Firms To Watch: Tax

The ‘vastly experiencedMaria Elizabeth E. Peralta-Loriega; Recolito Ferdinand N. Cantre Jr and Jose A. Linsangan head up the tax practice at Sarmiento Loriega Law Firm, which is lauded for its ‘deep knowledge of tax and regulatory issues’.

Tax in Philippines

Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw)

Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALaw) has a diverse practice that advises on a wide array of taxation issues from advising on estate planning and tax compliance audits to claims for refunds, anti-dumping law and tax appeals. The team frequently advises conglomerates and multinational corporations as well as other entities such as listed companies and financial institutions alongside high-net-worth individuals. Among its experienced tax practitioners is Ruby Rose J Yusi, who often represents clients before administrative agencies, local taxing authorities and tax courts. Eric R Recalde is skilled across a broad spectrum of issues – he particularly excels at providing tax planning and structuring advice. Jacqueline Ann Tan also plays a pivotal role in the tax department along with Oliver L Pantaleon.

Practice head(s):

Ruby Rose J Yusi; Oliver L Pantaleon; Eric R Recalde; Jacqueline Ann Tan

Key clients

Acquire Asia Pacific (Manila), Inc.

Ajanta Pharma Philippines, Inc.

Araneta Group of Companies


AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical (Philippines) Inc.

Banco De Oro Unibank, Inc.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

Bank of the Philippine Islands

Campaigns and Grey, Inc.

Citibank N.A.

Del Monte Phillipines, Inc.

Dragonpay Corporation

HC Consumer Finance Phils. Inc.

Hyundai Merchant Marine (Philippines) Co., Inc.

ING Foundation Philippines, Inc./ING Bank N.V.

Light Rail Manila Corporation

Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation

Nueva Ecija Electric Cooperative I

Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation

Philippine National Bank

PPD Pharmaceutical Development Philippines Corp.

Procter & Gamble Philippines, Inc.

Rappler, Inc.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation

SEAOIL Philippines, Inc.

SM Prime Holdings, Inc.

Smartmatic Philippines

Subic Water and Sewerage Co., Inc.

Sumisetsu Philippines, Inc.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation

Tetra Pak (Philippines), Inc.

Union Bank of the Philippines

Work highlights

  • Advised and represented a consortium of banks (c/o Bankers Association of the Philippines) in successfully assailing the validity of a revenue regulation as it was issued contrary to the Tax Code.
  • Advised and represented Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation in opposing an application for the Imposition of definitive Safeguard Measure against the importations of Motor Vehicles (Passenger Cars and Light Commercial Vehicles) before the Tariff Commission.
  • Represented and successfully secured an order in favour of Nueva Ecija Electric Cooperative I before the Court of Tax Appeal.

Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio (C&G Law)

The excellent team at Gatmaytan Yap Patacsil Gutierrez & Protacio (C&G Law) regularly advises several leading local conglomerates and international corporations on a diverse range of tax matters. Key areas of focus include helping clients challenge assessments for various internal revenue taxes as well as claiming tax refunds before the various authorities all the way to the Supreme Court. The group also excels at advising on how to implement tax structures in high-value mergers and acquisitions as well as on large-scale projects. Department head Anthony Gutierrez leads on various tax and customs matters with considerable strength on a broad array of contentious issues. Roxanne Tadique is another notable member of the department who has extensive experience in tax litigation and advising on transactional tax mandates.

Practice head(s):

Anthony Gutierrez

Other key lawyers:

Roxanne Tadique


‘The team is very experienced/professional in handling our tax refund engagement. They are always available when we need some alignment/clarifications’.

‘They are proactive and know what is necessary to complete the engagement’.

‘The team has the ability to zero in on just what it is the client wants to achieve, and present various ways in which to achieve those goals’.

‘Anthony Gutierrez has the depth and breadth of knowledge and wisdom that belies his lack of grey hairs. Gutierrez is able to scan through balance sheets and ledgers alongside legal pleadings and attachments with equal facility and expertise. In my experience, he makes sure to understand the business case AND THEN gives the legal recommendation’. 

‘The tax team is very strong in terms of technical skills but this does not result in the overcharging of clients. The overall client experience is superb – partners and associates are responsive to our requests and they have a very quick response time’.

‘The technical expertise of C&G Law’s tax team in the area of tax litigation is already a given. What makes them stand out insofar as we are concerned is their level of attentiveness to our needs’.

‘Reliable, accessible, and provides sound and practical legal advice. Collaborative and open to discuss other ideas and legal strategies’.

Key clients

FGEN LNG Corporation

East Asia Utilities Corp

SM Prime Holdings, Inc.

Robinsons Land Corporation

Ayala Group of Companies

TeaM Energy Corporation

STEAG State Power, Inc.

TeaM Sual Corporation

Green Cross, Inc.

SN Aboitiz Power-Benguet, Inc.

Retail Energy Supply Association (RESA)

Work highlights

  • Advising a leading Philippine power generation group on tax-related issues regarding a $1bn LNG infrastructure development project with onshore and offshore components.
  • Acted and obtained a favourable judgement for East Asia Utilities Corp in a tax case before the Supreme Court.
  • Advising and representing a wholly owned subsidiary of one of the leaders in the Philippine power industry with respect to real property taxes assessed against its powerplant’s pollution control equipment.

Quisumbing Torres

Quisumbing Torres is skilled at helping clients entering into the local market to design and implement tax structures. Under the leadership of Ronald Bernas, the group represents clients before various government agencies, local government units and courts in assessment and refund cases relating to national and local taxes as well as customs duties. The practice also frequently works closely with lawyers from Baker McKenzie and is adept at advising on transfer pricing and indirect taxation as well as contentious tax matters. Kristine Anne Mercado-Tamayo is another key figure who has a wealth of experience in advising clients on tax issues relating to corporate restructurings and M&A.

Practice head(s):

Ronald Bernas

Other key lawyers:

Kristine Anne Mercado-Tamayo

Key clients

Alphabet (Google Inc.)

Universal Entertainment Corporation

APG Asset Management

Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented a Philippine-based retail company in relation to the investigation conducted by the Bureau of Internal Revenue on the company’s tax compliance and alleged under declaration of sales for taxable year 2018.
  • Successfully represented an American management consulting business before the Court of Tax Appeals in connection with its claim for refund of Excess Creditable Withholding Tax from 2009 to 2016.
  • Successfully handled the audit investigation of the Philippine branch of a US-based company engaged in providing sales, customer service and back-offices.

SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan

The experienced team at SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan covers the full spectrum of issues from advising on the tax aspects of corporate transactions to litigating tax refund cases. The group also defends clients against assessments for national and local taxes and customs duties, and regularly advises corporate clients on their compliance obligations. Carina Laforteza is recommended for her work on tax structuring and compliance matters as well as tax-related litigation and arbitration, while Hector De Leon, Jr. has a strong tax practice covering an array of issues from real property tax to estate planning issues. Other names to note include Russel RodriguezRonald Mark Lleno and Rolando Medalla Jr.

Practice head(s):

Carina Laforteza; Hector De Leon, Jr.; Russel Rodriguez; Ronald Mark Lleno

Other key lawyers:

Patricia Paz-Jacoba; Rolando Medalla Jr


‘The SyCip tax team is miles ahead of other law firms because they deliver excellent legal advice on untested issues, which is both legally sound and commercially supportive. They make good on set internal deadlines and are commercially flexible without compromising on the integrity of their advice’.

‘Carina Laforteza is extremely hands-on and detail-oriented without losing sight of the bigger commercial picture. She is deeply knowledgeable and has a firm grasp of practicalities of any given situation’.

‘The firm has a very vast source of information to support legal claims like legislative intent from readings during Congress and Senate deliberations’.

‘The lawyers we work with understand the issues at hand and perform extensive research to legally defend the company’s stance. Partners working with us are Carina Laforteza and Patricia Paz-Jacoba’.

Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law)

Villaraza & Angangco (V&A Law) fields a first-rate team that has a broad range of experience in corporate and international taxation matters. The practice provides strategic tax planning advice on major cross-border deals, corporate restructurings and large energy and infrastructure projects, and helps local and international clients to identify tax-efficient structures. Another core area of expertise is representing clients in tax investigations and litigation before various judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative bodies. The practice also helps families and individuals with estate planning matters such as advising on the establishment of trusts, closely-held corporations and holding companies in addition to the preparation of last wills and testaments. Raoul R AngangcoSylvette Tankiang and Franchette Acosta are all highly-regarded.

Practice head(s):

Raoul R Angangco; Sylvette Tankiang; Franchette Acosta


‘The V&A Team has always responded to us with very comprehensive opinions and accommodates our requests even on short notice’.

‘Individuals assigned to our company are very responsive and give us updates on the progress of the inquiries, especially if it requires more time for further internal review. This ensures that opinion is being reviewed carefully before being sent out to clients’.

Key clients

Lotte Chilsung Beverage Co. Ltd.; Lotte Corporation; Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc; Welcome Capital Worldwide Pte. Ltd.; Welcome Creditline Corporation through PricewaterhouseCoopers Korea

Fountel Corp. and Felicitas Antoinette, Inc.

EWP Philippines, Inc.

Infinitus Health Products (Philippines) Inc.


Work highlights

  • Assisted Clients Lotte Chilsung Beverage Co. Ltd., Lotte Corporation, Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc, Welcome Capital Worldwide Pte. Ltd. and Welcome Creditline Corporation through PricewaterhouseCoopers Korea with the preparation of transaction documents for the latter’s corporate restructuring while making sure that the parties can avail of the most tax efficient structures.
  • Engaged by DI, the Philippines’ largest liquor company and the world’s largest brandy producer, to provide various legal and tax advice on a wide range of topics including the tax implications of proposed amendments to agreements.
  • Acting as legal counsel for EWP Philippines, Inc. in its dissolution which required securing a tax clearance from the Philippine Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Zambrano Gruba Caganda & Advincula

The superb team at Zambrano Gruba Caganda & Advincula is sought after for its work on the full array of contentious and advisory tax matters, particularly tax litigation, advising various local and foreign clients including energy corporations, banks and Fortune 500 companies. Lily Gruba advises multinational companies on effective strategies for tax planning and frequently handles deficiency tax assessments, while Antero Caganda is one of the lead partners in the tax team along with Angelo Advincula and Jorge Alfonso Melo. Salvador Andrew S. Tugade is skilled at handling various tax matters such as tax audit assessments, and Juan Miguel Victor Dela Fuente is highly rated for his work on a range of contentious and non-contentious tax issues. Kimberly Joy L. Baraoidan is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Lily Gruba; Antero Caganda; Angelo Advincula; Jorge Alfonso Melo; Juan Miguel Victor Dela Fuente; Salvador Andrew S. Tugade; Kimberly Joy L. Baraoidan


‘The firm has an excellent tax and litigation practice. Their lawyers have a personal but very professional way of handling client cases or concerns that adds value to the service provided’.

‘The lawyers of the firm are totally invested in the work that needs to be done to ensure success of the case they are handling for the client, especially Jorge Alfonso Melo and Lily Gruba’.

‘The meticulous and thorough legal assessment and evaluation of cases the lawyers give is truly valuable and the personal stakes they put at ensuring the clients’ needs are met puts them ahead of other competitors‘.

Key clients

Philippines Airlines, Inc.

G&W Architects, Engineers and Project Consultants, Co.

Island Quarry and Aggregates Corporation

Asia United Leasing and Finance Corporation

Work highlights

  • Secured a favourable decision for Philippine Airlines, Inc. from the Supreme Court of the Philippines against the client’s assessments for excise taxes on importations of aviation fuel used by the client for its domestic airline operations.
  • Secured a favourable decision for G&W Architects, Engineers, and Project Consultants Co before the Court of Tax Appeals Division, En Banc, and with the Supreme Court of the Philippines against the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s assessment amounting to $14m.
  • Successfully represented Island Quarry and Aggregates Corporation and secured a favourable decision from the Court of Tax Appeals En Banc on the client’s deficiency Income Tax, Value Added Tax, and Withholding Tax.

Du-Baladad & Associates

The team at Du-Baladad & Associates specialises in taxation, M&A, transfer pricing and related corporate services, and has a solid reputation for its successful handling of contentious tax matters as well as international transactions and indirect tax issues. Founding partner Benedicta Du-Baladad handles a range of issues from tax planning matters to tax compliance, and managing partner Fulvio Dawilan is another key figure who has considerable expertise in the gas, oil, energy and manufacturing sectors. Irwin Nidea and Rodel Unciano are seasoned practitioners, and Mabel Buted and Jomel Manaig were recently promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Benedicta Du-Baladad; Fulvio Dawilan; Irwin Nidea; Rodel Unciano; Mabel Buted; Jomel Manaig


‘Deep understanding of tax regulations and their nuances. Access to regulators and effectiveness in communicating taxpayer’s position on pending tax assessments. Healthy respect for deadlines. Ready availability of partners for consultation’.

‘Benedicta Du-Baladad, founder. Very strong grounding on tax with a can-do attitude. Problem solver. High emotional quotient/strong empathy. Able to drill deep into client issues and concerns. Healthy/professional relationship with regulators’.

Work highlights

  • Providing legal study and assistance in the government’s effort to develop a local government bond market that would open access to finance by cities and municipalities through the capital market.

Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra

Led by Vincent Paul Saavedra and Mark Gorriceta, the team at Gorriceta Africa Cauton & Saavedra is well-regarded for its strength in advising on taxation, trusts and estates both locally and in Southeast Asia, and frequently acts as counsel for domestic corporations in various industries (including the construction, food and beverage and public utilities sectors). The group has successfully advised on various tax audit investigations and provided legal opinions on corporate and tax matters for numerous national and international clients. Senior associate Dyan Angela de la Fuente is another important member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Vincent Paul Saavedra; Mark Gorriceta

Other key lawyers:

Dyan Angela de la Fuente


‘Very client centric. Goes above and beyond. Values Long term relationships’.

Key clients

26 Capital Acquisition Corp.

Dragonpay Corporation

Martinez Vergara & Gonzalez Sociedad

Rosalia S. Bartolome-Alejo and Mary Elizabeth Belmonte co-head the team at Martinez Vergara & Gonzalez Sociedad, which covers a wide spectrum of issues such as providing business advisory services on major deals and reorganisations. The group is also skilled at helping on cross-border matters and advising on the enforcement of tax treaties, and is well-equipped to provide estate planning advice to individuals. Another area of focus for the practice is advising on audit investigations and tax disputes. Reynaldo Dizon is sought out for his help on a range of contentious tax issues.

Practice head(s):

Rosalia S. Bartolome-Alejo; Mary Elizabeth Belmonte

Other key lawyers:

Reynaldo Dizon


‘We will always work with the MVGS Team. They are methodical and quick to appreciate what we require them to accomplish. The individual team members complement each other and clearly understand their roles when they provide the service. Very easy to communicate with and they give immediate responses’.

‘We can best describe them as a one stop shop, they are proactive in giving solutions. Most important is their availability. And we are always appraised of the process and the milestones’.

‘Rosalia S. Bartolome-Alejo is a genius. Her ability to dissect issues and provide precise and practical solutions are key to the successful outcomes of our projects’.

‘Mary Elizabeth Belmonte provides clear guidance and is the most accessible partner’.

‘The firm has a good tax team whose lawyers are up-to-date on current Philippine taxation and jurisprudence. They also have a good network with Philippine tax authorities/officials as well as tax practitioners’.

‘The tax lawyers of the firm provide our company with solid tax advice that is well-grounded in law and at the same time practical. They are also quick at responding to our queries as well as attending to our tax cases’.

Key clients

Organisational Support Services Inc.

Guild Securities, Inc.

Disini & Disini Law Office

Disini & Disini Law Office has a versatile team that is renowned for its experience in advising online platforms, start-ups and other software providers and fintech enterprises. JJ Disini is a known name for his work in this area. New addition Janice Bernabe-Sibuyan is a specialist tax counsel and joined the group from an in-house position.

Practice head(s):

JJ Disini; Janice Bernabe-Sibuyan

Key clients

Fyntegrate, Inc. (PDAX)

Eastern Securities Development Corporation

Kumu, Inc.

Blogapalooza, Inc.

Carousell-PH, Inc.

Creator and Influencer Council of the Philippines

Social Light Inc.

Tricog Health Pte

Advanced Energy Technologies Renewables Plus Co. Inc.

ING Bank

Express Gifts Philippines


Work highlights

  • Assisted various clients with tax compliance, tax assessment and general rules on taxation involving specialised transactions in the fintech, crypto trading, and other non-traditional and emerging industries.
  • Provided advice to PDAX on transfer pricing guidelines, and taxation rules for its specialised financial transactions where no local tax rulings exists that squarely and specifically addressed the said transactions.

Gulapa & Lim (Gulapa Law)

Under the leadership of Al-Shwaid Ismael, the group at Gulapa & Lim (Gulapa Law) is well-placed to advise clients on various tax and compliance matters as well as handling clients’ tax cases with the tax authorities. It is also skilled at advising on applications for relief and at resolving tax assessments. At associate level, Marcley Augustus D. Natu-el is well-regarded.

Practice head(s):

Al-Shwaid Ismael

Other key lawyers:

Marcley Augustus D. Natu-el

Key clients

Asia Development Bank

APO Production Unit Inc.

United Graphic Expression Corporation

Watermatic Philippines Corporation

Cebu Industrial Park Developers Incorporated

Work highlights

  • Assisted the Asia Development Bank with structuring the project and drafting the bidding documentation, and in advising the Department of Transportation and the Philippine National Railways on the procurement of the operation and maintenance of the North-South Commuter Railway project.
  • Advised a multinational group of companies on how to reorganise its structure and operations across multiple jurisdictions including the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, and Japan, to achieve tax efficiency.
  • Advised and assisted a client to (a) establish a business vehicle in the Philippines, which will hire, train, and compensate workers for US-based clients; (b) transfer the employees and assets of the existing Philippine contractor; (c) send some of the client’s personnel to the Philippines.

Poblador Bautista & Reyes

The team at Poblador Bautista & Reyes continues to be busy advising on several large tax litigation matters for a variety of major corporations. It is also defending a high-profile individual in a number of assessments that have been issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Key members of the team are Romeo Johann Fernandez and Meghan De GuiaJustin Christopher Mendoza and Elizabeth Liceralde are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Romeo Johann Fernandez; Meghan De Guia; Justin Christopher Mendoza; Elizabeth Liceralde

Key clients

Petron Corporation

Energy Development Corporation

Metro Rail Transit Corporation

Work highlights

  • Representing Petron Corporation in several petitions before the Court of Tax Appeals (and two before the Supreme Court).
  • Representing Metro Rail Transit Corporation (the owner/lessor of a major rail transit system in Metro Manila) in its appeal to the Court of Tax Appeals on tax deficiency assessments of the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
  • Representing a former Chief Justice before the Court of Tax Appeals in appealing and disputing assessments for alleged deficiency Value-Added Tax (VAT) and income tax assessments which were issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Subido Pagente Certeza Mendoza & Binay (SPCMB Law Offices)

Led by Ma. Joycelyn L. Guirnalda and Maria Patricia Alvarez, the tax practice at Subido Pagente Certeza Mendoza & Binay (SPCMB Law Offices) has particular strength in tax litigation and frequently handles complex tax cases at an administrative level as well as in the courts. The group also has solid reputation for its work in challenging tax assessments and is renowned for its ability to handle cases in the Court of Tax Appeals.

Practice head(s):

Ma. Joycelyn L. Guirnalda; Maria Patricia Alvarez


The team has a high level of customer engagement. They are capable of handling a wide range of cases wherein other law firms are not able to do so‘.

‘I worked with Ma. Joycelyn L. Guirnalda – she is straightforward in saying what we should expect if we take a certain legal action. As a client, this is much appreciated as we are able to decide if we should push through with the legal action or not. I would credit her determination, competency and individual talents in making this a success for our company’.

Key clients

The Big Chill, Inc.

Purpleclick Philippines, Inc.

Malison, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented a client before the Court of Tax Appeals after the discovery that warrants of arrest were issued for alleged several counts of tax evasion.
  • Successfully represented a client when the Bureau of Internal Revenue assessed the client for deficiency taxes covering the taxable year ending 31 December 2017.