Sharon P. Want
Caplin & Drysdale
Sharon P. Want Of Counsel

P: (202) 862-7849

F: (202) 429-3301

Washington, D.C. Office


Ms. Want helps organizations accomplish their tax-exempt purposes by providing sound advice on operational and programmatic issues such as:

  • making public charity and private foundation grants to domestic and foreign organizations;
  • engaging in advocacy while following rules on lobbying and political activity;
  • establishing board governance practices to support compliance with legal requirements;
  • structuring relationships and transactions between affiliated organizations;
  • determining reasonable compensation and avoiding self-dealing; and
  • minimizing or avoiding tax on unrelated business activities.

Ms. Want offers practical guidance informed by her years as in-house counsel at the American Cancer Society (ACS).  From 2006 to 2011, she was the primary legal adviser on tax, lobbying disclosure, and election law issues for ACS and its 501(c)(4) affiliate, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. From 2013 to 2015, Ms. Want was responsible for legal issues associated with ACS's global health and government-funded programs, as well as for a range of federal tax issues.
In addition, Ms. Want is well qualified to represent organizations before the IRS, whether they are under examination or seeking a ruling or a determination.  From 2011 to 2013, she was Senior Technical Advisor to the Director of Exempt Organizations, Internal Revenue Service. She worked closely with EO Examinations on cases involving executive compensation and unrelated business income tax and with EO Determinations on a range of issues.

Before entering the legal profession, Ms. Want worked on corporate governance issues for the Council of Institutional Investors and the Investor Responsibility Research Center and on fundraising for Bryn Mawr College.   She also volunteered for the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia, PA.

Practice Area(s)

Recent News

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Recent Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, Getting Political: c3, c4, & PAC Advocacy, PIE Network Summit, September 26, 2019
  • Speaker, Beyond Sarbanes-Oxley: Thinking Ahead in Nonprofit Governance, ABA Business Law Section Nonprofit Organizations Committee, March 29, 2019
  • Speaker, Fundamentals of Nonprofit Governance, National Business Institute, Advising Directors and Officers on Corporate Governance Seminar, September 14, 2017
  • Speaker, Lessons Learned from Exempt Organization Litigation - Why Trouble Occurs, How to Minimize Risks, and What to Do (and Not Do) When Litigation Happens, ACC National Capital Region, Nonprofits and Associations Forum, July 15, 2015
  • Speaker, Nonprofit Entities: Formation, Governing and Tax Considerations, ALI CLE, June 24, 2015

Click here for a full list of speaking engagements.

Recent Publications

Click here for a full list of publications.


  • J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 2002, cum laude
  • B.A., University of Virginia, 1984, Government and Economics, with high distinction

Bar and Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
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