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Education

  • J.D., Duke University School of Law, 1974
  • B.A., Florida State University, 1971

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Florida
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • District of Columbia Court of Appeals

Other Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association (Section on Taxation; Co-Chair, Subcommittee on Audits and Appeals, Exempt Organizations Committee)

American Society of Association Executives

American Health Lawyers Association

Government Experience

Director, Exempt Organizations Division, Internal Revenue Service, 1990-2000

Executive Assistant, Exempt Organizations Division, Internal Revenue Service, 1988-1990

Technical Advisor, Exempt Organizations Division, Internal Revenue Service, 1984-1988

Tax Law Specialist, Exempt Organizations Division, Internal Revenue Service, 1975-1984

Marcus S. Owens

Member, Washington, D.C.
(202) 862-5020
mowens@capdale.com | v-card | PDF
Marcus S. Owens is a Member in Caplin & Drysdale's Washington, D.C., office. He joined the firm in February 2000.

Services

Mr. Owens has represented a broad range of nonprofit organizations including private foundations, charities, U.S. affiliates of foreign charities, churches and trade associations. The context has ranged from tax planning, the process of formation and application for exemption, through IRS audits including large case or team audits and audits by the IRS Exempt Organizations Financial Investigative Units. Particular projects have involved the emerging rules for foreign grant making and organizations interested in public policy but concerned with legislative and political activities. He also is a frequent lecturer on the complex laws affecting exempt organizations.

Highlights

Prior to joining Caplin & Drysdale, Mr. Owens was employed by the Exempt Organizations Division of the Internal Revenue Service for his entire professional career and served as the division's director for the last ten years. In that capacity, he was the chief decision maker regarding design and implementation of federal tax rulings and enforcement programs for exempt organizations, unrelated business income tax, private foundation excise taxes, hospital reorganizations, college and university guidelines, political organizations, and tax-exempt bonds. He also served as the IRS's primary liaison with other federal agencies, Congress, and state regulators on exempt organizations issues.

Awards & Rankings

  • Best Lawyers in America, 2008-Present
  • The Legal 500, Leading Lawyer, 2011, 2013-Present
  • Super Lawyers, Washington, D.C., 2012-Present
  • Chambers USA, Top Lawyer in D.C., 2009-2012
  • NonProfit Times, Top 50 Most Influential People in the NonProfit Sector, 1998, 1999, 2001
  • Internal Revenue Service, Commissioner's Award
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent

Recent News

Click here for a full list of media coverage.

Recent Speaking Engagements

  • Panelist, Critical Issues in Dark Money, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Panel Discussion, July 8, 2014
  • Speaker, IRS Update, New York City Bar Association, 2nd Annual Institute on Not-For-Profit Law, April 24, 2014
  • Panelist, State of the IRS: Post - TIGTA Report, 50th Annual Washington Nonprofit Legal and Tax Conference, March 20, 2014
  • Speaker, Do You Know Where the Money is? Embezzlement and Diversion of Assets in the Electronic Age, Washington Metro Area Corporate Counsel Association, Nonprofits and Associations Forum, December 17, 2013
  • Speaker, IRS Oversight of Tax Exempts: Past, Present, and Future, Hawaii Tax Institute Foundation, 50th Annual Hawaii Tax Institute, October 30, 2013
  • Speaker, Restoring a Culture of Professionalism to the Internal Revenue Service, Philanthropy Roundtable, 22nd Annual Meeting, October 18, 2013
  • Panelist, IRS + 501(c)(4) = SOS?, Hudson Institute, September 18, 2013
  • Moderator, Audits, Appeals, Litigation: Trends and Tactics, American Bar Association, 2013 May Meeting, May 10, 2013
  • Speaker, Keynote Speech, New York City Bar Association, First Annual Institute on Not-for-Profit Law, April 18, 2013
  • Chair, Exempt Organizations Subcommittee on Audits, Appeals, and Litigation, American Bar Association, 2013 Midyear Meeting, January 25, 2013
  • Panelist, Exempt Organizations Year in Review, Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association (WMACCA), Non-Profits and Associations Forum, January 10, 2013
  • Chair, Exempt Organizations Subcommittee on Audits, Appeals and Litigation, and Educational Organizations: Roundtable Discussion on Current Developments, American Bar Association, 2012 Joint Fall CLE Meeting, September 14, 2012
  • Panelist, Taxing Issues, The Center for Responsive Politics and OpenSecrets.org, Shadow Money: Stealth, Wealth, and Political Nonprofits, June 20, 2012
  • Moderator, Exempt Organizations Subcommittee on Audits, Appeals, and Litigation: Automatic Termination Project and Unanticipated Issues Roundtable Discussion of Current Developments, American Bar Association, 2012 Midyear Meeting, February 17, 2012
  • Panelist, 2011 Legal Update, McGladrey, Annual Not-for-Profit Summit Series, February 7, 2012
  • Panelist, Exempt Organizations Year in Review – Lessons Learned from 2011 and What to Expect in 2012, Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association (WMACCA), Non-Profits and Associations Forum, January 25, 2012
  • Panelist, Transparency Issues, Philanthropy Roundtable, 20th Annual Meeting: Can-Do Philanthropy: Solving America's Greatest Challenges, October 27, 2011
  • Panelist, Exempt Organizations Year in Review - Lessons Learned from 2010 And What to Expect in 2011, Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association (WMACCA), Non-Profits and Associations Forum, February 10, 2011
  • Chair, Role of the IRS National Office Counsel and Area Counsel in Exempt Organization Audits and Roundtable Discussion of Current Developments, American Bar Association, 2010 Joint Fall CLE Meeting, September 24, 2010
  • Speaker, Exempt Organizations Year in Review, Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association (WMACCA), Webinar, February 24, 2010
  • Presenter, Managing IRS Audits: Issues, Processes, and Tactics, National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), Webcast, December 16, 2009
  • Speaker, Managing Complex IRS Audits: Issues, Process, and Tactics, National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), 2009 Tax Forum, October 21, 2009
  • Speaker, Community Foundation Audits, Council on Foundations, 2009 Fall Conference for Community Foundations, October 5, 2009

Click here for a full list of speaking engagements.

Recent Publications

Mr. Owens is a frequent writer and commentator on exempt organizations issues. Recent articles include:

Click here for a full list of publications.