Steven B. Long

Tax and Employee Benefits Attorney
Ward and Smith, P.A.
919.277.9189 Fax 919.277.9177
Post Office Box 33009, Raleigh, NC 27636-3009

Steve Long leads the firm's Tax and Employee Benefits practice. He has extensive experience working with employers in banking, retail, and technology to establish and maintain retirement plans, executive compensation agreements, stock incentive plans and other employee benefits.

Steve also advises charities and other tax-exempt organizations regarding their IRC 403(b) and IRC 457 retirement plans, as well as issues related to compliance with Internal Revenue Service and state regulations concerning executive compensation, fundraising and lobbying activities. Additionally, he counsels business owners and individuals in retirement and estate planning.


  • LL.M, Taxation, Georgetown University, 1997
  • J.D., cum laude, Georgetown University, 1991
  • B.S., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1982

Representative Experience

  • Directed the merger by a large Research Triangle technology company of its 401(k) plans and other employee benefits arrangements with subsidiaries around the United States
  • Designed and established an IRC 457(b) retirement plan for the managers of a large North Carolina charity
  • Represented an automobile dealership with 10 subsidiaries before the IRS in correcting qualification errors in its 401(k) plan
  • Advised Triad physician group on how to limit their ERISA fiduciary liabilities related to their tax-qualified retirement plan
  • Established and modified stock incentive and deferred compensation arrangements for various publicly traded and private companies
  • Helped establish numerous IRC 501(c)(3) organizations and other tax-exempt entities
  • Advised a church in spinning off, and obtaining tax-exempt status for, its wholly-owned nursing home
  • Advised charities and nonprofit organizations on issues that include joint ventures with private companies, disclosure of compensation, and IRS and state requirements regarding lobbying and political activities
  • Assisted business owners, physicians and other individuals in structuring their personal tax, estate and retirement plans, deferred compensation arrangements and trusts

Honors and Distinctions*

  • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers®, 2010-2024
  • "Legal Elite," Business North Carolina, Tax/Estate Planning, 2006-2007, 2009-2011, 2018, 2022-2023
  • "Super Lawyer," North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2010-2021
  • "2019 Lawyer of the Year," Best Lawyers


Professional and Community Affiliations

  • A.E. Finley YMCA, Advisory Board Member, 2003-2006
  • Alzheimers North Carolina, Inc., Board of Directors, 2012-2017
  • Caramore Vocational Rehabilitation Center, Board of Directors, 1998-2004
  • North Carolina Bar Association Tax Section, Chairman, 2008-2009
  • Raleigh Hall of Fame, Board of Directors, 2010-2013
  • Shepherds Theological Seminary, Board of Directors, 2005-2013
  • Triangle Benefits Forum, President, 2009-2010
  • University of North Carolina Board of Governors, 2013-2021

* Please see the following websites for an explanation of the membership standards for the following recognitions:;; and

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  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Legal Elite Business North Carolina 2024
  • Super Lawyers 2021
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers 2023
  • U.S. News Best Lawyers 20234
  • 2024 Chambers USA

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