Areas of Practice
Education
  • Indiana University, M.B.A., 1976
  • Long College for Women, B.A., 1968
  • University of Nottingham, 1966-67
1330 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20036
TEL: +1 202 429 6262
FAX: +1 202 429 3902

Catherine Wilkinson is a certified public accountant in Steptoe's Washington office and co-chair of the firm’s exempt organizations practice, a practice that is consistently ranked in the Finance: Not-for-Profit category by Legal 500 US.

Exempt Organizations
Ms. Wilkinson provides tax planning and advice to tax-exempt organizations with respect to qualification and state regulatory issues, unrelated business income and participation in partnerships and business ventures, executive compensation, and lobbying and political activities.  She also advises charitable organizations on structuring corporate sponsorships; obtaining tax exempt financing for corporate offices and program-related capital projects; developing and operating other fundraising programs; establishing and maintaining planned giving programs, such as charitable gift annuities, pooled income funds, use of split-interest trusts, and private foundations and other deferred giving arrangements; and recordkeeping and reporting for contributions, capital campaigns, direct mail and Internet solicitations, planned giving, and special events.

Executive Compensation
Ms. Wilkinson advises corporations, including publicly-traded corporations, closely-held entities, and tax-exempt organizations, with respect to executive compensation and benefits.  This advice includes use of incentive and performance-based compensation arrangements and deferred compensation; stock options, other forms of equity compensation, and phantom stock plans; and compensation paid in connection with a change in control.

Tax Controversy & Professional Standards
Ms. Wilkinson represents corporations, partnerships, tax-exempt organizations, and individuals in complex federal and state tax audits and investigations.  These include routine civil audits of domestic and international organizations, and investigations relating to failure to file, tax fraud, and tax evasion.  She also counsels and represents individuals, taxable and tax-exempt corporations, federal and state government agencies and instrumentalities in making voluntary disclosures of non-compliance with federal and state income and employment tax laws, and state sales and use tax laws.  The focus of the latter representations is to achieve resolution through a civil settlement of the issues without criminal charges being filed.

Ms. Wilkinson also represents tax professionals who have been charged with misconduct by federal or state regulators or other licensing authorities.  She has successfully represented professionals before such agencies, leading to no action being taken or sanctions being limited to private reprimands.

Pro Bono
Ms. Wilkinson is active in pro bono representations and her clients include America's State Parks Foundation; Dupree Foundation for the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University; Peace Appeal Foundation (formerly known as the Appeal of the Nobel Peace Laureates Foundation); and the United Planning Organization of the District of Columbia.

Noteworthy

  • Co-author, Steptoe's Exempt Organizations Advisory
  • Co-author, Charitable Giving Answer Book, 2006, published by CCH
  • Contributing author, Complete Guide to Nonprofit Organizations, 2005, published by Civil Research Institute
  • Contributing author, 403(b) Answer Book, 2002, published by Aspen Publishers
  • Legal 500 US, Finance: Not-for-Profit (nonprofit and tax exempt organizations), 2015

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Professional Affiliations

  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Board of Directors, Conservation Law Center, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, 2010-present