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Overview

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

She 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

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

Community Activities

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

Experience

Experience

Blog Posts

News & Insights

Publications

Speaking Engagements

Legal Alerts

Admissions

  • Washington, 2010
  • Oregon, 2013
  • Idaho, 2014
  • Alaska, 2015
  • Montana, 2017
  • United States Supreme Court, 2016

Education

University of Washington School of Law, LL.M., Taxation, 2010

University of Washington School of Law, J.D., with honors, 2009

  • Order of the Coif
  • Articles Editor, Washington Law Review

Universidad de Los Andes, M.S., 2005

Seattle University, B.A., English, summa cum laude, 1998

Languages

  • Spanish
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