Tax in South Africa

Bowmans

Barry Garven and Wally Horak  jointly chair the tax practice at Bowmans from Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively, and the team works closely with the firm’s corporate, banking and finance teams. The team advises on tax aspects of corporate transactions (including national and cross-border M&A), financial structuring and tax-related litigation. Its impressive client roster includes large corporates, financial institutions and private clients, in addition to international law firms. Managing partner Alan Keep is active in corporate and tax law mandates, especially regarding black economic empowerment-related transactions. Chartered accountant Patricia Williams  specialises in tax-related dispute resolution and Kelly Wright handles M&A transactions, as well as group reorganisations.

Practice head(s):

Barry GarvenWally Horak

Testimonials

‘Diversity of expertise from the team contributed to creating a first class deliverable.’

‘All members of the team are given an opportunity to contribute, not just the senior partners.’

Key clients

The South African Breweries

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV

AfriSam

Ninety One SA

Linde Plc

Ascendis Management Services

African Rainbow Capital

Harmony Gold Mining Company

IQ Business

Trinitas Private Equity

Department of Public Enterprises

Work highlights

  • Acted for SAB and AB InBev regarding the partial unwind and implementation of SAB’s 8.45% 2010 B-BBEE transaction.
  • Advised Ninety One SA in relation to an entire transaction and advice in respect of the ongoing restructuring related work.
  • Advised Standard Bank on making an offer to acquire the remaining 42.6% stake in Liberty Holdings.

ENSafrica

ENSafrica has one of the largest tax departments in South Africa and continues to be a leading practice. It services clients across the entire spectrum of tax-related mandates, including on the tax implications of cross-border transactions, VAT and customs, financial structuring, private client matters and litigation. Recognised international tax expert Peter Dachs leads the department, which has undergone growth with the hires of executive consultant Mark Badenhorst in 2020, who has significant expertise in transfer pricing, executive consultant Charles de Wet from PwC in October 2020, who now heads up the VAT practice, and tax executive Kazi Mbangeleli who rejoined the firm from an in-house role at Allan Gray. Andries Myburgh is also a name of note in the corporate tax space.

Practice head(s):

Peter Dachs

Key clients

Liberty Holdings

United Manganese of Kalahari

Absa Bank

ACSA Global

MultiChoice Group Services

Citibank

Quarme Investments

Aerobotics

African Leadership Academy

Cape Biologix Technologies

CTrack

DRDGOLD

Work highlights

  • Advised ACSA Global on the tax implications of a transaction involving the sale of 10% shareholding in Mumbai International Airport Limited to Adani Airport Holdings Limited.
  • Advised UMK on the termination of their sales and marketing agreement with a sales agent, including on the the new sales, marketing and logistics agreement.
  • Advising Liberty Group on the South African tax implications arising from the issuance and holding of preference shares.

Webber Wentzel

The multi-disciplinary team at Webber Wentzel, praised as a ‘leading law firm in South Africa‘, has an impressive pan-African tax offering. The group confidently handles corporate tax matters, transfer pricing, exchange control, tax-related dispute resolution and international tax mandates. Accountant and corporate tax expert Brian Dennehy  heads up the department with the support of deputy head and chartered accountant Graham Viljoen, whose strengths include private equity-related transactions. Anne Bennett is skilled in major cross-border transactions and Nina Keyser is a reputed tax litigation lawyer in the department. Kyle Beilings is known for high-profile transactions and partner Lumen Moolman continues to play a central role within the tax team.

Practice head(s):

Brian DennehyGraham Viljoen

Testimonials

‘The team thinks out of the box when proposing solutions to client problems. They assisted our Group with VAT advice and to provide us with the correct opinion and treatment of VAT on our products, they contacted the content partner’s counsel in the USA to understand the product form.’

‘The team brings not only very strong technical capabilities to the table. There is an understanding of the business and in advising on matters, the practical and operational aspects are considered, and where needed a pragmatic approach is undertaken in solving something. I find the team to be very flexible where facts / plans change and urgent updates are required, there is always a commitment to delivering a high-quality service. For larger projects the team has proved critical in the successful outcome, with great care to detail and communicating to larger project teams.’

‘The tax team at Webber Wentzel is experienced in advising private equity transactions. The team is commercially strong and takes a holistic approach to providing structuring advice.’

‘Leading law firm in South Africa with an excellent reputation due to the their track record of exceptional service.’

‘Interacting with Webber Wentzel has given us the confidence that we are compliant in all aspects of legislation in RSA.’

‘We were delighted to get very clear and firm advice from the partner Chetan Vanmali. He understood the peculiarities of our process and business and was able to provide appropriate advice.’

‘I deal with Chetan Vanmali when VAT advice is needed. He is an expert in their field, knowledgeable but also willing to listen to his clients.’

‘The individuals are technically very strong, and it translates into opinions of the highest quality and sound arguments. Shirleen Ritchie has shown qualities of collaboration and teamwork and solutionist thinking, which is something that not all advisors bring to the table. Her ability to solve complex problems and build arguments is something that has proven to be very valuable.’

Key clients

Actis

Omnia

Assore

Anglo American

Kasada Capital Management

Old Mutual

MultiChoice

Naspers

MTN

Stanlib

Work highlights

  • Advising Actis on its acquisition of an interest in Octotel and RSAWeb.
  • Advising Villa Holdings on its proposed merger with Intelichem.
  • Advising Vunani Capital with tax structuring advice to facilitate the internal reorganisation of the Private Equity Assets under a newly formed company called Vunani Capital Partners in anticipating of unbundling of Vunani Capital Partners.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr advises clients on both contentious and non-contentious tax-related matters, including corporate tax structuring mandates and regulatory issues. Sitting at the helm of the practice is Emil Brincker  , who has substantial expertise in corporate reorganisations and restructurings. He is supported by Ludwig Smith , who is particularly active in the financial services sector, VAT specialist Gerhard Badenhorst , and Mark Linington  , who is of note for handling transactional taxation matters. Jerome Brink  was promoted to partner in April 2020 and Stephan Spamer  and Howmera Parak joined the practice in March 2020 from Baker McKenzie Johannesburg, bolstering the group’s international tax and M&A offering.

Practice head(s):

Emil Brincker

Testimonials

‘Efficient and knowledgeable Tax team’

‘The professionals involved make this practice unique – the team is focused and keeps abreast of all current legislation changes. The team seems to be expanding and is attracting like-minded insightful individuals. Their expertise is unique and thus cannot be compared to other firms.’

‘The fees are reasonable and the turnaround times are fantastic.’

‘Emil Brincker is the leading tax practitioner in South Africa.’

‘The individual I have worked with is Gerhard Badenhorst, who is an indirect tax specialist. He is constantly involved in various indirect tax matters in South Africa as Gerhard is highly regarded by all who deal with him. Gerhard understands industry related matters and is able to provide insight to clients and law makers alike. His expertise and integrity contribute to innovative solutions, where needed. Gerhard is a true thought leader.’

Key clients

Bounty Brands Holdings

Capitalworks

Peregrine Holdings

Werksmans Attorneys

Chartered accountant Ernest Mazansky  leads the tax department at Werksmans Attorneys. The practice advises large corporates and high-net-worth individuals and families on mandates both within South Africa and internationally. The tax aspects of commercial dealings, private equity, black economic empowerment transactions and restructurings, as well as tax-related disputes, are all within the team’s strong capabilities. Michael Honiball is head of the firm’s international tax group and Doelie Lessing is notable in the tax and investment funds and private equity arena.

Practice head(s):

Ernest Mazansky

Key clients

Clover Industries

Dairy Farmers of SA

Evolution Property Management

Investec Bank

King Price Financial Services

Macsteel Holdings Luxembourg SARL BV.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Pepkor Trading

Qorus Software

Shoprite Holdings

SMD Technologies

Stockdale Street

Safika Holdings

Transaction Capital

Zenprop Property Holdings

Work highlights

  • Advised Transaction Capital in respect of the subscription for 49.9% of the ordinary shares in WeBuyCars.
  • Advised a private equity investment group on the proposed acquisition of a major stake in a listed company.
  • Advised individuals, who are South African residents but citizens of EU country and hold their assets jointly, who chose to unwind certain offshore arrangements and transfer and resettle assets and settle claims.

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg‘s tax department is situated within the firm’s global network and consequently advises clients based locally, nationally and internationally. The groups offering spans across international tax, corporate tax, exchange control, transfer pricing and employee tax matters. Indirect tax specialist Virusha Subban leads the practice having taken over from Stephan Spamer , who joined Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr in 2020. Senior tax advisor Denny Da Silva is also of note in this space.

Practice head(s):

Virusha Subban

Key clients

Tata Chemicals

Adidas

Bidvest Group

Impala Platinum

Engie Southern Africa

ArcelorMittal

Animex

Jackaroo Paper

Work highlights

  • Representing TATA Chemicals in challenging the imposition of anti-dumping duties following a sunset review initiated by the International Trade Administration Commission regarding to disodium carbonate imported from the United States into the Southern African Customs Union.  
  • Representing Adidas in its customs valuation dispute in South Africa.  
  • Advised Impala regarding its investment into the AP Ventures Fund in the UK, including the South African tax consequences relating to investing into a partnership.

CMS South Africa

Andrew Wellsted and Bernard Kabelo Mofokeng jointly lead the tax department at CMS South Africa, which services both local and global clients, including financial institutions, funds, corporate investors and private clients; its position within the global network of the firm grants it good access to international mandates. The team’s offering includes VAT, transfer pricing, tax structuring and tax disputes, and it is also active in the BEE space. Senior associate Nicole Paulse is also active in the employee and indirect tax arena.

Other key lawyers:

Nicole Paulse

Testimonials

‘CMS South Africa has good experience in relation to an R&D tax support scheme in South Africa in the hydrogen sector.’

‘The team’s strengths include good negotiation in good faith and inline with the client’s needs, active listening to the client, they make drastic changes on deliverables at the client’s demand without additional fees, and they are curious in learning about an innovative project in the hydrogen sector.’

Key clients

Absa Bank

Alpha Wealth

Barak Fund SPC

Clover South Africa

FirstRand Bank

GloBee

Holborn Assets

KitKat Group

Limtech Biometric Solutions

Nedbank Group

QED Actuaries and Consultants

Q(h)ubeka Trust

Sanlam Capital Markets

Sasfin Bank

Sanlam Private Wealth

Volvo Group Southern Africa

Grindrod Bank

MFS Africa

Osiris Trading

ZARX

DLA Piper Advisory Services (pty) Ltd

DLA Piper ‘s tax department sits within the firm’s global network and is skilled in handling the tax aspects of financing and M&A transactions, and restructurings. Corporate tax specialist Andrew Lewis heads up the practice with the support of Benjamin Mbana, who was promoted to director in April 2021 and has strengths in commercial and financial services.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Lewis

Other key lawyers:

Benjamin Mbana

Key clients

Allied Electronics Corporation

Inseego Corporation

Nedbank

Absa Bank

Ninety One SA

Glyn Marais

Tax is a core area of focus for the practice at Glyn Marais, which is led by established practitioner Richard Glyn who has expertise in capital gains tax, income tax, regulatory issues, secondary tax and value-added tax. The multi-disciplinary team offers domestic and international financial institutions and large corporates advice on corporate and acquisition finance, structured finance and project finance.

Practice head(s):

Richard Glyn