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South Korea > Leading tax law firms

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  1. South Korea – Leading tax law firms
  2. South Korea - TDH500
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South Korea - TDH500

  1. 1
    • Je Heum Baik - Kim & Chang
    • Dong Soo Kim - Yulchon
    • Seung Soon Lim - Yoon & Yang LLC
    • Jay Shim - Lee & Ko

Kim & Chang’s substantial practice covers the full range of tax services, including tax planning, M&A, applications for tax exemptions, applications for tax rulings, transfer pricing studies and tax litigation. In 2016 the team handled a number of contentious matters in the energy sector, including Je Heum Baik successfully acting for SK Energy and SK Incheon Petrochem in an appeal to the Korean Tax Tribunal seeking cancellation of customs duty and surcharge impositions. Baik was also active in the VAT space, where he achieved a favourable result for eBay Korea in the Supreme Court in a case relating to whether coupons should be excluded from the VAT base. On the non-contentious side, Tae-Yeon Nam assisted a taxpayer with obtaining a letter of confirmation of transfer pricing adjustment from the Korean tax authorities. Woo Hyun Baik and Byung Moon Jung head the department.

Notable areas of expertise at Lee & Ko include outbound transfer pricing issues and inheritance tax disputes and the practice continued to develop its offering with a number of hires including former commissioner of the Korea Customs Service Young Sun Yoon. Recent highlights include Byeong Jun Son, Myung Sub Kim, and Kyung Tae Kim successfully representing Lotte Shopping in the Supreme Court in a case relating to the cancellation of VAT on mileage purchase transactions, and practice head Jay Shim leading a team that secured a favourable result for NTP in a case that decided the issue of whether settlements paid for potential intellectual property infringements should be treated as royalties for tax purposes. The team was also busy in the non-contentious space, where mandates included advising on the tax aspects of aircraft purchase and real estate investment in the US. Other key figures include Sang Kie Lee and Jangwoon John Kwak.

Yulchon is ‘very strong in tax advice and tax litigation’ and is particularly recommended ‘for tax advice in relation to banking products or transactions’. Highlights included practice co-head Dong Soo Kim, Sang Woo Song and Min Kyu Lee advising Hyundai Merchant Marine on the tax aspects of its $1.4bn restructuring. The team is also highly proficient in advising on M&A transactions and Kim and Lee acted for Mirae Asset Securities on its purchase of 43% of the shares in Daewoo Securities. In the contentious space, Kim successfully led a team that included ‘renowned’ practice co-head Seok Hoon Kang, Jeong Cheol Cho and Young Joon Chun in a Supreme Court case seeking cancellation of the VAT assessment for Korea Rail Network Authority. Senior foreign counsel Soo-Jeong Ahn, who leads on international tax matters, impresses with her ‘specialist knowledge regarding US tax laws’, and practice co-head and managing partner Sai Ree Yun is also noted.

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC is lauded for its ‘high-level business knowledge and acumen’ and the practice is well known for defending corporates in major tax assessments. Practice co-head Il Young Cho, Cheol Hyung Yu, and Pil Yong Kim acted as co-counsel to Korea Railroad in a case against the tax authorities concerning a corporate income tax refund arising from a development project that was cancelled. The team is also a popular choice for appeals before the Tax Tribunal, and practice co-head Dong Hyun Kim, alongside Seung-Wan Chae and Hakrae Cho, is representing KG Group in various tax appeals. On the non-contentious side, the practice draws on a team of accountants to advise clients such as Qualcomm on transfer pricing issues. Other key figures include public accountant Tae Kyoon Kim, who wins praise for his ‘very logical and systematic approach’, and practice co-head Wu Cheol Song.

At Shin & Kim, practice heads Choon Cho and Hyeon-Jin Kim advise on tax litigation and transactions involving M&A, real estate, business succession, labour, finance and general corporate matters. Cho and Kim were part of a team that acted as co-counsel to Korea Railroad in a case against the tax authorities concerning a corporate income tax refund relating to a development project that was cancelled; and on the non-contentious side, Kim advised Samsung SDI on whether the lease of logistics properties would trigger a reassessment of tax liabilities. Hee-Chan Byun obtained a favourable result for Korea South-East Power in a case that considered whether assets acquired at the end of a government innovation project should be included in Korea South-East Power’s gross income.

Yoon & Yang LLC was active in a large number of tax disputes. Managing partner Seung Soon Lim, practice head Oh-Young Jeon, Tae-Hwan Oh and Yong Taek Kim successfully representing CS Wind in a tax appeal against additional corporate tax imposed on the company; and the same team also acted for a high-net worth individual in a case arising from the Tax Authority’s imposition of additional tax following the non-report of gift tax. The practice is regularly instructed on cross-border mandates and Oh-Young Jeon and Wan Kyu Jeon secured a tax refund for Haitai Confectionery & Foods following the payment of additional corporate tax pertaining to the company’s acquisition of shares in a Belgian corporation. Other disputes handled related to VAT and customs.

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