Shira Helstrom

Organization Profile
Professional Biography

Shira partners with tax-exempt nonprofit organizations to help them make critical business and legal decisions, manage risk, and achieve their mission goals in compliance with applicable federal tax and state nonprofit laws.

Shira advises tax-exempt organizations and their for-profit affiliates on a wide range of operational, programmatic, transactional, and governance matters that are regulated under the Internal Revenue Code and the state charitable and nonprofit laws. She counsels public charities, private foundations, social welfare organizations and trade associations through incorporation, obtaining federal and state tax-exempt status and operating in compliance with their tax-exempt nonprofit status.

Clients rely on Shira for advice on the unrelated business income tax, private benefit and inurement, excess benefit transactions and self-dealing, excess business holdings, jeopardizing investments, impact investments, lobbying, political campaign activity, executive compensation, and fiduciary duties of board members. Shira also helps structure complex grants and charitable solicitation programs (including commercial co-ventures, corporate sponsorships, and virtual fundraising), and she works with clients to navigate the state charitable solicitation laws that apply to them. She also represents tax-exempt organizations in front of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and during state attorney general investigations.

In addition to helping clients obtain and maintain tax-exempt status, Shira works with nonprofit boards to improve governance practices and develop effective governance structures. She also helps clients to structure major corporate transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, spin-offs, and other reorganizations, as well as joint ventures and collaborations with both tax-exempt and for-profit partners. Shira advises clients on federal tax and state nonprofit regulations, and when necessary or advisable helps them to obtain private letter rulings from the IRS and approvals from state attorneys general.

Shira’s clients represent a broad range of industries, including medical and scientific research organizations, operating and nonoperating foundations, museums and cultural organizations, educational organizations, humanitarian organizations, health and wellness organizations, standards development and certification organizations, “friends of” organizations, corporate foundations, family foundations, supporting organizations, and trade associations.

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