Litigation & Appeals

State & Local Tax Litigation

As states continue to struggle to locate additional revenue, state and local taxing authorities continue to pursue taxpayers to make up budget shortfalls. They use a variety of mechanisms, ranging from overly-broad interpretations of state statutes and local ordinances to aggressive, unyielding positions in litigation. Our State and Local Tax (SALT) attorneys are the "go-to" people for SALT controversies in Kentucky.

With tax experience, in-depth litigation experience, and a well-known presence in Kentucky’s capital, we are uniquely positioned to achieve success for our clients. We represent a number of large multi-state, multi-national corporations in complex SALT matters, and routinely and successfully represent many other businesses and individuals on a wide variety of tax issues.

Stites & Harbison SALT litigation attorneys regularly appear before the Kentucky Department of Revenue, Board of Tax Appeals and all levels of the courts regarding state income, sales and use, property, severance and other taxes. Our attorneys are involved in all stages of the tax assessment process. We provide our clients with support on audit issues; representation and negotiations of appeals before the taxing authority; and litigation before administrative and judicial tribunals. Recognizing that litigation is not always the best outcome for a taxpayer, we engage in negotiations with the taxing authorities in attempt to obtain a favorable settlement for our clients. However, if settlement is not possible, we stand ready to litigate the issues in order to obtain the best possible outcome.

Recent engagements

  • Assisted a retailer in reducing a sales and use tax assessment of $3.4M to a maximum potential tax liability of $.9M
  • Helped a manufacturing client reduce an assessment from sales and use tax audit by 74%
  • Negotiated a $4.5M reduction in an income tax assessment, resulting in our client paying 33% of original assessment
  • Aided a client in negotiating a $12M reduction in a property tax assessment
  • Represented numerous clients in their appeals of tangible personal and real property tax assessments, resulting in significant savings for clients.
  • Obtained a 40% reduction in the real property tax assessment for a major office property
  • Obtained a $24 million reduction in the real property tax assessment for a major office property
  • Assisted a client in obtaining a tax moratorium for redevelopment of an apartment complex
  • Negotiated a 95% reduction in a tangible property tax assessment for a manufacturer

Recent presentations and publications

  • "Co-Chair, Institute for Professionals in Taxation/American Bar Association Advanced Property Tax Seminar Committee," 2010-present
  • "Multi-State Property Tax Update and Roundtable Discussion," ABA/IPT Advanced Property Tax Seminar, March 2013
  • "Discussion of State Tax Cases and Issues to Watch in 2011," COST Midwest Regional State Tax Seminar, June 2011
  • "Kentucky Property Tax," Kentucky Housing Management Conference, Louisville, Ky., May 2011
  • "Tangible Property Tax Audits & Protests," Kentucky State Tax Conference, Kentucky Society of CPAs, January 2011
  • "Applying Old Rules to New Technology - An Update on Taxation of Digital Goods & Services," Mid-West Regional State Tax Seminar, Cincinnati, Oh., August 11, 2010
  • "Special Report—Audits, Protests and Settlements—Oh My!!," Council on State Taxation (COST), Midwest Regional Conference, St. Louis, Mo., December 2009
  • "Property Tax in Kentucky," Lorman Educational Services, 2008
  • "SALT Challenges of the Digital Age," Council on State Taxation Midwest Regional State Tax Seminar, December 2008
  • "Perspectives on Contesting Real Property Tax Assessments - Value Is In the Eye of the Beholder," Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accountants, January 2007
  • Presenter on current state and local tax issues at numerous conferences sponsored by the Council on State Taxation
  • Symposium Edition Editorial Board: The State and Local Tax Lawyer (ABA Publication)
  • “Judicial Review of Administrative Decisions,” Kentucky Civil Practice After Trial (3rd Ed. 2011)
Main Contacts
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Press Releases

Benchmark Litigation Selects Stites & Harbison as 2024 Litigation Firm of the Year for Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Benchmark Litigation recently named Stites & Harbison, PLLC as Litigation Firm of the Year for Kentucky at its 2024 Benchmark US Awards Gala. This is the fourth time Stites & Harbison has received the honor.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC April 03, 2024
Client Alerts

Retirement Plans: How to Guard Against Fiduciary Liability

In recent years, we have seen more and more ERISA class action claims against retirement plan sponsors and committees for breach of fiduciary duty. In the past, such claims were generally only made against very large plans but we are starting to see claims against smaller plans. The primary allegation is often that the fiduciaries failed to seek the lowest fees available or put another way the fiduciaries were “asleep at the wheel.” By one report, 463 lawsuits have been filed over the last eight years claiming fiduciaries failed to obtain the lowest available fees. Lexington office attorney Andy Jacobs takes a look at the issues in this Stites & Harbison Client Alert.

by Andrew R. Jacobs March 28, 2024
Press Releases

Thad Barnes and Michael Denbow Appointed to Lead Stites & Harbison’s Business Litigation Service Group

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC is pleased to announce that attorneys Thad M. Barnes and Michael Denbow have been appointed to Co-Chair the firm’s Business Litigation Service Group. Each attorney will continue their diverse legal practices in business litigation.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC March 25, 2024