James Combs concentrates his practice on the taxation of corporations and other business entities, the issuance and acquisition of debt, equity and other financial instruments, mergers & acquisitions and federal income tax planning. James has represented numerous participants in the cannabis industry, advising on, among other items, tax considerations relevant to organizational structure, capital raises, Section 280E tax matters, debt restructurings, conversion from flow-through to corporate taxation and exit transactions. In addition, he has extensive experience obtaining private letter rulings from the Internal Revenue Service and representing taxpayers in federal income tax audits.


Practice Areas



Representative Matters

  • Provided tax advice to a private equity portfolio company on the implications of amendments to its outstanding indebtedness for the deductibility of its interest expense
  • Counseled a publicly-traded foreign corporation in a multi-billion dollar go-private transaction
  • Advised a cannabis industry investor on the initial acquisition of convertible debt instruments, the amendment of those instruments in connection with various borrower, and the exchange of the debt for equity in the borrower in a restructuring
  • Worked with high net worth families on tax planning with respect to their investments, including privately-held entities

Academic Appointments

  • Guest lecturer and instructor for tax courses taught at Wayne State University Law School, the University of Michigan Law School, Cooley Law and Walsh College

Additional Languages

  • French (conversational)






  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2018-2024
    • Recognized in practice area of Tax Law
    • Detroit Tax Law "Lawyer of the Year," 2023
  • DBusiness, Top Lawyers, 2018

Professional & Community Involvement

  • American Bar Association
    • Tax Section
      • Committee on Financial Transactions
  • State Bar of Michigan
    • Tax Section
      • Chair, 2019-2020
      • Officer and Council Member
        • 2015 Annual Tax Conference, Chair
      • Business Entities Committee, former Chair
  • Children's Hospital of Michigan
    • Board of Directors, 2015-present
  • Grosse Pointe Yacht Club
    • Junior Sailing Program, Co-chair, 2013-2015

News & Insights


  • Media |
  • James H. Combs is quoted in the Crain’s Detroit Business article “Tax extenders package again left hanging”
    Media |
  • James H. Combs is featured in the DBusiness article “Honigman Partner Named to Children’s Hospital Board”
    Media |
  • James H. Combs is featured in a Q&A in the Bloomberg article “Tax Efficiency of Notes Depends on Structure, Lawyer Combs Says”
    Media |
  • James H. Combs is quoted in the Crain's Detroit Business article "Why corporate tax inversion rules are a moving target"
    Media |


  • Event | Webinar |
  • An Update on Section 199A – New Proposed Regulations Provide Initial Guidance
    Event | | Moderator
  • Section 1202: Tax Planning in Light of the 2017 Tax Act (A New Look at Section 1202)
    Event | Atlanta, GA | | Co-presenter
  • Section 280E: Planning & Considerations
    Event | | Co-presenter
  • The Impact of Tax Reform On Business Owners
    Event | | | Co-presenter
  • Tax Considerations for Credit/Loan and Security Agreements
    Event | | | Co-presenter
  • Tax Reform: Impacts and Opportunities for Your Sustainable Business
    Event | | | Co-presenter
  • Event | | | Co-presenter
  • Recent Federal Tax Changes and Planning for the Future Outline
    Event | | | Co-presenter
  • Tax Treatment of Cash Advance Transactions
    Event | | | Co-presenter
  • Michigan Restaurant Association Legal Symposium
    Event | Birmingham, MI | | Co-presenter
  • Tax Considerations in Mergers & Acquisitions
    Event | Bloomfield Hills, MI | | Panelist
  • Providing Tax Advice – Levels of Comfort and Tax Penalties
    Event | Detroit, MI | | | Host and moderator
  • The Nuts and Bolts of Obtaining a Private Letter Ruling
    Event | | | Presenter
  • Building Success as a Tax Practitioner
    Event | | | Panelist
  • Foreign Goodwill and Going Concern Value under the Proposed Section 367 Regulations
    Event | | | Co-presenter
  • State Bar of Michigan's 28th Annual Tax Conference
    Event | Plymouth, MI | | | Chair
  • Event | | | Presenter
  • How to Request a Private Letter Ruling
    Event | Webinar | | | Presenter
  • Event | | | Presenter
  • Event | Webinar | |
  • Certain Aspects of the Federal Income Tax Treatment of Virtual Currencies
    Event | | | Co-presenter
  • Select Examples of the Relevance of Common and Preferred Stock under the Internal Revenue Code
    Event | Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, Detroit, MI | | | Co-presenter
  • Recent Developments in Financial Products Taxation
    Event | Detroit, MI | | | Moderator
  • Select Issues in the Application of Section 382
    Event | Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, Bloomfield Hills, MI | | | Co-presenter
  • Event | Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, Bloomfield Hills, MI | | | Co-presenter
  • Minimizing Taxes in Workout, Restructuring, and Debt Modification Transactions
    Event | | | Co-presenter


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