Sabra J. Faires
Sabra Faires concentrates her practice in government law, specifically in the areas of administrative law, elections and political law, and taxation. Sabra also counsels clients on strategies for achieving their legislative goals.
Representative experience in the area of administrative law includes preparing requests for declaratory rulings and petitions for rulemaking and serving as counsel to the following:
- A trade association whose members partner with the state in providing services throughout North Carolina. This representation entails interpretation of the applicable law to their contracts, advising on general business issues, developing responses to executive and legislative branch inquiries and studies, and formulating policy proposals to improve the delivery of services.
- Lobbyists regulated by the Secretary of State. This representation ranges from determination of the reporting and gift ban requirements to contesting civil penalties imposed for purported violations of the law. Representation concerning contested penalties applies from the initial administrative hearing through review by the appellate courts. The recent case of Beason v. N.C. Dep’t of Sec’y of State, 742 S.E.2d 209 (N.C. App. 2013) absolves a client of liability for unauthorized penalties.
- Individuals regulated by an occupational licensing board who are faced with disciplinary action by the board.
Representative experience in the area of elections and political law includes providing advice on the following as part of the firm’s election and political law group:
- IRS exemption applications for 501(c) entities and the IRS restrictions on lobbying and political activity
- Charitable solicitation requirements
- Restrictions on coordination between candidates and entities that make independent expenditures
- Election protests
- Redistricting plans
Representative experience in the area of taxation includes:
- Representing individuals and small businesses in tax controversies, including individuals held liable for taxes of a business under the “responsible officer” provisions.
- Determining what is subject to sales or use tax and at what rate.
- Sabra brings a wealth of government experience to her practice. Before becoming of-counsel to the firm, she practiced law for over 30 years on behalf of the State of North Carolina, holding significant positions in both the legislative and executive branches of government. During those 30 years, she played a key role in almost every major piece of North Carolina tax legislation, addressing income and sales taxes as well as motor fuel and other excise taxes, franchise taxes, privilege license taxes, property taxes, and tax incentives.
At the North Carolina General Assembly, Sabra served on both Republican and Democratic leadership staffs of the House and Senate, as well as the central staff. Her positions included Senate Tax Counsel, Chief of Staff and General Counsel to then Co-Speaker Richard T. Morgan, and counsel to both the House and Senate Finance Committees.
Sabra’s executive branch experience spans three agencies. She served as Assistant Secretary for Tax Administration at the North Carolina Department of Revenue. While at the Department, she was appointed by Governor Jim Hunt to serve on the North Carolina Tax Policy Commission and was designated by the Secretary of the Department to represent North Carolina in the national Streamlined Sales Tax Project. Sabra was a principal drafter of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, as well as a founding member of the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board. She is a member of the Tax Council of the Tax Section of the North Carolina Bar Association. She has been a speaker at New York University’s Institute on State and Local Taxation and at numerous other conferences and events.
Earlier in her career, Sabra served as a staff attorney at the Office of Administrative Hearings, assisting administrative law judges. As a staff attorney at the Rules Review Commission, Sabra concentrated on the rules of occupational licensing boards. She is a Past Chair of the Administrative Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and a past Rulemaking Coordinator for the North Carolina Department of Revenue.
Sabra is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Davidson College with a B.A. in philosophy. An honors graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Law, she was also a Note and Comment Editor of the North Carolina Law Review. She is a member of the Tenth Judicial District Bar, the North Carolina Bar Association, and the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys. Sabra is a recipient of North Carolina’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine award and is in her second term on the North Carolina General Statutes Commission.
- Davidson College, B.A.,
- University of North Carolina School of Law, J.D., with honors
- Beason v. N.C. Dep’t of Sec’y of State, 742 S.E.2d 209 (N.C. Ct. App. 2013) (application of North Carolina’s lobbying law; affirming order setting aside agency’s attempted fine of lobbyist)
- Beason v. N.C. Dep’t of the Secy. of State, 743 S.E.2d 41 (N.C. Ct. App. 2013) (authority of state agency to interpret North Carolina lobbying law; substantially affirming order setting aside agency’s unprecedented fine of lobbyist)
- North Carolina Bar Association
- Tax Council, Tax Section, North Carolina Bar Association
- North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys
- Tenth Judicial District Bar
- North Carolina General Statutes Commission
Honors and Recognition
- Order of the Long Leaf Pine