Tax in Portugal
Cuatrecasas' 'versatile' team provides ‘very precise tax advice’ on large and complex matters relating to corporate and M&A, real estate, funds and trusts, insurance and restructuring. Also strong in litigation, it successfully represented Allianz in a dispute regarding corporate income tax withheld by a Portuguese bank upon dividend distributions, reversing a previous decision by the tax courts that was in breach of EU Treaty non-discrimination provisions. The ‘brilliant’ Pedro Vidal Matos is the contact on this front. Practice head Diogo Ortigão Ramos provides ‘essential guidance’. Gonçalo Bastos Lopes ‘makes sure that the client understands the legal impact of each action’. Of counsel Tânia de Almeida Ferreira is also recommended.
Garrigues' team is noted for its ‘deep analysis and longstanding experience’. Pedro Miguel Braz focuses on contentious work and is representing several banks in the contestation against the 2011 extraordinary bank levy. ‘Internationally-minded’ Tiago Cassiano Neves, who handles transactional and international taxation, ‘really closes an issue for good’. He and practice head Fernando Castro Silva assisted Banco Santander with the acquisition and restructuring of Banco Popular.
The ‘fantastic’ team at Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados provides advice to high-profile clients such as EDP, Galp and Sonae on the entire gamut of tax issues, including corporate and M&A, concessions, and pertaining to the banking and energy sectors. It also handles tax planning and restructuring, disputes and international taxation. Francisco de Sousa da Câmara is a ‘wizard of tax law’; António Lobo Xavier displays ‘a lot of common sense’; António Pedro Braga is also recommended. All three jointly lead the practice, with the latter two being based in Oporto.
Portuguese powerhouse PLMJ assists financial sector, energy and corporate clients with domestic and international tax matters, M&A, tax restructuring and disputes and is involved in complex and controversial matters, such as its successful representation of Meag Munich Ergo Asset Management before the ECJ and the Portuguese Arbitration Tribunal in a case regarding VAT assessments from 2011 to 2013 filed by the Portuguese Tax Authority, which the firm argued was illegal under EU law; Serena Cabrita Neto was involved in this matter. Other work included assisting the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) with drafting a multilateral convention to avoid double taxation and prevent tax evasion. João Magalhães Ramalho joined Telles de Abreu | Advogados in July 2019. Nuno da Cunha Barnabé left to join Abreu Advogados.
‘Extremely client-centric’ tax boutique Rogério Fernandes Ferreira & Associados, SP, RL has been handling several disputes, including contesting the Energy Sector’s Extraordinary Contribution (CESE), withholding tax on payments to non-Portuguese entities, and the repeal of the non-taxation regime applicable to capital gains. It also advised on non-contentious tax matters. Founding partner Rogério Fernandes Ferreira is the name to note.
Abreu Advogados covers direct and indirect tax, tax disputes, planning and restructuring. Cepsa is a client that instructs the team on some of these issues, including the energy sector extraordinary contribution (ESEC), which is work handled by Oporto-based Maria Dulce Soares; Miguel Teixeira de Abreu who, as of February 2019, is no longer an equity partner, is frequently singled out; Alexandra Courela and Pedro Pais de Almeida jointly lead the team. Nuno da Cunha Barnabé was a new arrival PLMJ.
Espanha e Associados is led by ‘great lawyer’ João Espanha. It handles, among other things, international tax, VAT, corporate income tax (CIT) and tax planning. Clients include Portugália - Administração de Patrimónios, Associação da Hotelaria de Portugal and Tecnoplano Tecnologia e Planeamento. Elsa Rodrigues and senior associate Ricardo Peão are the other names to note.
Ricardo da Palma Borges & Associados
Transactional work - especially in the real estate sector - and wealth management are cornerstones of Uría Menéndez – Proença Carvalho’s practice, and the team also handles contentious work. It advised BNP Paribas Real Estate on the tax aspects of the joint venture (and related share acquisition and sale) with Silcoge to develop office and residential projects in the Alcântara neighbourhood of Lisbon. Filipe Romao and of counsel Cláudia Reis Duarte are highly recommended.
‘Strong know-how, a 360 degree vision and efficiency’ is what makes VDA's team stand out. It covers direct and indirect tax, litigation and arbitration, and continues to develop its reach in lusophone Africa and East Timor. Advising high-profile domestic and international clients, it has particular expertise in financial tax, recently assisting Banco de Portugal in relation to transactions emerging from the fallout of the financial crisis. Tiago Marreiros Moreira and Joaquim Pedro Lampreia are recommended, as are managing associates Ricardo Seabra Moura, Francisco Cabral Matos and Conceição Gamito. Samuel Fernandes de Almeida is another name to note.
CMS' team ‘works well together’ and advises clients on all tax aspects, including contentious matters; most recently it successfully represented Generis in a dispute before the arbitral court concerning transfer pricing rules following corporate income tax assessments issued by the tax authorities. Practice head Patrick Dewerbe is highly recommended, and senior associate Raquel Montes Fernandes is another name to note.
DLA Piper ABBC possesses ‘exceptional legal knowledge that helps clients perform better’. It focuses on tax litigation, with niche expertise in the online gambling, tobacco, transport and energy sectors. Clients include JTI – Japan Tobacco International, EasyJet, Finerge and Trustwind. Practice head and tax and regulatory specialist António Moura Portugal is ‘an excellent communicator and leader’.
Ramos Pereira e Sampaio - Sociedade de Advogados
The ‘innovative’ Ricardo Reigada Pereira has infused RRP Advogados ‘with a culture of thinking outside the box’. The team offers an ‘exceptionally personalised approach to clients’ needs’ in disputes, structuring, and transactional work. It regularly acts for EDP, Secil, Acciona, Ferrovial, The Navigator Company and Abanca, among others. The firm is part of the EY Global Law network.
Sérvulo & Associados' team is ‘committed’, ‘open-minded’ and ‘able to adapt to different scenarios’. The outfit covers contentious and non-contentious work, in the latter case acting for Abbott Laboratories and NAMA. Practice head Diogo Feio renders ‘very good strategic advice’; principal associate Ana Moutinho Nascimento and senior associate Teresa Pala Schwalbach are also singled out.
Andersen Tax and Legal | NGMS – Sociedade de Advogados
The highly regarded Nuno de Oliveira Garcia heads the practice at Andersen Tax and Legal | NGMS – Sociedade de Advogados, which is ’very hands-on, proactive and comes up with solutions instead of only assessments’; it represented The Navigator Company, Galp and REN in tax disputes. The firm signed a collaboration agreement with Oporto firm CNA – Curado, Nogueira & Associados in February 2018.