Barbara L. Kirschten

Special Counsel

Kirschten, Barbara

Barbara L. Kirschten is special counsel who advises tax-exempt organizations on a wide variety of tax and corporate matters.

Ms. Kirschten has extensive experience incorporating and obtaining recognition of tax-exempt status for nonprofit organizations and creating affiliates in foreign countries; advising nonprofit organizations with respect to mergers and reorganizations, unrelated business income tax issues, foreign grants and US “friends of” organizations, lobbying and legislative activities, the private foundation rules, charitable solicitation issues, corporate governance issues, and tax aspects of charitable giving, including structuring complex gifts to universities. She also has handled IRS audits and controversy work involving the potential revocation of tax-exempt status. She regularly advises public charities and private foundations on programmatic and operational issues and represents organizations seeking IRS rulings and determinations.

Publications & News


January 13, 2018

Tax Act: New Laws Affecting Tax-Exempt Organizations

The Tax Act contains a number of provisions that significantly affect tax-exempt organizations, in some cases to degrees not seen in decades.

January 12, 2018

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Summary

On December 22, 2017, President Trump signed sweeping tax reform legislation (H.R. 1) into law. The new law, commonly known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, makes significant changes to the Internal Revenue Code that will have an impact on individuals, pass-through businesses, corporations, tax-exempt organizations, executive compensation and international taxation.

April 5, 2013

WilmerHale Helps Rhode Island Transform Bankrupt Amusement Park into State Park

January 3, 2012

WilmerHale Announces the Elevation of Partners and Special Counsel

Professional Activities

Ms. Kirschten is a member of the American Bar Association, Section of Taxation, Exempt Organizations Committee, former co-chair of the Subcommittee on Museums and Other Cultural Organizations; former chair of the DC Bar Association, Taxation Section, Exempt Organizations Committee; and a former member of the Steering Committee of the DC Bar Association, Taxation Section. She is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Journal of Taxation of Exempt Organizations.

Ms. Kirschten is a frequent speaker on issues affecting tax-exempt organizations and has an extensive publications list. She is the author of The Nonprofit Corporation Forms Handbook (Thomson Reuters, 25th edition, 2015) and co-author of a leading treatise, Federal and State Taxation of Exempt Organizations (Warren Gorham & Lamont, 1994). She is also co-author of the Bloomberg BNA Tax Management Portfolio, Numbers 521-4th and 863-3rd (1991; revised editions 1999, 2008 and 2014), Charitable Contributions: Income Tax Aspects. She has also published numerous articles covering a broad range of issues affecting tax-exempt organizations.


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JD, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, 1982

PhD, English and American Literature, Harvard University

AM, English and American Literature, Harvard University

MA, Honours BA, University of Cambridge

BA, summa cum laude, University of Pennsylvania

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia

New York

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