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Introduction

Methodology
Tax Controversy Leaders is a guide to the leading tax dispute resolution lawyers and advisers in the world. In addition to highlighting tax professionals, the guide also includes litigators and barristers who may not practise tax on a day-to-day basis.

Inclusion in this guide is based on a minimum number of nominations received. Besides the required number of nominations, entrants must also possess evidence of outstanding success in the past year and consistently positive feedback from peers and clients. Firms and individuals cannot pay to be recommended in Tax Controversy Leaders.

With the increasing realisation that effective dispute resolution is as much about preventing a dispute as it is about managing and resolving one after it arises, the use of advance and real-time negotiations between taxpayers and tax authorities continues to rise.

Facilitating these processes is therefore of the utmost importance. Getting the right advice, from the right people, is essential. When considering a transaction or other business activity which could be open to a tax challenge, it has never been more important to be proactive and ensure you have a strong team of advisers on hand to assist. This guide can help you make sure you are picking the right people.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) – in the form of pre-filing agreements, cooperative compliance, administrative appeals, mediation and arbitration – has continued to prosper as a mechanism that can bring benefits for tax authorities and taxpayers. But ADR regimes around the world differ markedly. Most are in their infancy, and best practices are still being established but, from a taxpayer perspective, ADR-related transparency obligations are the trade-off for developing a more cooperative relationship with the authorities.

Mutual agreement procedure statistics indicate a surge in tax audits and disputes, while instances of triangular cases are also on the rise, implying that national authorities are increasingly staking claim to the same income.

Authorities around the world were already becoming more aggressive before the global financial crisis, particularly in the area of anti-abuse rules, and figures such as the Australian Tax Commissioner winning 75% of cases in 2013 indicate the importance of enlisting the help of quality advisers to reach a satisfactory outcome. Many authorities have also invested in hiring senior private sector professionals, so taxpayers must be prepared to engage with increasingly knowledgeable and technically-skilled personnel.

But this hiring trend goes both ways. Many of the leaders in this guide have experience of working at various national tax authorities. An acute understanding of both sides' approach to controversy and litigation matters means taxpayers can establish a position of comfort and confidence, and with levels of authority aggression in certain jurisdictions reaching new heights, this can be an invaluable asset in your tax dispute defence arsenal.

The practitioners in this fourth edition of Tax Controversy Leaders have experience in all stages of tax controversy and can therefore cater for the full range of taxpayer's dispute resolution needs in each of the 51 jurisdictions covered.

Matthew Gilleard,
Corporate tax editor, International Tax Review

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