Bernard du Plessis

South Africa

150 West Street
Johannesburg, 2196

Tel: +27 83 458 2161
Fax: +27 11 269 7899


Bernard du Plessis is an executive at ENSafrica where he jointly leads the tax department with Peter Dachs. He is a chartered accountant and specialises in advising on international mergers and acquisitions, international fund structuring, private equity, corporate and project finance transactions. He also extensively advises on exchange control implications of international transactions and on tax dispute resolutions.

Bernard’s experience includes advising on global projects, including structuring of complex international commercial transactions, mergers, acquisitions, group reorganizations of international and local listed and unlisted companies, infrastructure projects in various industries such as telecommunication and e-commerce, logistics, finance, mining, construction, and energy.

He has also advised on international private equity transactions and has advised on the establishment of various international investment funds, including in the property and development sectors. Bernard extensively advises on pan-African transactions and has substantial experience on structuring and planning African investment structures and transactions.

Bernard has authored the income tax chapter of Cyberlaw, regarded as a leading book on internet law in South Africa.

We provide expert advice in relation to areas of tax, such as:

  • Structuring of mergers and acquisitions, financing, investment structures, property finance and investment structures and numerous other transactions
  • Corporate restructuring, unbundling, corporate finance activities such as share repurchases, distributions and capital reductions, share buybacks, capital and balance sheet restructuring
  • Project Finance
  • We provide opinions and holistic advice on the interaction between taxation and the legal implementation of transactions
  • Tax due diligence
  • Expansion/mergers/acquisitions into SA by foreign investors, including advice relating to appropriate financing and investment vehicles and related tax issues
  • Foreign expansion/mergers/acquisitions by South African investors, including advice on all related tax and exchange control issues and consulting with foreign advisors in this regard to ensure seamless and comprehensive tax advice
  • Exchange control issues, including preparation and submission of applications and interaction with the South African Reserve Bank
  • Formation of employee incentive schemes
  • Expatriate tax planning and compliance issues
  • Risk mitigation – ensuring compliance such that a SARS payroll audit can be sustained
  • General tax advice – opinions/assistance with all employment related tax issues
  • Advising high net worth individuals in respect of, inter alia, formation of local and foreign trusts, advising on tax and exchange control matters and advice in respect of estate planning
  • VAT compliance reviews, advice and support
  • VAT training
  • VAT litigation and alternative dispute resolution
  • Advice and opinions on the VAT consequences of agreements, transactions and the optimisation of VAT recovery
  • Assistance with VAT system developments and implementation
  • Cash flow planning
  • Optimisation of VAT positioning in African markets
  • Customs and Excise compliance reviews, advice and support
  • Customs and Excise and International Trade training
  • Customs and Excise internal administrative appeals and litigation
  • Advice and opinions on the Customs and Excise consequences of agreements, transactions and business structures
  • Assistance in applying for and defending of unfair trade practice investigations (anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguard) and litigation in this regard
  • Assistance in applying for and defending investigations into customs and excise duty increases or decreases or customs and excise duty refunds, rebates or exemptions, and litigation in this regard
  • Assisting clients to perform functional analyses to determine the transactions which may be exposed
  • Transfer pricing adjustments
  • Undertaking economic analysis to determine arm’s length prices for inter-group transactions
  • Implementation of transfer pricing policies
  • Assisting and advising on SARS audits, investigations and attending to queries
  • Advising on the powers of SARS and ensuring that taxpayers’ rights are upheld
  • Drafting notices of objection and lodging of appeals, where necessary and managing tax litigation
  • Settling disputes with SARS utilising alternative dispute resolution and other available processes
  • Advising on, inter alia, preference share investments, debt instruments, derivative instruments, equity finance transactions and fixed income transactions
  • Advising on all aspects of cross-border financing transactions
  • Advising on funds including hedge funds, private equity funds and property funds
  • Pan-African transaction and investment structuring advice for South African and all foreign businesses
  • Working with our African practice to complete risk reviews of African countries, including political, economic, operational, tax, legal and security risk profiles
  • Providing practical in-country advice, including:
    • Tax and regulatory requirements
    • Efficient in-country legal and operating structures
    • Ongoing tax and regulatory compliance requirements
    • Assistance with queries from foreign tax authorities and other regulatory bodies
    • Advising Asian businesses investing into South Africa and the region
    • Advising South African businesses investing into Asia
    • Consultation and meetings are available in Mandarin
    • Legal agreements and documentation may be translated into Mandarin on request

    In addition to the specialised advisory practice areas listed, we also provide supporting tax services to augment our advice. These include, inter alia, obtaining advance tax rulings from the South African Revenue Service, providing tax compliance services and assistance with implementation of tax advice. We also provide advice in the areas of, inter alia, mining tax, infrastructure, project finance, telecommunications, transport and logistics, sports, entertainment and events, state owned enterprises and public private partnerships.

ENSafrica has established offices and a growing footprint throughout Africa. Its offering to clients is unique, in that it is focused on Africa, and its offices do not operate through a network, nor an alliance, nor a “Swiss Verein”, but as one firm | one team with one brand, made up of people in Africa, working for Africa.

As a law firm based in Africa, ENSafrica has easy access to clients and their markets, and understands the many political, cultural, linguistic and regulatory contexts of African countries.

Whether dealing with the complexity of a multi-jurisdictional project, or the establishment of a start-up business in one African country, ENSafrica’s localised experience and expertise ensures that clients obtain the benefit of scale and scope when doing business in Africa

“A leading tax practice known for its strong bench of advisers and breadth of knowledge. Offers expertise in the tax aspects of various investments and transactions as well as in dispute resolution. Experienced practitioners also handle VAT and transfer pricing matters.”
Chambers & Partners