Tier 1 firms are the 'go-to' firms in their jurisdiction and are praised by taxpayers and peers alike as market leaders in all key areas of tax: planning, transactions, transfer pricing, indirect taxes and litigation. They have specialists working with clients in all industries, and this is reflected by the size, spread and quality of transactions detailed in the questionnaires.
Tier 2 firms have a strong reputation in their own jurisdiction and are praised by taxpayers and peers for their work in all key areas of tax. They have strong practitioners able to give solid advice to clients across all or most industries, as evidenced by the information provided in questionnaires and feedback from clients.
Tier 3 firms have a good reputation in their own jurisdiction, and are well thought-of by taxpayers and other firms. They have specialists in most areas of tax, and have partners able to offer advice across several industries.
Tier 4 firms often operate in a niche area, having a strong reputation in one particular aspect of tax, such as transactional work or litigation, or offer a full range of services to clients in specific industries.
Welcome to World Tax 2018, International Tax Review's directory to the leading tax advisory practices, including law and accountancy firms, around the world.
The annual World Tax directory is a key resource in assisting tax professionals locate specialist advice. Each edition rates the tax expertise offered in more than 50 jurisdictions globally, giving tax executives the most comprehensive information about the market for tax advice.
A key theme throughout the guide is the OECD's base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) initiative, the effect of which is now being keenly felt in many jurisdictions. For companies in many jurisdictions, 2017 is the first year for which country-by-country reports will have to be produced. This is creating a large amount of compliance work for advisory firms as companies aim to be ready in time.
As you peruse the guide, you will find that we have added extra rankings tables detailing firms' prowess in indirect tax, transactional tax and tax disputes. These tables have been rolled out to Latin American jurisdictions this year, and if they are a success we hope to cover more jurisdictions in the future.
World Tax is unique among directories as it classifies professional services, law firms and other tax advice providers together, rather than looking at them separately, because they undoubtedly compete for work.
The fact that this competition exists is also evident in the regular moves that practitioners make between law firms and other providers. It is common for advisers to spend different periods at law firms and a Big 4 practice during their careers.
This year, our researchers spoke to tax advisory firms and multinational companies around the globe to get the most up-to-date information to aid us in the ranking process, as well as informing their writing about each firm we cover.
The corporate interviewees were chosen from the list supplied by our universal contacts, as well as the clients provided by firms in questionnaires (with their permission).
No recommendation from any adviser for their own firm, or their colleagues in that firm, was taken into account. Firms cannot pay to be included in the tiers or to have individuals mentioned but are offered – independently and after the tiers are finalised – the opportunity to list their professional details for a fee.
The interviews that our researchers carry out with corporates were the most important factor in deciding the rankings, with feedback from advisers on other firms and, finally, the questionnaires themselves also taken into account.
The questionnaires were hosted online for the first time, but firms were also able to fill in a traditional emailed form if they preferred. Some of the sections on the questionnaire were shortened, and there was an additional focus on industry specialisation as a result of feedback from readers on what they want to learn about firms listed in the directory.
All jurisdictions are different, and thus the criteria for tiers are flexible. For example, in some countries having a criminal law department is vital for a full-service tax firm, while in others cross-border structuring and transfer pricing may be a far more important consideration. Firms are tiered according to their position in the market in their own jurisdiction.
Supplementary information to this guide can be found on World Tax's website this year. It contains full details of tax rates and tax authorities in all of the jurisdictions listed within this guide. You can visit it at www.itrworldtax.com, whenever you find yourself without your copy of World Tax 2018.
TP Week, International Tax Review's online-only publication about transfer pricing, publishes its own directory about advisers, lawyers and providers in that market. Please refer to it at www.worldtransferpricing.com if you are looking for more depth in this area.
We hope that you find World Tax 2018 informative and are able to put our research to good use in your decision-making at work.
World Tax editor, International Tax Review deputy editor