Maria Nikonova

What she specialises in

Maria specialises in taxation in the pharmaceutical industry and FMCG. She advises on tax risks in sales of medicines, the conduct of clinical trials, the promotion of medicines and food supplements, as well as on other issues of pharmaceutical companies’ business. She has a track record of providing legal support to large international and Russian companies when analysing and structuring their operations with a view to maximising their efficiency and minimising risk exposure. 

Maria has frequently litigated on behalf of various companies on tax issues in courts of all levels and before other state bodies.

Her key achievements 

Her professional accomplishments include:
  • representing a pharmaceutical company during a pre-audit analysis on the issue of the representative office’s preparatory and auxiliary activity being reclassified as activity conducted in the interests of third parties (manufacturers of medicines and distributors in the Russian Federation);
  • protecting the interests of a large pharmaceutical holding company during a field tax audit focusing on the structure of intra-group payments;
  • developing a contractual model for selling foreign software (a medical item) in Russia (including accepting payments for updates and additional functionality of the software) taking account of the tax risks and providing support to the client at the stage of implementing this model;
  • providing support during the restructuring of a major Indian pharmaceutical company in Russia;
  • completing a number of mandates that included advice on tax and regulatory issues of cooperation with healthcare professionals for producers of medicines and medical products;
  • providing legal support under a project that involved the tax classification of a contract for arranging clinical trials, as well as developing the line of reasoning and a defence file in case the tax authority decided to file claims;
  • advising on tax and regulatory issues of liaising with patient organisations;
  • completing a series of consulting projects that were focused on tax aspects of promoting medicines and food supplements;
  • supporting the client in the process of preparing for and entering into a contract for the production of medicines.
  • Maria is a columnist in Pharmvestnik Journal. She is one of the organisers of the tax club for pharmaceutical companies.

Maria has authored and co-authored multiple published materials on tax law. She is the author of the monograph “Operation of tax law in time” and the course book “Taxation specifics in sales of consumer goods”. She also co-authored the course book “Fundamental legal principles of indirect taxation”.

She was recognised as the best speaker at the Pharma CFO 2019 forum.

What they say

An impressive track record in resolving tax disputes and outstanding experience of handling large-scale tax disputes, including representation at the level of the Russian Supreme Court (Chambers Europe).
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