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  • J.D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1980, Order of the Coif
  • B.S., Northwestern University, 1977, with highest distinction

Bar and Court Admissions

  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • District of Columbia Court of Appeals

Other Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association (Section of Taxation and Section of Criminal Justice)

International Fiscal Association

Fellow, American College of Tax Counsel and American Bar Foundation

Director, Buildable Hours, Inc.

Member, American Citizens Abroad, Professional Tax Advisory Council

Government Experience

Law Clerk to the Honorable Joyce Hens Green, U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 1980-1981

Scott D. Michel

Member, Washington, D.C.
(202) 862-5030 | v-card | PDF
Scott D. Michel is a Member of Caplin & Drysdale, has been with the firm since 1981, and currently serves as the firm's President.


He advises and represents individuals and corporations nationwide in the following:
  • Voluntary disclosures
  • Advising U.S. citizens living abroad and foreign entities doing business in the U.S. about coming into tax compliance
  • Counseling financial institutions, other companies, advisors and professionals on criminal tax matters arising from U.S. Justice Department investigations, including representation of financial institutions as to the DOJ Tax Division's Program for Swiss Banks and the negotiation of deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements in other matters 
  • Sensitive civil tax examinations where fraud or substantial penalty issues may arise
  • Criminal tax fraud investigations
  • Criminal and civil tax disputes with DC and various states
  • Corporate internal investigations of tax and financial related matters
  • Tax shelter matters, including criminal and civil penalty examinations of tax shelter promoters and professionals


Mr. Michel is internationally recognized for his extensive experience in handling matters arising from the U.S. government's recent crackdown on undeclared foreign accounts, including criminal tax investigations, sensitive civil audits and voluntary disclosures. Such matters encompass a broad range of fact patterns, such as inherited accounts, situations that raise issues of complex undisclosed corporate or foundation structures, and unfiled Treasury "FBAR" forms. He is currently representing numerous clients worldwide in audits and investigations arising from IRS and Justice Department investigations involving UBS, HSBC and other banks, as well as voluntary disclosures throughout the U.S. involving dozens of foreign financial institutions throughout the world. These clients include U.S. taxpayers and their families, as well as financial institutions and outside advisors around the world.

Professional Activities

Mr. Michel has made frequent appearances throughout the U.S., and in Seoul, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vienna, Zurich, Geneva and Kuwait City for presentations on enforcement regarding foreign accounts and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act to multiple law firms, bankers, and tax and financial advisors, including presentations before the National University of Singapore, the Tax Academy of Singapore, the Vienna University of Economics and Business, the Korean National Tax Service, Hong Kong University, Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Korea Chapter of the International Fiscal Association, and the Korean and the Swiss-American Chambers of Commerce. He is the co-chair of the ABA Section of Taxation's Annual Conference on International Tax Enforcement, and has also appeared at other programs held by the American Bar Association, The Tax Executives Institute (U.S. and foreign branches), The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Virginia, NYU, Tennessee and North Carolina Tax Institutes. He has also testified as an expert on offshore account enforcement before the Standing Committee on Finance of the Canada House of Commons.

Mr. Michel is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Miami School of Law Graduate Program in Taxation. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel, and  from 2012-2014 served as a Council Director for the ABA Section of Taxation. Mr. Michel previously chaired the Tax Section's Committee on Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties and the Standards of Tax Practice Committee.  He is a member of the Professional Tax Advisory Council for American Citizens Abroad, a non-profit, non-partisan volunteer association whose mission includes acting as a voice for Americans living overseas.  

He is also a co-founder and Director of Buildable Hours, Inc., a Washington, D.C. non-profit group that coordinates contributions and volunteer activities between law firms nationwide and local Habitat for Humanity organizations.

Awards & Rankings

  • Listed in the 2006-2014 editions of The Best Lawyers in America.
  • Listed in the 2009-2014 editions of Chambers USA: 2014 – Band 1 in Tax Controversy – Nationwide; Band 3 in Tax – District of Columbia; 2013 – Band 1 in Tax Fraud – Nationwide; Band 3 in Tax Controversy – District of Columbia.
  • Listed in the 2007-2014 editions of Super Lawyers for Washington, D.C.
  • Listed in 2014 by The Washington Post Among the Top Attorneys in D.C.
  • Recommended in the 2014 edition of The Legal 500.
  • Listed in the 2010-2013 editions of The Legal 500 as a "Leading Lawyer" in Tax Controversies.
  • Listed in Washingtonian Magazine's Top Lawyers in the 2011-2012 editions .
  • AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.

Recent Publications

Mr. Michel has written and lectured extensively on topics relating to criminal tax enforcement. He has also been quoted extensively in the media, including by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Bloomberg, The Miami Herald, FoxNews, ABC News, and press outlets in Switzerland, France, Germany and the UK. His more recent articles include*: *For a comprehensive selection of Mr. Michel's publications, please click here. For a list of his media mentions (including the latest developments in the UBS settlement issue), please click here.