Shira Helstrom advises nonprofit organizations on tax and governance matters, helping them achieve their programmatic goals while navigating their legal and regulatory requirements. Shira counsels public charities, private foundations, trade associations, and social welfare organizations on a broad range of operational and structural matters, including grantmaking and impact investing, fundraising, unrelated business activities, private foundation excise taxes, intermediate sanctions, and corporate transactions. Shira also advises boards on best practices and fiduciary obligations, and assists clients during IRS audits and attorney general investigations.
Shira regularly counsels clients on unrelated business income tax issues, 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.
Organizations that Shira works regularly with include educational and scientific research organizations, medical research organizations, healthcare organizations, colleges and universities, private operating and non-operating foundations, corporate foundations, employee assistance funds, supporting organizations, humanitarian and social impact organizations, and trade associations.
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 and representing clients during IRS audits and litigation. She continues this work with nonprofit clients, helping them to structure mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and collaborations, internal restructurings and other corporate transactions.
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