Our International Tax Controversy & Litigation Expertise

The tax controversy & litigation practice at Nishith Desai Associates has played a key role in some of the most important judgments in the field of international taxation. We are recognized leading players in the field of international tax controversies & litigation and are recognized for our innovative approach to tax structuring and tax controversy & litigation practice.

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

Our tax lawyers have extensive experience and have represented clients on some of the most complex disputes in the field of international taxation. Our skills in resolution of difficult and unique tax controversies involving substantial sums in dispute has been recognized by clients. 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.

Our in-depth understanding of industry verticals such as investment funds, e-commerce, business process outsourcing, media and entertainment etc. coupled with our extensive knowledge of International laws and international tax laws enable us to approach tax disputes in an integrated manner.

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. The team also has solid capabilities in tax litigation. 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:

  • Chambers & Partners has ranked us # 1 for Tax (2012)
  • Legal 500 has ranked us in Tier 1 for Tax (2012).
  • Nishith Desai, recognized as a leader in the field of Tax by Tax Directors Handbook, 2010
  • 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 controversy & litigation practice assists clients on the following:

  • Identification of key tax controversy issues at the time of structuring of the transaction.
  • Providing strategic guidance for approach to potential tax controversies.
  • Preparing submissions before the Tax authorities and the administrative appellate authorities.
  • Representing clients before the Dispute Resolution Authority for matters relating to international taxation.
  • Representing clients before the Authority for Advance Ruling and the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal.
  • Representing clients before the High Courts and the Supreme Court of India and briefing senior counsels where required.

Our Tax controversy & litigation practice has an excellent track record and has represented our clients in a number of landmark judgments before Authority for Advance Rulings and also the Supreme Court of India. These include:

  • 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
  • The first Indian case of beneficial ownership in the context of tax treaties where we successfully represented KSPG recently before the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR).
  • Represented 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.
  • 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 47% of FDI into India flows through Mauritius
  • Successfully defended Morgan Stanley on PE profit attribution in a landmark tax litigation, first before the Authority for Advance Ruling (AAR) and also before the Supreme Court.
  • Represented AIG before the AAR in a landmark ruling where the AAR confirmed that the benefits of the India Mauritius Tax Treaty would be available to an offshore fund set up in Mauritius.
  • We were one of the first to develop the unique jurisprudence governing the taxation of e-commerce in India by obtaining a favourable ruling in the famous Dun and Bradstreet case
  • Other clients we have represented clients before the AAR include Bechtel, General Electric Pension Trust, TCW-ICICI and Fidelity.

Representative Clients

  • Marriott International
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Prudential Pension Ltd.
  • Sumitomo Corporation
  • United Health
  • Vodafone International
  • Abacus
  • Dun & Bradstreet
  • Fidelity Emerging Asia Fund
  • Global Business Institute
  • General Atlantic Partners
  • Kolbenschmidt Pierburg

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