For over 26 years, James has focused on state and local tax issues including state and city sales, use, gross receipts, privilege, excise and severance taxes, as well as income, luxury, tobacco, real, and personal property taxes. Before entering private practice, James served as Chief Auditor for the Transaction Privilege (Sales) and Use Tax Division of the Arizona Department of Revenue. He has advised and represented clients of all sizes and from many industries in a wide range of tax matters. During his time at the Department of Revenue, James argued and settled cases for the Department, advised the Director on tax policy issues as a member of the Uniformity Committee, and acted as liaison to the Attorney General’s office. As Chief Auditor, he administered Arizona’s sales, use and severance tax audit programs, including the Cities Program, which conducts audits for 74 Arizona municipalities.
James is a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel, was selected by his peers for inclusion in the 27th edition of The Best Lawyers in America© for Real Estate Law, and was named a PHOENIX Magazine Top Lawyer in Tax Law in 2022. He lectures extensively on state and local tax topics, co-authored the chapter regarding the Judicial Review of Taxation in the Arizona Appellate Handbook published by the State Bar of Arizona, writes a column related to Arizona tax issues for State Tax Notes entitled SALT From My Saddle, and authors a column on state and local tax topics for the AZ CPA Magazine entitled A Dash of SALT.
Some of the state and local tax services James provides include: • Amnesty and Voluntary Disclosure Negotiations • Assistance with Controversies (Audits, Appeals, Negotiations & Litigation) • Credits and Incentives • Due Diligence and Planning for Mergers and Acquisitions • Nexus Studies • Personalized In-House Training • Private Taxpayer Rulings • State, County and City Taxes, including Speculative Builder Taxes • Tax Policy Assistance (Review, Analyze, and/or Draft Proposed Legislation) • Tax Reviews (Reverse Audits) and Refund Claims • Transactional Analysis and Strategic Planning.
Associations & Activities
- State Bar of Arizona, Tax Law Section, Past Chair
- State Bar of Arizona, Tax Law Section, Legislative Liaison
- State Bar of Utah, Member
- Arizona Legislature’s Property Tax Appeals Study Committee, Member
- Arizona Tax Research Association, Board Member
- Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants, Arizona Tax Liaison, Tax Legislative Committee, Past Member of Board of Directors
- Arizona State Board of Accountancy, Law Review Advisory Committee, Past Member
- Streamlined Sales Tax Business Advisory Council, Member
- Phoenix Tax Advisory Board, Member
- American College of Tax Counsel, Fellow since 2017
- Boy Scouts of America, Assistant Varsity Coach
- Boy Scouts of America, Former Venturing Crew Advisor
- Dayspring Preschool and Kindergarten, Past Board Member
Awards & Recognition
- The Best Lawyers in America, 2021 – Present, Real Estate Law
- PHOENIX Magazine Top Lawyer in Tax Law (2022)
- Arizona, 1996
- Utah, 1997
News & Publications
The estate tax exclusion has increased to $12.06 million. This is the amount one person can pass gift and estate tax free during their life or upon death. With proper trust provisions, a married couple could pass $24.12 million. The annual amount that can be gifted...
Arizona Federal Court Dismisses Class Action TCPA Case, Relying on US Supreme Court’s Newly-Clarified Definition of an Automatic Telephone Dialing System, Establishing New Precedent in Arizona
Attorneys Karen Stafford and Cassandra Meyer were victorious in their recent Class Action Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA") case. Plaintiff, on behalf of himself and the alleged class, filed suit against a real estate company alleging violations of the TCPA...
Attorneys Debora Verdier and Chrisanne Gultz were victorious in their recent Title VII Gender Discrimination and Defamation case. The case was brought by a retired homicide detective who retired while he was under administrative investigation. The detective claimed he...
Getting married is one of the happiest days of our lives. However, marriage is a legal union as much as it is a romantic one. Therefore, it is important to consider financial and legal implications before tying the knot. Giving consideration to these issues before...
Punching the Clock: Why it is more important than ever that employers evaluate how to track employees’ time worked remotely
Now that more and more people are looking at working remotely at least part-time, it is time for employers to re-examine how they track time, which they are obligated to do under the law. The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) sets federal minimum wage, overtime pay,...
After review of the Biden/Harris campaign literature,1 the Biden/Harris Transition Fact Sheet: List of Agency Actions for Review (January 20, 2021), and the most recent “Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad” (Executive Order January 27,...
Cavanagh Attorneys Mear and Stafford Successfully Ensure a General Contractor’s Duty to a Subcontractor’s Employee is Not Expanded
Summary. The Court of Appeals recently affirmed a trial court’s summary judgment to a general contractor in a negligence and premises liability suit brought by an employee of a painting subcontractor. The Court recognized the limited duty of general contractors under...