Virusha Subban

Virusha Subban


Virusha is a partner and head of Tax in Baker McKenzie's Tax Practice Group in Johannesburg. She has over 20 years' experience in tax matters relating to customs, excise and international trade.

Practice Focus

Virusha runs a niche practice that is focused on customs, excise and international trade. This offering is primarily to large corporates, multinationals and state departments that come to her to solve their most complex cross-border indirect tax and trade concerns. Her expertise extends to export controls, dual-use, cross-border trade matters such as anti-dumping and other trade remedies, and a cradle-to-grave offering on all aspects of customs and excise.

Virusha's expertise includes all customs-related risks in the context of cross-border transactions in Africa. She also conducts customs reviews and health checks, and provides training to companies that wish to avert customs and excise risk. 

She has extensive experience in supply chain movement and trade remedies on the continent, having advised clients on cross-border movement of goods into Nigeria, Angola, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Eswatini, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Rwanda, Kenya, Mauritius and South Africa.

Representative Legal Matters

  • Advised South African Breweries/ AB InBev as lead lawyer that successfully challenged the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in a ZAR 1.5 billion+ excise dispute.*
  • Advised and represented the Brazilian chicken export industry in an anti-dumping investigation into frozen chicken exports to Southern African Customs Union (SACU).*
  • Advised and represented a client in obtaining a substantial reduction of a ZAR 1 billion customs penalty imposed by Namibian customs.*
  • Advised the largest entity and industry group on the implementation of sugar tax in South Africa.*
  • Advised the South African government on cross-border import regulatory and dumping issues.*
  • Advised a US motor vehicle manufacturer on Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP) and Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) matters.*
  • Advised and represented a multinational in the consumer goods and retail sector in a ZAR 1.8 billion+ customs valuation dispute.
  • Advised a large company on the implementation of carbon tax in South Africa.
  • Advised Adidas in a complex customs valuation dispute in South Africa.
  • Advised Amazon Web Services on customs import and export control issues in South Africa and Mauritius.

* Experience obtained prior to joining Baker McKenzie

Professional Honors

  • Rated as Highly Regarded in Indirect Tax and Women in Tax, International Tax Review - World Tax (2020 and 2021)
  • Ranked Band 3, Legal 500, South Africa, Tax (2020, 2021 and 2022)
  • Ranked Band 2, Chambers Global, South Africa, Indirect Tax (2018, 2020 and 2021)
  • Recognised, Legal 500, (2018 and 2019)
  • Ranked Band 3, Chambers Global, South Africa, Indirect Tax (2017)
  • Rates as a Leader in Women in Tax, International Tax Review (2015-2017)
  • Winner of Client Choice Guide Award (2014 and 2015) in association with Lexology and International Law Office
  • Rated as a Leader in Indirect Tax, International Tax Review, South Africa (2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017)
  • Included in the prestigious "Spotlight Table" for Indirect Tax, cross-border expertise (Chambers, 2022)

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Law Society of South Africa - Member


  • South Africa (2001)


  • University of Pretoria (Post Graduate Certificate in International Tax) (2007)
  • University of South Africa (LLM) (2004)
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal (BA, LLB) (1999)
  • University of KwaZulu-Natal (Bachelor of Law) (1996)