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Overview

Michelle achieves significant savings for her clients through effective planning, defending against assessments, and pursuing refund claims.

Michelle represents businesses ranging from small ventures to some of the world’s largest companies in a variety of state and local tax matters, including strategic planning, transactions, audits, administrative appeals, and litigation. Michelle negotiates matters to amicable resolutions whenever possible but stands ready to litigate whenever necessary, always with an eye on the most cost-effective solutions. She routinely navigates issues involving nexus, apportionment, sales and use tax, B&O tax, real estate transfer taxes and other excise taxes and fees. Her litigation experience involves some of the largest property tax disputes in Washington history. 

Michelle authors a column for State Tax Notes called “Skookum Tax News” that covers developments in the Pacific Northwest and co-authors the Washington and Alaska chapters of the ABA Property Tax Deskbook and the Washington State taxes chapter of the Washington Lawyers Practice Manual. National publications frequently quote her as an authority on state and local tax matters. She is a frequent speaker, including at events hosted by the Council on State Taxation, Washington Society of CPAs, Institute for Professionals in Taxation, American Bar Association, Seattle Chapter of the Appraisal Institute, and others.

She also represents financial institutions in the area of commercial transactions. Michelle negotiates, documents, and restructures complex loan transactions. Her experience includes loans involving real estate (including properties subject to partition disputes), vessels, aircraft, and leaseholds, as well as transactions involving borrowers and guarantors with tax-credit investment structures, multiple entities and trusts, and nonprofit organizations.

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
    • Taxation Section
      • State and Local Taxes Committee
      • CLE Committee Liaison
    • Gross Receipts and Miscellaneous Taxes Subcommittee, Co-chair 
    • Ad Valorem Taxes Subcommittee, Co-chair
    • Retroactive Tax Legislation Task Force, Co-chair
  • American Property Tax Counsel, Washington and Idaho
  • Association of Washington Business Tax & Fiscal Policy Council, Member
  • Council on State Taxation, Practitioner Partner
  • Institute for Professionals in Taxation, Certified Member of the Institute (CMI)
    • IPT Annual Conference Property Tax Program, Chair, 2018 
    • ABA/IPT Advanced Property Tax Seminar Committee, IPT Co-Chair, 2017-2018 
    • IPT Northwest Regional Property Tax Seminar Committee, Chair, 2016 
  • International Association of Assessing Officers Associate, Member
  • King County Bar Association, Member
  • Oregon State Bar, Taxation Section, Member
  • Washington State Bar Association, Taxation Section
    • Chair, 2012-2014
    • State and Local Tax Committee
      • Chair, 2014-2015
    • CLE Program

Community Activities

  • Seattle Opera
    • BRAVO! Club, Board of Directors, 2008-2010
    • Volunteer Attorney, 2013-present
  • Seattle Opera Foundation, 2010-2013
  • Wayfind, 2010-2015

Experience

Experience

Blog Posts

News & Insights

Publications

Speaking Engagements

Upcoming

Past Appearances

Legal Alerts

Admissions

  • Washington, 2010
    Alaska, 2015
    Idaho, 2014
    Montana, 2017
    Oregon, 2013
    U.S. Supreme Court, 2016

Education

  • LL.M., Taxation, University of Washington School of Law, 2010
  • J.D., University of Washington School of Law (with honors),  2009
    • Order of the Coif
    • Articles Editor, Washington Law Review
  • M.S., Universidad de Los Andes, 2005
  • B.A., Seattle University (summa cum laude), English, 1998

Honors & Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America© Tax Law, 2019
  • Rising Star, Washington Super Lawyers, 2018-2019

Languages

  • Spanish
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