Suzanne Ross McDowell advises charities, private foundations, trade associations and professional societies, social welfare organizations, educational institutions and other exempt organizations and their boards of directors on tax and corporate governance issues.
Suzanne’s practice includes counseling clients on tax planning matters and representing them before the IRS, courts, Congress and the Department of Treasury. She also advises nonprofit corporations on a broad array of governance matters including board and committee structures, fiduciary duties, conflicts of interest, potential director liabilities, and protection from liability.
Additionally, she conducts confidential internal investigations on behalf of boards of directors. Clients benefit from Suzanne’s broad experience and understanding of the nonprofit sector that she gained while working at the US Treasury Department, in-house at a global charitable organization, and now in private practice advising exempt organizations.
She served as Associate Tax Legislative Counsel in the Office of Tax Policy, US Treasury Department, where she was responsible for all legislative and regulatory issues affecting exempt organizations, and worked on the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Later, she worked as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for the National Geographic Society, where she developed cost-effective practical solutions for a wide variety of complex legal and business issues.
Recognized in Legal 500as a “top lawyer in the tax-exempt organization field,” Suzanne is noted for her “excellent judgment in advising clients on challenging issues” and her ability to “distill and present complex tax concepts in a way that is easy to understand.”
- Adviser, Restatement of the Law of Charitable Nonprofit Organizations, American Law Institute (2015-present)
- Former Chair, Exempt Organizations Committee, Tax Section, American Bar Association
- Fellow, American College of Tax Counsel (2007-present)
- Chair, Exempt Organizations Committee, ABA Tax Section (2011-2013)
- Co-Chair, ALI-CLE, Tax Exempt Organizations: An Advanced Course (2010-2013)
- Member, IRS Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT) (2004-2007)
- J.D., The George Washington University Law School, with high honors
- B.A., Smith College, Scott Foundation Award for Leadership, American Studies
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