Phoenix legal hires new tax head

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Aseem Chawla has joined Phoenix Legal as a partner and head of its tax practice. Chawla merged his firm, ASC Legal, with Phoenix Legal in New Delhi.

ASC Legal focused on direct and indirect tax advisory and litigation work, private client advisory and cross-border regulatory and compliance advisory services. As a tax specialist and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Chawla has nearly two decades of experience.

Aseem Chawla
Aseem Chawla

Speaking to India Business Law Journal, Chawla said he had received a number of offers from different firms but chose to join Phoenix Legal because of “the entrepreneurial and extremely transparent approach of its senior leadership”. In addition to shaping the firm’s tax practice, Chawla also hopes to enhance its private client and white-collar practice.

“We are delighted to welcome Aseem and his talented team to the Phoenix Legal family,” said co-founding partner Manjula Chawla. “This development significantly broadens and deepens our tax practice. This step is also relevant in the context of the continued efforts of the government of India to ease the doing of business in India and in particular, the shift to fiscal neutrality through the imminent GST [goods and services tax] regime.”

Sharing his thoughts on GST, Chawla said that while large corporate groups have tried to prepare themselves for the change, “barely a fraction of small companies are GST-ready. Out of an estimated 8 million registered businesses under the current GST regime, around 90% are small and medium enterprises”.

A smooth transition to GST, he said, would depend on some key elements including adhering to “a high number of compliances, educating and training employees and vendors, aligning supply chain management, and adjusting to the needs of working capital and cash flow requirements”.