Tax law or revenue law is an area of legal study in which public or sanctioned authorities, such as federal, state and municipal governments use a body of rules and procedures to assess and collect taxes in a legal context.
Here is a list of top Taxation Law firms in India
AZB & Partners
AZB & Partners is ‘well versed in the practical aspects of tax law and has an understanding of business’, particularly in relation to high-value corporate transactions and planning. Co-founding partner Ajay Bahl leads the practice alongside ‘true professional’ Deepak Chopra, whose ‘experience and performance in tax litigation is remarkable’.
Both had recent success representing Google India and Google Ireland before the High Court of Karnataka in challenging adverse ITAT orders which created demands of over $1bn; all appeals were successful and sent back to the tribunal for a second adjudication.
Other work ranges from transfer pricing and permanent establishment advice, with a particular focus on avoiding double taxation, to M&A and private equity deal structuring. Harpreet Singh Ajmani is another name to note.
Economic Laws Practice
Economic Laws Practice ‘has a fantastic blend of advisory and dispute resolution expertise, and is exceptional in tax’ across the full spectrum of direct and indirect matters. Rohit Jain heads the team alongside Nishant Shah; both offer advice on indirect tax controversies including anti-profiteering disputes and transitioning credits following the implementation of GST.
Jain and Kumar Visalaksh ‘are able to straddle their advisory and litigation roles with finesse’, while Visalaksh attracts further praise for ‘an approach which is preventive rather than curative’. On the direct tax side, matters range from transfer pricing issues to tax arrangements during corporate transactions, as well as inbound and outbound investment structuring.
The firm also leverages its international commerce expertise to assist with customs valuations and foreign trade policy queries. Other significant names include Harsh Shah and Rahul Khurana, who made partner in April 2021.
Khaitan & Co LLP
Khaitan & Co LLP‘s ‘responsive and thoughtful team’ is split into direct and indirect tax practices with an impressive pan-India presence. The firm’s full-service, integrated approach also means the breadth of its contentious and non-contentious offering is vast; recent matters include advising on acquisitions for high-end private equity funds and representing multinational corporates in transfer pricing litigation.
On the direct tax side, Indruj Rai ‘stands out for his practical advice’ and is a ‘very engaged and hands-on lawyer’, while Sanjay Sanghvi is ‘thorough, diligent and has a deep understanding of rules, tax codes and procedures’; Ritu Shaktawat and Bijal Ajinkya are other key players in the transactional space.
Elsewhere, Dinesh Agrawal and Arvind Baheti provide the principal support on indirect tax instructions. The practice recently welcomed Sudipta Bhattacharjee from Advaita Legal, and Udayan Choksi from VoxLaw India, in spring 2021.
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan‘s general ‘know-how as well as soft and interpersonal skills‘ supplement its ‘patient and very even-tempered‘ team, which has particular expertise in handling indirect tax matters. Founding partner V. Lakshmikumaran is the key name here, along with Ravi Raghavan and Charanya Lakshmikumaran, for whom recent work has included litigation over the carrying forward of credit to the newly implemented GST regime.
There is also a significant direct tax offering, led principally by S. Vasudevan and Amar Gahlot, featuring advice on income tax assessments, M&A transactions, corporate expansions and transfer pricing disputes before the ITAT. The practice also has a reputation for establishing new jurisprudence; it recently represented camara companies Sony, Nikon and Canon in Supreme Court proceedings which established the jurisdiction of the Indian tax investigations authorities.
Nishith Desai Associates
Founding partner Nishith Desai and his team at Nishith Desai Associates specialise in international tax-related advisory and litigation work. Services include planning and structuring advice on cross-border transactions and the representation of parties in complex global disputes.
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co‘s practice counts high-profile global corporates and private equity funds among its clients, providing advice on direct (income and corporation) tax issues accompanying M&A deals, foreign investments and large-scale reorganisations.
Other focus areas include digital taxation as well as audits, investigations and appeals before domestic and international appellate bodies. Amit Singhania, Gouri Puri, Abhay Sharma and Rajat Bose are the key contacts.
Vaish Associates has a strong reputation for tax litigation and acts in various domestic, international and transfer pricing-related proceedings. Clients include multinational corporations from the pharmaceuticals, technology and automotive sectors, for which the team also handles compliance as well as regulatory work on both the direct and indirect tax sides. Notable members of the team include Ajay Vohra and Abhishek Agarwal.
ALMT Legal‘s ‘client service is excellent‘ and ‘nothing is too much trouble‘ for practice co-heads Aliff Fazelbhoy and Statira Ranina, who offer advisory and litigation services concerning both direct and indirect tax.
Matters range from advice on cross-border structurings and permanent establishments to the characterisation of software payments or GST issues. Fazelbhoy also handles high-stakes disputes involving international tax, with recent success in transfer pricing disputes before the High Courts.
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas ‘specialises in complex tax issues and is able to offer commercially workable solutions‘ on matters ranging from investment structurings to corporate reorganisations. Cyril Shroff co-heads the practice alongside SR Patnaik, who garners client praise for being ‘pragmatic in his approach‘ – particularly when advising on international tax treaties and M&A transactions.
The team also handles disputes instructions, with ongoing involvement in a series of proceedings before the High Court of Telangana regarding import policy for maize corn under the domestic foreign trade policy, on behalf of Gourmet Popcornica. The team saw the departures of Mekhla Anand and Daksha Baxi – the latter to set up her own practice – but was strengthened at partner level by the promotion of Kunal Savani in spring 2021.
Kochhar & Co.
Clients appreciate the ‘responsive, extremely knowledgeable but also commercial‘ approach at Kochhar & Co., which has recently advised on matters involving customs valuation rules, cross-border taxability issues and transfer pricing. Practice head Shahid Khan handles direct tax, with particular expertise in effective repatriation and exit arrangements under double taxation avoidance agreements.
Reena Khair‘s arrival from her own firm to lead the indirect tax practice in July 2020 was also a boost to the team’s coverage; alongside Shampa Bhattacharya, Khair assists with GST, VAT and pre-market entry guidance work, as well as leading various CESTAT appeals.
Majmudar & Partners
Majmudar & Partners has become ‘a one-stop service‘ for international corporate clients and high-net-worth investors with tax issues pertaining to transfer pricing, permanent establishment and fund structuring from overseas. The practice is also experienced at handling domestic employee tax and ESOPs work, with Akil Hirani being well-versed in structuring equity compensation plans and M&A-related reorganisations.
Ravi Raghavan remains ‘responsive and efficient‘ alongside fellow department co-head Hirani, particularly while forming litigation strategy. Rukshad Davar is another key name, particularly for US-based clients such as NapCloud, when preparing documentation for GST exemptions from service exports.
Trilegal‘s tax department contains a ‘strong team of people, able to deliver clear answers to tough questions‘ from a multinational client base including financial services, manufacturing and software service companies. Himanshu Sinha, who ‘has exceptional knowledge and commercial understanding‘, leads the team alongside Samsuddha Majmuder; both cover direct and indirect tax-related matters, including transfer pricing litigation, M&A deals, customs issues and regulatory investigations.
At counsel level, Komal Dani and Nameer Khan provide strong support, particularly when assisting on international tax and foreign trade policy mandates. Among various new hires in 2020 and 2021, counsel Shashank Shekhar and senior associate Tushar Joshi joined from Advaita Legal.
Amicus is ‘seamlessly innovating to bring in newer tax offerings‘ alongside its established handle on transfer pricing issues and litigation. Practice head Ashutosh Mohan Rastogi ‘stands out for his versatility‘, with an increased focus on GST advice as well as customs valuations. In a recent victory for Cinestaan Entertainment before the Delhi High Court, Rastogi secured a stay order from the tax tribunal following the rejection of a fair market value assessment, which will aid future relief for start-ups and angel investors.
At HSA Advocates, the firm has a notable focus on tax-related disputes and represents its clients during adjudications and proceedings before the High Courts. It has also developed a strong reputation in the energy sector – particularly the solar industry – thanks to Faranaaz Kharbari and Rahul Jain, who are well versed in power purchase agreement regulations and in contesting any associated entry tax levies. Other areas of work range from the direct and indirect tax implications of business reorganisations to advice on compliance frameworks.
JSA Law‘ tax practice ‘provides comprehensive solutions for any litigation‘, in addition to handling M&A and corporate restructuring advisory work and cross-border GST and customs-related transactions. Manish Mishra and Kumarmanglam Vijay head the team from Gurugram, with Mishra overseeing the indirect tax practice and Vijay managing the direct side of cases.
Mumbai-based Shareen Gupta offers strong support, particularly in the burgeoning area of the taxability – and the classification – of online gaming set-ups. Other sectors of focus include IT, fintech, energy and manufacturing.
Phoenix Legal‘s expertise lies in cross-border reorganisations and advisory work often pertaining to GST, transfer pricing and tax avoidance agreements. Abhishek Saxena, Pranav Srivastava and Saket Shukla have recently advised on restructuring agreements between domestic subsidiaries of multinationals and their overseas group companies, as well as the outright tax structuring of new investments into India.
Manjula Chawla is another key name to note, acting for a client roster that features names from the manufacturing, energy, retail and technology sectors. In September 2021, the team was bolstered by the arrival of Jatin Arora who joined from PwC India to lead the indirect tax practice.
At Gurugram-based boutique firm Reina Legal, the team ‘is always hands-on and eager to go over and above the set deliverables‘, often on GST assessments and litigation mandates. It achieved recent success before the Delhi High Court, having filed a writ petition on behalf of Insitel Services challenging the constitutional validity of refund provisions under the Central Goods and Services Rules, 2017.
Indirect tax expert and managing partner Gajendra Maheshwari heads the department alongside Prerna Chopra, who made partner in April 2021.
S&A Law Offices
S&A Law Offices‘ practice was significantly boosted by the August 2020 arrival of indirect tax specialist Smita Singh from Ashok Dhingra Associates. Singh co-leads the ‘highly knowledgeable and vastly experienced’ team alongside managing partner Daizy Chawla, who in turn handles direct and international transfer pricing-related matters.
Clients range from global corporates to domestic infrastructure providers, while typical advisory work includes evaluating GST issues, customs duty refunds and assessing double taxation avoidance treaties.
Boutique firm BSA Law is known for its handling of indirect tax-related matters, providing advisory and litigation services relating to customs, excise, GST and foreign trade policy. With a team fronted by founding partners Ashok Kumar Bhasin and Vimal Sethi – who boast decades of experience between them – the firm acts for a roster of domestic clients across the shipping, telecoms, automotive, manufacturing and healthcare sectors.
Managing partner Mukesh Butani heads the practice at BMR Legal, which specialises in transfer pricing and international tax advice. It handles contentious and non-contentious matters, with experience appearing before the ITAT in disputes for global corporate clients.
Fox Mandal & Associates
Fox Mandal‘s tax practice expanded in 2020 with the arrival of Mumbai and Pune-based international tax specialist Sandip Mukherjee, previously a tax partner at Deloitte India, as well as Bangalore-based Gopala Rao, a former chief commissioner of income tax. Mukherjee and Rao lead the practice with indirect tax specialist Pramod Banthia and director Ranganath Harirao, both also in Bangalore. Matters typically involve GST claims, tax incidence and transfer pricing regulations and the structuring of share purchase agreements.
Lumiere Law Partners
Lumiere Law Partners‘s focus is on direct tax litigation before the High Courts and ITAT. Practice head Nishant Thakkar is adept at cross-border transfer pricing work and a range of domestic-oriented contentious matters. Recent work has also involved relief claims and advising on double tax avoidance agreements for Indian companies with subsidiaries abroad.
NITYA Tax Associates
Boutique firm NITYA Tax Associates focuses on contentious mandates in relation to indirect tax and allied laws, with recent cases involving GST credits and classification, export costs and double taxation avoidance agreements. Litigator Puneet Bansal heads the ‘clear and decisive’ team alongside Dharnendra Kumar Rana, Deepak Suneja, and Gaurav Narula.
TLC Legal‘s tax offering is ‘excellent, especially in the field of indirect taxation’, with a domestic and international client roster spread across the shipping, manufacturing, infrastructure and energy sectors. Vipin Jain heads the practice, which focuses on contentious matters before the CESTAT and High Courts involving VAT liability, GST and customs issues; Jain has notable support in litigation proceedings from Vishal Agrawal.
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