Bird & Bird establishes international tax disputes practice with appointment of two partners and team from PwC

02 February 2017

Bird & Bird has today launched an international tax disputes practice based in the UK, with the appointment of a team from PricewaterhouseCoopers ('PwC'). 

Andy Brown and Julian Balson join as partners, along with Ben Holloway as Legal Director, and Tom Jaggar and Chris Young as Associates.

Tax is a key commercial issue for all businesses, including those challenged by technology and the digital world. In an industry of increased regulation, protecting against and effectively resolving tax disputes is key.

The launch of a specialist tax disputes team fulfils the strategy of Bird & Bird's International Dispute Resolution group to be leaders in cross-border and complex disputes in all of the firm's sectors.

Andy, Julian and the team have experience in all forms of tax disputes, but their most recent work at PwC focused on advising on matters related to tax avoidance and evasion, the associated disclosure regimes and protecting and defending against the risk of HMRC investigation and prosecution. Their practice complements a number of Bird & Bird sector areas, including food and beverage, IT, sports and finance sectors as well as our practice areas.

This provides an excellent opportunity for the firm to bolster the existing tax practice, which in the UK is advisory focussed. This, in combination with our cooperation agreement with transfer pricing specialist Questro, will allow the firm to provide advice to UK and international clients on a very large spectrum of tax related issues.

Andy Brown is recognised as one of the leading tax disputes practitioners in the UK, specialising in tax investigations and high profile tax disputes. Andy was named as one of the Tax Journal 40 under 40 leading tax specialists in the UK in 2012 and has featured in the Global Tax Controversy Leaders Guide as a UK leader for a number of years, including the 2016 edition.

Julian Balson is an experienced tax disputes solicitor who has had key technical leadership roles in a number of the most prominent UK tax investigations and disputes of recent years. He has worked in teams ranked in Legal 500 and Chambers throughout his career and has a particular experience assisting clients with large and complex tax investigations, and heavily contested tax litigation involving allegations of tax fraud.

Ben Holloway is a private wealth tax advisor with 13 years' experience at PwC. Ben is qualified as a barrister and in addition to providing the team with private client tax advisory capability, Ben will also help drive the growth of other parts of the tax disputes practice that involve private wealth clients.

Tom Jaggar is an employed barrister with 6 years' PQE practising tax disputes. Tom was previously an employed barrister with HMRC Solicitor's Office, dealing with all tax disputes and POCA applications.

Chris Young is a practising solicitor with 2 years' PQE practising tax investigations and disputes. Chris has extensive experience advising clients in resolving disputes arising from tax avoidance schemes.

Mathew Oliver, Co-Head of Bird & Bird's International Tax Group says: "There is currently an unprecedented level of change both to the global tax rules, with initiatives such as BEPS, and the UK tax system. In the past couple of years we have also seen a hardening of attitude at government and tax authority level against both real and perceived tax evasion and avoidance. This is putting an increased burden on our clients both in terms of ongoing systems compliance and risk of challenge from the tax authorities. We're therefore pleased to be welcoming a team of tax experts with deep experience in providing solutions for a broad range of clients, from start-ups to MNEs, across a broad range of sectors. We will be able to provide an innovative and comprehensive solution to the problems that many of our clients are facing.

Peter Knight, Co-Head of Bird & Bird's International Dispute Resolution Group says: "The arrival of Andy, Julian and the team will bolster our capabilities in a range of tax disputes, which are particularly in demand for our clients, both domestic and international, whose businesses are being changed by technology and the digital world."