Melissa Sampson McMorrow

Melissa Sampson McMorrow chairs Nutter’s Tax Department, co-chairs the Nonprofit and Social Impact practice group, and serves as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. She advises businesses, tax-exempt entities, and individuals on federal, state, and international matters.

Melissa specializes in advising health care, higher education, cultural and other charitable and nonprofit organizations, and their affiliates, on a wide range of issues related to tax exemption and nonprofit status. She frequently represents these entities, and other taxpayers, before the Internal Revenue Service, state revenue authorities, state charity officials, and other state and local authorities. Melissa also regularly advises donors in developing and optimizing their charitable giving goals.

A sample of engagements includes:

  • Overseeing the tax aspects of corporate reorganizations of several large area charities
  • Regularly counseling local, regional, and national organizations regarding governance, best practices, and board operations
  • Structuring and overseeing mergers and acquisitions of nonprofit organizations
  • Representing charitable organizations in the receipt of complex gifts of all sizes
  • Advising charities on the application for and appeal of denials of charitable property tax exemptions
  • Representing charitable clients before the MA Attorney General’s Nonprofit Organizations/Public Charities Division
  • Structuring joint ventures between nonprofit and for profit organizations
  • Providing creative solutions with respect to managing restrictions on compensation, lobbying, and unrelated business activities
  • Developing scholarship and disaster relief programs for independent and company-sponsored foundations
  • Devising operating procedures for the foreign grantmaking activities of private foundations and public charities
  • Obtaining private letter rulings from the Internal Revenue Service
  • Representing private foundations before the Internal Revenue Service, including to obtain abatement of penalty excise taxes
  • Counseling individual donors regarding the pros and cons of private foundations, supporting organizations, donor-advised funds, and other charitable giving vehicles
  • Representing social welfare organizations, trade associations, and social clubs with respect to operational matters and the creation of subsidiaries and affiliates

Melissa continues her leadership outside of Nutter as well. She previously served as the inaugural co-chair of the Boston Bar Association’s (BBA) Tax Exempt Organization Section. Currently, she serves as the co-chair of the Section’s Chapter 180 Working Group, which is leading the effort to update the Commonwealth’s nonprofit statute. In addition, she serves on the Boston Bar Association Council and on the board of directors of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Melissa has co-chaired both the MCLE Annual Nonprofit Seminar and the BBA’s Law Day Dinner. She has served on the strategic planning committee for the BBA and on the board of the Women’s Bar Foundation of Massachusetts. Currently, she is a member of the Women’s Bar Foundation’s Emeritus Board.

A sought-after speaker, Melissa presents at local and national conferences on matters affecting nonprofit organizations, including the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM), American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA), Boston Bar Association, MCLE, and most recently, the Opportunity Zone Expo in Las Vegas, the country’s leading conference mentoring industry leaders about beneficial tax incentives through the government’s new community development program established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

In recognition of Melissa’s outstanding expertise in this field, The National Law Journal selected her as a “Trusts and Estates Trailblazer” in 2016. She has been named to “The Best Lawyers in America” and “Super Lawyers” rankings for many years and was selected as the “Non-Profit / Charities Law Lawyer of the Year” in Boston by Best Lawyers in 2022. In 2019, Melissa was named a “2019 Top Women of Law” by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly and a “Go-To Lawyer” by the publication’s inaugural list in 2020.

Active in the community, Melissa is a member of the Finance Committee in the Town of Carlisle. She also serves on the board of directors of the Concord-Carlisle Community Chest. Previously, Melissa was a member of the Carlisle School Committee, serving as chair for three years and as a member of the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee for three years. She also was a board member of the Carlisle Education Foundation.

Prior to entering law school, Melissa was an analyst in the Tax Analysis Division of the U.S. Congressional Budget Office and at the U.S. Senate Budget Committee.

Contact & Links
  • 155 Seaport Boulevard
    Boston, MA 02210
  • University of California Hastings College of the Law, J.D., graduated in 2000
  • Miami University, BA, graduated 1993
Bar Admissions
  • Massachusetts, 2001


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