The Firm’s tax practitioners advise extensively on income, corporation and petroleum taxation, the mitigation of withholding tax and the effect of the various double taxation treaty arrangements entered into between Trinidad and Tobago and other sovereign states. Apart from income related taxes the Firm also advises extensively on value added tax and stamp duties.
The tax team also plays a significant role in advising potential foreign investors and industrial enterprises on capital allowances, fiscal incentives, tax savings plans and mitigating structures including free zones status that are in place to encourage industrial and commercial development in Trinidad and Tobago. The Firm continues to maintain its strong relationships with the tax departments of accounting firms and often jointly advises clients with its tax accounting colleagues as part of an over-all tax team, particularly in the case of foreign direct investment projects and contentious tax appeals.
The Firm has an active and far-reaching tax litigation practice where it represents clients appealing assessments before the Tax Appeal Board and the Court of Appeal. Clients have been represented by the Firm in contentious appeals on a wide range of tax questions including matters relating to withholding tax liability, PAYE and health surcharge deductions, carry forward of and transfer of tax losses, fiscal incentives, value added tax issues, deductibility of expenses, wear and tear claims, sale transactions involving tax exempt income streams and many other tax matters.
The members of the Firm’s tax team recognize that the expeditious settlement of tax claims is often the more efficient and cost effective alternative to proceeding to trial and they maintain a good working relationship with the personnel at the Board of Inland Revenue. This approach allows its members, to assist the Firm’s clients in engaging in open and productive settlement negotiations that often lead to acceptable settlement agreements prior to trial.
The Firm’s clients in this area include, among others, multinational upstream oil and gas companies, oil and gas service companies, shipping concerns, local conglomerates, industrial operators, engineering concerns, automotive companies, equipment manufacturers, banks and restaurant franchisors.
| Jon Paul Mouttet, Partner