Sharon Weinberg Nokes is Of Counsel to the Exempt Organizations Group at Caplin & Drysdale. She joined the firm's Washington, D.C. office in 2008, and provides sophisticated legal advice to a broad range of clients, including some of the nation's largest private foundations and publicly-supported charities; educational institutions; arts and cultural organizations, such as museums, artist-endowed private foundations, and cultural centers; social welfare organizations; and high-technology nonprofits.
ServicesMs. Nokes counsels clients on a variety of tax, corporate, and compliance issues, including executive compensation, structuring charitable and unrelated business activities, domestic and international grantmaking, program-related investing, transactions and relationships with for-profit organizations, lobbying and political activities, and corporate governance. She has considerable experience with the rules governing private foundations, supporting organizations, and donor-advised funds, is well-versed on the evolving areas of venture philanthropy and social enterprise, and also provides guidance to donors regarding their charitable giving alternatives.
A skilled advocate, Ms. Nokes' regularly represents clients in complex IRS examinations, disputes with state attorneys general, whistleblower actions, and specific ruling requests. Clients also rely on her representation before the Treasury Department and congressional tax-writing committees with regard to proposed or recently-enacted laws and regulations.
In her role as General Counsel for a nonprofit, Ms. Nokes has intimate knowledge of the inner workings of a tax-exempt organization. These insights allow her to offer clients comprehensive and creative, yet pragmatic solutions to address the unique challenges facing nonprofits. Ms. Nokes' professional background in the arts has also proven to be an asset for clients serving cultural and artistic missions.
HighlightsMs. Nokes is General Counsel for Buildable Hours, a Washington, D.C.-based public charity that coordinates contributions and volunteer activities nationwide between law firms and local Habitat for Humanity organizations.
Before entering the legal profession, Ms. Nokes was a professional musician, performing with several orchestras and chamber ensembles in New York City and in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region, and serving as the principal flutist of the United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C.
Professional ActivitiesA skilled writer and editor, Ms. Nokes serves as Editor-in-Chief of Taxation of Exempts, a bi-monthly publication for nonprofit executives and professional advisors to nonprofit organizations. She also has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law in the Legal Scholarship and Writing Program at Georgetown University Law Center since 2004.
- Exempt Organizations Group Hosts Nonprofit Leaders, Caplin & Drysdale, October 6, 2014
- Fidelity Quotes Sharon Nokes Regarding Donor-Advised Funds, Fidelity, December 3, 2013
- Caplin & Drysdale Hosts National ACC Webcast on the Impact Economy, Caplin & Drysdale, October 9, 2013
- Knight Blog Quotes Sharon Nokes on IRS Nonprofit Media Rules, Knight Blog, April 8, 2013
- Caplin & Drysdale Attorney Sharon Nokes Promoted to Of Counsel, Caplin & Drysdale, February 1, 2012
Recent Speaking Engagements
- Speaker, Documenting Resource-Sharing Arrangements & Other Transactions Between Related Organizations, Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association (WMACCA), Non-Profits and Associations Forum: Wearing Multiple Hats - Common Challenges for GCs Advising Related Organizations, October 1, 2014
- Speaker, Form 990 and Other IRS Reporting Issues for Related Organizations, Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association (WMACCA), Non-Profits and Associations Forum: Wearing Multiple Hats - Common Challenges for GCs Advising Related Organizations, October 1, 2014
- Speaker, Navigating the Exempt Organization Process, American Bar Association, July 9, 2014
- Speaker, Pin it, Tag it, Like it...UBIT? Compliance Issues for Non-Profit Social Media Campaigns, WMACCA Non-Profits and Associations Forum, June 25, 2014
- Speaker, Forming, Governing, and Maintaining a Section 501(c)(3) Organization, Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts Nonprofit Series, June 18, 2014
- Panelist, Navigating the Exempt Organizations Process, American Bar Association, 2014 May Meeting, May 9, 2014
- Speaker, Forming a Section 501(c)(3) Organization, Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts Nonprofit Series, November 13, 2013
- Panelist, Impact: Legal Structures, Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) & Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association (WMACCA), October 16, 2013
- Speaker, Forming, Governing, and Maintaining a Section 501(c)(3) Organization, Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts Nonprofit Series, August 21, 2013
- Panelist, Shaking the Money Tree: Corporate Sponsorship and Other Revenue Generating Strategies for Non-Profits, WMACCA Non-Profits and Associations Forum, May 22, 2013
- Speaker, Navigating the Perfect Storm: Simultaneous Federal, State, Civil, and Criminal Investigations, Georgetown Law Center Conference: Representing and Managing Tax-Exempt Organizations, April 26, 2013
- Panelist, Exempt Organizations Year in Review, Washington Metropolitan Area Corporate Counsel Association (WMACCA), Non-Profits and Associations Forum, January 10, 2013
- Panelist, Non-Profit Executive Compensation – Getting to "Reasonable" Without Making Headlines, WMACCA Corporate Governance Conference, March 22, 2012
- Speaker, Re-Membering the Nonprofit Corporation: Uses of Members in Corporate Governance—and Beyond, American Bar Association, March 1, 2012
- Panelist, 2011 Legal Update, McGladrey, Annual Not-for-Profit Summit Series, February 7, 2012
- Panelist, Just One More Couldn't Hurt: When to Use Joint Ventures, Subsidiaries, and Affiliates - And When Not To, National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), 2011 Tax Forum, November 3, 2011
- Speaker, Multi-Level (International, National, Regional & Local) Non-Profit Organizations: How to Structure Them—Plus Tax and Regulatory Issues, American Bar Association, August 1, 2011
- Speaker, How to Keep Tax-Exempt Organizations in Compliance: The Impact of Sarbanes-Oxley and the Era of Corporate Governance on Nonprofit Organizations, National Business Institute, July 8, 2011
- Speaker, Introduction to Nonprofit Governance, Board Diversity Apprenticeship Project, July 1, 2011
- Speaker, How Do I Benefit Thee? Let Me Count the Ways: Practical Strategies for Providing and Communicating Community Benefit, American Health Lawyers Association's Hospitals and Health Systems Law Institute, February 1, 2006
- Speaker, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do—When Partnerships Don't Work, 7th Annual Public Private Partnership Conference, Center for Nonprofit Advancement, The George Washington University, November 1, 2005
- "Letter to DOJ Confirms IRS Intent to Resume Church Tax Inquiries," Caplin & Drysdale, August 7, 2014
- "A Road Map for Foundation Advisors," Taxation of Exempts, March 1, 2014
- "New York Adopts Substantial Changes to Laws Regulating Nonprofits," Caplin & Drysdale, December 20, 2013
- "Wisconsin Court Holds Parsonage Allowance Unconstitutional," Caplin & Drysdale, November 27, 2013
- "Washington Post Releases Database of Reported Nonprofit Asset Diversions," Caplin & Drysdale, October 30, 2013
- "Stalled Applications for Section 501(c)(3) Status: Is it Time to Sue the IRS?," Caplin & Drysdale, August 16, 2013
- "Exempt Organizations News Flash: Priority Guidance Plan," Caplin & Drysdale, August 12, 2013
- "Exempt Organizations News Flash: IRS Updates," Caplin & Drysdale, June 28, 2013
- "Summary of New York's New Political Disclosure Rules for Nonprofits," Caplin & Drysdale, June 21, 2013
- "Lessons Learned From the IRS Colleges & Universities Compliance Project," Caplin & Drysdale, June 4, 2013
- "Preparing for and Navigating Complex IRS Examinations," Taxation of Exempts, May 31, 2013
- "IRS Issues Priority Guidance Plan," Caplin & Drysdale, November 21, 2012
- "IRS Issues New Regulations for Foreign Grantmaking by Private Foundations," Caplin & Drysdale, October 3, 2012
- "IRS Confirms Deductibility of Contributions to Domestic Disregarded Entities," Caplin & Drysdale, August 3, 2012
- "IRS Releases Draft of Core Form 990 for 2010," Caplin & Drysdale, October 22, 2010
- "IRS Proposes to Raise the Rank of Official Initiating Church Tax Inquiries, But Not High Enough," Caplin & Drysdale, August 31, 2009