• Vladimir KOTENKO | EY Ukraine

    2017 was not an unusual one tax wise.

    Indeed, for many taxpayers that year was full of unpleasant routine.

    One could mention coping with the process of blocking VAT invoices, which came alive last year. That process had an impact on nearly all taxpayers and consumed much of their tax and accounting staff time.

    Fighting off incursions by the fiscal authorities kept many taxpayers busy as well.

    Legislators cherish their tradition to pass changes to tax legislation right on New Year’s Eve. 2017 was no exception. The year started with taxpayers deciphering the changes to the tax regulations passed in late 2016. The law introducing those changes has been ironically named “On improvement of the investment climate”.

    Not surprisingly, the end of 2017 brought another raft of tax changes passed by Parliament.

    To give some credit to lawmakers, not all the changes were bad, sometimes quite the opposite. Sadly, the style in which those changes are often delivered marks the perception of even positive developments.

    As the authorities continued advertising their plans to enhance cross border tax transparency, many businesses felt obliged to take a critical look at their tax and corporate structures and assess their fitness to the advertised plans.

    2017 kept all taxpayers in suspense about the future of corporate profit tax: would it survive or would it be replaced by something else, like distributed profits tax or a tax on the exit of capital. That uncertainty has still not been resolved and seems likely to creep into 2018 or even further.

    Overall, the year has betrayed expectations for comprehensive tax reform. The absence of meaningful progress with implementation of anti-BEPS measures and untouched payroll taxation rules (coupled with a ’clandestine’ increase in the fiscal burden on payroll) must have been particularly disappointing for bona fide taxpayers.

     

  • Yaroslav ROMANCHUK | EUCON

    A key observation from last year is that the tax authorities have notably stepped up the audits of transfer pricing rules. Just a couple of years the tax authorities played the role of largely silent observers, limiting their activities to requests and reviews of the transfer pricing documentation prepared by taxpayers. It was only recently that the first specialized tax audits were officially started, but now there are more than 20 such audits in progress. It did not take long for such audits to produce results, with the first multimillion-dollar tax adjustments cases already reaching courts of first instance. These developments naturally introduce a new challenge, but at the same time open a new practice area for transfer pricing consultants who are now expected to defend their benchmarking analyses during the tax audit and in courts.

    Of particular notice is also the implementation of specific transfer pricing rules for commodity transactions that require mandatory use of comparable prices from recognized international stock exchanges. These rules affect many large companies from the agricultural and mining & metals industries. To avoid many uncertainties intrinsic to the application of these rules, taxpayers are advised to apply for signing Advance Pricing Agreements (APA) with the tax authorities. In this process, tax advisors will play a key role in negotiations with the tax administration.

    Significant changes that were introduced into the Tax Code starting from 1 January 2017 greatly enhanced the requirements of the content of transfer pricing documentation. Work on further reform is under way, as Ukraine prepares for implementation of BEPS requirements. In this respect, Ukraine still lags behind its neighboring states, but in the near future Ukrainian taxpayers should be ready to meet three-tier transfer pricing reporting requirements, which include the group master file, the local TP file and the country-by-country report (CbCR). Also of note is the implementation of a common reporting standard (CRS) that provides for automatic exchange of information between the authorities about financial transactions in all banks and financial institutions of the world. An obvious result of these developments would be a far greater level of visibility of foreign transactions available to the tax authorities. Offshore structures that proliferated based on assumptions of non-disclosure of information to the Ukrainian tax authorities will no longer be feasible. We are already seeing a steady rise in requests from clients to review their group structures and propose measures to align them in a transparent and tax-compliant manner.

Operating under the brand name of KM Partners, this large market leading law firm is a member of the WTS Global network. The team has an exceptional reputation in the market as a full-fledged tax force equally strong in tax planning and structuring, handling complex disputes, advising on transfer pricing, as well as providing support on related criminal proceedings. The firm has won an impressive following of international clients doing business in Ukraine, covering agricultural business, chemicals, energy, retail and FMCG, logistics, food and beverages. The rapidly developed transfer pricing (TP) practice led by Ivan Shynkarenko enjoys increasing demand of clients, including consultancy, reporting and developing documentation to justify the price level in controlled transactions, support during audits, as well as appealing against additional tax assessments and sanctions following transfer pricing audits. Alexander Minin is a top market figure referred as an unmatched authority staying above the market. Alexander Shemiatkin is one of the strongest tax litigators.

The Kyiv office of EY has traditionally a large dedicated tax and legal team covering a full spectrum of taxation issues. The broad network and other service lines make the firm a point of choice for cross-border instructions, tax compliance and transfer pricing services. The practice advises on the tax structuring of investment, development of operating models, restructuring business presence. Noteworthily, EY has an established practice of taking on disputes with tax andcustoms authorities. The TP practice has boosted its capacity and commands a full-service offering. Given his proven experience, partner Vladimir Kotenko is a long-established name among Ukrainian tax practitioners. Other partners leading the practice are Igor Chufarov (TP dedicated), Albert Sych and Olga Gorbanovskaya. The market recognizes the name of Iryna Kalyta, director, as a knowledgeable tax expert.

KPMG Law Ukraine,part of the KPMG network, works closely with tax, customs and business advisory units. The team traditionally has a strong team assisting clients with deal advisory, transactional tax, transfer pricing, and tax litigation. In terms of global deals the firm performed full-scope tax due diligence of the Ukrainian subsidiary of Global Logic in connection with its contemplated acquisition by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. The team has an established reputation for complex cross-border and domestic tax structuring for major international clients. For example, the team provided tax structuring to a large Japanese investor involved in the implementation of a high-profile infrastructure project in Ukraine, where the Ukrainian Government adopted special tax legislation for the purposes of the project. The tax dispute resolution group has demonstrated increasing growth. For example, the team provided comprehensive support to Avon in its tax dispute with the regulator; gained a landmark tax judgment on the application of the complex international tax concept of “beneficial owner” to the dividend distributions in favor of a foreign shareholder in cases involving Sanitas against the Ukrainian tax office. Larysa Antoshchuk, head of disputes, gained market praise. The active TP practice headed by partner Konstantin Karpushin continues to win new clients. Sergiy Popov, partner, head of tax and legal, is the central figure and has many years of experience and recognition. Oleg Chayka, director, joined KPMG in Malta in December 2017.

Baker McKenzie is known for its formidable and well-resourced tax practice group with a complete non-contentious tax offering for major international and domestic clients. The team is mandated for cross-border matters, including international tax planning, structuring of inbound and outbound investment, M&A deals, international and domestic VAT planning in relation to sales structures. Being a preferred legal counsel to many subsidiaries of multinational corporations, the tax team delivers specific industry knowledge, advises on the tax implications of restructuring business in Ukraine, and handles representation in tax disputes. The office has a rapidly developed TP offering, and is empowered with established global transfer pricing consulting expertise. The team assists with a range of TP queries, including developing comprehensive and operational TP models. This well-positioned international firm has a global wealth management group, to provide domestic and international tax succession, regulatory, compliance and related services. Partner Hennadiy Voytsitskyi heads the team, being among top recognized tax lawyers.

Empowered by its global presence, the tax practice group of DLA Piper has a special focus on domestic and international tax structuring and restructuring, transactional tax, transfer pricing work. This past year the office rendered tax structuring for the transaction involving McDonald’s on exchange of an existing restaurant and underlying land plot to a new building and a land plot in Kyiv; ensured tax advice to Aristocrat Leisure, one of the largest global manufacturers of gaming solutions, on its successful acquisition of developer Plarium Global. The tax team has a notably strong capacity in IT/tech outsourcing structuring projects for Ukraine. Acting for a broad spectrum of international clients, the team is particularly seen advising IT/Tech, pharma, telecom, FMCG, retail, manufacturing and real estate. Given increased attention to transfer pricing queries, the dedicated group acts for compliance of Ukrainian operations with international requirements, being instructed for such significant names as Alcatel Lucent, Bayer, EPAM, Maersk, Omya, Sanofi, Studio Moderna. Practice head Illya Sverdlov has been promoted to partner. Dmytro Rylovnikov is another important member of the team.

Being particularly known for a strong track record in tax disputes, this past year International Legal Center EUCON had an increasingly prominent advisory practice operating via two offices — Kyiv and Warsaw. The firm demonstrates victories for new clients, and rapidly broadens its niche for structuring inbound and outbound investments between Ukraine and Poland. The dispute team is one of the strongest in the market with sophisticated cases on board, and support from criminal defense practice group specifically focused on tax evasion cases. The tax litigation practice has a consistent flow of queries; among the most resonant is the case of Savik Shuster Studio, a popular TV production company, in appealing CPT charges and challenging VAT additional liabilities. The core tax litigators are Yevgen Petrenko and Volodymyr Bevza. Established in 2013 the transfer pricing practice group is led by renowned expert Larysa Vrublevska, and is one of the most active on the market. The group completed international reach with its membership in TPA Global. The managing partner Yaroslav Romanchuk remains on the forefront of practice development, and is actively involved in practice. Ihor Yatsenko, partner and head of Warsaw, is in charge of tax advisory work within projects in Poland.

Vasil Kisil & Partners is highly regarded for its tax litigation practice, complemented with the regulatory and advisory offering, international tax and transactional support. This past year the team represented Shell Exploration & Production Ukraine Investments (IV) B.V. in a tax dispute challenging three tax notices on refusal of automatic VAT refund; represented Imperial Tobacco Production Ukraine in a tax dispute regarding inclusion of royalties to expenses and determining the beneficiary owner status of a recipient entity. Another notable case related to transfer pricing, where the team acts for SVG Plus LLC challenging additional corporate tax liabilities and imposed penalties for the alleged violation of transfer pricing rules. Other clients include Melon Fashion Ukraine, AISE Ukraine, Rele, Rost Agro, Lacoste, Tetra Pak, Mary Kay, Tchibo GmBH, DowDuPont, Thomson Reuters. Andriy Stelmashchuk, managing partner, renowned litigator, leads the tax team. Tetyana Berezhna, senior associate, is another key figure in the practice.

The standout full-service law firm Sayenko Kharenko successively enhanced its tax practice and expanded its offering in the last few years. The sizeable practice is equally loaded with transactional tax structuring, general corporate tax, and tax litigation, including defense in criminal proceedings related to alleged tax evasion. The core clients are large companies fromagricultural, banking, chemicals, FMCG, IT, mining and metals, oil and gas, retail industries. In 2017 the firm boosted its tax disputes portfolio, accumulating over 40 complex tax disputes, such as representing Philip Morris Ukrainein tax and customs disputes with the State Fiscal Service on cancellation of additional customs payments to the tune of around UAH 1 billion and cancellation of additional charges for income tax and VAT. Along with its well-established practice of wealth management, the tax team also handles tax mandates of private clients. The team is led by tax partner Serhiy Verlanov1, widely acclaimed as a knowledgeable tax expert. Other core members are counsels Dmytro Korbut and Vitaliy Odzhykovskyy (who joined the team last year from KM Partners).

Known for its extensive record of tax dispute representations, GOLAW maintains its core strength in litigation, tremendously enhancing regulatory compliance, scaling advisory and tax structuring offering. The firm represented Galicia Distillery, the national producer of brandy brands Greenwich, Buchach, Renuage, Prykarpatsky, in a court case on the writing off of a bad tax debt and challenging tax claims. Other areas of the team’s recent focus are advice regarding BEPS project implementation and tax-driven restructurings. The firm actively develops its private clients practice, advising on related tax matters. Public clients include Bogomolets National Medical University, Enkom a.s., Česká exportní banka, a.s. (ČEB), GAP, ProLeI.T., Ubisoft, Inditex Group. Valentyn Gvozdiy, managing partner, guides the team supported by the senior team of Kateryna Manoylenko and Iryna Kalnytska.

AEQUO’s tax and customs team is primarily notable for its transactional capabilities, assisting a wide array of prestigious clients with tax implications of M&A, restructurings, financing, etc. The team’s expertise spansdomestic and cross-border assignments. The firm advised the Dutch parent company of a Ukrainian woodworking enterprise on the structuring of company financing in terms of tax and exchange regulations; advised US online loan sale platform Debt X on tax matters arising in the course of a project on sale of distressed loan portfolios held by Ukrainian banks within liquidation proceedings. The sector-wise approach of the team includes banking and finance, agriculture, consumer goods and retail, TMT, energy and natural resources, and other key industry sectors. The tax disputes team represented Ukrainian subsidiaries (brands) of Inditex Group in challenging the decisions of Ukrainian tax authorities on accrual of fines for alleged misreporting of CPT liabilities, and successfully defended the interests of Zara in a tax dispute. Denis Lysenko, managing partner, is the head of the tax and customs practice. His senior team includes Vasyl Mishchenko and Myroslava Savchuk.

Asters is followed by an enviable array of prestigious clients, while its tax practice team is involved in the early stage of projects supported by the firm. The core focus lies in the tax structuring of corporate reorganizations and M&A, joint ventures, financing and capital markets transactions, real estate matters, etc. The team possesses expertise in domestic and cross-border corporate tax matters. Asters advised Molson Coors, a multinational brewing company, on the ongoing tax and regulatory issues of its Ukrainian subsidiary; provides full tax and legal support to Nova Poshta regarding the VAT implications of its activities. The team is enlisted for representing clients in tax disputes with the Ukrainian tax authorities. For example, the firm acts as a tax and legal advisor of Oschadbank in one of its major tax disputes. The firm provided full support to ED&F Man Holdings regarding its tolling transactions, including transfer pricing. The industrial breakdown of team’s clients spans banking and finance, transport and logistics, energy, chemical industry, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, FMCG, IT. The practice is led by two partners, Alexey Khomyakov and Constantin Solyar.

Throughout the last couple of years AVELLUM firm has rapidly developed its tax offering alongside leading transactional practices. The team’s core strength is domestic and international tax planning, tax support of complex high value transactions, business restructuring projects. Notably, the tax team ensures support for M&A deals led by AVELLUM. The standout expertise is complicated private equity and investment fund structuring with multiple jurisdictions involved. Another growing area of focus is IT sector solutions and transfer pricing instructions. Among recent highlights is tax support of Kernel and MHP on their Eurobonds issuance; advice from the tax perspective to MTI on corporate restructuring of its business. In support of a growing disputes profile, the team represented the interests of Ferrexpo Yeristovo Mining in disputes on cancellation of individual tax rulings. Vadim Medvedev,the main tax lawyer of the firm with market recognition, was promoted to counsel.

Given its strong international network Dentons is often mandated for cross-border work, including tax planning, structured finance taxation, transactional tax support, as well as IP taxation, sector specific tax matters, tax structuring of client’s operations in Ukraine. The office assisted Adecco Group, a leading global provider of HR solutions, on various tax issues during the sale of Adecco’s Ukrainian subsidiary to Lugera Holding; advised Sberbank Switzerland AG on the tax aspects of the launch of a commodity trade finance program across 18 jurisdictions. The tax team has a dispute practice, and represented an international company which develops crop protection solutions, in a tax dispute related to the recognition of a non-commercial representative office as the permanent establishment of the parent company in Ukraine. The tax lead partner is Igor Davydenko.

Ilyashev & Partners is particularly strong for representing big taxpayers in tax disputes. Over the last couple of years the firm has demonstrated a rapidly growing advisory practice, along with expanding projects in corporate, investment and finance matters. The transactional tax practice is engaged in covering tax aspects of corporate structuring and M&A, investments and technical aid, lending agreements and debt restructuring. Given its network of offices in Russia and Estonia, the firm is regularly enlisted for international tax advisory work. Particular strengths encompass challenging tax assessment notices, restoration of right to VAT credit and VAT refund. The firm represents ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih in a dispute regarding USD 14.4 million VAT debt collection; acts for its established client BTA Bank (Ukraine) in appealing non-inclusion of a USD 3 million VAT credit into an e-administration system. In 2017 the firm advised on tax aspects of doing business under the LeBoutique brand, engaged in sale of brand clothes via a web platform. It counts SE Antonov, FSC More, Apopharm, Apopharm, COFCO Agri Ukraine, RONLY, Ukrplastic among its clients. Galyna Melnyk is head of the tax practice, supervised by the firm’s partner Roman Marchenko.

In 2017 the tax practice of INTEGRITES boosted its tax consulting practice, being instructed by a range of significant domestic and Ukrainian subsidiaries of international corporations, on their day-to day activities, tax treatment of specific operations, corporate restructurings, corporate profit tax and transfer pricing rules, tax structuring with respect to investment and financing, international tax issues. The tax team works closely with the litigation practice, to arrange support of comprehensive multidisciplinary cases, appealing against tax notices issued by the fiscal authorities. The team was substantially replenished with the arrival of Viktoriya Fomenko as a counsel and head of the tax and customs practice.

KPD Consulting Law Firm assists clients with tax structuring, planning, and general tax legal advice, handling representation in tax disputes. Among the recent transactional highlights of the team was acting for Development Construction Holding (DCH) in tax structuring of M&A transactions across different regions of Ukraine; tax structuring of the acquisition of a portfolio of commercial real estate assets. The team is highly active in the real estate and construction field, being a preferred legal counsel for related investments projects. KPD Consulting rendered full tax legal support to Ukrsib-Invest LLC in joint investment project on development of a greenfield site and construction of residential buildings on the basis of a joint venture. The dispute highlight of the team included representation of EF EF Company LLC in a dispute on cancellation of tax assessment notices with regard to CPT and VAT. The tax practice is led by partner Vitaliy Patsyuk.

PwC Ukraine has a formidable tax advisory practice and proactive tax litigation team reaffirmed in PwC Legal.The extensive coverage encompasses corporate tax, indirect tax services, tax dispute resolution, transfer pricing. PwC Ukraine assisted the Ministry of Finance in defining the objectives of tax reform, as well as the objectives, vision, blueprint and development of an implementation plan. The firm acted for the European Investment Bank,investigated and developed potential options for optimizing VAT flows and minimizing the amount of additional financing required for payment of VAT, within the implementation of municipal infrastructure projects by recipients of EIB funds. In 2017 the company launched the Shared Service Centre in Lviv. The transfer pricing group is led by Olga Trifonova, director, and advises both local and multinational companies from various industries. The group is empowered by the global expertise of the network, and expands its capacities. Slava Vlasov, partner, leads corporate tax, TP, tax reporting and strategy services; Camiel van der Meij is a partner with PwC Ukraine starting from 2015, and has a leading role in designing and delivering large-scale international structuring projects for multinational groups operating in Poland, Ukraine and other CEE markets. The tax litigation team of PwC Legal, as led by managing partner Andrey Pronchenko, is focused on comprehensive multi-episode disputes involving significant amounts. The team represents Kharkiv Tractor Plant in the case regarding cancellation of the decisions issued by the courts of administrative jurisdiction on debt recovery; supported LGElectronics Ukrainein returning of corporate profit tax (CPT) overpayment to the client’s bank account via pre-trial procedure. The range of prestigious clients represented by the tax dispute team includes Boeing, Danfoss, Opera Software Ukraine, Ukrelevatorprom (ADM Group). In September 2017 the team was enforced by Dmytro Donets, who joined as a partner and head of the dispute resolution practice. Another key figure is Zhanna Brazhnyk, who heads the tax disputes group.

ADER HABER (the team previously was part of Spenser & Kauffmann) maintains tax planning and dispute representations.The team has a traditionally formidable dispute resolution practice with a significant record of tax litigations. The team’s recent highlights include representation in tax disputes challengingadditional liabilities for VAT and income tax to a major Ukrainian Retail & FMCG company. The client base encompasses agrarian, retail, insurance sector, with recent significant victories in energy and construction. Counsel Maryna Tomash is head of tax consulting and accounting services. The tax disputes side is led by partner Tatiana Daniltseva.

Arzinger performed a steady flow of representations in disputes with the tax authorities. The firm’s clients come from agriculture, energy sectors, requesting contesting additionally charged corporate profit tax and value added tax, and other tax liabilities. The dispute dedicated team is known for its successful track record in VAT refund cases, and acting to the clients’ officials within criminal proceedings initiated based on tax audit results. The team represents Archer Daniels Midland, a subsidiary of a large international agricultural holding, in a tax dispute appealing additional VAT liabilities reducing budgetary VAT refund on a large scale, as well as additional CPT. Kateryna Gupalo, partner, acts on tax litigation matters and subsequent criminal proceeding alongside tax cases. Dmytro Trut, senior associate, is another key practitioner.

EQUITY has a primary focus on tax disputes as it is known among top market teams in domestic litigation. The firm is enlisted to handle exceptionally high value representations, having long-standing industrial clientele on board. In particular, the team represents interests of the Azovmash group of companies in about 30 tax disputes. This past year the firm was notable for development of its criminal practice in response to an increasing number of criminal tax cases. Serhiy Chuyev, partner,is the head of tax.

Gramatskiy & Partners, an outstanding local law firm is equally well resourced in the advisory and dispute areas. The tax team provides seamless support of comprehensive investment and corporate projects guided by the firm, client’s operational activity, developing tax efficient trade schemes and commercial arrangements. The recent focus on issues related to tax compliance, corporate tax, VAT as well as personal income tax. The team is especially highly regarded by clients from real estate and construction, investment and finance, hospitality and horeca, energy, IT. The firm’s key clients include City Capital Group, Seven Hills Group of Companies, PTS UA Services, a Ukrainian subsidiary of Playtech Plc. The firm complements its tax practice with development of a transfer pricing offering guided by Ernest Gramatskiy. The tax practice is headed by Vitalii Tymchuk.

MORIS GROUP develops its mainly tax disputes portfolio, being enlisted by a wide range of clients in the agrarian, building, and energy sectors. The practice caseload is centered on administrative proceedings, corporate governance, tax, and finance issues. High value tax litigation is a feature of the tax team’s work. Among the clients represented in their recent disputes with Ukrainian tax authorities are Karpatnaftokhim LLC, Omega Bank, First Private Brewery. The firm represented UkrOboronProm, a state-owned conglomerate, in a tax dispute on an obligation to execute the requirements of a state financial inspection. The two-partner practice is led by Volodymyr Rak, head of tax, and Andriy Savchuk, head of litigation.

The tax practice is one of the core offerings of Sokolovskyi & Partners. This domestic law firm has a sizeable 11-lawyer tax team and excels in its recognized strength in tax controversies, equally experienced in administrative and judicial proceedings, supported by criminal law practice focused on tax evasion cases. Apart from a strong following of domestic clients, the firm continues to win instructions from Ukrainian subsidiaries of international corporations, and big Ukrainian industrial majors. The three partners on its board are involved in tax work. Natalia Kurilenko heads the practice and is focused on tax consulting assignments. Tetiana Lysovets leads tax evasion cases. Vladyslav Sokolovskyi,managing partner, is involved in handling advisory and dispute work.

VB PARTNERS is a vivid tax dispute centered market force thatoperates via strong ties with its white-collar crime practice, being involved in criminal cases against officials of clients suspected of tax evasion and fraud. The firm has had a standing portfolio of industrial clients for a number of years, being instructed by CIS-based diversified groups. Among the recent representations is acting for Ukraine Estate Management in an administrative process regarding the implementation of changes in the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine’s electronic system of VAT administration; defense of the interests of the Mykolayiv Alumina Refinery, a major Ukrainian alumina facility, in a trial regarding the recognition of negligence by Mykolayiv Customs which led to a delay in the clearance of goods as illegal. One of the firm’s partners, Volodymyr Vashchenko, leads the tax practice, with key contribution from Denys Shkarovsky.

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang has specific tax expertise covering its prestige international clients, with particular emphasis on energy, agriculture, financial, IT sector clients. The office further develops its tax dispute caseload, including disputes at both the administrative and court levels. Partner Olexander Martinenko, who is known for his extensive arbitration and litigation practice, has expertisein tax disputes. This past year the team was strengthened with the coming of new associate Viktoriia Stavchuk.

Domestic firm Lexwell & Partners is especially known for representing industrial clients in high value tax litigation. The team continues to act for ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih PJSC in appealing against additional charges of environmental regulators totaling USD 55 million. Another large-scale project is advising BRSM Group on its strategy to protect interests in appealing tax inspection results and additional charges exceeding USD 74 million. Andrey Kolupaev and Igor Nagai lead the tax practice.

Wolf Theiss is dedicated to tax structuring advice with respect to the transactions and investments of clients, including outbound investments by Ukrainian businesses. As part of the firm’s involvement and assistance to Lukoil in the sale of its large scale chemical business located in the Ivano-Frankivsk area, the Kyiv team advised on the tax implications of various options of transfer of certain real estate (including land plots) and movable assets owned by the Ukrainian target group company. Another highlight is advising an individual investor on tax and exchange control regulations with respect to the planned acquisition of a real estate complex in Ukraine. The team is often hired by international law firms. Mykhailo Razuvaiev is the practice head.

Eterna Law is focused primarily on tax planning,tax structuring of M&A transactions and corporate restructurings, business activities on the European market, tax structuring of ownership, and also represents clients in tax disputes. The firm renders advice to Sports.ru on various tax matters related to the activity of a Ukrainian company; supports the Ukrainian Fencing Federation regarding tax liabilities as a result of receipt of financing for veterans of fencing. Oksana Kneychuk, partner,heads the international tax planning and corporate structuring department.

The sector focus of Law Offices of OMP traditionally spans agriculture, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. The firm advises a number of clients on tax matters. For example, Sandoz (Novartis Group), Unipharm, Coloplast, MSD, Ferring, Alkaloid, Glenmark, Alpen pharm, Agro-region Group, etc. The team also has experience of winning cases in courts against tax authorities, most recently protected the interests of Agro-Region Group in an appeal to fiscal authorities on registration of tax invoices. Three OMP partners are actively engaged in tax practice — Mykola Orlov, Valeriy Bitsyuk and Igor Ogorodniychuk.

Ante Law Firm is very active for its clients in aviation and pharmaceutical areas regarding taxation and customs issues. In 2017 all tax litigations for Zdravo ended with the client benefiting at all court instances. The team’s remit extends to complicated cases with medical devices and medicines, aircraft import and cargo operations. It is noteworthy that the firm was enlisted by the “Big 4” companies for advice on tax in aviation law. Team clients include Zdravo, Technomedex group, Omega pharma Ukraine (Perrigo group), Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Alitalia. Andriy Guck is the main point of contact.

Gryphon Legal has a narrow focus on the banking and financial sector by providing advice on taxation for a wide range of its established clients among domestic and international financial and insurance companies. Tax advice comes within comprehensive projects supported by the firm. Its tax practice remit takes in tax planning and structuring, compliance, tax aspects of bad debt restructuring. Specific expertise includes e-commerce and online payments, royalties. The firm recently advised Fingroup Factor, which is part of a leading agricultural holding in Ukraine, on restructuring of bad debts, foreign economic transactions, transfer pricing and taxation. Igor Lynnyk is the main contact.

Being mostly known for its dispute focus, in the outgoing year Vdovychen & Partners substantially added advisory work to its recent practice profile. Thus, the firm advised on taxation of dividends, land and real estate lease transactions and property transfer, land tax and transport duties. The firm recorded an increased number of queries for support during tax inspections, while its caseload of tax disputes features representations in criminal proceedings on alleged tax invasion convictions. Oleg Vdovychen,the firm’s founder, is the main contact.

Tax disputes are a strong point of litigation practice at EVERLEGAL. The litigation team guided by Andriy Porayko represents Svitland Development LTD (Fishman Group), a leading development company, in two tax disputes with Ukrainian tax authorities, appealing against additional VAT liabilities; succesfully represented Sport 23 LLC, a Ukrainian wood processing factory in a dispute regarding VAT refunds.

LCF Law Group is a dynamic domestic litigation team with a substantial portfolio of large-scale tax disputes. The firm is preferred by significant local clients from agribusiness and the food industry, banks, energy, hospitality. Managing partner Anna Ogrenchuk is the core contact.

The rapidly growing domestic Evris Law Firm launched its tax practice in 2017. Andriy Reun, partner, became its practice head. Throughout last year the practice affirmed its distinct dispute focus, handling development of litigation strategies and representation in courts. The expertise extends to VAT and CPT liabilities, excise, VAT refund, tax invoices. The client’s following include significant players from the agribusiness, banking, financial, energy sectors.

SDM Partners develops its tax practice to take into account industry-specific insight. The firm has sound names among clientele for its taxation services (Echo Investment SA, Grawe, TAS Group, BPL, System Group, Honda, BIC, to name a few). Mykola Melnyk is the main point of contact for tax matters.

Synergy IP Law Agency, a domestic IP boutique with recognized expertise in IP tax, and matters pertaining to the IT industry. The firm advised LLC Innover Ukraine on the taxation of operations with software, updates, subscriptions and cloud solutions, development of an agency agreement for the distribution of software with a client’s partners. Another notable client, Toyota-Ukraine, was advised on taxation of operations with software of FDI Toyota-Ukraine. Anna Kravchuk acts as lead partner in taxation projects.

The new dynamic firm of ESQUIRES develops its tax offering alongside corporate practice. Most recently the team was involved in tax disputes, representing domestic clients like Ukrainian food retail company OVOCHEVA SKARBNYTSA and SLAVYANKA LLC,amajor Ukrainian fresh vegetables and salads green producer.
Viktoria Kovalchuk works as lead partner.

Jurvneshservice has a series of long-standing clients on taxation consulting and appeal against the decisions of tax authorities with regard to application of financial sanctions. In 2017 the team delivered legal support to Can-Pack Ukraine, Promax AG/ Homviora, New World Grain Ukraine LLC (Soufflet Group). Anna Tsirat and Dmytro Salatiuk are the core individuals.

The tax team of Alekseev, Boyarchukov & Partners rendered tax advisory on electronic declarations of incomes by public officials, and representation in tax disputes. Sergey Protasov is head of the tax practice.

SYTNYK & PARTNERS admitted a new partner, Taras Olytsky, to lead the litigation and criminal law practice with his legal team. The firm added a number of tax disputes to its profile and provided services to IK Alyutal LLC and Tornado-A LLC.

Personal tax planning, tax structuring and tax consequences advice is the core focus of the tax practice of Juscutum Attorneys Association, led by Natalia Radchenko. The local litigation-centered law firm Poberezhnyuk & Partners headed by Larysa Poberezhnyuk, actively represents clients in tax litigation, challenging tax notices and penalties. Lavrynovych & Partners delivers tax advisory within corporate reorganizations, tax residence, and challenging tax liabilities in courts.

Alexander Cherinko, Deloitte, is referenced as anexperienced professional in transfer pricing, according to a poll of peers. The team of Nataliya Ulyanova, known for substantial expertise in international tax structuring, left ICF Legal Service and joined Deloitte in April 2018.

Regional Counsels

The Odessa-based ANK Law Office continues to render tax advice to its established clientele in the region, drafting responses to a wide range of tax queries. The firm is a primary choice for port infrastructure operators and shopping malls (e.g., Subsidiary company Container Terminal Odessa, LLC NOVOLOG, LLC Olimpex Coupe International, LLC Brooklyn-Kyiv, LLC Vector Oil Trade, PE Container Terminal Chornomorsk, Fontan Sky Shopping Center, Riviera Shopping Center). The key contacts are Alexander Kifak and Elena Pushchenskaya.

Jurline, another Odessa-based law firm, offers advisory and dispute support. The firm has a sizeable team and is especially active in resolving high-value disputes with tax and customs authorities. The firm most recently represented Marlow Navigation in court regarding challenging of tax reports on VAT and fines, and acted for a stevedoring company in court in a case concerning the challenging of tax reports on VAT, profit tax and fines. The client list includes a range of significant players in the region: TIS-Grain Ltd, LLC TIS-Mindobryva, LLC Terminal Capital Invest, LLC Terminal Stevedoring and Co., LLC TIS-Container Terminal. Vitaliy Cherkes is the practice head.

ILF Law Firm, headquartered in Kharkiv and with an office in Kyiv, utilizes a coherent tax offering covering general tax support of operational activities, tax advisory of commercial arrangements and transactions, support in terms of tax inspections with subsequent representation in disputes. Another area of recent focus includes tax and anti-corruption compliance. Successful highlights include protecting a food manufacturer within the framework of a tax inspection. The team provided tax structuring on procurement of software or satellite technologies by LLC Ecostar Ukraine (DISH NETWORK). The client lists contains BASF, Amcor Tobacco Packaging, Velton, Avon Ukraine. Serhiy Silchenko is head of the tax and employment practices.

Shkrebets & Partners, a law firm based inKharkiv, is known for its proficient work on the dispute front. The firm represented JSC Kharkivoblenergo in the collection of a tax debt, and PJSC Kharkiv CHP-5 in litigation appealing against tax notifications. Other clients are in the main from the region — Eristovskiy MPP, Kharkiv Battery Plant VLADAR. Eugene Shkrebets, managing partner, is the main contact.

The Kharkiv-based Oksana Kobzar Law Firm is centered on tax planning and is hired by large exporters, science-intensive industry as well as the agrarian, manufacturing and food sectors. The firm cooperates with Axon Partners for IT-dedicated tax advisory work, and advises on international tax law for ICO projects in other jurisdictions. Oksana Kobzar is the main contact.

Sheverdin & Partners is a Kharkiv-based law firm centered on dispute work. The firm represents domestic clients in litigations to invalidate tax charges. Maksym Sheverdin is the main port of call.

Dynasty Law Firm, which has offices in Dnipro and Kyiv, broadened its profile with tax risks advisory within the framework of supported transactions and investment projects, and remained active in tax disputes. The firm has a focus on domestic clients, with broad coverage of regional industry leaders. Denys Myrgorodskiy and Snejana Karagodina are the primary contacts.

The Lviv-based law firm Advice Group is active on the tax and customs advisory front, national and international tax compliance. The group acted forSE Bordnetze on a tax compliance project involving a multinational transaction within the group on the edge of tax and currency regulations. Another highlight of 2017 is representing Sun Garden in resolving a complex major dispute on customs classification of goods with possible consequence for overall judicial practice on customs. Past clients include Symphony Solutions, ACO Industries, Lviv MozArt, Kavalier Boutique Hotel.
Anton Podilchak, managing partner, is the main contact.

Pavlenko & Partners, one of the most known law firms in Lviv, is proficient in high value tax litigation, and has performed in a number of significant cases. Among solid cases of the past year are representing LLC Yablunevyi Dar in the recognition of tax decisions as invalid for the sum of USD 27.3 million; and LLC TB Sad for the amount of USD 16.3 million. The head of practice is Yuriy Melnyk.

1 In July 2018 Serhiy Verlanov was appointed Deputy Minister of Finance of Ukraine.

Regional Counsels
Listed in alphabetical order