Tax in South Africa

ENSafrica

ENSafrica has been a key player in the tax market for years and continues to field one of the largest teams in South Africa. The multi-disciplinary team has been further augmented by the arrival of executive consultant Mark Badenhorst, an experienced transfer pricing specialist. Moreover, the firm hired Charles de Wet from PwC in October 2020 to lead the firm’s VAT practice. It continues to impress in financing-related tax matters including preference shares and equity-linked notes, along with major debt and corporate restructurings. The team represents a range of big-name financial institutions, mining majors and significant corporates. Peter Dachs leads the team and has an outstanding reputation in international tax. Andries Myburgh is noted for transactions and restructuring-related tax matters.

Practice head(s):

Peter Dachs

Other key lawyers:

Mark Badenhorst; Andries Myburgh; Robert Gad

Key clients

Liberty Holdings.

Standard Bank

Absa Bank

Goldman Sachs

AngloGold Ashanti

Sibanye Gold, trading as Sibanye Stillwater

Edcon

Black Mountain Mining

Seriti Coal

Trencor

Work highlights

  • Advised Liberty on the issuance of preference shares and equity linked notes as well as setting up various alternative investment vehicles such as qualifying investor hedge funds.
  • Advised Absa on an investment in shares issued by an offshore entity. This investment involves various complex security arrangements and consideration of Absa’s South African tax position.
  • Advised Experian on their acquisition of Compuscan and Scoresharp, providers of credit information and analytics services to organisations across South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, Ethiopia and Uganda, as well as the Philippines and Australia.

Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel has further cemented its fine standing in the tax sector, most notably in relation to private equity and M&A-related matters, international tax, disputes and transfer pricing. The firm has an outstanding client base of South African and multinational corporates, financial institutions and private equity funds. The tax team continues to be especially active in corporate and private equity transactions. Accountant Brian Dennehy is a leading figure in the private equity taxation space, and Anne Bennett is a preeminent international tax planning specialist. Chartered accountant Graham Viljoen is also rated for M&A, buyouts and fund formation. Nina Keyser is well-regarded for tax disputes.

Practice head(s):

Brian Dennehy; Graham Viljoen

Other key lawyers:

Anne Bennett; Nina Keyser; Kyle Beilings; Lumen Moolman

Testimonials

‘The team is very commercial and solution orientated.’

They are able to differentiate between remote risks that need to be flagged but not necessarily mitigated and those issues that require immediate attention.

They are proactive in moving directly to either solutions or alternatives. They recognise that there is limited value in discussing why something can’t be done.

‘Graham Viljoen is commercial and solution orientated. He is willing to go the extra mile and look beyond the scope of work requested. He has often been able to come up with creative solutions to problems we have faced.’

‘Graham Viljoen has a detailed knowledge of tax legislation and combines this with an outstanding command of corporate finance.’

‘Brian Dennehy is a strategic thinker with vast knowledge and experience and an ability to design a solution for a strategic plan.’

‘Kyle Beilings is a technical legal expert who ensures robustness of any solution and engages extremely well with external counsel for opinions.’

‘Lumen Moolman has excellent technical skills and an ability to be flexible in modelling solutions.’

Key clients

Anglo American

African Mining and Trust Company

Sappi

MIH Holdings

The Coca Cola Company

African Infrastructure Investment Managers

Old Mutual

Ethos

Actis

Capitalworks

Work highlights

  • Advised Ethos Capital on its R1.35bn strategic investment into Brait,  through an underwriting commitment agreement and a Brait major shareholder agreement.
  • Advised Pioneer Foods Group on its acquisition by PepsiCo.
  • Advised Naspers on its pre-listing statement and the admission to listing and trading of all the N ordinary shares in the capital of Prosus on Euronext Amsterdam and a secondary listing on the Main Board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Bowmans

Bowmans has significantly expanded its team in recent years, resulting in a multi-skilled and versatile team. With both lawyers and accountants in the group, it continues to impress in M&A and private equity-related tax matters, while being more than credible in disputes, international tax and debt restructuring. The group represents a multitude of international clients, prominent domestic businesses and a range of private equity houses. Barry Garven has a fine record in international tax, transactions and financings, while Wally Horak is a key name in international tax, including cross-border M&A and transfer pricing. Managing partner Alan Keep remains prominent in transaction structuring and corporate reorganisations. Patricia Williams is further noted for disputes and transactional work.

Practice head(s):

Barry Garven; Wally Horak

Other key lawyers:

Alan Keep; Patricia Williams; Kelly Wright

Key clients

AfriSam (South Africa)

African Rainbow Capital

The South African Breweries and its parent Anheuser-Busch InBev

Rand Merchant Holdings

Lanxess

Cisco South Africa

Carlyle Sub Sahara Africa Fund

South32 SA Holdings

Royal Bafokeng Resources Platinum

Harmony Gold Mining

PepsiCo

Bell Equipment

GoDaddy

Ascendis Health

Work highlights

  • Advised Ascendis Health on a group reorganisation to appropriately position assets within the group structure for purposes of sale.
  • Advised on an ongoing debt and equity restructure of the AfriSam Group of companies undertaken to optimise and simplify its capital structure.
  • Advised on the negotiation and drafting of the sale agreement between Harmony Gold Mining and AngloGold Ashanti, as part of Harmony’s acquisition of all of AngloGold’s South African assets and related liabilities, which includes Mponeng, the world’s deepest mine.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr continues to be recognised for its work in the financial services sector and corporate transactions. It continues to work on a large number of M&A deals, including those by private equity clients. It expanded the team with the hire of Stephan Spamer  and Howmera Parak from Baker McKenzie Johannesburg, bolstering the firm’s standing in international tax, transaction structuring, and M&A-related matters. The team is led by the highly-acclaimed Emil Brincker, a big name in the financial services sector, corporate reorganisations and restructurings, and major tax disputes. Gerhard Badenhorst is a leading indirect tax and VAT specialist and Mark Linington is at the forefront of fund structuring-related tax matters. Ludwig Smith is a senior figure with a long track record in hybrid financial instruments involving tax structuring challenges.

Practice head(s):

Emil Brincker

Other key lawyers:

Stephan Spamer; Howmera Parak; Gerhard Badenhorst; Mark Linington; Ludwig Smith 

Testimonials

‘The CDH Tax team consists of various highly respected and competent tax professionals who are expert in their various areas of specialisation.’ 

‘Emil Brincker is widely recognised as one of the top tax professionals in South Africa.’

‘Emil Brincker is most probably the most astute tax advisor in South Africa. His ability to read situations and adapt is also second to none.’

‘The in depth VAT understanding of Gerhard Badenhorst is more than exceptional.’

‘Gerhard Badenhorst has impacted the course and direction of various indirect tax matters in South Africa in a positive way, being a highly skilled thought leader. He is accessible and supportive. A perfect business partner. I consider Gerhard to be above and beyond any competitor.’

Key clients

Old Mutual Private Equity

Work highlights

  • Advised Old Mutual Private Equity on the tax structuring for the acquisition of a majority stake in Footgear, the South Africa-based shoe retailer.
  • Advised Impala Platinum Holdings on the tax structuring of its ZAR1.14bn acquisition of North American Palladium.
  • Advised Group Five Construction on the tax efficiency and exchange control approvals required for its disposal of Intertoll group of companies to the Lancaster group of companies.

Werksmans Attorneys

Werksmans Attorneys has a wide-ranging practice that has made a notable impression in corporate and capital restructurings. M&A, private equity and tax disputes are also core to the practice. Its client base centres on an impressive number of South African businesses, South African arms of multinationals, financial institutions and investment funds. Department head and chartered accountant Ernest Mazansky is a leader in corporate tax planning, while Michael Honiball heads the international tax team. Doelie Lessing has impressed in corporate reorganisations and M&A.

Practice head(s):

Ernest Mazansky

Other key lawyers:

Michael Honiball; Doelie Lessing

Testimonials

‘They give accurate and to the point advice. They tell me what I need to know.’

‘Ernest Mazansky has a wealth of experience and knowledge in his area.’

Key clients

CCI Group

Clover Industries

Evolution Property Management

Ford Motor Company of South Africa

Investec Bank

King Price Financial Services

Macsteel Holdings Luxembourg

McDermott Will & Emery

Pepkor Trading

Qorus Software Proprietary

Shoprite Holdings

SMD Technologies

Stockdale Street

Telesure Group

Transaction Capital

Zenprop Property Holdings

Work highlights

  • Provided tax advice to Clover Industries on the restructuring of the group after its de-listing.
  • Advised a private investment group on the South African tax implications of the proposed restructuring as it invests in South African assets.
  • Advised a private client on tax residence issues and restructuring of the family’s extensive offshore structures.

Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP

Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP is well-regarded for tax-related aspects of financial products. Since publication, Lionel Shawe left the firm.

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg's compact team has reinforced its focus on corporate and indirect tax. The group represents a range of multinationals and a growing number of local and African clients. It is leveraging the strength of the firm's broader global network in areas such as transfer pricing, customs and VAT, working closely with the Amsterdam office and colleagues in the Middle East especially. Indirect tax specialist Virusha Subban  now leads the team, following the departure of Stephan Spamer  to Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. Senior tax adviser and corporate tax specialist Denny Da Silva has joined from ENSafrica.

Practice head(s):

Virusha Subban

Other key lawyers:

Denny Da Silva

CMS South Africa

CMS South Africa has an experienced and established tax team led by Andrew Wellsted and Bernard Mofokeng. The group has a burgeoning private client-related practice, and is growing force in international structuring and disputes. It is engaged by both businesses and the tax authorities in tax disputes. It is increasingly active in the BEE segment and its membership of the firm's broader international network places it in a prime position for international work.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Wellsted; Bernard Mofokeng

Testimonials

‘Diverse commercial experience.’

‘Andrew Wellsted has well rounded business acumen and an understanding of business functions that most attorneys do not grasp. He is an innovative and creative thinker.’

Key clients

Absa Bank Limited

Alpha Wealth

Barak Fund SPC Ltd

Clover South Africa

FirstRand Bank limited

GloBee

Holborn Assets

KitKat Group

Limtech Biometric Solutions

Nedbank Group Limited

QED Actuaries and Consultants (Pty) Ltd

Q(h)ubeka Trust

Sanlam Capital Markets

Sasfin Bank

Sanlam Private Wealth

Volvo Group Southern Africa

ZARX

Glyn Marais

Glyn Marais has a well-established tax practice, principally focused on financial institutions and real estate businesses. The team has a lengthy record in financial instrument structuring and corporate transactions. Richard Glyn is a seasoned practitioner and a recognised specialist in capital gains tax, income tax, specialised finance and secondary tax.

Practice head(s):

Richard Glyn

DLA Piper

DLA Piper is a growing force in transactions and advisory matters, notably M&A, restructurings and financings. The Johannesburg team is particular active in tax matters related to preference share fundings. Andrew Lewis is an emerging name in the tax field.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Lewis

Key clients

Aurecon Group

Fasken

Fasken's compact department has extensive experience in M&A and investments, including cross-border and multi-jurisdictional transactions. The team is also active in secondary investments in South Africa’s renewable energy sector. Financial instrument structuring is another forte. Conor McFadden leads the group.

Practice head(s):

Conor McFadden

Key clients

Globeleq

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc has a significant focus on the taxation of foreign currency instruments and financial instruments. It has a particular niche in representing large multinational underwriters on the tax aspects of warranty and indemnity insurance. It has also experienced growth in tax disputes representing both clients and SARS. Dale Cridlan is an experienced figure in transactions, advisory and disputes matters.

Practice head(s):

Dale Cridlan

Testimonials

‘Quick and responsive advice that focuses on the issue at hand.’

The team is very passionate about the work they perform.’

‘Dale Cridlan is on point with his crisp and considered advice.’

 

Key clients

McKinsey & Company

Molson Coors