Introduction to the International Tax Practice

Nishith Desai Associates' international tax team plays an integral role in the firm's cross-border practice and is particularly recognized for its innovative approach to tax structuring. Our tax lawyers have extensive experience and we are known for our strategic and creative tax planning and structuring advice, particularly in relation to cross-border transactions. We are also recognized for our skills in resolution of difficult and unique tax controversies. Nishith Desai, the founder of the firm, is himself a leading tax lawyer and has been ranked No. 28 in a global top 50 "Gold List" by Tax Business, a UK-based international tax journal.

"National leaders in the field."
– Legal 500, 2012

"Competitors acknowledge that it is difficult to compete with this firm's knowledge and experience of international tax."
– Chamber & Partners, 2010

"The lawyers are very plugged into the environment and know the legal system, which is not a small task,' reports an impressed client."
– Chamber & Partners, 2010

Our Expertise

We advise clients in structuring complex transactions and developing unique business models, many of which have become industry benchmarks. Additionally, with a view to securing our clients world-wide interests and generating viable solutions, we also work with most leading law firms around the world so as to provide a truly global experience. A majority of our clientele is located in the US and Europe and include a number of Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, leading Indian corporate houses, investment funds besides private clients.

Our in-depth understanding of industry verticals such as investment funds, e-commerce, business process outsourcing, media and entertainment, banking and insurance, infrastructure, real-estate and hospitality, bio technology and life sciences enable us to anticipate and target tax issues in advance.

Our emphasis on research and continuous learning has stood us in good stead, with our people being recognized and felicitated for our thought leadership. Our firm members have thrice in the last four years has won the global competition for dissertations in International Taxation at the International Bar Association.

"Nishith Desai Associates' strong research focus means that it is able to provide innovative solutions to complex tax concerns. Nishith Desai is a doyen in the international tax arena and wins accolades for being one of the greatest minds in the market. He is an international tax pioneer in India and inspires confidence in others"
– Chambers & Partners, 2012

Some of our accolades include:

  • Nishith Desai Associates has been declared as the Most Innovative Indian Law Firm (2014/2015) at the Innovative Lawyers Asia-Pacific Awards by the Financial Times - RSG Consulting.
  • Nishith Desai Associates has been declared as the Second Most Innovative Asia - Pacific Law Firm (2014) at the Innovative Lawyers Asia-Pacific Awards by the Financial Times - RSG Consulting.
  • Nishith Desai Associates has been recognized as a Recommended Tax Firm in India by World Tax 2015 (International Tax Review’s directory).
  • Chambers & Partners has ranked us # 1 for Tax (2015/2014/2013/2012/2011).
  • Legal 500 has ranked us in Tier 1 for Tax (2015/2014/2013/2012/2011).
  • IBLJ (India Business Law Journal) has awarded Nishith Desai Associates for Private equity & venture capital, structured finance & securitization, TMT and Taxation in 2014.
  • Nishith Desai, Founder of Nishith Desai Associates, voted 'External Counsel of the Year 2009' by Asian-Counsel and Pacific Business Press
  • Named by Pacific Business Press as the Asian-Counsel Firm of the Year 2009 for the practice areas of Private Equity and Taxation
  • Awarded by Indian Business Law Journal - India Law Firm Award 2009 for Tax
  • Listed in Practical Law Company's (PLC) Which Lawyer? Yearbook 2009 as the leading firm in Taxation
  • Nishith Desai, Founder, ranked No. 28 in a global Top 50 "Gold List" by Tax Business, a UK-based international tax journal

Scope of Services

Our international tax practice work includes representation on a variety of complex cross-border and domestic transactions encompassing areas such as:

  • Structuring cross-border mergers and acquisitions
  • Financing transactions
  • Restructuring of investments
  • Advising on transnational joint ventures and collaborations
  • India entry and exit strategies
  • Globalization of Indian enterprises abroad
  • Issues relating to treaty interpretation such characterization of income and permanent establishment concerns
  • Transfer pricing issues

Our in-depth understanding of industry verticals such as investment funds, e-commerce, business process outsourcing, media and entertainment, banking and insurance, infrastructure, real-estate and hospitality, bio technology and life sciences enable us to anticipate and target tax issues in advance.

The following are a few of our notable work highlights:

  • Creation of the first India-centric fund investment structure amongst others, most of which have now become industry standards for inbound investments into India. The structures are primarily tax driven but also address a number of complex cross-border legal and regulatory issues.
  • Recently advised a leading international banking corporation in the development of unique cross border structured financial products by applying advanced tax planning strategies and complex tax treaty interpretation.
  • Formulated the business process outsourcing model for Morgan Stanley which has become an industry standard. We also successfully defended the structure before the Indian Supreme Court in a landmark decision.
  • Developed a complex business model for a multinational pharma company in connection with its India based contract research, development, manufacturing and export operations on a global basis. The structure addressed complex licensing, permanent establishment, residency, transfer pricing and connected indirect tax issues.
  • Structured the entry of multinationals such as Marriott International and Frasers Hospitality into the Indian hospitality industry and development of an innovative business model for projects around India.
  • Assisted in the globalization strategies of various Indian multinationals investing abroad.

In addition, we have an extensive international tax controversy practice wherein we have represented our clients in a number of landmark judgments before Authority for Advance Rulings and also the Supreme Court of India. These include

  • Representing Nicholas Applegate in structuring a hedge fund through the use of the Protected Cell Company model and successfully defending the structure before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. This has been recognized by the International Tax Law Review for its unique contribution to the limited jurisprudence around the world on the legal and tax implications of the protected cell company structure.
  • Advising Vodafone International Holdings BV in our capacity as special counsel to provide high-end strategic, tactical and legal advice in connection with its USD 2 billion tax dispute
  • We successfully represented KSPG recently before the Authority for Advance Ruling in the first case on the concept of beneficial ownership in the Indian context.
  • Successfully defended Morgan Stanley on PE profit attribution in a landmark tax litigation before the Supreme Court.
  • The Azadi Bachao Andolan, where we successfully defended the "Mauritius route" and which has been regarded as one of the most influential decisions shaping the evolution of international tax jurisprudence in India. Today, nearly 44% of FDI into India flows through Mauritius

Representative Clients

  • Bessemer Venture Partners
  • EBS Service Company Ltd.
  • Frasers Hospitality
  • Fidelity Emerging Asia Fund LLC
  • HSBC
  • Horizon Technology Partner
  • IKEA
  • ICICI Ventures Ltd.
  • J P Morgan Chase
  • Kolbenschmidt Pierburg
  • Merck & Co.
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Marriott International
  • Providence Equity Partners
  • Prudential Pension Ltd.
  • Standard Chartered Bank Plc.
  • Sequoia Capital
  • United Health
  • VaxInnate Corporation
  • Visa Inc.
  • Vodafone International


Mission and Vision


Distinctly Different


Webinars

Bilateral Investment Claims against India: The Antrix Devas Saga decoded
October 25, 2016

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Seminar

Lifecycle of India Focused Funds
June 08, 2017

Round Table

Effective dispute resolution and fraud risk management: Bridging the gap between vision and reality
April 12, 2017

This event is over. For event material please click here

Want to work with us?


HIRING Now!!

Inviting Top Talent for our Corporate, Funds and International Tax Practices

Strong credentials in Corporate Law (in particular M&A or Fund Investment), Fund Formation or International Tax? Now’s the time to apply. We’re looking for the industry's best talent with scope to do extraordinary work for the world’s best, marquee clients. Reach out for a great career in a great place!

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