almost half of its 20-strong specialist team are partners, many of whom are well-known in the field. They include name partner and tax luminary, Humberto Medrano; practice head Alex Córdova, who specialises in corporate tax, litigation and mining and natural resources taxation; and Alex Morris, head of private client wealth management. Other areas of specialisation include employee benefits, transfer pricing and global tax planning via a network of 'best friend' law firms. The firm successfully acted on behalf of clients Minsur and Rimac in separate judicial proceedings against the tax authority regarding tax payable on the transfer of listed shares, which resulted in tax refunds to the client of $69m and $24m, respectively - the advice was led by Medrano, Córdova, Mariella de la Torre and Gonzalo La Torre. Transactional matters included acting for Marcobre on the tax aspects of its $900m loan from an international and domestic bank syndicate for the development of its Mina Justa copper mine. Both Gustavo Lazo and Jose Talledo were made-up during 2018, while a handful of associate changes included the hire of Paul Nina from Gálvez & Dolorier Abogados and the departure of Cristina Bendezu to an in-house position at COGA.
Zuzunaga, Assereto & Zegarra Abogados
Tax boutique Zuzunaga, Assereto & Zegarra Abogados remains hard to beat for diversity of practice, size of team and expertise. Name partners Fernando Zuzunaga, Juan José Assereto and Juan Carlos Zegarra lead one of the largest practices in the market, with 20 specialist tax practitioners in total advising on all aspects of domestic and international tax, including corporate planning, foreign trade, customs proceedings, general litigation and transfer pricing. The practice attracts sector-leading companies, both domestic and international, and has a notable following among mining, energy and infrastructure players. The team continues to act for the state government on extensive tax issues relating to the XVIII Pan-American Games (2019), including infrastructure and the tax status of non-domiciled companies contracted for the tournament, advice led by Zuzunaga and fellow partner Luciana Yanez, who is consistently singled out by clients for her performance. Other names to note include Lorgio Moreno, who leads on administrative and judicial proceedings and has several years' experience advising government departments; and Sergio Vega León, who specialises in corporate tax and tax planning. An extensive client list includes Petroperu, Glencore, Fenix Power, Gas Natural de Lima y Callao and Enel Generación Perú.
The tax practice at Estudio Echecopar member firm of Baker McKenzie International is not the market's largest but is staffed by 'frontline professionals who are highly trained'. The team is led by 'excellent' Rolando Ramirez-Gaston, who is equally skilled in litigious matters, transactions and general tax advisory work, from corporate planning to wealth management. He is leading ongoing advice to Anadarko Petroleum on the tax issues of its entrance to Peru's upstream oil-and-gas market, a potential investment in excess of $200m that is considered critical to kick-starting the country's stalled oil-and-gas sector. The team also includes Erik Lind Cosulich de Pecine, who acted as local counsel on a $3.2bn acquisition in the luxury goods sector; and associate Carla Peirano Castaneda, who is highly praised.
EY Legal has made significant strides into the Peruvian legal market in recent years, eclipsing other 'Big Four' auditors in the tax law arena. Its offering of a strong domestic team and global reach attracts a swathe of multinationals and leading domestic companies as clients, such as The Carlyle Group, Pfizer, Alicorp and Banco de Credito del Peru. The practice excels in transactions, but also handles advisory work, such as tax structuring and strategy. The transactional tax team, considered outstanding by clients, is led by Fernando Tori and associate partner Claudia Plasencia. Other partners of note include head of tax David de la Torre Delgado, who specializaes in corporate taxation and the oil-and-gas sector; Elizabeth Rosado Silva and David Wharton. Senior manager Edwin Sarmiento is 'one to watch'.
Miranda & Amado won several new clients in the past year, testament to the calibre of a deep practice and experienced team. Gains included Minera Las Bambas, IC Power and Transportadora de Gas del Perú among others, demonstrating the firm's specialist knowledge of the mining and energy sectors. The team obtaind successful results at the Supreme Court on behalf of Kimberly-Clark Perú and Banco de Crédito del Perú in their separate, precedent-setting claims against the SUNAT concerning voluntary profit-sharing. The advice was led by 'quietly brilliant' practice head Rocio Liu, who specialises in litigation, tax planning for M&A, finance and capital markets transactions and corporate restructurings. The team also includes the consistently-recommended Pablo Sotomayor; while Luis Miguel Sánchez, Eduardo Pedroza and Talía Diaz are all notable associates. Since publication Liu has moved to Damma Legal Advisors.
Muñiz, Olaya, Meléndez, Castro, Ono & Herrera Abogados fields a hefty 16-lawyer team -with seven partners- in its practice group. Comprised of 'highly-experienced' practitioners, the team includes name partners Fernando Castro (department head) and Daniel Ono, both highly-skilled in all aspects of tax law. The firm boasts an impressive client list that includes Diageo Peru, Citibank and Cementos Bio Bío, all new gains this year, joining Telefónica del Perú, Nissan and Graña y Montero on the roster. Partner Jorge Otoya stands out for his 'detailed' and 'competent, accurate and reliable' advice, say clients; he and Castro are working in tandem to advise Telefónica in its long-running, high-profile case against SUNAT -now at the Supreme Court- concerning a disputed $1.5bn tax bill. Other work includes acting for Chinese retailer Miniso Peru, another new client, on the tax planning of all its fledgling businesses in Peru, including a structure to enhance tax efficiency for future investors. Frezzia Saavedra was promoted to partner and associate Cesar Angulo is also noted.
A 'great team' at CMS Grau experienced marked income growth and a surge of new clients in the past year, due in part to the 2018 launch of its transfer pricing practice. Clients praise the firm's 'diversity and willingness to analyse every enquiry in an integral manner', while department head Rolando Cevasco is 'very client centred'. Cevasco is leading the team representing Zeta Gas Andino in proceedings concerning alleged excessive charging of municipal taxes by the Province of Callao. Transactional matters included handling the tax aspects of Fenix Power Peru's $350m bond offering. Carlos Chirinos and Eduardo Rojas are key associates.
Damma Legal Advisors
While April-2019 start-up Damma Legal Advisors also handles labour matters and has a broad corporate offering (from transactional work to finance structures and company law), the seven-strong boutique is fundamentally oriented around the provision of tax services. Each of its three founding partners -Walther Belaunde, José Chiarella and Iván Chu- is a distinguished practitioner in his own right; as such, their combined strengths constitute an impressive offering that covers the breadth of the sector, especially as regards corporate advisory and planning, transactional and finance-related tax matters, tax structuring and wealth planning. Senior associate Fiorella Demarini brings additional expertise in tax compliance and audits, as well as contentious and administrative tax procedures. While it remains too early to fully evaluate the firm's standing, initial indications suggest that the firm constitutes a significant new actor in the tax sector. Since publication, this impression has been confirmed by the January 2020 hire of Rocío Liu, formerly head of tax at Miranda & Amado.
Tax and labour law boutique Gálvez & Dolorier Abogados continues to attract market share and clients, adding Anglo American and Tahoe Resources to its roster this year. The team is equally strong in advisory and contentious work, with recent highlights include its advice to Telefónica del Peru regarding a SUNAT tax audit. A sizeable team of 13 specialists are led by name partner José Galvez, who is particularly noted for his tax planning, litigation and wealth management expertise; and Silvia Muñoz-Salgado, who leads on transfer pricing and international taxation.
Tax remains Garrigues' signature strength and the Lima practice group excels in the provision of tax support on complex and high-value transactions and major projects. The team acted for Alicorp, for example, on the tax aspects of its $300m acquisition of Bolivian listed-company Industrias De Aceite (FINO); and represented Cobra, a division of Spanish construction company ACS Group, on its $100m financing to develop a wastewater plant in southern Lima. Experienced tax specialist Javier De La Vega now leads the practice single-handed following the March 2019 departure of former co-head José Chiarella to co-found Damma Legal Advisors. A solid second line includes principal associates Luis Valle, Rafael Martinelli and Rosa Chevarría.
Newly made-up Vanessa Watanabe now heads the team at Payet, Rey, Cauvi, Pérez Abogados following the 2018 departure of former lead partner Iván Chu to co-found Damma Legal Advisors. Watanabe and a team of capable associates provide tax support on some market-leading transactions, such as advising Credicorp Capital Servicios Financieros, Scotiabank Perú and BTG Pactual, as structuring banks, on Primax's $200m second corporate bond programme. The team is currently defending Scotiabank in judicial proceedings against the SUNAT concerning a disputed $170m tax bill, advice led by head of dispute resolution Julio César Pérez.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Peru has a substantial legal tax practice led by Arturo Tuesta, which advises on the tax implications of M&A and capital markets transactions, foreign investment and insolvency cases, among other matters, particularly in the financial services, energy, agricultural, telecoms and mining sectors. The team is particularly skilled in tax structures and planning for new entrants to the Peruvian market and advises a raft of well-known multinational companies. Other key names include Gino Menchola and Orlando Marchesi .
Rebaza, Alcázar & De Las Casas enjoys an extensive and loyal following that includes JP Morgan Private Bank, Entel and Glencore, augmented significantly last year by the addition of Interbank, the Lima Stock Exchange (Bolsa de Valores de Lima) and COFIDE, among others. The team, led by experienced tax specialist Camilo Maruy, a senior partner at the firm, also expanded with three recruits at associate level, including senior Víctor Valdez from Ernst & Young. Recent mandates saw the team act for the shareholders of Corporación Pecsa on the tax aspects of its sale of 90% of the company's shares to Primax.
Rubio Leguía Normand impresses with a standalone practice that is noted for its 'knowledgeable' team. Led by three specialist tax partners, Luz María Pedraza, César Luna Victoria and Kelly Pérez, it acted for Newmont Mining Corporation and Minera Yanacocha on tax planning in relation to the change of shareholders in Minera Yanacocha (the departure of the IFC depart and entry of Summit Global Management II. The team was also tax adviser to Anglo American on its $600m acquisition of an additional 21.6 % stake in Anglo American Quellaveco by Japan's Mitsubishi Corp.
De Bracamonte - Haaker - Castellares
New entrant to the ranking, De Bracamonte - Haaker - Castellares showcases its capability in some key instructions, such as acting for Merck AG and mining company Nyrstar in separate judicial proceedings against the SUNAT, the latter involving $110m in dispute. Other clients include Volcan Compañía Minera, Southern Bridge Capital and Menorca Inversiones, a recent addition to the roster that the team is advising on the tax structure of two real estate projects. Head of the practice Cristina Chang has a growing market profile and leads a small team, which includes experienced senior associate Raúl Aguinaga.
'Very knowledgeable and dedicated' boutique Gálvez, Risso, Zegarra & Asociados covers the full spectrum of tax matters, particularly in relation to transactions and foreign investment, along with international trade and customs and contentious matters, catering to a broad client base that includes Alicorp, LATAM and América Móvil. Extremely satisfied clients highlight the 'very good team and outstanding partners', who are 'more agile than their peers' with a 'very good knowledge of a range of industries'. All three partners are highly experienced: 'great lawyer' Ramón Gálvez and Carolina Risso have 'total command of their work'; and Carlos Zegarra is 'one of a few lawyers with an understanding of the aeronautical industry'.
A 'strong tax practice' at Estudio Olaechea has proven expertise across the board in advisory, transactions and litigation. Its 'very good team of tax experts' are distinguished for their 'trust and commitment', 'objective advice' and 'high-quality services'. They include department head Jorge Dávila, who instills confidence and a 'feeling of calm' in clients, Carolina Rodríguez, who focuses on international tax and customs, and 'very efficient' associate Natali Huaylla. The firm is advising mobile telecoms infrastructure provider Desarrollos Terrestres Peru on the tax planning of its $100m agreement with ATM Towers to facilitate its expansion in Peru and Latin America.