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Hayley, a trainee solicitor, shares their experience of completing a rotation in the Tax practice group

Outline of the practice area

Our tax team consists of lawyers based across Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas, which allows us to work with both global and regional tax advisors as a seamless team and give clients consistent and comprehensive advice in developing practical international tax strategies.

The team has extensive experience in advising on M&A tax matters including post-acquisition integration, supply chain management, business process review, distribution, retail and after sales services, in addition to assisting in structuring inbound and outbound investment, procurement centres and contract manufacturing relationships.

During the past two years, the practice group has expanded its range of specialised tax practices which include transfer pricing, wealth planning and private banking. The tax department in Hong Kong also heads Clarson Services Limited which provides secretarial services to clients who have companies registered with the Company Registry in Hong Kong.

Example of the type of work completed / of a deal

In a deal where our team advised a client on its intra-group restructuring which involved various share transfers, distributions, contributions and amalgamation, I assisted with preparing documents such as Sale and Purchase Agreements, Business Transfer Agreements, documents relating to Stamp Duty and gazette publications. In some other cases we acted as tax representative of our client in formulating viable offshore claims, gathering documentary evidence and handling enquires from the Inland Revenue Department (IRD).

As we head Clarson, we are sometimes required to help clients with incorporating a company, or dissolving its existing company by way of liquidation or deregistration, and in this regard I helped with drafting deregistration step plans for different clients depending on their company structure, and preparing the necessary documents such as member resolutions, board resolutions and other forms required to be submitted to the Company Registry (CR).

Our team also works with pro-bono clients, especially tax-exempt charities under section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance, and assist with preparing AGM documents and handling enquires with the IRD. Sometimes I also have ad hoc tasks and need to make phone calls to the CR or IRD to clarify on different issues.

Why is the practice group an exciting place to work/ innovations & exciting things happening in that area

I think tax law is an interesting practice because it is an ever-changing area of law with plenty of variety, involving businesses and individuals globally. Tax laws are constantly changing to keep up with the status-quo, especially with the international taxation challenges arising from the digitising economy (e.g. in early June the G7 members reached a preliminary agreement that businesses should be subject to a global minimum profits tax at a rate of at least 15% in each of the countries they operate).

It involves studying and analysing how such changes affect the client’s existing business structures and thereby giving clients tax-efficient and comprehensive advice. Tax law is inherently collaborative in the sense that we may have to work alongside corporate and other lawyers specializing in niche areas, and the fact that each jurisdiction have its own tax system makes collaboration even more important when delivering tax-planning advices.

Being able to work on different types of tasks, such as drafting general tax advice to structuring an acquisition in a share or asset deal, means there are always something new to learn in this area of law.

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