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Senior Foreign Attorney

Tom KWON

International Tax

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Tom is the Co-head of Lee & Ko’s International Tax Practice. He advises Korean and foreign companies, investment funds and other investors on tax matters. He practices primarily in international tax and M&A tax, including inbound and outbound acquisition structuring, financing, reorganization, cross-border transactions and offshore/onshore fund formation and structuring from tax perspective. Tom’s practice also involves advising clients on tax controversies and disputes as well as matters involving investor’s protection.

Tom has over 18 years of international tax experience in Korea and in the U.S. Prior to joining Lee & Ko, Tom was a director in Deloitte’s M&A and International Tax Group. Tom has been involved in many of the major transactions (both buy and sell-side) in Korea for foreign and Korean investors, including private equity funds, since 2008.

Tom also serves and provides tax advice for a number of large Korean financial institutions and other investors in outbound investments into the U.S., Europe and Asia.

In addition, Tom has represented high-net worth Korean individuals with tax compliance and reporting matters in the U.S. as well as Europe.

Prior to a career in tax, Tom worked in the asset management and fund practice at other accounting firms as well as practiced commercial law at a New York law firm.

Tom is a member of the International Bar Association, the International Fiscal Association Korea, the Inter-Pacific Bar Association, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea.

Tom was also the lead writer and editor for the Korean section of the IBFD Permanent Establishment database from 2009 to 2016.
Representative Cases
Representing Biogen, Inc. on the sale of its interest in Samsung Bioepis, a biosimilar JV, to Samsung Biologics.
Advised a United Arab Emirates state-owned holding company with respect to its investment in Korean real property.
Representing LG Household & Health Care with respect to claim for tax refund of withholding tax on the purchase of Johnson & Johnson Inc.'s oral care business in North America and Europe.
Represented Office Depot Inc. with respect the tax audit on the sale of its Korean subsidiary to Excelsior Capital Asia
Represented Gate Energy on the tax audit related to its supply of engineering services to Hyundai Heavy Industries and Samsung Heavy Industries.
Represented Shinhan Financial Group on the application for refund of withholding tax in the U.S.
Advised AIG with respect to its tax insurance product related to the IPO sale of Hyundai Rotem shares by Morgan Stanley Private Equity.
Represented SK E&C, a large Korean construction engineering company, with respect to sale of its partnership interest in a U.S. joint venture to Korea Midland Power Co.
Represented France-based Saint-Gobain, on the carve-out, spin-off and sale of its commercial glass business to Glenwood, a Korean private equity firm.
Represented BPEA Real Estate on the establishment of a Korean real estate fund.
Advised PAG real estate fund in relation to the tax issues related on the sale of large commercial building in Seoul.
Represented Headland Capital Partners in relation to application for refund of capital gains tax from its divestment from Youngtoys, Inc. and SK Shipping Co.
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Education
1994 U. Penn Law School - J.D.
1990 Columbia University (College) - B.A.
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Work Experience
2016-Present Lee & Ko
2008-2016 Deloitte Anjin LLC
2004-2008 Deloitte Tax LLP
2003-2004 PwC
1999-2003 Ernst &Young LLP
1994-1996 Sacks Montgomery P.C.
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Admissions
1995 Admitted to Bar, New York
1999 AICPA, New York
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Languages
Korean and English
Publications / Presentations / ETC
Recent Korean Tax Law Changes Will Increase Tax Burdens for Investors in Korean Residential Real Estate (IBA Taxes Committee e-bulletin, February 2021)
Establishing a Business in Korea (Co-author) (Thomson Reuters Practical Law Establishing a Business Guides, February 1, 2021)
South Korea Trends in Transfer Pricing (Co-author) (Bloomberg Tax, November 16, 2020)
South Korea Trends in Permanent Establishment (Co-author) (Bloomberg Tax, October 21, 2020)
Korean Tax Reform: Opportunities and Challenges for Foreign Companies and Investors (Co-author) (Tax Planning International Asia-Pacific Focus, Bloomberg Tax, April 2018)
Tax on Corporate Lending and Bonds Issues in South Korea (Co-author) (Thomson Reuters Practical Law Tax on Transactions Global Guide, April 1, 2018)
Korean National Assembly Approves Tax Law Amendments for 2018 (Co-author) (Wirtschaftsmagazin KORUM published by Korean-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, February 2018)
Beneficial Ownership for Foreign Funds in Korea: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back (Tax Planning International Asia-Pacific Focus, Bloomberg Tax, December 2017)
Permanent Establishments: Korea (Rep.) Chapter (IBFD, 1 September 2016)
Tax Considerations of Pre-deal Restructuring: Adding Value to Your Strategy (Deloitte M&A Tax Dbriefs, 31 May 2016)
Korean Ministry of Strategy and Finance releases the long-awaited ruling regarding the application of tax treaty benefits to PEF (Deloitte Tax Alert, January 2016)
Korea: VAT to apply to digital services provided by foreign service providers (Deloitte World Tax Advisor, 15 June 2015)
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