Shira Helstrom advises tax-exempt organizations on a full range of tax and governance matters. In addition to helping clients obtain and maintain tax-exempt status, Shira advises nonprofit organizations on mergers, acquisitions, reorganizations, affiliated entities, joint ventures, impact investments, and revenue generating activities. She also helps clients structure complex grants and charitable solicitation programs (including cause-related marketing, corporate sponsorships and virtual fundraising), and she represents tax-exempt organizations during Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits and attorney general investigations.
Shira works regularly with all types of nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, including private operating and non-operating foundations, corporate foundations, medical and scientific research organizations, healthcare organizations, museums and cultural organizations, colleges and universities, supporting organizations, and trade associations. She regularly advises on the unrelated business income tax, private benefit and inurement, excess benefit transactions and self-dealing, excess business holdings, jeopardizing investments and program-related investments, lobbying and political campaign activity, executive compensation matters and best practices for nonprofit boards. Shira also works with nonprofit organizations to navigate the state nonprofit corporate and charitable solicitation laws that apply to them.
Shira began her legal career advising for-profit clients on tax aspects of complex corporate transactions and representing for-profit clients during IRS audits and litigation before shifting her focus to counseling and representing tax-exempt organizations. In addition to representing tax-exempt organizations, she advises for-profit companies seeking to enter into transactions with, or form affiliated, nonprofit 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 US 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
Rising Star, Tax: Not-for-profit (nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations), The Legal 500 US (2020, 2021)
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