Barbara L. Kirschten

Special Counsel

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.

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.

Insights & News


  • Education

    • JD, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, 1982

    • PhD, Harvard University

      English and American Literature
    • AM, Harvard University

      English and American Literature
    • MA, University of Cambridge

      Honours BA

    • BA, University of Pennsylvania

      summa cum laude
  • Admissions

    • District of Columbia

    • New York



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