Karen Gilbreath Sowell is a principal in Ernst & Young LLP's National Tax Department. Based in Washington, D.C., Karen serves as a co-leader of the Mergers and Acquisitions group and as the National Tax Director of Global Accounts. In these roles, Karen advises our largest clients with a perspective of the changing economic and tax policy landscape. Karen focuses on structuring tax- efficient acquisitions and dispositions, including novel spin-off and taxable transactions, as well as planning to integrate operations and optimize capital structures.
Karen was the US Treasury's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy from July 2007 to January 2009. She worked closely with the leadership of the Treasury Department during the financial crisis. She participated in the legislative process for the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 and the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) of 2008, and played a leadership role in the expedited issuance of important guidance projects directed at economic stabilization. She was co-leader of the Treasury Department's promulgation of standards for the executive compensation requirements of EESA. She received the Treasury Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her contributions.
Among her other duties as Treasury's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, Karen worked closely with the Internal Revenue Service to issue published guidance, particularly in the area of domestic and cross-border transactions. In addition to the important guidance that focused on economic stabilization during her tenure, the Office of Tax Policy and IRS issued a substantial amount of significant regulations, revenue rulings, revenue procedures, notices and other guidance.
Karen first served at the Treasury Department from 1997 to 2001, where she was Associate Tax Legislative Counsel. She was primarily responsible for matters relating to corporate taxation. From 2001 to 2007, Karen was a principal at Ernst & Young LLP and was co-leader of the National Tax Mergers and Acquisitions Group.
Karen is a member of the Executive Committee of the Tax Section of the New York State Bar Association and co-chair of the Corporations Committee. She is a former chair of the Corporations Committee of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association.