N.C. Chamber Legal Institute Applauds Bill Nelson for His Role in Business Tax Victory at N.C. Supreme Court

N.C. Chamber Legal Institute

The North Carolina Chamber Legal Institute (NCCLI) credited Smith Anderson tax attorney Bill Nelson for his part in a North Carolina Supreme Court tax case ruling in favor of an asphalt manufacturer that was in a contentious legal dispute with the North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR), a decision that could have far-reaching implications for the state’s manufacturing sector.

The ruling upholds the manufacturer’s claim for a "mill machinery" sales tax exemption on purchases of manufacturing equipment used to make hot mix asphalt, which the DOR had denied. The NCCLI filed a friend-of-the-court brief that Bill authored, urging the Supreme Court to reject the DOR’s "primary purpose" rule.

Bill argued that the DOR had overstepped its authority by imposing an unpublished requirement that companies must sell the majority of their manufactured products to third parties to qualify for the tax exemption. His brief highlighted the dangers of allowing state agencies to enforce unpublished rules, emphasizing that such practices threaten the business climate in North Carolina.

"I cannot write any more succinctly or convincingly than Mr. Nelson, who ended the amicus brief by reminding the Court why clear rules, adopted within the constraints of the system established by the state legislature and thereafter evenly enforced, are so important to North Carolina’s business climate,” the chamber wrote in the article, "A Victory at the North Carolina Supreme Court."

"In a globalized world where hundreds of jurisdictions compete for highly mobile capital, maintaining a dependable legal order is critical to the prosperity of our citizens," Bill wrote. "Economic competition is a serious and constant challenge. The hard work of many individuals and public and private institutions over many generations has produced economic and political conditions in North Carolina that are the envy of many jealous competitors. But this hard-won success must be defended every day."

Bill focuses his practices on issues such as transactional tax planning, tax controversies and litigation dealing with state and federal tax authorities as administrative agencies and representing taxpayers before the North Carolina General Assembly. He has written and spoken on a variety of federal and state tax topics and has been active in a number of state tax and business law legislative reform efforts. Bill’s recognition includes Chambers USA, Tax; The Best Lawyers in America®, Tax Law and Business North Carolina Legal Elite, Tax and Estate Planning.


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