Michael E. Caryl - Bowles Rice LLP

Michael E. Caryl

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2007
Phone: 304-264-4225

Michael E. Caryl is a senior partner of Bowles Rice, based in the law firm’s Martinsburg office. His primary areas of practice are tax planning and tax controversy work at all levels — federal, state and local.  Mr. Caryl served as West Virginia State Tax Commissioner from 1985 to 1988 and was President of the 12-state Southeastern Association of Tax Administrators, 1987-1988.  In 2009, he was named a West Virginia Bar Foundation Fellow.

Prior to serving as Tax Commissioner, Mr. Caryl practiced tax law with a Martinsburg law firm for ten years.  He has served as chairman of the State Bar Committee on State and Federal Taxation, as President of the West Virginia Tax Institute, Inc. and as the Official Reporter for the West Virginia Law Institute’s 1992 Property Tax Appeals Reform Project. From 1994 through 2002, he served as chairman of the Taxation of Business Committee of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.  In 1995, he was elected a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel.  He served as vice-chair of the Governor’s Commission on Fair Taxation (1997‑1999). He is an Income Tax Affiliate Member of the Institute for Professionals in Taxation (IPT). 

Mr. Caryl is a frequent speaker and writer about various taxation topics, including an article he co‑authored, “Special State Tax Treatment of the Coal Industry,” (11 Eastern Mineral L. Inst. p. 6‑1, Matthew Bender & Co., Inc., 1990).  He also is the author of “The Illusion of Due Process in West Virginia’s Property Tax Appeals System: Making the Constitution’s Promise a Reality” (98 W.Va. Law Review, 1996). He has also authored “No Customers? No Nexus? No Problem?” (Tax Report, Institute for Professionals in Taxation, August, 2011, p. 18); “Griffith v. ConAgra Brands: Due Process Line Found in Shifting Sands of Economic Nexus.” (Tax Report, Institute for Professionals in Taxation, July, 2012, p. 3, w/Floyd M. “Kin” Sayre) -- selected as IPT’s 2012 Income Tax Article of the Year -- and “Combined Reporting in West Virginia: Unanswered Questions and Unfinished Business” (Southeastern Association of Tax Administrators, 62nd Annual Meeting, July 24, 2012).

He taught a course in “State and Local Taxation” as an adjunct lecturer at the West Virginia University College of Law, and he has served on the faculty of the Institute for International Training, Trade and Development, Inc. at Shepherd University, in connection with its Russian Tax Officials Training Program. 

Since 2007, Mr. Cayrl has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America.  He was named Best Lawyers’ 2014 Litigation and Controversy - Tax Lawyer of the Year in the northern West Virginia region. He has received an “AV” peer-review rating from Martindale Hubble, has been named in Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business since 2004 and is listed among West Virginia Super Lawyers. He is a member and past President of the Tri-State Estate Planning Council and a member of the Eastern Panhandle Business Association. 

A 1968 graduate of West Virginia University, Mr. Caryl earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration, magna cum laude. He is a 1974 graduate of the Yale Law School.  He is admitted to practice before the courts of West Virginia (1974) and the District of Columbia (1977), the United States Tax Court (1978), the United States Court of Appeals for Fourth Circuit (1983) and before the United States Supreme Court (1994).

West Virginia UniversityBS 1968Yale Law SchoolJ.D. 1974
Institute for Professionals in Taxation

Case History

Major Economic Development Project - 2007 — Designing, negotiating and defending in court, a payment-in-lieu-of-tax (PILOT) agreement and the related arrangements which were integral components for the development of a $1.8 billion, 700 megawatt merchant electric power generation plant in Monongalia County
Successful Refund Litigation for Health Care Industry - 2001 — Successfully challenging, in litigation, the State’s denial of the sales and use tax exemption for bulk purchases of prescription drugs and appliances which ultimately led to the payment of millions of dollars of refunds to institutional healthcare providers throughout West Virginia. See, Syncor International Corp. v. Commissioner, 542 S.E. 2d 479 (W.Va. 2001).

Successful Challenge to Economic Nexus Assessment - 2012 — Advocating, in a case of first impression, a judicial challenge to the State’s use of “economic nexus” as the basis for imposing corporation income tax on multi-state enterprises. Commissioner v. ConAgra Brands, Inc., 728 S.E.2d 74 (WV 2012) 

Successful Challenge of Excessive Severance (B&O) Tax Assessment -1981 — Successfully challenging, on behalf of natural resource producers, excessive and legally dubious severance privilege tax assessments at both the administrative and judicial levels. See, e.g. Gilbert Imported Hardwoods, Inc. v. Commissioner, 280 S.E.2d 260 (W.Va. 1981). 

Successful Lobbying to Avoid Overreaching Taxation of Multi-Nationals 2012 — Actively engaging in administrative and legislative policy advocacy to ameliorate the corporation income tax effects of West Virginia’s adoption of aggressive Multi-State Tax Commission (MTC) positions on various combined reporting issues, including overreaching water’s edge rules. Senate Bill 386, 2012 Acts of the W.Va. Legislature, Regular Session.

Office Location

101 South Queen Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401
United States

Lawyer of the Year Awards

2017 Lawyer of the Year in Tax Law of the Morgantown Metro Area2016 Lawyer of the Year in Trusts and Estates of the Morgantown Metro Area2015 Lawyer of the Year in Mergers and Acquisitions Law of the Morgantown Metro Area2014 Lawyer of the Year in Litigation and Controversy - Tax of the Morgantown Metro Area2013 Lawyer of the Year in Mergers and Acquisitions Law of the Morgantown Metro Area
Michael E. Caryl has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2017!Michael E. Caryl has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2016!Michael E. Caryl has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2015!Michael E. Caryl has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2014!Michael E. Caryl has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2013!

Practice Areas

Corporate Law (Closely-Held Businesses, Family Businesses, General Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions, Structuring of Business Entities, Tax)
Litigation and Controversy - Tax
Mergers and Acquisitions Law (Tax)
Tax Law (Appellate, Business and Succession Planning, Controversy, Litigation, Property Tax, State and Local Tax, Tax Disputes, Tax Planning, Timber)
Trusts and Estates (Appellate, Estate Planning, Fiduciary Duties, Financial Institutions, Litigation, Planning for Closely Held Businesses, Succession Planning, Tax)