Baker & McKenzie Supports Tax Conference Led by Prof. van Raad


Moscow, Russia, 9 April 2012 – Baker & McKenzie supported the conference “Russian and International Taxation: New Case Law, Challenges and Solutions” organized by International Tax Associates B.V. in Moscow on 5 April. The conference featured guest-speaker Kees van Raad, professor of international tax law at the University of Leiden (Netherlands).

This top level forum mainly focused on thin capitalization issues. Baker & McKenzie partner Sergei Zhestkov spoke during the opening session titled, “New Approach of Russian Courts and Taxpayers’ Defeat in the Severniy Kuzbass and Naryanmarneftegaz Cases” with Prof. van Raad and other panelists. Participants took part in a discussion about different outcomes in those cases, shared possible alternative arguments of taxpayers, and outlined solutions for taxpayers with similar structures.

“While using cross-border finance, holding, royalty, and other structures it is vitally important to make sure such structures are economically justified, have a proper business reason and substance, and meet the arm’s-length standard. Old tax planning techniques based on formal positions and/or loopholes in the law are no longer sustainable,” said Mr. Zhestkov.

Kees van Raad, Chairman of the International Tax Center Leiden and one of the authors of the official commentary to the OECD Model Tax Convention, gave a European viewpoint on the decisions of Russian courts regarding the Severniy Kuzbass and Naryanmarneftegaz cases. In his opinion, “International tax treaties should be more actively used to protect taxpayers’ interests, including through mutual agreement procedures and arbitration.” Other key topics of the conference included recent tax developments in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

As the most highly rated and most recommended tax adviser among law firms worldwide, Baker & McKenzie’s Russian tax practice group has represented its clients in all phases of tax controversies, seamlessly integrating tax and legal advice. According to Chambers Global 2012, Legal 500 EMEA 2012, and ITR World Tax 2012, Baker & McKenzie continues to be the leading tax adviser in the Russian market. Baker & McKenzie has also been pronounced the leading tax transaction firm in Russia according to the 2012 ITR

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