In 2015, annual consumer inflation ended at 10.71%, exceeding the upper limit of the government's projected range (between 2.5% and 6.5%). By June 2016, the inflation for the previous 12 months was at 8.98%. In contrast, the Brazilian Central Bank (BACEN) successively increased the base interest rate (SELIC) from 11.65%p.a. in January 2015 to 14.15%p.a. in August 2016, which is the highest rate since 2006.
Brazil achieved a $19.6 billion surplus in its international trade in 2015 and the Brazilian Real (R$) now shows consistent signs of a recovery (exchange rate of R$3.24 per US dollar, as of September 1 2016) following a downward trend against the US dollar since March 2013.
After a small 0.1% growth in 2014, Brazil's GDP shrunk 3.8% in 2015. In currency terms, GDP reached R$5.9 trillion in 2015, with a GDP per capita of R$28.876, a 4.6% reduction in comparison with 2014.
Although it is still early to assess the timing for a complete rehabilitation, recently-published economic indicators seem to point towards the initial signs of economic recovery for Brazil. The recovery of investments will depend largely on the performance of the Brazilian Government. The new president, Michel Temer, has put together an economic team that has initially been positively viewed by the market.
The information included below summarises some of this year's developments in the area of taxation in Brazil.
Law 13,259/16 introduced new capital gains taxation rules for individuals (and non-residents) arising on the alienation of Brazilian assets and rights of whatever nature. In short, gains subject to progressive rates varying from 15% to 22.5% (depending on the amount of the gain) from 2016.
Although the new rules were intended to enter into force as of January 1 2016, the Brazilian Federal Revenue Authorities (RFB) issue an interpretative declaratory act 3/2016 (ADI 3/2016) on April 29 2016, stating that the increased progressive tax rates in relation to capital gains derived by individuals (and non-residents) should only apply as of January 1 2017.
In November 2011, the Brazilian Government signed the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (CMAAT), which establishes rules for sharing tax information between the G20 countries.
In general terms, the CMAAT provides for all possible forms of administrative cooperation between the parties in the assessment and collection of taxes, in particular with a view to combating tax avoidance and evasion, while considering high standards of confidentiality and protection of personal data.
The CMAAT was ratified by Brazil in April 2016 and converted into domestic law through Federal Decree 8,842/16. The convention will enter into force as of October 1 2016.
Provisional Measure (PM) 694/15, dated September 30 2015, introduced changes to law 11,196/05 and suspended, for the calendar year 2016, the 'super deduction' of R&D expenses for corporate income tax (CIT) purposes. However, the PM expired, since it failed to be converted into law by March 8 2016. As a result, any effects derived by it affected just the first two months of 2016.
In another matter, on January 11 2016 law 13,243 was published, introducing a safer, more transparent regulatory framework for the interaction of actors from the public and private sectors responsible for science, technology, and innovation in Brazil, in order to improve the cooperation between these sectors. An important change introduced by the law was the possibility of private companies setting up a CTI (private institute of science and technology), which shall be a non-profit entity.
Historically, Law 12,249/10 provided an exemption on withholding income tax (WHT) levied on amounts paid, credited, delivered, used or remitted to individuals or legal entities resident/domiciled abroad, intended to cover personal expenses of Brazilian individuals for tourism travel, business, service, training, or official missions, up to R$20,000 per month. Since no similar provisions were introduced in the Brazilian legislation, the exemption expired on December 31 2015.
After a series of discussions and legislative changes, the WHT applicable to such disbursements was set at 6% (until December 31, 2019) by the PM 713/16 (converted into law 13,315/16).
There was an attempt to introduce rules concerning the disclosure of certain transactions to the Brazilian Internal RFB, which were eventually discarded during the legislative process for the approval of the PM 685/15.
If approved, the information which must be disclosed will encompass: a) actions or operations that cannot be explained by relevant commercial/business/economic motivations; b) actions where the form of the transaction is unusual, uses indirect operations or specific contractual clauses to recharacterise (in whole or part) the typical contract; or c) actions or operations explicitly provided for in a future act to be issued by the RFB.
In 2010, the Brazilian tax authorities (RFB) issued Normative Instruction 1037/2010, listing a number of regimes which are considered as privileged tax regimes. Although the grey list, as amended in 2010, included the regime applicable to Dutch holding companies with no significant economic activities, its qualification as a privileged tax regime was suspended by Declaratory Act 10/2010 (issued on June 24 2010).
Declaratory Act 3/2015 (published on December 18 2015) revokes Declaratory Act 10/2010 and reintroduces the regime applicable to Dutch holding companies with no substantial economic activities under the grey list as of the date of its publication. This change, together with the application of the Brazilian CFC, transfer pricing and thin capitalisation rules, among others, may have significant impacts on international structures involving Brazilian entities and Dutch holding companies falling in the scope of privileged tax regime.
On May 30 2016, the RFB released Public Consultation n. 007/2016 expressing their initial understanding on what should be viewed as 'significant economic activities' for the purpose of article 2 of Normative Instruction n. 1,037/2010 (see above).
As per the content of the consultation, holding companies with significant economic activity should be those having, in its domicile, operational capacity to manage the group. That is, the holding company should have the ability to decide how to manage its assets and investments. Operational capacity should be tested by the existence of a fixed place (i.e. physical place of business) as well as having qualified employees to effectively manage the group. Taxpayers were given until June 10 2016 to provide comments on this subject. The relevant Normative Instruction has not yet been issued by the RFB.
On May 6 2016, the Federal Court of Curitiba handed down a decision in relation to Process No. 5005596-52.2015.4.04.7000/PR. The single court judgement concluding that a Brazilian taxpayer may remove from the calculation of its corporate income tax (IRPJ) and social contributions (CSLL), results of its controlled foreign subsidiaries located in Argentina and Chile, until those results are effectively made available to the Brazilian controller. The decision represents the first time the issue of controlled subsidiary results has been considered under the recently amended CFC rules introduced in May 2014 by Law No. 12,973/2014 (which applied generally from January 1 2015 unless adopted earlier).
Pursuant to the new law, the investment in each directly and/or indirectly controlled foreign entity should be managed in individual sub-accounts and should be adjusted annually to reflect the change in the investment value corresponding to the profits or losses of the entity, in proportion to the Brazilian entity's participation – any accounting profit (before taxes and excluding foreign exchange) of the foreign entity being added to the calculation base of IRPJ and CSLL in Brazil.
Turning to the present case, fundamentally, the taxpayer argued that the taxation of undistributed profits prior to effective distribution is illegal, except where the entities are located in 'tax havens'. Further, that in the present circumstances, the double tax treaties (DTTs) Brazil signed with Chile and Argentina should prevail over the domestic law to prevent taxation of such profits in Brazil. The Brazilian tax authorities (RFB) considered that the previous jurisprudence provides that such law should only be unconstitutional to the extent that it applies to 'affiliates' (e.g. non-controlling interests) not located in tax havens. Further, that in relation to the discussion on the DTTs, the tax authorities argued that the law does not seek to tax the profits of the relevant subsidiary but rather the profit of the Brazilian controller earned through the foreign subsidiary (i.e. the adjustment being made in Brazil).
The judge considered the relevant article of the new CFC law to be unconstitutional on the basis that it creates a hypothetical situation requiring taxation of a different economic base than that contemplated by the Constitution. In general terms, there may be restrictions on the ability of the foreign entity to distribute the profits and therefore the mere adjustment of the value of the investment in the foreign entity does not appear to supply the legal availability of the underlying profits. The judge went further to provide that regardless of this, in the case concerned, both of the relevant subsidiaries are located in jurisdictions which have signed a DTT with Brazil including a clause providing that profits can only be taxed in the state in which the entity is located, except where the entity has a permanent establishment in the other state (i.e. 'business profits' article). The foreign entities did not have a permanent establishment in Brazil.
For these reasons outlined above, the judge concluded that the request of the taxpayer should proceed and the profits removed from the calculation of the Brazilian entity's IRPJ and CSLL. An appeal has already been filed by representatives of the RFB.
The RFB published new guidance on the taxation of in-kind contributions involving agreements of cession of rights (know-how).
Administrative divergent tax decision n. 6/2015, published in the official gazette on February 3 2016, states that a 15% withholding income tax and 10% CIDE-royalties apply when a know-how agreement owned by a non-resident is contributed into the capital of a Brazilian entity (in exchange for shares).
Whereas this decision is binding administratively for any taxpayer in similar situations, matters discussed in administrative stances may be up for discussion in the tax courts.
On May 13 2016, the RFB issued tax ruling COSIT n. 4/2016, allowing the application of a 10% WHT rate on payments for the use of computer software as provided by the DTT between Brazil and Finland. By way of background, under the DTTs Brazil has in place with both Finland and France, taxation on royalties at source is limited as follows:
Although the provisions contained in both DTTs are similar, the RFB expressed different positions in the past. Under tax ruling n. 52/2007, the RFB determined that payments for the use of computer software were subject to 15% WHT (as provided by the DTT between Brazil and Finland) whereas under tax ruling n. 262/2003, the position was that such payments were subject to 10% WHT (as provided by the DTT between Brazil and France).
Now, tax ruling COSIT n. 4/2016 solves the divergence by clarifying that licenses for computer software should be included in the concept of copyright licenses and that a 10% WHT rate should apply on payments for the use of computer software under the DTT between Brazil and Finland.
Ruben Gottberg (firstname.lastname@example.org), senior manager, international tax, PwC
Political chaos, economic instability and corruption scandals have left South America's largest economy on shaky ground.
Taxpayers are being put in a tough position as Brazil's authorities look for more tax revenue to deal with declining income and increasing expenses. The tax burden imposed on companies and citizens reached approximately 35.42% of GDP in 2014, according to PwC, and small companies especially are feeling the impact. Practitioners anticipate that both corporations and individuals will be facing challenges as this trend continues.
"The government immediately needs money, because Brazil has a huge debt," said Luiz Felipe Centeno Ferraz, partner at Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados. "We are a rich country, but we need money due to past mistakes in the management of the Brazilian economy."
To make up for this, practitioners predict more frequent audits will be the trend in the future. Assisted by improved internal systems and technology, the tax authorities are well equipped to enforce tax assessments.
"We are facing some challenges in our economic environment. As from this context, Brazilian taxpayers are expecting that tax inspections will tend to be more frequent in the future, with intensive use of tax technology," said Cassius Carvalho, partner at Garrigues Consultores Tributários. "Consequently, we have noticed that certain taxpayers have increased the level of investment in tax governance, including compliance driven governance, in order to strengthen their tax positions," added Fabio Pecanha, a senior associate at the same firm.
"The tax authorities are looking at situations that have never been objects of assessment before," said Ferraz. "In some cases, I would even say that some assessments are not as accurate as they should be."
Last year, social contribution taxes such as PIS/COFINS created a lot of discussion as they were increased by a noticeable amount. PIS/COFINS taxes on import of goods were increased from 9.25% to 11.75%, and PIS/COFINS taxes on financial revenue were increased from zero to 4.65%. This year, the government promised to simplify these taxes through a reform, but tax practitioners are sceptical as to whether this will actually mean an easier system or just more hidden taxes.
Practitioners also report that the uncertainty around PIS/COFINS taxes has resulted in a higher demand for tax analysis.
"PIS/COFINS contributions are a nightmare for companies in Brazil," said Ricardo Silveira, partner at Machado Associados. "In a nutshell, I would say that the different systems applicable to them, the several judicial and administrative discussions the taxpayers have been facing, and several unclear aspects of the applicable legislation have been making the life of companies in Brazil very hard."
Partners: Debora Bacellar, Hermano Barbosa, João Paulo Cavinatto, José Otavio Faloppa, Lígia Regini, Luiza Lacerda, Maurício Faro, Paulo Bento, Thais Meira and Vivian Casanova
Firm Profile: In both their day-to-day operations and in specific business transactions, BMA's clients can count on a team that is one of the best in the market. The area stands out for its innovative solutions that fit clients' business practices and its ability to resolve tax disputes. Our consultants' attention to the constant changes in tax legislation and the implications of those changes in the business environment ensures efficient and effective advice and assistance, committed to achieving the best results for the client.
Ernst & Young Terco Auditores Independentes S.S
Avenida Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek 1830
Torre 1 – 8th Floor
04543-900 São Paulo
Tel: +55 11 2573 3000
South America Tax Managing Partner
Tel: +55 11 2573 5032
Country Tax Managing Partner
Tel: +55 11 2573 3288
Graziela G Baffa
Tel: + 55 11 2573 3447
Business Tax Services
Tel: + 55 11 2573 3232
Global Compliance and Reporting
Tel: +55 11 2573 3438
Tel: +55 11 2573 3169
International Tax Services
Gil F Mendes
Tel: +55 11 2573 3466
Tel: +55 11 2573 3583
Tel: +55 11 2573 4009
Carlos A Antonaglia
Tel: +55 11 2573 3072
Inglez, Werneck, Ramos, Cury e Françolin Advogados
Av. Dr Cardoso de Melo 1308
6th floor | 04548-004 | São Paulo, SP
Phone: +55 (11) 4550 5000
Fax: +55 (11) 4550 5000
Contact: Fábio Tadeu Ramos Fernandes
IWRCF is a modern law firm with experienced lawyers, assisting national and multinational companies. The firm offers unique services and innovative solutions, in strict compliance with ethical standards, prioritizing clients' business objectives.
The tax department has extensive experience in advising local and international clients in tax issues, including tax planning and restructuring, review of tax practices, besides judicial and administrative claims, among others.
Machado Associados Advogados e Consultores
Avenida Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 1656, 11th floor
01451-918 – São Paulo, SP – Brazil
Phone: +55 11 3819 4855
Fax: + 55 11 3819 5322
Rio de Janeiro and Brasília
Main focus within tax practices:
Luís Rogério Godinho Farinelli
Practice Area: Tax
Júlio M. de Oliveira
Practice Area: Tax
Ricardo M. Debatin da Silveira
Practice Area: Tax
|Corporate Income Tax||15%||A|
|Capital Gains Tax||15%||25%||B|
|Net Operating Losses (years)|
|Branch Remittance Tax||15%||C|
|Royalties from, for example, patents, know-how||15%|
|Branch Remittance Tax||0%|
A In addition to the statutory corporate income tax rate of 15%, a surtax of 10% on income of more than BRL240,000 ($106,000) a year is imposed on legal entities and a 9% social contribution tax (CSLL) is levied on adjusted net income. For financial institutions, the CSLL rate is 15%.
B If the capital gains are derived by a tax haven resident, the rate is increased to 25%. As of 2017 capital gains derived by non-residents on the disposal of assets in Brazil will be subject to income tax at progressive rates as provided in the table below.
Capital gain up to R$ 5Million 15.0%
Capital gain from R$ 5MM to R$ 10MM 17.5%
Capital gain from R$ 10MM to R$ 30MM 20.0%
Capital gain higher than R$ MM 22.5%
Non-residents investing in the financial and capital markets may benefit from distinguished tax treatment.
C Branches are taxed at the same rates as domestic companies.
D The rate is 25% if the recipient is domiciled in a tax haven.
E The amount of the carryforward is limited to 30% of taxable income in each carryforward year.
Led by Leo Krakowiak and Ricardo Krakowiak, Advocacia Krakowiak is a boutique firm known for its litigation expertise. The firm also advises on various tax issues. Krakowiak is recognised for his skills in tax controversy and litigation by his peers.
Ayres Ribeiro Advogados's tax department is headed by Gilberto Ayres Moreira. The firm has two partners and seven other tax professionals. The firm advises domestic and international clients in various sectors, and specialises in tax law. It also assists in litigation cases.
The team is advising a large alcoholic beverage company on restructuring its investments and holdings. It is also advising a technology company in the tax structuring if its international operations.
"The firm is fast when we have requests. We get solid results when we discuss tax issues, their knowledge and general overview," said one client.
Azevedo Sette Advogados's team has many years of experience in the field of tax advising and consulting. The firm operates throughout the country and abroad, assisted by a strong network of law firms. The firm's services include litigation on the state, municipal and federal administrative levels, appearances before the superior courts, tax planning, diagnosis of tax procedures and tax burden, periodic tax reviews, Brazilian investments abroad and foreign investments in Brazil, recovery of tax credits, tax and social security due diligence, tax incentives and special regimes, and seminars and training. Azevedo Sette Advogados provides tax advice on demand to Biancogres Group which involves analysis related to general procedures for tax opportunities, especially corporate income taxes, indirect taxes and tax disputes.
"They have a lot of expertise," said a client. Another client said: "We have worked with them since 2007 and they are very professional."
The firm has four partners in Aldo de Paula Junior, Leandra Guimarães, Frederico Da Fonseca Silva and Mauricio Pernambuco Salin. The team also has 25 other tax professionals.
The tax practice at Barros Carvalho Advogados Associados advises on planning and litigation. Its expertise is in the administrative and legal arenas. Paulo de Barros Carvalho, Antonio Sergio Falcão and Maria Leonor Leite Vieira founded the practice. "Paulo de Barros Carvalho is well regarded and well respected," said a practitioner from a competing firm.
Luiz Gustavo Bichara is the head of tax at Bichara Advogados. The firm specialises in tax litigation, and has a number of attorneys that combine specific tax knowledge and litigation experience, acting on behalf of leading companies in the Brazilian communications, electric energy, financial and industrial markets. The firm also represents the key players in the pulp and paper industries, providing legal advice and handling tax litigation for Fibria Celulose S.A., Suzano Group, Stora Enso and Rigesa, the country's largest companies in the sector. In the telecommunications field, the firm represents key players such as Oi, TIM, Telefônica and VIVO. In the real estate area, the firm advises Brazil's three major shopping centres on tax matters: BR Malls, Aliansce and Brookfield Brasil.
Bichara represents taxpayers in significant disputes, leading cases and court precedents applicable to many business sectors in both administrative and judicial levels. Bichara is backed up by three partners – Sandro Machado dos Reis, Francisco Carlos Rosas Giardina and Fábio Lopes Vilela Berbel.
BMA – Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão, Taxand Brazil is a well-respected law firm led by Paulo Bento. The firm advises national and international clients on the interpretation and application of the law governing federal, state and municipal taxes, including social security and international taxation matters, such as income from controlled foreign corporations, transfer pricing, and treaties to avoid double taxation and international financings. The firm also has a litigation team which advises clients on their tax assessments on the federal, state, and municipal levels.
The group has extensive experience in implementing new technological innovation and infrastructure projects in the energy, telecommunications, and oil and gas sectors, while also advising clients on how to make the most of the tax incentives and exemptions available. The firm has seven partners and 33 other tax professionals.
"In Brazil, BMA is the best firm," said a client.
Rubens Branco founded Branco Consultores in 2001 to offer tax consulting, planning, litigation, and transfer pricing expertise to clients in Brazil and abroad.
BRATAX – Brazuna, Ruschmann e Soriano Sociedade de Advogados is a tax boutique set up in 2013, from the merger between the former Dias Carneiro Advogados' and Soriano e Woiler Advogados' tax departments. The firm specialises in tax law, assisting its clients in the areas of direct, indirect, and international taxation, both as consultants and as litigators. The firm's clients work in areas including information technology, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, human and animal nutrition, basic industry (wind power, heavy-duty equipment, water & energy), infrastructure, cosmetics, laboratorial services, entertainment and communication, automobile, foreign trade, duty free, float glass, and education, among others.
"I find this a top Brazilian firm in terms of quality (not size – they are medium sized). They are responsive, commercial and to the point. They know the law and they know the practice," a client said.
José Luis Brazuna, Cristiano Ruschmann and Ciro Cesar Soriano de Oliveira are co-heads of the department. The firm also has 16 other professionals.
Campos Mello Advogados has a team of about 20 tax professionals. The team is known for its expertise in tax consulting and complex litigation in areas such as infrastructure, technology, oil and gas, consumer goods, entertainment and real estate. The tax practice is also adding new partners in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The firm advises local and international companies in various sectors such as energy and water, high fashion, hospitality and leisure, industrial goods and services, life sciences, media, and telecommunications. Rosana Gonzaga Jayme, Alex Jorge, Leonardo Rzezinski, Humberto Marini and Renato Lopes da Rocha are tax partners in the firm.
André Gomes de Oliveira leads the tax practice at Castro, Barros, Sobral, Gomes Advogados, which consists of three partners and 18 other professionals. The firm hired Daniel Vieira de Biasi Cordeiro in November 2015. The tax consultancy department is led by Francisco Lisboa Moreira.
The firm's tax practice is very active not only in domestic and international consultation and planning for clients, but also in administrative and judicial litigation, including participation in relevant cases heard by the higher administrative and judicial courts.
"They have seasoned lawyers with different backgrounds, which gives Castro Barros an in-depth and, at the same time, broad and complementary tax coverage. On the response side, we receive frequent and prompt feedback," said a client. "André Gomes de Oliveira is held in esteem here. He has vast experience within the higher courts of the judicial level, always bringing fresh perspectives and consistent advice."
The firm is assisting LafargeHolcim, in Brazil, with designing a strategy to enable Holcim Foundation, in Ecuador, to provide funding from contributions and donations to victims of a huge earthquake that partially destroyed many parts of the country.
As a full-service firm, Deloitte has a team of specialists ready to assist on all tax matters. Cristina Arantes Berry leads the team of 21 partners and 446 professionals, not including the three partners and 58 specialists working in the transfer pricing department. Deloitte's clients work in sectors such as manufacturing, automotive, consumer business, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, technology, energy and mining. Deloitte Brazil has grown by 11% in terms of revenue and professionals over the last year.
"Deloitte is considered the most strategic supplier for tax services in our geomarket. I truly recommend them," said a client.
The firm provides services in the areas of business tax, VAT, transfer pricing, compliance and advisory, as well as in international tax, M&A and R&D. In 2015, the firm assisted a wind energy joint venture with an analysis of tax, accounting and financial scenarios to address the impact of the interruption of energy generation caused by a climate disaster.
This year, Deloitte launched the tax@hand app in Brazil, a highly interactive mobile app that provides information about tax and the environment, with analysis and alerts about regulations, and the most important changes in the Brazilian market and other countries.
Oswaldo Leite de Moraes Filho leads the tax department at Demarest Advogados, which has 14 partners and 37 other tax professionals. The firm has acquired three new partners over the past year. Carlos Eduardo Orsolon was promoted to the partnership, and Rodrigo Damazio was hired from another law firm. The firm covers the full range of tax matters, namely direct and indirect tax, tax litigation and customs, and has extensive experience working with industrial and manufacturing companies, especially in the insurance, automotive, pharmaceutical & life sciences, and pulp and paper markets.
Demarest advised on the complex tax aspects of a multi-billion dollar M&A. The client, GIC, acquired a 15% stake in Rede D'Or São Luis from BTG Pactual and the Moll family. Demarest acted as counsel for the Moll family.
Filho has been a partner in the firm since 1985 and advises clients such as 3M, Goodyear, Nike and ThyssenKrupp.
Dias Carneiro Advogados has domestic and cross-border tax experience. Its team provides sophisticated advice to both national and international corporations in different tax matters, and also represents clients in tax and customs disputes at all administrative and judicial levels. The team also assists on structuring and implementing deals, M&A transactions, corporate reorganisations, project finance, variable commercial agreements, organisation of activities, financial restructurings, judicial recoveries and liquidation procedures, real estate deals and more.
Antonio Amendola leads the team of seven tax professionals. "Antonio has a sharp view on the client's needs and is able to work with creativity but keeping his eyes wide open to prevent existing and future risks. He has technical knowledge, large expertise in sophisticated transactions and personal commitment with the client," said a client. "Every time we use their service they deliver very good advice with deep analysis of the matter and very helpful solutions," said another client.
The firm is structuring a corporate reorganisation involving the incorporation of a new Brazilian entity, with review of the supply chain, to have this new entity acting as a distribution centre and wholesaler located in the state of São Paulo, aiming to increase sales, reduce logistic costs and taxes. This also involves a transfer pricing analysis.
Dias de Souza Advogados Associados is a well-respected firm in the tax industry. The firm focuses on the areas of tax, administrative and constitutional law. It also represents clients in judicial disputes and administrative litigation and offers consulting services. Hamilton Dias de Souza is the leader of the practice.
The tax practice at EY Terco focuses on global compliance and reporting, transfer pricing, tax policy and controversy, and consulting. The tax practice has also recently moved into digital environment and data analytics. The team consists of five partners and 106 other professionals. Tatiana Ponte is the managing partner for tax, and Gil Mendes is the international tax leader.
Many of EY's clients work in hospitality, transport, education and financial services, but the firm also supports companies in numerous other industries.
Fabio Perrelli Peçanha leads the tax department at Garrigues Consultores Tributários. The firm is primarily focused on assisting multinational companies in their investments in Brazil and 85% of its client base consists of international clients, particularly Europeans from different industries. The firm also represents domestic clients in sectors such as fast food, metallurgic and technology. Peçanha specialises in administrative tax litigation regarding federal, state and municipal taxes, and corporate/business tax planning, advisory and consultancy to multiple clients.
Garrigues has expanded its practice to cover all Brazilian tax aspects on tax consultancy and tax litigation. The firm is assisting JCDecaux in tax due diligences for the acquisition of companies in the field of outdoor media and advertising in Brazil. Members of the team working on this include Peçanha, Natascha Fiche Jonov and André de Ataide Martins.
The Brazilian branch of international law firm KPMG has different lines of services and departments: international tax, corporate income tax, indirect tax and customs, financial tax services, tax controversy, tax technology, labour, global mobility and deal advisory. KPMG's 55 tax partners and 115 other professionals advise companies from sectors such as computers, software, digital and online; energy and utilities; TMT; financial services; transport; manufacturing; and healthcare.
The firm is advising a software company on its claim of full exemption based on domestic civil law concepts. Marcos Matsunaga is in charge of the deal. Cecilio Schiguematu leads KPMG's tax practice.
Lacaz Martins, Pereira Neto, Gurevich & Schoueri Advogados has provided a full service to its clients for over 20 years. The firm's attorneys are capable of providing consulting, and administrative and judicial litigation services. They can also assist with transfer pricing, corporate restructurings, and M&A.
Luís Eduardo Schoueri and Eduardo Santos Arruda Madeira co-head the practice. Schoueri specialises in tax law, including tax litigation, transfer pricing, and double tax conventions. He is also recognised by his peers for his skills in tax controversy and litigation. Madeira is responsible for the tax consulting department and manages a team of about 12 professionals. He is highly regarded for his proficiency in direct taxes and international taxation.
The tax professionals at Lefosse Advogados provide tax structuring and tax litigation due diligence advice on M&A, capital markets and banking transactions. The firm also offers tax advice on internal corporate restructurings, issues deriving from the activities of our clients and international tax, as well as litigation services. In tax litigation, the firm works on lawsuits of multinational groups and large Brazilian companies, related to highly complex themes that encompass federal, state and municipal taxes, either within administrative or judiciary courts. Lefosse's litigation team has extensive experience in all these spheres.
Lefosse Advogados provided advice to the German health-care company Celesio AG in the sale of its Brazilian businesses to the Brazilian company SC Participações Empresariais, controller of Distribuidora de Medicamentos SantaCruz.
Gustavo Haddad leads the team of four partners and 28 other professionals. "The firm was very helpful and reliable," said a client. "We have worked with Lefosse as our preferred adviser due to the good experience that we had with them."
Mauricio de Carvalho Silveira Bueno and João Paulo de Seixas Maia Krepel co-head the tax department at Lilla, Huck, Otranto, Camargo Advogados. The practice is strong in all types of advisory work, tax planning, transactional matters and contentious issues, and it is renowned for assisting clients with sophisticated tax structures, challenging transactional matters and complex litigation. Lilla Huck's international tax practice involves advising Brazilian and international companies on cross-border transactional issues and transfer pricing matters. The firm advises clients such as Eli Lilly, Saint-Gobain, Arrow Electronic and Richemont.
The practitioners at Lobo & de Rizzo Advogados offer local and international clients tax consultancy and litigation services. Areas of expertise include M&A, corporate reorganisations, project structuring, transfer pricing and cross-border transactions. Eduardo Martinelli Carvalho heads the tax litigation practice. He has strong experience in handling federal, state and municipal administrative and judicial proceedings.
José Maurício Machado heads the tax practice at Machado Associados, which consists of 14 partners and 37 other professionals. The professionals have backgrounds in accounting, economics and business administration, and some are also tax law professors in Brazil. For more than 26 years, Machado Associados has been recognised as a law firm highly specialised in taxes, and the firm advises on general tax issues, assessments, structuring and restructuring, domestic and cross-border M&A, and tax litigation. The team is also regularly consulted by foreign law firms to assist the firm and their clients with tax and corporate matters in Brazil.
"The lawyers are very well prepared and competent and they are always ready to give support," one client said. Another client said: "They are very technically qualified but different from other law firms. They communicate everything in a way that (people), not only lawyers, can understand. Very clear, easy and didactic communication."
The firm has offices in Rio de Janeiro and Brasília, and works with peer law firms in all other Brazilian states. It is also a member of WTS Global.
Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados is a team of 12 partners and 110 tax professionals. The firm deals with highly complex matters, involving both high profile corporate and finance transactions, and strategic tax litigation. Machado Meyer has extensive experience in assisting Brazilian and foreign clients in consulting, transactional work and tax litigation matters, and also provides advice in both direct and indirect taxes, customs regulations, transfer pricing and financial matters. Meyer also has experience in the interpretation of tax treaties, international funding, IP licensing and assistance in the structuring of industrial and infrastructure projects (energy, transportation, telecom, mining, oil & gas, tourism, etc.), which involves the review of financial viability models and negotiations with the state and municipal authorities in order to obtain tax incentives. Marco Antonio Behrndt leads the practice.
"The services provided have achieved the highest technical standards. The team demonstrated great commitment to the company's needs and deadlines," said a client. Another client described their experience with the team as "the best possible", saying: "Machado Meyer represents my company in various important tax litigation cases and has been doing a great job. Additionally, the firm provides tax advisory services to us on a routine basis related to a very broad variety of issues and they have been doing a great job here too."
Mariz de Oliveira e Siqueira Campos Advogados's professionals focus on federal, state and municipal tax matters. They also offer consulting services and prepare legal opinions on issues such as customs and foreign trade duties. The team can analyse the tax impacts of transactions relating to corporate reorganisations, foreign investments and contracts. The firm also represents clients at all levels of judicial and administrative tax litigation. Ricardo Mariz De Oliveira, Roberto de Siqueira Campos and João Francisco Bianco lead the tax team. Mariz De Oliveira specialises in the areas of consulting, direct tax-related administrative and judicial litigation. He is also recognised as an expert at corporate tax, tax controversy and litigation by several competing firms. De Siqueira Campos has consulting and administrative and judicial litigation experience relating to indirect taxes. Bianco is an expert at consulting and administrative litigation on direct taxes.
Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados is a full-service firm that offers sophisticated tax services to its clients. The firm has 15 partners and 72 other professionals, and has also seen three promotions over the last year, with Gabriela Silva de Lemos, Marcel Alcades Theodoro and Paulo Camargo Tedesco being promoted to partners.
The practice is comprised of consulting and litigation practices, composed of three working teams: entity taxation, VAT and tax litigation. The practice has particular expertise in advising the financial sector, but has also strengthened its presence in the industrial and commercial sectors.
In 2015, the firm advised Camargo Corrêa S.A. on the disposal of the corporate ownership and control of Alpargatas S.A to J&F Investimentos S.A, through the sale of shares representing 44.12% of Alpargatas' share capital (66.99% of all common shares and 19.98% of all preferred shares). The deal was one of the first ones dealing with the new goodwill amortisation rules approved late in 2014.
Key partners in the firm include Luiz Felipe Centeno Ferraz and Renata Correia Cubas.
Neves & Battendieri Advogados's attorneys are experienced in consulting, tax planning, the analysis of customs and international trade, due diligence in M&A, tax litigation and controversies. Guilherme Pereira das Neves and Luiz Frederico Battendieri lead the tax department. Neves has expertise in tax advisory, judicial and administrative tax litigation. Battendieri has worked in tax advisory and tax litigation services at law firms and Big 4 consulting firms. He is also experienced in international tax projects, M&A and local and international corporate restructuring.
Peixoto & Cury Advogados's tax department has existed since 1948 and has one partner and 12 other tax professionals. Milton Fontes leads the department. The tax practice is formed by professionals of different backgrounds who provide clients with specialised services in consulting, advisory and tax disputes.
"They are very professional and competent. They provide not only tax advice, but also understand our business very well, and are constantly looking for new opportunities – every time we've had changes in law, for example," said one client.
The firm is advising a client, a reseller of ship simulators and equipment related to navigation and shipboard solutions, on organising its operation in Brazil. The firm analysed a lot of issues related to the establishment of a subsidiary.
Sérgio Farina Filho heads the tax practice at Pinheiro Neto Advogados. Other partners in the firm are Luciana Rosanova Galhardo, Ricardo Becker, Flávio Veitzman and Jorge Lopes, and the firm also has three other professionals. The team assists with advice on domestic and international matters, litigation both at the administrative and court levels, domestic and international tax planning and transfer pricing, and other tax services. Galhardo was recognised for her skills in corporate tax by a competing firm.
The firm assisted with legal opinion and implementation of a mutual agreement procedure (MAP) between Brazil and Korea, a challenging task because the Brazilian legislation is restrictive in relation to transfer pricing agreements between tax authorities of different countries.
The tax department at PwC comprises 45 partners and 1,060 other tax professionals, led by Durval Portela. Fernando Giacobbo leads the international tax team. In addition to an extensive corporate tax practice, PwC has dedicated teams focusing on all specialities, including: international tax, M&A transaction support, financial services, tax disputes, customs and international trade, transfer pricing, indirect tax, tax incentives, tax technology, labour, and middle markets as well as expatriate tax. PwC has 16 offices throughout Brazil.
Clients of the firm come from sectors such as manufacturing, food, healthcare, financial services and technology, media and telecommunications (TMT). The firm is assisting a company with structuring, acquisition support, implementation and integration support for its large-scale acquisition. This includes implementation of post-completion support tools to identify and assess tax risks and quantify potential tax solutions to identified risks.
Rolim, Viotti & Leite Campos Advogados has over 90 tax professionals who focus on corporate tax, indirect tax and tax disputes. Clients seek advice and analysis on, for example, issues involving royalties, and indirect tax compliance. Partners João Dácio Rolim and Cristiano Viotti are among the key contacts in the firm. Rolim oversees transfer pricing and tax disputes. Viotti focuses on transactional tax.
Sacha Calmon Misabel Derzi Consultores e Advogados specialise in tax law, administrative and judicial litigation and counselling. The firm has a legal staff of more than 100 and is led by founding partners Sacha Calmon Navarro Coelho and Misabel Derzi.
Philip Schneider leads the tax team at Schneider, Pugliese, Sztokfisz, Figueiredo e Carvalho Sociedade de Advogados, a firm that was established in 2007 in São Paulo. The firm has five partners and tax is their single law practice. The firm represents the interests of large Brazilian economic groups, listed companies and high net worth individuals. Eduardo Pugliese is noted for his skills in indirect tax by a competing firm.
"They have good tax-technical staff that is very strategy and risk orientated," a client said.
The team helped a private offshore foundation legally avoid gift tax. An offshore foundation located in one country incorporated a company in Brazil. Later, their managers decided to relocate the investment holding to another country. To do so, they would have the foundation gift the investment to a related company in the second country. This would trigger a gift tax in Brazil, as the donated asset was located there.
The firm's clients mainly work in industries such as food, financial services, energy and utilities, healthcare and manufacturing.
Siqueira Castro Advogados's team consists of five partners and 54 other tax professionals, who work with indirect tax, corporate tax, tax disputes and tax compliance and accounting. The tax department is specialised in both litigation and consultancy, and renders legal services to clients from almost every economic sector. Maucir Fregonesi leads the tax team in São Paulo and Bianca Xavier heads the Rio de Janeiro practice. Melissa Guará joined as a partner in November 2015.
The firm is providing tax consultancy on various strategic operations performed by a telecommunication client. This involves, among other things, indirect taxation on interstate operations, PIS and COFINS credits on the acquisition of mobile phones to replace defective ones under warranty, and tax benefits on technological innovation.
"They have an excellent team of lawyers, some of the best ones in the country. They give us a very close support and deliver exactly what we need, with speed and direct answers. They are nice, simple and easy to work with," said a client.
Souza, Cescon, Barrieu, & Flesch Advogados's team of practitioners advise domestic and foreign multinationals on a range of tax issues, M&A, international trade and litigation. The practice is led by Roberto Barrieu, four other partners and more than 60 fee earners. Barrieu advises on domestic and international corporate tax matters and the tax aspects of corporate and project finance transactions.
Renato Souza Coelho heads the tax department at Stocche Forbes Advogados. There are two partners and nine other professionals in the team, and the firm hired Marcos Vinícius Passarelli Prado as a partner in January 2016. The firm is focused on tax advice related to domestic and cross-border transactions, with an emphasis on M&A, corporate reorganisations, private equity investments, debut structuring, project finance, real estate deals, and equity and debt capital market services. The firm also launched a tax litigation practice in 2013. Clients of the firm include Gucci, Kraft Heinz, Global Logistic Properties and BHG.
The firm works with companies in industries such as financial services, food, energy and utilities, hospitality and healthcare. "It´s a great firm with very competent professionals," said one client. Another client described their experience with the firm as "fantastic".
Law firm Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown is recognised as a leading firm in Brazil's oil and gas sector for tax consulting and planning, and litigation/controversy matters. Ivan Tauil leads the team, which consists of six partners and 22 other tax professionals.
The firm's main clients include China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), Autostrade, Marriott, Sony and Archer. In December 2015, the firm assisted Locaweb Serviços de Internet SA in a corporate restructuring legal opinion on the right VAT taxation (federal, state and municipal) on internet services.
"Tauil & Chequer is a firm with a high quality standard and quite professional and resourceful team. Ivan Tauil is a bright and hands-on tax lawyer," one client said.
Ana Cláudia Utumi leads the tax department at TozziniFreire Advogados. The firm has eight partners and 1,005 other tax professionals. The firm has a solid background in the taxation of complex M&A, corporate restructurings, transactions in the financial and capital markets, international trade (import/export), indirect taxes and international taxation. The tax team deals with industry-specific tax issues across sectors such as telecommunications, IT, energy, oil and gas, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, automotive, consumer products, retail, and mining. The tax litigation team handles landmark and complex cases, representing clients before courts ranging up to the highest courts of the country.
A client said: "Very good experience with Tozzini, especially with the partner Ana Claudia Utumi, who is an excellent technical lawyer and, besides the technical skills, is always available, keen to help finding solutions, share experiences and adapt to her clients' needs. I am really pleased with the work that Ana and Tozzini Freire grant to us."
The firm assisted on the divestment of Holcim-Lafarge group of assets in Brazil as agreed with antitrust authorities. The firm had to structure the segregation of assets without causing any disruption to operational activities and complying with a very tight schedule.
Baker & McKenzie, known locally as Trench, Rossi e Watanabe Advogados, is led by Simone Musa. The practice consists of 14 partners and 61 other tax professionals. The practice is particularly known for its strength in the corporate tax area, especially in taxation for M&A and other transactions, as well as international tax and transfer pricing. The team also provides services within tax litigation and focuses on high-end cases. The firm acts for Brazilian multinationals on defences regarding their internationalisation and the taxation in Brazil of foreign subsidiaries.
Clients of the firm work in sectors such as energy and utilities, food, healthcare, manufacturing and financial services. The firm is assisting a client in a judicial lawsuit to avoid the levy of ISS upon importation of software.
Musa has been with the firm for more than 18 years and her areas of practice are corporate income tax, international taxation, transfer pricing, foreign investments structuring, and M&A.
Ulhôa Canto, Rezende e Guerra Advogados is led by founding member Condorcet Pereira de Rezende. The firm has a tax practice that handles corporate reorganisations, acquisitions, domestic and international tax planning, sector-related tax issues, and administrative and court proceedings.
Veirano Advogados focuses on joint ventures, M&A, sale of assets, businesses and business lines, and structuring and restructuring companies and activities. The firm provides full assistance in assessing the tax implications of contracts, complying with inspections and audits, filing or revising income tax returns, offsetting tax credits and obtaining tax breaks, reviewing tax procedures and operation flows and logistics, and structuring special tax and customs regimes. Ian Muniz is the tax practice's national group leader, while Abel Amaro serves as its regional group leader. Muniz has more than 30 years' experience resolving tax disputes and structuring businesses. He has written several books on tax issues. Amaro represents companies at various stages of tax.
Xavier, Duque-Estrada, Emery, Denardi Advogados was founded by Alberto Xavier, Roberto Duque Estrada, Renata Emery and Delvio Denardi. The firm specialises in judicial and administrative tax litigation, consultancy, and planning, and provides legal opinions on international trade. Xavier focuses on international tax law, foreign investments, international financial operations and tax litigation. Duque Estrada specialises in tax law, domestic and international tax planning, and judicial and administrative tax litigation. Emery specialises in the same areas as Estrada in addition to international trade law. Denardi is a specialist in tax law, domestic and international tax planning, and judicial and administrative tax litigation.
|Tier 1 - Brazil|
|Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr & Quiroga Advogados|
|Pinheiro Neto Advogados|
|Tier 2 - Brazil|
|Dias de Souza Advogados Associados|
|Lacaz Martins, Pereira Neto, Gurevich & Schoueri Advogados|
|Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados|
|Mariz de Oliveira e Siqueira Campos Advogados|
|Sacha Calmon Misabel Derzi Consultores e Advogados|
|Tozzini Freire Advogados|
|Ulhôa Canto Rezende e Guerra Advogados|
|Tier 3 - Brazil|
|Barros Carvalho Advogados Associados|
|BMA - Barbosa, Müssnich, Aragão, Taxand Brazil|
|BRATAX – Brazuna, Ruschmann e Soriano Sociedade de Advogados|
|Peixoto & Cury Advogados|
|Rolim, Viotti & Leite Campos Advogados|
|Schneider, Pugliese, Sztokfisz, Figueiredo e Carvalho Sociedade de Advogados|
|Trench, Rossi e Watanabe|
|Tier 4 - Brazil|
|Ayres Ribeiro Advogados|
|Campos Mello Advogados|
|Castro, Barros, Sobral, Gomes Advogados|
|Dias Carneiro Advogados|
|Siqueira Castro Advogados|
|Souza, Cescon, Barrieu, & Flesch Advogados|
|Xavier, Duque-Estrada, Emery, Denardi Advogados|
|Tier 5 - Brazil|
|Azevedo Sette Advogados|
|Garrigues Consultores Tributários|
|Lilla, Huck, Otranto, Camargo Advogados|
|Lobo & de Rizzo Advogados|
|Neves & Battendieri Advogados|
|Stocche Forbes Advogados|
|Tauil & Chequer Advogados in association with Mayer Brown|