Colombia



World Tax Reviews

Tax
Araújo Ibarra Consultores Internacionales

Araújo Ibarra’s biggest strengths are its tax planning and consulting focused on international companies that invest in Colombia. Héctor Falla leads the tax team that provides services in domestic and international tax advisory, international trade and foreign investment. The firm, for example, works on corporate structures for the commercialisation and sale of merchandise abroad by Colombian branches of foreign companies and it is active in corporate and tax reorganisations of Colombian clients’ assets. The tax team also has a focus on tax controversy.

In the tax controversy space, the tax team represented Drypers Andina and it successfully led the refund request process before the local tax authority. The tax group advised the same company on the tax structuring of the commercial discounts policy applied to its products. The firm worked on numerous transactional works focused on customs, but all the matters and clients were confidential.

Baker McKenzie

A leading firm in the Colombia market, Baker McKenzie’s tax team spans a wide range of areas, including tax planning, M&A, tax wealth management, tax litigation and tax compliance. In addition, the firm has an emphasis on the transfer pricing practice area. Although the firm is active in different sectors, it excels in the oil and gas industry.

Over the research period, the tax team conducted an impressive number of deals and cases, in particular focused on M&A transactions. It also advised private equity funds in Colombia and wealth management. An outstanding deal saw the firm advising Brookfield Infrastructure on all tax matters related to its acquisition of a controlling stake in Gas Natural. Other clients included Altra Investments, Airbnb, Invenergy and Noble Energy.

The tax group added senior associate Juan Carlos Vinasco hired from Deloitte.

Client feedback

“Excellent client response, advice and attention to detail.”

“Strong knowledge in domestic and international tax law for planning.”

“The work from the Baker McKenzie team in Colombia is excellent; responses are swift, succinct and on point.”

“Very clear concepts and recommendations that were adopted and not changed during the last two reforms in Colombia. Fast and easy contact to the lawyers.”

Brigard Urrutia

Founded in 1934, the law firm Brigard Urrutia is among the top players in Colombia. The tax team is comprised of three partners and 15 professionals specialised on inbound and outbound investments, with a focus on M&A. The tax group offers services in tax planning and implementation of tax structures for M&A, taxable acquisitions, reorganisations and restructuring. The firm is also very active in tax litigation, providing advice and representation in tax disputes and litigation before the tax authorities and the tax courts. Moreover, the firm has gained a reputation for its transfer pricing practice area.

Over the research period, the tax team advised China Harbour Engineering Company in the bidding process for the construction and operation of the Bogota Metro system. This is set to be the largest infrastructure project in the history of Colombia. The team also assisted Clever leaves in its merger processes with Northern San Holding. This is a complex and novel transaction due to the nature of the businesses involved. Other clients included Wiese Group, Airbnb, First Data- Fiserv and Grupo Exito.

The team welcomed one new senior associate, Nicolás Bernal Senior associate from Deloitte (Boston).

Client feedback

“Brigard Urrutia's analysis and solutions are balanced. While we feel we are protected to the underlying risks of a given transaction, and compliant of the existing regulations they have a pragmatical approach.”

“They are proactive and look for solutions while being conscious of the legal risks involved.”

“What makes this practice unique is its solid professional trajectory in each of its areas, always providing complete and expert advice. It is an interdisciplinary firm that seeks to offer the client the best advice, always seeking to be the leading firm in Colombia and to be recognized internationally. In addition, its availability of the partner with its team of senior lawyers. As a strong point is highlighted its knowledge in the legal market and industry. It is a prepositive firm, they bring novel alternatives with the purpose of solving integrally the needs.”

“Up-to-date and in-depth tax knowledge, with effective positive results; proven experience."

“Brigard Urrutia in Colombia is an excellent team, it has a professionals persons to provide legal and tax services. They offer good and immediate attention, in general, we always feel support for them.”

Deloitte

A leading firm in Colombia, Deloitte’s tax team spans a wide range of areas, including M&A, controversy and indirect tax. In addition, the firm is among the top players in transfer pricing practice area. The tax team works on an array of sectors and has a strong focus on energy.

Over the research period, the firm assisted a company in the incorporation of a centralized service center. The firm also performed an extensive analysis in the implementation of the Transfer Pricing Policy of the Group in regards to a major restructuring. All the names remained confidential. 

In terms of lateral moves, the firm strengthened its team with the addition of Carlos Andres Rodriguez Indirect Tax Partner Osman & Rodríguez Abogados. Hector Andres Falla Business Tax Manager Araujo Ibarra Consultores. Lady Viviana Bernal Business Tax Manager Ernst & Young. Claudia Rocio Garzon Indirect Tax Manager CG&T S.A.S. Andrea Paola Lozano Business Tax Senior Parra Rodriguez Abogados. Luisa Fernanda Hernandez Indirect Tax Manager.

Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas

Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas is one of Colombia’s largest law firms. Their staff is composed of over 100 lawyers and professionals. The Transfer pricing team offers advisory services in the development of transfer pricing policies and advice in Advance pricing Agreements. The Transfer pricing team is lead by director Ferman Andres Bohorquez.

During the research period the firm welcomed Diana Catalina Orrego, associate.The team said goodbye to associate Luisa Fernanda Martinez.

DLA Piper Martinez Beltran

Founded in 1996, DLA Piper Martinez Beltran is a global firm with an international approach. They are best known for international tax law, tax structuring, estate planning, tax litigation and tax incentives from foreign investment and international trade. 

During the research period the tax team worked with Shell in their ambitious plans in Colombia. They assisted with tax planning and transfer pricing concerns of their large investment in the region. The team also advised Uber in the design and implementation of new business models providing analysis of tax contingencies, tax structuring and implementation of obligations regarding regulations in Colombia. Other Clients include Quala, Avianca, Grupo Eterna, Grupo Exito and KOPPS.

The Tax team welcomed Cecar Cermeño, partner, from Garrigues.

Client Feedback

“In-house lawyers should keep in mind that DLA is an interdisciplinary firm that seeks to offer the client the best advice, always seeking to be the leading firm in Colombia and to be recognized internationally.”

“Extraordinary client service, sound legal advice and timely and complete answers by an extraordinary team of professionals.”

“Client focused, deal-making driven, they really understand the client's needs.”

“For now, I only have the best comments about the people I worked with.

DLA has experience, very close to the client, support. DLA develops explain complex ideas in simples terms, Has dead line to obtain results, professional relationship with clients, well training, motivated and has talk honesty. Respect to others.”

EY

EY is among the top players in Colombia. Its tax team is comprised of 336 members, including 12 partners and five associates. It is highly specialised on international taxation, consultancy issues and tax controversy, in addition to tax compliance matters. The firm has also a very strong transfer pricing practice area. It covers a variety of sectors, such as retail and consumer products, financial entities, oil and gas and it regularly advises foreign clients investing in Colombia with an emphasis on M&A.

Over the research period, EY Colombia worked on many highly complex and impressive matters. The firm provided tax advisory on tax implementation, transactions on both buy and sell side and tax restructuring. All the names remain confidential. 

Client feedback

“EY has a lot of strengths: Knowledge, expertise and support.”

“Partners are very accessible and provide thorough and comprehensive advice, specially Jose Guarin.”

Garrigues

The Bogotá office of Garrigues was the second office opened by the Spanish powerhouse in Latin America after its main office in São Paulo. The firm’s biggest strengths in Colombia are its transactional and controversy tax practice areas. In the transactional practice, the tax team regularly works on tax planning regarding M&A, finance and project development. In the controversy practice, the team is involved in tax disputes between high-profile players and several government agencies. 

One of the most impressive cases the team worked on involved Asociación de Transporte Aéreo de Colombia and AVIANCA. It concerned a stamp tax placed on the aviation sector on all incoming and outgoing planes, passengers and items. The team also advised clients Coquecol, Kimberly Clark, British American Tobacco KOPPS and Esenttia.

In terms of lateral moves, Garrigues said goodbye to Cesar Cermeño Senior Associate DLA Piper.

Client feedback

“Profound and conscious overall advise, going beyond typical technical legal guidance. Very strategic and direct contact with the Colombian Regulator.”

“Efficient, precise, and excellent client service.”

“Knowledgeable team, with a very high dedication from senior members of the firm to the process.”

Ghan Abogados

GHAN was founded in 2014 as a tax boutique. They specialize in tax law, corporate tax, international taxation, transfer pricing and structuring of projects. The team especially active in tax structuring of private and public investment projects. Oscar Iván González Herrera is the managing partner.

Over the research period, the team provided tax structuring advice on several complex matters. The team provided advice to AES Chivor regarding the application of tax incentives that could be used in other acquisitions. The firm also advised Stuttgard in their acquisition of Automercol. It Advised in the complete process, including the due diligence, tax risks management, negotiation stages. This was especially complex due to the intangible assets acquired. Other clients from the research period include Empaques Industriales de Colombia, Strabag, Termotasajero and Mota-Engil Engenharia e Construcao.

Client feedback

“Very good firm.”

“The work done by the company is excellent. It is very accurate as to legal analysis and also efficient for the client interest. We don't have any improvement suggestion as we are comfortable with the services that have been provided.”

“Their acknowledgement of the Colombian tax scheme and their proactivity on the recommendations are high above anything I've seen before. Talking with them about tax is so easy.”

“It is a very strong company in the subject of international treaties and in general international taxation.”

“Whenever I consult them, I am very satisfied, because they deepen the topics and have nothing pending to study, they exhaust the subject and explain it clearly.”

“Exhausts the issues, treats them with great depth and responsibility.”

GodoyHoyos_Goh

GodoyHoyos excels in the controversy practice area and in tax planning with an emphasis on M&A, restructuring and reorganisation. Founded in 2004, the firm has gained a reputation in the Colombia market advising institutions, corporations and financial institutions with a strong focus on the oil and gas sector. The firm is active in tax policy and it has a strong transfer pricing practice. Catalina Hoyos Jiménez leads the tax department that includes lawyers and accountants. Her practice areas include tax planning, advisory work and transfer pricing. Juan Pablo Godoy Fayardo is the co-director of the tax team and the director of the mining, oil and gas practice.

Over the research period, the team worked on numerus cases in transactional tax and tax controversy. One standout deal was the financing of a of an infrastructure project. The firm participated in the financial closure of the Autopista al Mar 1 project for the DEVIMAR concessionaire. The team also advised Grupo Louis-Dreyfus in a lawsuit they are currently involved in with the Colombian tax authorities. The firm is approaching the controversy and it was a highly complex matter.

During the research period the team welcomed Daniela Fernanda Rincón Reyes, litigation associate and Isabela Gaviria Tarazona corporate tax associate.

Client Feedback

“Rigorous and innovative advice and legal concepts.”

“The firm's size allows it to offer a broad variety of services with competitive timelines usually from senior associates. The firm's tax law team is outstanding.”

“They are very accurate on their analysis; they comply and adjust to our agenda. They also are very close to our company so we can work mostly as if they were ‘in house’ lawyers.”

Gómez-Pinzón Abogados

Established 21 years ago, Gómez-Pinzón Abogados is a full-service firm known for its experience in tax planning for M&A and banking & finance transactions. The tax team, made up of 14 lawyers, including three partners is involved in many of the most relevant transactions in the market. The tax department is led by Mauricio Piñeros.

Over the research period the tax team provided tax advisory to Ecopetrol in its joint venture with Occidental. The controversy team won a favourable decision for La Previsora Seguros connected to the prescription of the collection of a penalty. This decision has a high level of impact due to its significance in the market. Other clients included Bavaria (AB-INBev), Avianca, Macquaire and SACYR.

Jiménez Higuita Rodríguez & Asociados

Jiménez Higuita Rodríguez & Asociados is a firm specialising in tax, customs and exchange law with more than 15 years of experience in advising national and foreign companies, private and public. The team boasts 50 professionals including five partners. In August 2019 the firm became the collaborating firm in Colombia of Anderson Global.

Over the research period the team worked on several complex and innovative deals.  An important deal is the permanent advisory they are providing for A2Censo, a digital crowdfunding platform. The team also worked on a successful tax audit for Grupo IGT regarding the operations of gaming concession in Colombia involving new transactions. Other clients from the research period include Ethus Energy, Grupo Coomeva and Grupo Everis.

The team welcomed Tomás Barreto Ramírez, partner, from Blanco y Barreto Abogadtos and Lorena Ávila Max senior associate from PACTIA. In addition the firm hired Tomás Jaramillo Quintero, associate from Posse Herrera Ruiz and Allison Gongora Bolivar, associate from Marzars Colombia.

Lloreda Camacho & Co

Lloreda Camacho & Co has developed a respected tax practice, which is in particular active in tax planning, cross-border transactions, consultancy and tax controversy. David García leads the department, which is specialised in the pharmaceutical, oil and gas, mining and retail sectors. 

During the research period, the team worked with several companies on large infrastructure projects in Colombia. The team analysed the impact from the sale of shares of Cintra Infrastructura in relation to a railroad project. Other clients included Goodyear, Spirit Airlines, Alstom and Comcel.

Osman & Rodríguez Abogados

Founded in 2014, the firm’s strengths are focused in tax consulting in national and subnational taxes. The team works with a variety of industries including pharmecutical, oil & gas, mining and telecommunications & media. Pedro Pablo Osman is the tax director, whose experience has been focused on consulting and tax planning.

A notable project the team worked on is for an ongoing matter involving a micro-finance entity required an innovative approach. The team worked on numerous other innovative deals in general corporate tax, indirect tax and real estate tax, the names of all clients remain confidential.

The tax team added associate Jorge Benavides to its office.

Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría

A leading firm in Latin America, Philippi Pietrocarrizosa Ferrero excels in international reorganisation, local and off shore tax planning, private clients and tax litigation. The firm has also gained a reputation in the transfer pricing practice area. Martín Acero and Carolina Rozo co-head the tax practice.

Stand out deals include the design of a trust structure for Colvalor S.S. that required a complex consideration of tax treatments. Another client was Wework Colombia, which the team carried out due diligence procedures and tax structuring for the acquisition of shares. The firm also assisted clients like CAF Investment Projects, Eurofarma Colombia and Sanford Group.

In terms of lateral moves, the team welcomed regional Transfer Pricing Christian Gómez, hired from KPMG. In addition, Barranquilla’s Office Director Héctor Ramírez joined the firm from Posse Herrera Ruiz. The team lost Senior Associate Julian Peña who left for Lloreda Camacho and senior associate Diego Velandia who left for Spain.

Posse Herrera Ruiz

The team at Posse Herrera Ruiz is well known for their experience in all tax matters. The firm excels at transactional tax, working on major deals that stand out for their scale, innovation, and complexity. The tax team also stands out for their tax controversy and tax planning work.

Over the research period the tax team assisted Sendas, Grupo Pão de Açúcar on a tender offer for 100% of the shares of Almacenes Éxito. This was the largest transaction ever carried out on the Colombian Stock Exchange. Other clients include Ministerio de Hacienda, Coltejer, Northland Power and Innova.

Juan Guillermo Ruiz leads the tax customs & international trade practice. Juan Camilo De Bedout leads the tax, customs and transfer pricing and litigation areas.

PwC

Carlos Mario Lafaurie leads the tax team at PwC. The firm’s biggest strengths are tax compliance, taxconsulting and planning. In addition, the firm has a strong transfer pricing practice area. The tax group has a large base of international clients and it is specialised in different sectors, including agribusiness, financial services, energy, mining, infrastructure and automotive.

Over the research period, the tax group worked on numerous tax matters, which all remain confidential.

Rueda Mantilla Abogados Asociados

Rueda Mantilla is a boutique, specialized firm with a focus on advising companies through the tax aspects of restructuring and insolvency. The group excels at providing advice through critical legal scenarios and is also highly capable in tax litigation.

Over the research period the group worked on numerous complex deals, which all remain confidential.

SanintRivas

SanintRivas’s biggest strengths are its corporate tax planning and transfer pricing practice areas. The firm offers services on corporate reorganisations, consulting and compliance to national and international clients. Key contacts at the firms are Laura Sanint and Daniela Rivas.

During the research period, the firm advised Constructora Crespo on alternatives to invest from Columbia in Ecuador. This involved competing rules that made the investment and project funding difficult. The team also advised Agtopecuria Bambusa on matters related to indirect tax.

The firm added to the team associate Juan Mánuel Gonzalez Torres hired from Fondo de Financiamiento de Infraestructura Educativa – FFIE.