Winners of the Americas Tax Awards 2014 celebrate
The big winners at this year’s Americas Tax Awards were EY, which won the Latin America Tax Firm of the Year and Shearman & Sterling, the winner of the equivalent award for North America.
Deloitte came out on top in transfer pricing, winning five national or US city awards and taking home the award for North America transfer pricing firm of the year.
Baker Botts, Fenwick & West and Gowlings – Taxand Canada were other winning firms at the awards, which were presented at a dinner in New York on September 18. The awards are now in their ninth year.
In June and July 2014, International Tax Review asked law firms and tax advisory firms to submit examples of their best work between June 1 2013 and May 31 2014. These were considered for the national tax and transfer pricing awards.
Additional awards for the best deals in industry sectors and practice areas, as well as the international tax law firm of the year and the tax policy firm of the year awards were judged from these submissions.
Firms could rely on their submissions for the World Tax and World Transfer Pricing 2015 directories to enter for these awards, but were encouraged to make separate entries as the directories' research questionnaire does not break down practice areas in the way the methodology for the Americas Awards does.
In-house teams also had the opportunity to make their own submission. Where they did not, the selection of the shortlists and winners of the in-house awards was based on the information in the private-practice submissions.
International Tax Review's editorial staff considered these submissions and the information obtained through interviews with tax directors, as well as peer interviews, for World Tax 2015, to compile shortlists and choose winners for each of the country and regional awards.
The awards were judged according to these criteria:
Innovation and creativity (Did the advice the firm gave show something more than the straightforward answer that is commonly used?)
Impact (How did the tax advice help the client achieve its objectives? Did the deal transform the company? Did the court judgement set a precedent? Was it the first type of fund raising for the company? Is it the first example of such a transaction occurring in an industry or jurisdiction?)
We include Mexico in Latin America for the purposes of the regional awards. The US city areas include tax professionals based in the surrounding area within a 150-mile radius.
These awards represent the views of the publication about the leading tax advisers in the Americas based on their work in the past 12 months.
Argentina Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
Rosso Alba Francia & Associados
Rosso Alba Francia & Associados stands out for its work with Glencore and other examples of high quality controversy work.
Argentina Tax Firm of the Year
Marval O’Farrell & Mairal
Marval O’Farrell & Mairal has shown its excellence in all areas of advice, including direct and indirect tax, and tax disputes.
Brazil Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
Mattos Filho Veiga Filho Marrey Jr e Quiroga Avogados
Mattos Filho Veiga Filho Marrey Jr e Quiroga Avogados advised one particular client on the use of a new transfer pricing method, which is specific to commodities, in a structuring project between Brazil and Singapore.
Brazil Tax Firm of the Year
Machado Associados shone in work that has included spin-offs, restructuring and disputes.
Chile Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
A bilateral APA with a significant impact on the Chilean IRS and global investors allowed PwC to stand out against its peers.
Chile Tax Firm of the Year
The expertise of EY was apparent this year in producing effective and sustainable tax solutions for domestic and international taxpayers.
Colombia Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
Baker & McKenzie
Baker & McKenzie undertook the country’s first APA and also worked on a transfer pricing policy for a commodity with very specific and unique aspects.
Colombia Tax Firm of the Year
Deloitte provided comprehensive robust planning and disputes services for clients in industries such as life sciences, oil & gas, and railways.
Mexico Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
Baker & McKenzie
The practice of Baker & McKenzie demonstrated its prowess with its work on APAs and it also implemented a pan-Latin American transfer pricing structure, post-restructuring.
Mexico Tax Firm of the Year
Financial services and energy are just two of the industries where PwC came to the fore in 2013/2014.
Peru Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
PKF Peru stood out for its work on a particularly complex structuring project.
Peru Tax Firm of the Year
Notable work in direct and indirect tax, and tax disputes helped EY to the award as Peru Tax Firm of the Year.
Uruguay Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
It was the sheer quality of client and the ingenuity in problem solving that made Grant Thornton stand out.
Uruguay Tax Firm of the Year
Across a range of industries, such as financial services and retailing, and topics, like transactions and tax assessment review, Deloitte performed exceptional work for domestic and international clients in 2013/2014.
Venezuela Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
Deloitte demonstrated a certain level of ingenuity in structures that had a knock-on effect in other jurisdictions, bringing them out on top this year.
Venezuela Tax Firm of the Year
D’Empaire Reyna Abogados
Tackling the critical tax implications of Venezuela’s exchange control regime allowed D’Empaire Reyna Abogados to shine this year.
Canada Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
Grant Thornton has demonstrated its expertise through a variety of different deals, from acquisition funding solutions to providing expert opinion in controversy cases.
Canada Tax Firm of the Year
Blake, Cassels & Graydon
The strengths of Blake, Cassels & Graydon were most prominent in complex and notable matters covering M&A, capital markets and tax disputes.
Chicago Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
McDermott Will & Emery
McDermott Will & Emery stood out for its work on the reorganisation of the supply chain for a major client this year.
Chicago Tax Firm of the Year
Baker & McKenzie
Tax planning, M&A and tax controversy work for significant multinational companies helped Baker & McKenzie stand out this year.
Dallas/Houston Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
A project that comprised dealing with the Israeli Ministry of Finance to provide transfer pricing solutions in exporting shale gas, based on similar models used previously in the US made Deloitte stand out above its peers.
Dallas/Houston Tax Firm of the Year
Advice on MLPs and the complex spin-off of Navient helped Baker Botts add to its reputation this year.
Los Angeles Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
Deloitte showed ingenuity in in a partnership being used as a vehicle to hold shares of intangibles.
Los Angeles Tax Firm of the Year
DLA Piper once again showed itself to be a powerhouse for tax advice in a range of industries and specialisms.
New York Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
Deloitte’s variety of expertise is shown in deals from acquisitions to APAs and IP licensing, to strategising for a cloud/e-commerce company made it an indisputable winner this year.
New York Tax Firm of the Year
Shearman & Sterling
Shearman & Sterling showed it was the go-to firm if a taxpayers needed advice on complex joint ventures or M&A, or difficult capital markets-focused tax litigation.
San Francisco and Silicon Valley Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
Baker & McKenzie
Baker & McKenzie demonstrated its skills this year through the number of high profile deals it has been working on, including transfer pricing aspects of acquisitions and APAs.
San Francisco and Silicon Valley Tax Firm of the Year
Fenwick & West
Advice in some high-profile corporate M&A and complex, big-ticket federal litigation only added to the standing of Fenwick & West in 2013/2014.
Washington, DC Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
The continued work on the Eaton case, along with a variety of other deals, secured Mayer Brown’s place.
Washington, DC Tax Firm of the Year
Its pioneering work in combining superior tax technical knowledge and technology helped Deloitte lead the pack this year.
Tax Court of Canada Firm of the Year
Blake Cassels & Graydon
The Tax Court of Canada Firm of the Year has shown tenacity and no little skill in high-profile litigation in the court this year, including the Spruce Credit Union and CBS Canada Holdings cases.
US Tax Court Firm of the Year
Mayer Brown showed the disputes expertise that taxpayers such as Eaton Corporation, Boston Scientific and Tyco have come to rely on.
SKATT performed outstanding work for clients in areas such as restructuring, VAT analysis and litigation.
Americas Tax Innovator of the Year
Deloitte was out front in showing how combining tax technical knowledge with technology can bring real benefits for taxpayers.
International Law Firm of the Year
DLA Piper excelled this year across a range of industries and practice areas, including tax controversy and transfer pricing.
Americas Tax Policy Firm of the Year
The influence of Deloitte showed in its contribution to legislative and administrative developments in North and South America.
Americas Banking Tax Deal of the Year
Baker Botts (pictured) and Davis Polk & Wardwell
The firms that worked on the Americas Banking Tax Deal of the Year showed their prowess in the work done to achieve the separation and tax-free spin-off of Sallie Mae’s loan management, servicing and asset recovery business from its consumer banking business.
Americas Capital Markets Tax Deal of the Year
Financing of Fortis’s $2.5 billion acquisition of UNS Energy Corporation
Davies Ward Philips & Vineberg; Paul Weiss Rifkind & Garrison; Stikeman Elliott
The firms that collaborated in the work for the financing of Fortis’s $2.5 billion acquisition of UNS Energy Corporation worked closely and efficiently together to achieve the best result for the client.
Americas Consumer Products Tax Deal of the Year
Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus
Bingham; Fenwick & West (pictured); Goodwin Procter
Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus required expert advice from firms that were experienced tax practitioners in a fast-growing industry.
Americas Financial Services Tax Deal of the Year
Sale by State Farm and related affiliates of Canadian insurance and other financial services operations
Gowlings, Taxand Canada; Mayer Brown; McCarthy Tetrault; Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom
The series of asset conveyances, share transfers and licensing and reinsurance transactions, involving a number of jurisdictions, that went into the Americas Financial Services Tax Deal of the Year called for the expertise of firms that were well versed in these areas.
Americas Energy Tax Deal of the Year
LNG regasification and storage floating plant in Montevideo
Guyer & Regules; Ferrere
The Americas Energy Tax Deal of the Year was a fine example of where firms added specific knowledge of one area, to help the taxpayer achieve its objectives.
Americas Joint Venture Tax Deal of the Year
Cameron / Schlumberger OneSubsea joint venture
Baker Botts; Mayer Brown Tauil & Chequer; Cravath Swaine & Moore
The firms that worked on the Americas Joint Venture Tax Deal of the Year showed how a complex and innovative joint venture in the oil & gas sector could be achieved.
Americas M&A Tax Deal of the Year
Endo International’s acquisition of Paladin
Davies Ward Philips & Vineberg; EY; KPMG; Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom; Torys
The winning firms in the Americas M&A Tax Deal of the Year contributed substantial expertise to the completion of a transaction that had tax complexity at every level.
Americas Media & Entertainment Tax Deal of the Year
Liberty Global’s completion of the acquisition of a 20% stake in VTR entities
The Americas Media & Entertainment Tax Deal of the Year required knowledge of a wide number of areas including capital markets, derivatives and indirect transfers.
Americas Private Equity Tax Deal of the Year
Acquisition of Noranco
Blake Cassels & Graydon; Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg; Gowlings, Taxand Canada; Kirkland & Ellis
The advice provided for the Americas Private Equity Tax Deal of the Year showed an ability to analyse the optimum tax planning to realise the maximum after-tax proceeds.
Americas Tax Restructuring Deal of the Year
Restructuring of OGX Group
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Mattos Filho Veiga Filho Marrey Jr e Quiroga (pictured)
The firms that were part of the Americas Tax Restructuring Deal of the Year demonstrated expertise in areas such as judicial reorganisation in a transaction where the tax issues were critical to its success.
Americas Technology & Communications Deal of the Year
Sale of Dell
Debevoise & Plimpton; Weil Gotshal & Manges; Simpson Thacher
The Americas Technology & Communications Deal of the Year highlighted the tax advice of firms in a transaction where many differing interests needed to be looked after.
Latin America In-house Tax Team of the Year
The Latin America In-House Tax Team of the Year played a central role in a transaction that changed aspects of how its industry operates.
North America In-house Team of the Year
The winner of the North America In-House Team of the Year had an intense, but successful year, being part of at least two high-profile deals in its industry.
North America Tax Disputes Firm of the Year
The North America Tax Disputes Firm of the Year award went to a firm that showed itself to be highly original and effective with its advice to clients in conflict with the tax authorities.
Latin America Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
PwC came to the fore throughout the continent with innovative advice on business restructuring, in particular.
North America Indirect Tax Firm of the Year
Gowlings, Taxand Canada
The North America Indirect Tax Firm of the Year showed an impressive ability to deliver robust and accurate advice on topics such as assessments and disclosure.
Latin America Tax Disputes Firm of the Year
Taxand was a firm that showed rare ability to cover a number of difficult issues of disagreement with the tax authorities in a range of jurisdictions.
North America Tax Firm of the Year
Shearman & Sterling
Shearman & Sterling contributed to the tax objectives of clients in a range of industries including banking & financial services, technology and private equity and on a range of topics such as M&A and dispute resolution.
Latin America Indirect Tax Firm of the Year
Deloitte covered a range of issues in an accessible and productive manner for clients.
North America Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year
The winner of the North America Transfer Pricing Firm of the Year showed many examples of its prowess in areas such as documentation, dispute resolution and the use of technology.
Latin America Tax Firm of the Year
EY showed itself to be a tax power-house throughout the region, enabling clients to access the most appropriate advice and results.