Tax in South Africa


ENSafrica is a longstanding leader in tax, particularly in the transfer pricing and international tax sphere. It has developed a fine record in corporate restructurings and financial product-related tax advice. Highly rated international tax specialist Peter Dachs heads the department. Robert Gad is another top practitioner, while Andries Myburgh and Mansoor Parker are growing in prominence.

Practice head(s):

Peter Dachs


Commercial, pragmatic, responsive and commercial. They get into the detail but get the bigger picture.

There are no weak links and they offer a seamless and effective service at all levels. They resource the transaction effectively pulling in the necessary experts. The excellence is unrivalled.

Peter Dachs has a good grasp of the financial industry on top of his pure tax expertise. His experience with SARS has brought very valuable insights.

Peter Dachs is far ahead of his competitors.’

Peter Dachs is excellent at understanding commercial objectives and finding solutions to tax problems that fit these commercial objectives. He is an excellent partner to brainstorm with.’

Key clients

Absa Bank

Credit Suisse

Impala Platinum

JP Morgan

Liberty Holdings


Standard Bank of South Africa

Tiger Brands

Work highlights

  • Advised Liberty Holdings on the tax aspects of its reorganisation of its investment product offerings.
  • Acted for Standard Bank of South Africa on its restructuring and disposal of certain assets.
  • Assisted Absa Bank with the issuance of credit-linked preference shares to various investors.

Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel's sizeable tax practice has achieved even greater prominence in private equity, cross-border M&A, distressed transactions, restructurings, disputes and transfer pricing. Brian Dennehy continues to impress in the private equity field with senior figure Anne Bennett at the forefront of international tax issues. Graham Viljoen is also highly rated for M&A and private equity fund structuring, while Nina Keyser in Cape Town is a leader in tax disputes.

Practice head(s):

Brian Dennehy; Graham Viljoen

Key clients

African Rainbow Capital



Old Mutual

Actis Private Equity

Ethos Private Equity

Work highlights

  • Advised De Beers Marine Namibia on its proposed acquisition of a specialised offshore mining vessel from a Dutch shipbuilder.
  • Acted for Naspers on the South African corporate tax structuring of the listing and unbundling of the MultiChoice Group.
  • Acted for Sasol Oil in its dispute with the Commissioner of the South African Revenue Service (SARS).


Bowmans' tax team includes both lawyers and accountants. It has gained further recognition for its expertise in private equity and M&A-related tax, along with international tax, debt restructuring and significant tax disputes. Alan KeepWally Horak and Barry Garven comprise an impressive senior team, while Patricia Williams is noted for tax disputes. Kelly Wright is another name to note.


The team that we work with is the market leader in dispute resolution. The firm is willing to invest in clients and presented at our tax technical sessions.

Key clients

The Standard Bank of South Africa

Anheuser-Busch InBev

Ethos Private Equity

Goldman Sachs

Sanlam Emerging Markets

Work highlights

  • Advised AfriSam (South Africa) on a debt and equity restructure of the AfriSam Group of companies.
  • Acted for Sanlam Emerging Markets on the restructure of its recent investment in the Saham Group.
  • Advised Multichoice on the tax implications of its unbundling from Naspers, its parent company.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr continues to impress in financial services and mining tax matters. With strength across the board, the team has achieved growth in big-ticket disputes, including transfer pricing litigation. Emil Brincker is an outstanding practitioner, while Ludwig Smith is noted for hybrid financial instruments that involve complex tax structuring, and Gerhard Badenhorst is a recognised VAT specialist. Mark Linington is prominent in the fund structuring space. Dries Hoek is also rated.

Practice head(s):

Emil Brincker


They have a range of diverse specialists, which amount to a one stop shop solution for my tax needs. I would endorse them as easy to work with, have sound technical skills, and are focused on delivering pragmatic solutions. They make what is a complex area of law, accessible and understandable, both to myself and my stakeholders in the business.

Ludwig Smith and Dries Hoek will astutely identify tax risks, and help you understand and appreciate them in a meaningful way. They also understand the commercial drivers of the deal and are solutions orientated.

Emil Brincker has been our trusted adviser for many years and always provides a service of the highest quality.

Key clients

Vodacom Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Vodacom on the largest empowerment transaction to date in the telecoms sector, involving a new listing of shares in YeboYethu on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Werksmans Attorneys

Werksmans Attorneys has an outstanding record in corporate, M&A and private equity-related tax. It is also noted for big-ticket tax disputes. Ernest Mazansky is highly regarded, while Michael Honiball is rated for international tax and Doelie Lessing is a key name for private equity and funds-related matters.

Practice head(s):

Ernest Mazansky


I regard the tax team as my trusted adviser, providing effective and innovative solutions to the issues.

The team provides broad and detailed knowledge of tax together with solid accounting understanding.’

Ernest Mazansky is a stand out and excellent in his knowledge of tax.

Key clients

Investec Bank

Zenprop Property Holdings

Telesure Group

Clover Industries

Ford Motor Company of South Africa

CCI Group

Work highlights

  • Advised a listed retail group on the tax treatment of retail debtors.
  • Acted for Tronox on tax and exchange control matters connected to additional financing, including funding for BEE shareholders.
  • Advised a foreign family investment vehicle on the further division of the family structure into sub-structures to cater for the next generation.

Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP

Allen & Overy (South Africa) LLP is rated for complex financing structures, including preference share fundings. In this regard, Lionel Shawe is highly rated.

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg has successfully built a broad service offering with notable strength in Africa-wide matters. The Johannesburg team works closely with colleagues in other offices, particularly those in Dubai, Casablanca and Cairo. The group has made a particular impression in cross-border corporate and transactional work, with additional growth in disputes and transfer pricing. The firm further broadened its offering with the hire of Virusha Subban from Bowmans to head the indirect tax practice. Stephan Spamer leads the department.

Practice head(s):

Stephan Spamer

Key clients

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton

Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions France

Teraco Data Environments

ArcelorMittal South Africa

Safair Operations

Work highlights

  • Advised LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton on a multi-jurisdictional tax due diligence review relating to its acquisition of Belmond.
  • Acted for Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions France on a new agreement with Air Liquide Large Industries, which subcontracted the construction of the largest air separation unit in South Africa.
  • Assisted ArcelorMittal South Africa with its divestment of an indirect 50% interest in Netherlands-based Macsteel International.

Glyn Marais

Glyn Marais is rated in tax structuring in the acquisition finance and structured finance segments. Richard Glyn is a senior statesman in the field.

Practice head(s):

Richard Glyn

Lawtons Africa

Lawtons Africa is noted for corporate tax, disputes and exchange control matters. Jackie Peart leads the team and Charles van Standen is recommended for exchange control.

Practice head(s):

Jackie Peart

Key clients

South African Revenue Services (SARS)

Work highlights

  • Advised an international group on the appropriate offshore structure for inbound investment into various African jurisdictions.
  • Represented SARS in a case against a multinational group, the largest tax dispute in South Africa to date.

CMS South Africa

CMS South Africa's team, which is led by the highly regarded Andrew Wellsted, is recognised for corporate tax and disputes, with a strong weighting towards the financial services segment. Disputes specialist Bernard Mofokeng has joined the firm from the South African Revenue Service.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Wellsted

Key clients

Absa Bank

Ashbrook Investments

Bravura Capital

Cape Viognier Trust

Fairfax Africa Investments

Geneva Management Group

Grindrod Bank

Work highlights

  • Advised Zarx, the second largest listed exchange in South Africa, on the tax aspects of potential instruments that may be listed.


Fasken has cemented its position in the market through a series of significant engagements, including those in the exchange control, customs and tariffs, and M&A segments. The team is also rated for tax matters connected to renewable energy projects and mining sector transactions. Conor McFadden leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Conor McFadden

Key clients

MC Mining

Lombard Insurance

Main Street 333

The Dow Chemical Company



Work highlights

  • Advised Bayer on tax issues connected to its merger with Monsanto.
  • Assisted Globeleq with tax issues related to its acquisition of Brookfield Asset Management’s interests in its South African renewable energy portfolio.
  • Acted for Fairfax Africa on the South African aspects of its short-form prospectus.

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc is recommended for tax disputes and has built considerable experience in dealing with the tax aspects of warranty and indemnity insurance. Dale Cridlan leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Dale Cridlan

Key clients

AIG Europe

HCC Tokio Marine


Work highlights

  • Advised AIG Europe on the tax considerations of offering warranty and indemnity cover for buyer side insurance for the purchaser’s acquisition of a stake in Vumatel.
  • Acted for HCC Tokio Marine in defending a tax claim made by an insured under a warranty and indemnity policy.
  • Advised a large multinational advisory firm on the VAT implications of paying  a settlement amount to a state-owned entity.