Shira M. Helstrom advises nonprofit organizations on tax and governance issues, helping them to achieve their programmatic goals while navigating their legal and regulatory requirements. Shira works with public charities, private foundations, trade associations, and social welfare organizations from formation through the life of the organization. Clients rely on her for advice on obtaining and maintaining federal and state tax-exempt status and on operational and programmatic matters. Shira also assists clients during IRS audits and state attorney general investigations.
Organizations that Shira works regularly with include educational and scientific research organizations, medical research organizations, colleges and universities, large grant making foundations and public charities, corporate foundations, supporting organizations, private operating foundations, humanitarian and social impact organizations, and trade associations.
Shira regularly counsels clients on unrelated business activities, lobbying and political campaign activities, corporate sponsorships, commercial co-ventures and other fundraising activities, executive compensation issues, excess benefit and related party transactions, complex grants and program related investments, excess business holdings, jeopardizing investments, and self-dealing rules. She also works with organizations to improve their board governance policies and procedures and provides advice on fiduciary obligations unique to directors and officers of nonprofit organizations.
Shira began her legal career in the tax practice of a large international law firm in New York, advising for-profit clients on tax aspects of complex corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, spin-offs, corporate finance and funding transactions, and representing clients during IRS audits and in Tax Court litigation. She continues this work with nonprofit clients, helping them to structure mergers and acquisitions and other fundamental corporate transactions, joint ventures, collaborations, and spin-offs, and to form and structure affiliated organizations.
Prior to earning her LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law, Shira served as a law clerk to Judge J. Curtis Joyner at the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Shira is a member of the Advisory Board of the Children’s Law Center in Washington, DC.
New York University School of Law, 2010, LL.M., Taxation
Temple University, Beasley School of Law, 2008, J.D., Summa Cum Laude
Muhlenberg College, 2000, B.A., Cum Laude
District of Columbia
US Tax Court
Clerkship to Judge J. Curtis Joyner of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Awards and Affiliations
Member, Practice Group of the Year, Tax, Law360 (2017)
Member, Exempt Organizations Committee, Section of Taxation, American Bar Association
Member, Exempt Organizations Committee, Taxation Section, District of Columbia Bar