AAA Advogados has a small tax department, which is a specialist in the field of tax litigation. The department is led by principle associate Joana Tavares de Oliveira, who is assisted by of counsel Maria Forte Vaz. It has advised on a variety of tax disputes and audits, including indirect tax disputes. AAA also assist on non-litigious tax matters, including transactions and restricting operations.
“Strengths: flexibility, close to customer needs, knowhow. Weakness: relatively small team (good and bad).”
“We consider the overall level of service provided to be outstanding. Note that the AAA core legal team has enjoyed a long-lasting relationship with our company and hence benefit from deep client knowledge. We particularly appreciate AAA´s anticipation on legal/regulatory framework changes that might affect our business and proactive stance on coaching the different company departments on these changes. Its multi-disciplinary knowledge and its capacity to orchestrate the different legal practice areas towards a company´s goal, particularly in highly complex situations.”
AFDO is a boutique tax firm, founded and led by litigation expert António Fernandes de Oliveira. It offers expertise for private client taxation through lawyer Mónica Respício Gonçalves. The team follows the expertise of these two practitioners, and is well recognised as assisting in all areas of tax litigation as well as advising on the special Portuguese tax regimes for private clients.
The firm operates on behalf of a number of a number of Portuguese registered holding companies in complex litigation proceedings, include a large selection of clients operating within the energy sector.
The Portuguese branch of Baker Tilly has a team of eight tax professionals, including partner and head of the practice Tiago Almeida Veloso. Due to the international nature of the firm, the Portuguese chapter works for a range of multinational companies, as well as working for SME's based in Portugal.
The firm has worked on a variety of cases, including a VAT litigation case following a substantial assessment by the authorities, as well as assisting a foreign private equity find with M&A activity and working on the restructuring of a Portuguese biofuel company.
Belim is a boutique tax practice, dedicated to providing indirect tax advice and tax advice to private individuals. Founder Catarina Belim provides clients with advice in all areas of indirect taxation, including representation on tax disputes. Consultant Raquel Petisca gives tax advice to private clients.
The firm provides indirect tax advice for a variety of international companies, including multinational clothing designers, automotive and pharmaceutical companies.
“I always use Belim when I need reliable and efficient VAT advisory in Portugal.”
“Belim advice is practical, to the point and very insightful. The firm's overall response is effective and proactive. Belim is always striving to improve methods, procedures, new legislation, and business updates.”
Cuatrecasas is one of the best known Iberian law firms, with offices in Spain and Portugal, as well as internationally. The Portuguese office houses an impressive tax team, advising on corporate, international and private client taxation. It is also experienced in financial services taxation, as well as indirect taxes and tax litigation. Partner Diogo Ortigão Ramos is the director of the department, where two further partners as well as counsel and associates support him.
The firm currently provides litigation support to the Boston Consulting Group against a tax assessment regarding the foreign costs associated with the group’s work for the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Angola. It also represents Robinson Hotels Portugal in its litigation over a series of tax assessments levied against Robinson Hotels regarding the VAT treatment of full-board accommodation services.
DLA Piper has a tax practice focused on assisting clients in highly regulated sectors. It specialises on assisting clients within gambling, tobacco, aviation and energy. It acts in corporate tax, transactional tax and tax litigation for its clients. It is led by partner António Moura Portugal and is completed by a small team of senior associates.
The firm has assisted a number of multinational corporations with its operations in Portugal. It advised a gambling company with litigation regarding the Portuguese online tax and advised a high-end global car manufacturer with its analysis of tax and customs for sale and import of its vehicles. The firm also assisted an international financial business on the tax implications of using a syndicated loan to refinance the existing debt of an Iberian group.
Garrigues is regarded as one of the premier law firms in the Iberian peninsula, with 20 offices in the region, as well as offices across the rest of the world. The Iberian offices also benefit from being a member of the global Taxand network. The Portuguese department contains three partners, including senior tax partner Fernando Castro Silva. It has a strong team of more junior professionals, covering an array of taxation matters.
The firm has recently completed its advice in the largest commercial real estate transaction in Portugal, the sale of Almada Forum by Blackstone to Merlin Properties for €450 Million. Garrigues advised Merlin properties on the tax structure of the acquisition, as well as advising on analysis and implementation of post-acquisition structures.
“Extremely focused, providing sound and objective opinion. Good mastery of the tax matters at hand. They easily adjust their work based on client feedback (which they clearly seek).”
“Diligent, pragmatic, commercial advice with practical advice on how to present a case.”
KPMG Portugal operates a very large practice, with 12 associate partners and partners, as well as numerous directors, managers and other professionals working across all areas of direct and indirect taxation. KPMG Portugal focuses its practice within the financial sector, including corporate taxation and indirect taxation. It also has a growing private client advisory department following the creation of the Portuguese incentive plans.
Morais Leitão Galvão Teles Soares de Silva & Associados is recognised as one the leading practices in Portugal. Under the leadership of Francisco de Sousa da Câmara, António Lobo Xavier and António Pedro Braga, it provides services in four locations in the country with a team that includes nine partners.
One recent example of the firm's work sees it advising Credit Suisse and several other banks in connection with an analysis of and special contribution to the banking sector, having completed the administrative phase and continuing to act on the judicial phase. Another saw it assisting Brisa-Autoestradas de Portugal, a leading concessionaire of motorways, with a legal and tax analysis of its operations and an evaluation of whether there was a need to adapt to new tax provisions.
The one notable change to the team during the research period was the arrival of managing associate Miguel Cortez Pimentel, who joined the firm in 2018 from a previous role with EY in the US.
“Big team with senior partners.”
“Good team with seniority.”
“One of the best at disputes.”
Andersen Tax & Legal was founded in 2017 when the firm Nobre Guedes Mota Soares & Associados joined the global association of Andersen. It now has access to more than 600 independent law firms across the world that are also part of the network. It routinely works with member firms in Spain, France, Switzerland and Brazil on numerous cross-border matters. The team is led by partner Nuno de Oliveira Garcia. Senior associate Ana Pinto Morais supports Garcia.
The firm is currently representing paper company The Navigator Company in litigation over duties levied against it due to its use of water. The team argues that the environmental investments that it made invalidate the calculations used to levy this duty against its client.
pbbr is a Portuguese full-service law firm, capable of assisting clients with tax advice on corporate restructuring and tax litigation. Counsel João Marques Pinto acts as the head of the department, with associate António Brochado Teixeira supporting him.
The firm has given restructuring advice to clients such as Group RRE and Verdelis as well as assisting with the analysis of a real estate investment for SIAM.
PLMJ, with its network of collaborative offices, gives clients access to advice across Portugal as well as internationally. It is recognised as a key player within cross-border M&A as well as in high-profile litigation, including VAT litigation. The firm’s sizeable team includes partners João Velez de Lima, Miguel Reis and Serena Cabrita Neto. Neto is head of the Lisbon tax practice and Reis is head of the Porto office.
The firm acts for a number of high profile clients, including assisting a Morgan Stanley infrastructure fund in its venture with Horizon Equity Partners to acquire a 75% stake in the to-be-formed company Towers of Portugal, which will operate nearly 3,000 sites across the country. It also assisted another law firm acted for Barclays on its Brexit preparation, including an international restructuring allowing the transfer of Barclays Portugal to Barclays Ireland, following the sale of a part of Barclays Portugal to Bankiter, which was structured as a contribution of assets to benefit from tax neutrality under the Mergers Directive.
The firm lost two partners in the last year, with former managing partner Nuno Cunha Barnabé leaving the team after 19 years to become a partner at Abreu Advogados, and former head of the tax department, João Magalhães Ramalho, who left the practice to join Telles de Abreu.
“They are very engaged with the business issues regarding taxation. Proactive and very supportive.”
“PLMJ Advogados and mainly its tax team, provided us an all-in service. They have dealt with the dispute from the very beginning and guided and assisted us in every step all the way. Starting with a simple claim regarding the assessment wrongly made by the tax authorities and until the closing process with an Alternative Court Dispute (Arbitration) they were ‘always there’. Strengths include the concern with the client, knowledge of the company's business and a very strong knowledge of the Portuguese legal framework.”
“This is the only company that we use for tax or tax disputes and after all the results that they achieved we know that we don't want to chance!”
PwC Portugal differentiates itself from the other Big Four by promoting its close connection to the PwC offices of Cabo Verde and Angola, both of which are seen as important markets by the firm and its clients. It is further integrated into the international PwC network, benefiting the firm's clients, who are mostly multinational companies. The team consists of eight partners and a team of around 400 tax professionals. The teams of Angola, Cabo Verde and Portugal are all led by Jaime Carvalho Esteves.
The international clients of the team include Aquila Capital Real Assets Investment, whom it recently assisted in its acquisition of 100% of EDP Small Hydro from Energias de Portugal. EDP Small Hydro owns, through itself and its subsidiaries, 21 small hydropower plants across Portugal, amounting to approximately 25% of all small-scale Portuguese hydropower plants.
Rogério Fernandes Ferreira & Associados is seen as one of the leading tax litigation firms in Portugal. Rogério Fernandes Ferreira is the founding partner and is a noted tax litigator. He is supported by partner Marta Machado de Almeida and a large team of more junior lawyers. The firm assists in all areas of tax controversy, including indirect taxation, cross border litigation and transfer pricing litigation.
The firm currently represents a major Portuguese energy producer, challenging the CESE rules and its current extension until 2020. The firm has also litigated against withholding taxes to foreign based entities, as well as assisting an airline company with two cases of corporate income tax that were challenged relating for corrections made on deductible losses.
Uría Menéndez – Proença de Carvalho operates one of the strongest tax departments within a Portuguese law firm. It continues to advise on numerous high-profile transactions in Portugal, with the assistance of its foreign offices for help on cross-border work. As well as transactions, the firm is very involved in the financial sector, as well as working for private clients and representing clients in tax litigation. Partner Filipe Romão leads the department. The rest of the team includes partner Marta Pontes, two counsel, a principle associate and a team of associate-level practitioners.
The firm currently represents Klepierre Management in its litigation proceedings regarding the application of the EU tax merger directive on the deductibility of CIT on the interest borne on a loan in a downstream merger. The case has appeared before the Portuguese Arbitral Court and will now appear before the European Court of Justice.
“They are a great team, always available and with profound knowledge of the law.”
Vieira de Almeida & Associados holds a large Portuguese tax team, which is involved in some of the largest and most public transactions in the market. It is experienced in advising on all aspects of M&A transactions, including corporate tax, tax structuring and indirect tax. Tiago Marreiros Moreira leads the department, with a team including three other partners.
The firm has been advising Port Noir Investments on its acquisition of Herdade da Comporta, with an acquisition price of €158 million and a total project investment expected to reach €1 billion. The acquisition, made from a company under judicial liquidation, saw the firm design a complex acquisition structure, as well as complex post acquisition advise to minimise the adverse tax implication.
“The team is extremely knowledgeable, available and business oriented. They cover all tax matters very efficiently and speak the same language as the company. They are definitely more business friendly in their approach than all other law firms we have worked with.”