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Kay Linn Miller Hobart

Partner
Raleigh | 919.835.4597
Fax | 919.834.6546
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Kay Miller Hobart has more than 20 years of experience in state tax controversy matters and tax litigation at all levels of state and federal court. As the former lead tax counsel for the State of North Carolina, she has litigated numerous high profile, complex multimillion-dollar cases before the North Carolina Business Court, Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, including the landmark decisions in A&F Trademark v. Tolson and Wal-Mart Stores East v. Hinton.

Kay has served as North Carolina correspondent for State Tax Notes since 2000 and is currently a regular columnist for the publication. She has been asked to serve on various commissions to modernize and reform North Carolina’s tax system, including the Governor’s Commission to Modernize State Finances and former Governor Jim Hunt’s Institute for Emerging Issues Financing the Future task force. She is a frequent speaker at national seminars on state and local taxation, including Georgetown University Law Center’s Advanced State and Local Tax Institute and Vanderbilt University Law School’s Paul J. Hartman State and Local Tax Forum.

Prior to joining Parker Poe, she served as special deputy attorney general for the North Carolina Department of Justice, leading the team of attorneys representing the state’s Department of Revenue. In that role, she gained extensive experience with all major tax schedules and the operations and practices of the North Carolina Department of Revenue. She has participated in the development and drafting of the state’s tax legislation and advised the Revenue Secretary and high-level state officials on matters of tax law and policy. She is admitted to practice in the United States Supreme Court.

Representative Experience

  • Served as lead counsel in A&F Trademark, Inc. v. Tolson, a landmark decision that established the standards governing nexus in North Carolina and enabled the state to collect approximately $300 million in previously unpaid corporate taxes. At the conclusion of this case, the Raleigh News & Observer honored her work by naming her its “Tar Heel of the Week.”
  • Served as lead counsel in Wal-Mart Stores East v. Hinton and Delhaize America, Inc. v. Lay, which determined the parameters of the Revenue Secretary’s ability to equitably adjust a taxpayer’s filing methodology to require combination.
  • Served as sole counsel in the series of cases beginning with Polaroid Corp. v. Offerman that established the definition of business income for North Carolina corporate income tax purposes.
  • Coley v. State – Successfully defended against a $62 million potential class action challenging a mid-year individual income tax increase as an unconstitutional retrospective tax under the North Carolina Constitution.
  • Deadwood, Inc. v. N.C. Dep’t of Revenue – Successfully defended the differential classification of entertainment for privilege tax purposes against claim that it violated the uniformity provisions of the North Carolina Constitution.
  • DirecTV, Inc. v. State – Successfully defended a $72 million sales tax case against a challenge that the legislative system for taxing cable and satellite television violated the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.
  • Philip Morris USA v. Tolson – Successfully represented the state in a $30 million corporate income tax case involving an alternative apportionment formula.
  • Navistar Financial Corp. v. Tolson – Successfully defended the interpretation and application of the privilege tax against claims it violated the Due Process and Commerce Clauses of the United States Constitution.
  • Central Telephone I and II – Successfully defended a $9 million corporate income tax case against claims that dismissal of taxpayer’s petitions for review violated the Due Process Clause.
  • Morton Buildings, Inc. v. Tolson – Successfully defended the interpretation of the use tax as applying to building materials purchased outside the state and used in North Carolina.
  • Proposed Assessments of Additional Sales and Use Tax v. Jefferson-Pilot Insurance Co. – Successfully defended against claim that insurance companies who paid gross premiums tax were exempt from local use tax.
  • American Woodland Industries, Inc. v. Tolson – Successfully defended against a potential class action challenging the excise tax on timber deeds.
  • BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc. v. N.C. Dep’t of Revenue – Successfully defended case involving a corporation’s ability to carryover net economic losses following a merger.

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Honors & Awards

  • Woodward/White’s The Best Lawyers in America in Tax Law, 2019
  • Raleigh News & Observer’s Tar Heel of the Week, 2005
  • Governor’s Award for Excellence and Outstanding State Government Service, 2005

Memberships

  • Governor's Commission to Modernize State Finances
  • Institute for Emerging Issues: Financing the Future Task Force