Bill Nelson is recognized as a leading attorney in tax law and has over 30 years of experience with 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 is consistently honored with the highest rating available by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business.
Clients say Bill is "responsive, gracious, patient, kind, thoughtful and provides deep insight. He has a very thorough knowledge of North Carolina tax law and has built strong relationships within the Department and the legislature" (Chambers USA 2020), "… a brilliant tax lawyer who is a complete pleasure to work with in all respects." "He is fantastic - responsive, practical and a good listener" (Chambers USA 2021) and a "sophisticated lawyer who is very creative" (Chambers USA 2022).
Bill 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. Before joining Smith Anderson, Bill practiced with a prominent international law firm in Los Angeles.
Areas of Focus
- Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Tax (2020-2023)
- Fellow, American College of Tax Counsel
- Best Lawyers®, Tax Law (2006-2024)
- Best Lawyers®, "Lawyer of the Year," Raleigh, Tax Law (2020)
- Business North Carolina Legal Elite
- North Carolina Super Lawyers (2007-2019)
- University of North Carolina, J.D., with high honors, 1985
- University of North Carolina, A.B. 1982
- Phi Beta Kappa
Bar & Court Admissions
- North Carolina
- Guest Lecturer, Duke University School of Law, 2016-2022
- Adjunct Professor of Law, UNC School of Law, Spring Semester 2009
- North Carolina General Assembly, Rules Review Commission (President Pro Tempore's Appointment: 2023-Present)
- Chairman, North Carolina Chamber Tax Committee
- Member, UNC Tax Institute Board of Advisors
- Chancellor, Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas
- Past Chair, North Carolina Bar Association Tax Section
- North Carolina Bar Association
- Wake County Bar Association
- Past Member, North Carolina Bar Foundation Endowment Committee
- Advised a U.S. clinical research organization on the purchase of all of the equity of a specialty UK-based clinical research organization.
- Advised a private equity fund in its acquisition of a contract research organization focused on the ophthalmology industry for an undisclosed amount.
- Represented an international research-oriented healthcare group in the acquisition of worldwide product rights from a Canadian pharmaceutical company.
- Advised a private equity fund in its acquisition of a leading provider of staffing resources to the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device companies for clinical trial needs.
- Advised a global CRO business in the staged acquisition of the leading interactive response technology provider for $75 million in value.
- Represented a global financial services technology company in its acquisition of a leading provider of deal analytics and valuation technology.
- Represented a major regional distributor of industrial gases in a strategic merger of equals of two similarly situated businesses.
- Advised a pharmaceutical and biotech construction company and its shareholders in a stock sale transaction for $25.5 million.
- Represented a specialty pharmaceutical company in a $120 million merger with a subsidiary of a publicly-traded international pharmaceutical company.
- Represented a leading provider of pharmacy-based patient care solutions and medication synchronization services to independent and chain pharmacies in its approximately $41 million sale of the company to a publicly traded buyer.
- Advised an online gaming company in an acquisition of a UK-based pioneer in the "kidtech" market.
- Advised a private equity fund in its acquisition of a specialty pharmaceutical company.
Represented a private equity fund in its acquisition of a leading digital patient recruitment company.
- Represented national grocery chain in property tax appeal of store properties.
- Represented oil distribution company in successful defense of assessment of sales tax on leased oil tanks.
- Represented industrial metal recycler in successful defense of sales tax assessment.
- Represented various insurance companies in major North Carolina tax credit litigation.
- Represented property and casualty insurance company in gross premiums tax controversy.
- Represented major clinical research organization in successful business personal property tax appeal.
- Represented major film studio in successful business personal property tax appeal.
- Represented individual taxpayers in successful defense of assessment based on residency status.
- Represented national bank in property tax appeal of datacenter property.
- Speaking EngagementSpeaker, "Legislative and Tax Updates," Sentinel Business Summit, Raleigh, N.C.
- NewsGeneral Assembly of N.C. Appoints Smith Anderson Attorney Bill Nelson to Rules Review Commission
- NewsSmith Anderson Achieves All Time Highs for Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers® in Three Categories
- Smith Anderson Achieves All Time Highs for Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers® in Three CategoriesBest Lawyers®News
- N.C. Chamber Amicus Brief by Smith Anderson’s Bill Nelson Presented to N.C. Supreme Court in Sales Tax ControversyThe Carolina Journal, NC Chamber, Law360News
- Bloomberg Tax, Law360, N.C. Chamber and Insurance JournalNews
- Law360, N.C. Chamber and The Carolina JournalQuoted
- Best Lawyers® and Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch Recognizes 98 Smith Anderson Attorneys in Latest PublicationBest Lawyers®Recognition
- Chambers USAAlert
- Hitting a New Milestone - 100 Members of Smith Anderson’s Legal Team Recognized by Best Lawyers® and Best Lawyers: Ones to WatchBest Lawyers
- Smith Anderson Shines in 2021 Chambers USA with Most Band 1 Practice Rankings of Any NC-Based Law FirmChambers USAAlert
- The Deal | American Banker | Law360
- 2021 Best Lawyers® and The Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch Recognize Largest Group of Smith Anderson Lawyers in Firm’s HistoryThe 2021 Best Lawyers®
- Bloomberg Tax
- Chambers USAAlert
- Smith Anderson Leads “Best Lawyers®” Rankings with 71 Recognized Lawyers and 11 “Lawyers of the Year” - Most of Any Raleigh Law FirmThe Best Lawyers in America©
- Bill Nelson Provides Insight to Bloomberg Law on N.C Tax Refunds Linked to June U.S. Supreme Court RulingBloomberg Law
- Bloomberg Law
- North Carolina Super Lawyers Recognizes Forty Smith Anderson Lawyers as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in 2019Super Lawyers
- The Best Lawyers in America©
- Bill Nelson Provides Insight on North Carolina’s Decision to Enforce Remote Sellers to Collect Sales Tax with Bloomberg TaxBloomberg Tax
- Bloomberg Tax
- Tax Analysts
- Bloomberg Tax
- Bloomberg Tax
- Bloomberg Tax Discusses Impact of Federal Tax Bill on North Carolina Taxpayers with Smith Anderson Business Tax AttorneyBloomberg Tax
- 2018 North Carolina Super Lawyers Recognizes Forty-three Smith Anderson Lawyers as Super Lawyers and Rising StarsSuper Lawyers
- Bloomberg Tax Reviews Tax Decisions Facing North Carolina Lawmakers in 2018 with Smith Anderson Partner Bill NelsonBloomberg Tax
- Smith Anderson Partner Bill Nelson Discusses Tax Reform and Its Potential Impact on the Triangle’s Business ClimateTriangle Business Journal
- The Best Lawyers in America©
- Bloomberg BNA
- WUNC TV “Bottom Line”
- Triangle Business Journal
- Bloomberg BNA Taps Partner Bill Nelson for Insights on Senate Bill 75 Proposing a Cap on North Carolina’s Personal Income Tax RateBloomberg BNA
- Super LawyersAlert
- Triangle Business Journal Discusses North Carolina Tax Changes Expected in 2017 with Partner Bill NelsonTriangle Business Journal
- 2017 The Best Lawyers in America® Guide Recognizes 62 Smith Anderson Lawyers – Most in the Firm’s HistoryAlert
- 2016 The Best Lawyers in America® Guide Lists 60 Smith Anderson Lawyers – Most in the Firm’s HistoryAlert
- Smith Anderson Represents General Parts International in $2.04 Billion Merger with Advance Auto Parts
- Kimberly Swintosky and Bill Nelson Serve on the 2012 J. Nelson Young Tax Institute Planning Committee
Publications & Alerts
- Published by Tax Notes StatePublication
- Published by Tax Notes State, Volume 106, Number 12Publication
- Wolters Kluwer, CCH GroupPublication
- North Carolina Law Review, Vol. 98, No. 7Publication
- Interim Report | North Carolina Association of CPAs
- Remote Sellers Face Deadline for North Carolina Sales Tax Compliance: North Carolina Responds to Wayfair
- U.S. Supreme Court Overrules Quill, But Leaves Many Unanswered Questions: South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc.
Events & Programming
- Speaker, "Legislative and Tax Updates," Sentinel Business Summit, Raleigh, N.C.Speaking Engagement
- Presenter, "North Carolina Tax Update," NCBA 2021 Tax Section Program, Live WebcastSpeaking Engagement
- Co-Presenter, "Legislative Update," NCACPA NC State & Local Tax Conference WebcastSpeaking Engagement
- Co-Presenter, "Legislative, NC Taxes and Covid-19 Liability Update," NCACPA Business & Industry Fall Virtual ConferenceSpeaking Engagement
- Speaker, "Overview of CARES Act Tax Relief for Businesses," Live Webinar hosted by NC ChamberSpeaking Engagement
- Co-Speaker, "State Legislative Issues," ncaCPA's 2019 Members in Business & Industry Spring Conference, Greensboro, N.C.Speaking Engagement
- Speaker, "Significant Changes in Multi-State Taxes, South Dakota v. Wayfair," North Carolina State and Local Tax Conference, Greensboro N.C.Event
- Speaker, "South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.: The Decision & Implications," Tax Executives Institute, Inc. Carolinas Chapter, Durham, N.C.Event
- Speaker, "South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.: The Decision & Implications," Tax Executives Institute, Inc. Carolinas Chapter, Charlotte, N.C.Event
- Speaker, "Reforming North Carolina’s Tax System," University of North Carolina's 2016 Festival of Legal Learning, Chapel Hill, N.C.Event
- Speaker, "Key Issues for Manufacturing - Single Sales Factor and Franchise Tax Reform," North Carolina Chamber's Annual Tax Conference, Charlotte, N.C.Event
- Speaker, "North Carolina Tax Reform and its Impact on Business," North Carolina Chamber’s Annual Tax Conference, Charlotte, N.C.Event