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Overview

Norman Bruns concentrates his practice on state and local taxation with particular emphasis on valuation disputes and other property tax matters in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. His property tax experience includes a wide variety of commercial, industrial and utility properties in cases posing the full range of procedural and substantive issues. Norman also has extensive experience with other state and local taxes, such as income tax, sales/use tax, B&O tax, real estate transfer tax and other excise taxes and fees.

Norman writes and lectures frequently on tax matters. He has been active in committee work with the taxation and ADR sections of the American Bar Association and state bar associations. He has contributed to various programs and projects of the Institute for Professionals in Taxation (formerly the Institute of Property Taxation), the International Association of Assessing Officers, and other professional organizations. He is one of the firm's representatives in American Property Tax Counsel, a national association of leading property tax law firms.

Norman has received formal training in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes and has represented clients in mediating a variety of state and local tax disputes in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Norman is a member of the ADR sections of the American Bar Association, the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) and the King County Bar Association. He is also a member of the WSBA work group that reviewed and commented on the Uniform Mediation Act and the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act for consideration by the Washington Legislature. Norman has organized, moderated and presented educational programs on ADR in property taxation for the Seattle Chapter of the Appraisal Institute, American Property Tax Counsel and the Institute for Professionals in Taxation. He has also served as a judge for University of Washington Law School Mediation Competition and the Seattle University Law School Negotiation Competition.

Reported Cases

  • Banks, et al. v. City of Ocean Shores, Washington Supreme Court No. 88102-1 (counsel for amicus curiae)
  • Tesoro Refining and Marketing Co. v. Department of Revenue, 173 Wash.2d 551, 269 P.3d 1013 (counsel for amicus curiae)
  • Flight Options LLC v. Department of Revenue, 172 Wn.2d 487, 259 P.3d 234 (2011) (counsel for amici curiae)
  • United States Tobacco Sales and Marketing Co. v. Department of Revenue (UST II), Washington Supreme Court No. 77690-3 (settled without opinion)
  • Welch Foods Inc. v. Benton County, 136 Wn. App. 314, 148 P.3d 1092 (2006)
  • Northwest Pipeline Corp. v. Adams County, 132 Wn. App. 470, 131 P.3d 958 (2006) (local counsel)
  • Larson v. Seattle Popular Monorail Authority, 156 Wn.2d 752, 131 P.3d 892 (2006)
  • Advanced Silicon Materials LLC v. Grant County, 156 Wn.2d 84, 124 P.3d 294 (2005)
  • Sheehan v. Central Puget Sound Regional Transit Authority, 155 Wn.2d 790, 123 P.3d 88 (2005) (counsel for amicus curiae)
  • United States Tobacco Sales and Marketing Co. v. Department of Revenue (UST II), 128 Wn. App. 426, 115 P.3d 1080 (2005)
  • Foss Maritime Co. v. City of Seattle, 107 Wn. App. 669, 27 P.3d 1228 (2001)
  • McLane Co. v. Department of Revenue, 105 Wn. App. 409, 19 P.3d 1119 (2001) (counsel for amicus curiae)
  • The Boeing Company v. Gelman, 102 Wn. App. 862, 10 P.3d 475 (2000)
  • United States Tobacco Sales and Marketing Co. v. Department of Revenue (UST I), 96 Wn. App. 932, 982 P.2d 652 (2000)
  • Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Easter, 126 Wn.2d 370, 894 P.2d 1290 (1995)
  • Inter Island Telephone Co. v. San Juan County, 125 Wn.2d 332, 883 P.2d 1380 (1994)
  • State ex rel. Flint Building Co. v. Kenosha County Board of Review, 126 Wis. 2d 152, 376 N.W.2d 364 (Ct. App. 1985)
  • Bystry v. U.S., 596 F. Supp. 574 (W.D. Wis. 1984)
  • Wisconsin Psychiatric Services, Ltd. v. Commissioner, 76 T.C. 839 (1981)
  • Participated in other amicus curiae briefs in various courts, including the United States Supreme Court, on behalf of the Institute for Professionals in Taxation.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully worked on behalf of a large industrial client during multiple years of rapid plant expansions to reach fair property tax values in a very complex situation. Established positive working relationships with state and local taxing authorities at the earliest point in the process and thereby avoided any need for tax appeals.  Built on those relationships in each succeeding assessment year as the expansions progressed.
  • Achieved a large industrial client’s property tax goal by stipulation rather than by taking its appeal through a costly and uncertain hearing.  The taxing authority conceded in full on the strength of pre-hearing briefing that featured industry-specific experience from the state in question and other jurisdictions with analogous precedents.
  • Successfully represented a service business in a state excise tax audit and appeal in which a financially crippling assessment was “settled” without the payment of any additional tax, interest or penalty.
  • Litigated and negotiated settlements for significant property tax appeals on shopping centers pending before the Oregon Tax Court.
  • Obtained property tax exemptions for low-income housing projects, including large refunds for past years.
  • Secured substantial property tax refunds for a marina based on a correction of land-use data.

Professional Activities

  • Washington and Idaho Representative, American Property Tax Counsel, 1995-present
  • Member, Institute for Professionals in Taxation, 1986-present; Legal Committee, 2002-present (Chair, 2002-2014), (Vice Chair of Sales Tax, 2014-2015)
  • Member, American Bar Association Section of Taxation, State and Local Taxes Committee, 1989-present; Chair, Property Tax Subcommittee, 1993-1995; Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, Property Tax Committee; Dispute Resolution Section
  • Member, Tax Section and Alternative Dispute Resolution Section, Washington State Bar Association
  • Member, ADR Section, King County Bar Association
  • Author/editor of many summaries of legal developments for IPT newsletter

News & Insights

Speaking Engagements

  • Breakfast Presentation / Webinar
    Seattle, WA, 5.25.17
  • "Expert Witness Strategies for Success," Fall Real Estate Conference, Seattle Chapter of the Appraisal Institute
    Speaking Engagement
    Seattle, WA, 10.18.16
  • Institute for Professionals in Taxation Northwest Regional Property Tax
    Seminar
    Hillsboro, OR, 8.4.16
  • 2016 Washington Tax Strategies Seminar
    Seminar
    Seattle, WA, 5.19.16
  • "Judge, Jury & Executioner: Explore the Appraiser's Role as Arbitrator," Fall Real Estate Conference, Seattle Chapter of the Appraisal Institute
    Speaking Engagement
    Seattle, WA, 9.30.15
  • 2015 Washington Tax Strategies Seminar
    Seminar
    Seattle, WA, 6.3.15
  • "Intangible Assets in Property Tax Appraisals in the Western States," Fall Real Estate Conference, Seattle Chapter of the Appraisal Institute
    Speaking Engagement
    Seattle, WA, 10.2.14
  • 2014 Washington Tax Strategies Seminar
    Seminar
    Four Seasons Hotel, Seattle, WA, 5.22.14
  • "Valuation Disputes: Rules of the Road at the Intersection of Two Professions," Fall Real Estate Conference, Seattle Chapter of the Appraisal Institute
    Speaking Engagement
    Seattle, WA, 10.10.13
  • Seminar
    Four Seasons Hotel, Seattle, WA, 5.23.13
  • Annual Tax Strategies Seminars, Garvey Schubert Barer, Seattle and Portland
    Speaking Engagement
    1995-present
  • Washington Property Tax Strategies Seminar
    Seminar
    Garvey Schubert Barer, Seattle, WA, 5.12.11
  • Speaking Engagement
    Wichita, KS, 2010
  • Washington State Tax Conference
    Speaking Engagement
    1987, 2000, 2010
  • "Hot Topics in Washington Property Tax," 2010 Washington State Tax Conference
    Speaking Engagement
    Seattle, WA, 5.20.10
  • Seminar
    Garvey Schubert Barer, Seattle Office, 3.17.10
  • The Appraisal Institute Seattle Chapter Real Estate Conference
    Speaking Engagement
    2009, 2010
  • National Business Institute Real Property Seminar
    Speaking Engagement
    2009
  • American Property Tax Counsel Seminars
    Speaking Engagement
    1999, 2000, 2008
  • IPT Property Tax Symposium
    Speaking Engagement
    1989, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008
  • "Sales and Use Tax Overview and Legislative Update," National Business Institute, Minimizing Manufacturer Sales and Use Tax Liability
    Speaking Engagement
    Seattle, WA, 8.17.07
  • American Bar Association / Institute for Professionals in Taxation Advanced Property Tax Seminar
    Speaking Engagement
    1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2004, 2007
  • Washington Property Tax Strategies Seminar
    Seminar
    Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, WA, 5.31.07
  • "Current Developments: Cases and Legislation (Oregon and Washington)," American Bar Association / Institute for Professionals in Taxation Advanced Property Tax Seminar
    Speaking Engagement
    The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, LA, 3.8.07
  • Washington Property Tax Strategies Seminar
    Seminar
    Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, WA, 6.10.04
  • Washington Property Tax Strategies Seminar
    Seminar
    Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, WA, 6.19.03
  • American Bar Association Section of Taxation
    Seminar
    1994, 1996, 2003
  • Washington Property Tax Strategies Seminar
    Seminar
    Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, WA , 6.20.02
  • Washington Property Tax Strategies Seminar
    Seminar
    Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, WA, 6.21.01
  • IPT Annual Conference
    Speaking Engagement
    1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001
  • Washington Property Tax Strategies Seminar
    Seminar
    Chateau Ste. Michelle, Woodinville, WA , 6.22.00
  • AWB Business Tax Seminar
    Speaking Engagement
    1996, 1997, 1998, 1999
  • National Business Institute Property Tax Seminar
    Speaking Engagement
    1995, 1999, 2007
  • Northwest Property Tax Conference
    Speaking Engagement
    1999
  • IAAO Annual Real Estate Tax Seminar
    Speaking Engagement
    1997
  • Lorman Education Services Property Tax Seminar
    Speaking Engagement
    1994, 1997
  • Oregon Tax Research Seminar
    Speaking Engagement
    1994
  • Washington State Association of County Assessors Annual Conference
    Speaking Engagement
    1987, 1994

Admissions

  • Washington, 1986
  • Oregon, 1989
  • Idaho, 1994
  • Alaska, 2015
  • Tulalip Tribes, 2015
  • Wisconsin, 1980 (retired)
  • Florida, 1982 (retired)

Education

University of Michigan Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1980

University of Iowa, B.A., Political Science, with highest distinction, 1976

  • Phi Beta Kappa

Honors | Recognitions

  • Named by peers to Best Lawyers®, in the area of Litigation and Controversy - Tax, Tax Law, 2009-2017
  • Named by Best Lawyers®, Litigation and Controversy – Tax, Seattle, WA, "Lawyer of the Year”;  2014, 2016
  • Special Recognition Award, Institute for Professionals in Taxation, 2012
  • Distinguished Service Award, Institute for Professionals in Taxation, 2004
  • Martindale-Hubbell "AV" Peer Review Rated
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