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  • 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 | v-card | PDF
Marcus S. Owens is a Member in Caplin & Drysdale's Washington, D.C., office. He joined the firm in February 2000.


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.


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

  • Listed in The Best Lawyers of America in the categories of Nonprofit/Charities Law and Tax Law in 2008-2014
  • Listed in Super Lawyers in 2012-2014
  • Listed in the elite "Leading Lawyers" list in the 2011 and 2013-2014 editions of The Legal 500: 2011 –Domestic Tax: East Coast,  2013-2014 –Not-for-Profit
  • Ranked as a Top Lawyer in the 2009 -2012 editions of Chambers USA: 2011 –Band 3 in Tax - District of Columbia, 2012 –Band 4 in Tax - District of Columbia
  • Recipient of the IRS Commissioner's Award for exemplary service
  • Selected by the NonProfit Times as one of the top 50 most influential people in the nonprofit sector in 1998, 1999, and 2001
  • AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell

Recent Media

To view a list of Mr. Owens' media mentions, please click here.

Recent Publications

Mr. Owens is a frequent writer and commentator on exempt organizations issues. Recent articles include: Please click here to see a comprehensive list of Mr. Owens' published articles.