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Faculty – Master of Science in Taxation

Rory Backman, CPA

Associate Manager, Global Income Tax Accounting – Starbucks
Part-Time Lecturer
[email protected]
Rory BackmanExpertise: ASC 740 Income Tax Accounting & US Corporate Taxation

Bio: Rory received a BA in Business Administration – Accounting as well as a Master of Professional Accounting – Taxation degree from the University of Washington. He spent about 6 years working at Ernst & Young as a tax professional, preparing tax returns and auditing financial results for a range of corporations. Rory currently works at the Starbucks corporate headquarters on the income tax accounting team, preparing the annual and interim consolidated tax expense work papers as well as leading the SOX requirements related to income taxes.

Crystal Finkelstein

Senior Lecturer / Faculty Director
[email protected]
Crystal FinkelsteinExpertise: Asset Management, Financial Products, Partnership Allocations, Partnership Distributions, Corporate Formations & Liquidations, Corporate Distribution

Bio: Crystal Finkelstein is a Lecturer of Accounting at the University of Washington Foster School of Business and the Co-Director of the Master of Science in Taxation program. Crystal teaches Tax Effects of Business Decisions and Business Taxation at the Undergraduate level, and Tax Issues – Property, Corporations I, Conduits and Speaker Forum in the Master of Science in Taxation program.

Prior to joining the Unviersity of Washington as a Lecturer in Accoutning, Crystal was a Tax Partner at PwC in Seattle where she focused on the Asset Management practice with an emphasis on alternative investment products. As a Partner at PwC, Crystal provided tax compliance and consulting services to her clients which currently included hedge funds, hedge fund of funds, venture capital funds, and private equity funds in Seattle, Southern California, and New York.

Crystal has experience advising clients on the tax treatment and tax reporting requirements for funds and their investors with a variety of strategies, investments, and financial products including long-short equities, bonds, futures, forwards, mortgage backed secirities, asset backed securities, swaps, options, repurchase agreements, rights, warrants, lending activities, Passive Foreign Investment Companies, Controlled Foreign Corporations, and Effectively Connected Income. She has in depth experience with partnership allocations, partnership contributions and distributions of property, entity restructuring, tax basis, voluntary disclosures with both federal and state jurisdictions, withholding tax issues, and IRS audit support.

Crystal holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a Major in Accounting from the University of Washington and graduated with honors from the University of Washington with a Master of Professional Accounting. Crystal is a Certified Public Accountant licensed in Washington State.

Richard Johnson

Part-Time Lecturer
Richard JohnsonExpertise: Civil Tax Controversy (Federal & Washington State)

Bio: Rich Johnson represents businesses and individuals in disputes with the Internal Revenue Service and the Washington State Department of Revenue. Rich joined LeSourd & Patten, P.S. in 2006 after graduating cum laude from Seattle University School of Law in Seattle, Washington. While at Seattle University, he focused on tax law and interned with the IRS Office of Chief Counsel, where he assisted in a variety of civil tax controversy cases. Rich completed his LL.M. degree in taxation at the University of Washington School of Law.

On top of his practice, Rich teaches courses in federal tax procedure and federal estate & gift tax in the Master of Science in Taxation (MST) program at the University of Washington, Michael G. Foster School of Business.

His recent cases include, but are not limited to:

  • protesting IRS audit determinations
  • protesting Washington State Department of Revenue (DOR) audit determinations for in-state and out-of-state taxpayers (including business & occupation tax, sales tax, use tax, cigarette & tobacco taxes); including representing taxpayers accused of using sales suppression (zapper) sofware
  • challenging federal trust fund recovery penalty assessments (unpaid federal employment taxes)
  • appealing Washington DOR trust fund accountability assessments (collected and unpaid sales tax)
  • representing tax return preparers in protesting return preparer penalties
  • general tax collection matters such as penalty abatement, offers in compromise, installment agreements, and resolving lien, levy, and garnishment issues.

Christina Nichols

[email protected]
Christina NicholsExpertise: Financial Accounting, Individual Tax, Accounting for Income Taxes

Bio: Christina Nichols joined the University of Washington in 2016 as a lecturer in the Accounting Department. She teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate accounting programs at the Foster School of Business. Prior to joining UW, Christina was a Senior Tax Associate at PwC and a Business Analyst at Holland America Line. She is a certified public accountant and received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Texas A&M University. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and learning about different animals and plants in the PNW.

Reid Okimoto

Principal – KPMG
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Reid OkimotoExpertise: State and Local Tax

Bio: Reid is the Pacific Northwest Market leader and national Technology Sector leader for state and local tax at KPMG LLP. He regularly works with technology and e-commerce retail companies in various stages of growth, from start-up to Fortune 50. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of state taxation, has published multiple articles in nationally circulated tax publications and serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Washington. He also received the Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 award and KPMG’s National Chairman’s Award.

Ken Tracy

Partner – KBF CPAs LLP
[email protected]
Ken TracyExpertise: Taxation

Bio: Ken is a partner at KBF CPAs, LLP, a West Coast regional accounting firm with over 100 professionals founded and led by ex-Big 4 partners with a deep focus on ASC 740 income tax accounting expertise. KBF serves over 150 public companies and several hundred more venture-backed and private-equity owned companies out of offices in Seattle, Portland, Irvine and San Diego. Prior to joining KBF in 2017, Ken was a partner at EY for 33 years, including serving as the Pacific Northwest Tax Managing Partner based in Seattle and the National Director of Tax Services to the Health Sciences Sector. Ken has taught Mergers & Acquisitions Taxation and Accounting for Income Taxes (Corp II and Corp III) in the UW Masters of Tax program as well as selected undergraduate classes in taxation since 2017. He graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University with a Masters degree in Taxation and an undergraduate degree in Accounting in 1983. He has served on the National Advisory Board to the BYU School of Accountancy. He and Laurie, his college sweetheart of over 40 years, are the parents of 5 and grandparents of 5 and counting.