Stephen J. Gilles



Stephen Gilles has two aspects to his practice: serving the needs of Texas-based nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, and advising publicly traded and privately-owned companies nationally and internationally on employee benefits and executive compensation. For over 33 years, wealthy individuals and families, private philanthropic foundations, and the directors, officers and owners of the state’s leading corporations have sought Steve’s guidance.

Nonprofit and Tax-Exempt Entities 

Steve is regarded as one of the leading attorneys in the state on the legal aspects of nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, advising hundreds of entities of all sizes on virtually every aspect of their organization and operation, including Internal Revenue Code sections 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(5), 501(c)(6), 501(c)(7) and all other types of 501(c).  For example, he has obtained over 500 determinations of tax-exempt status from the IRS. He also advises tax-exempt organizations about all types of tax matters, such as compensation and retirement programs, fundraising and giving, compensation testing and compliance, reporting and disclosure, and unrelated trade or business income issues.

Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation

In addition to serving nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, Steve works with publicly traded and privately owned companies in a wide range of industries, helping with the design, implementation and administration of qualified retirement plans, health and other welfare plans and executive compensation programs. He has handled mergers and acquisitions, audits, administrative hearings and matters involving correction procedures with the IRS, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and Department of Labor along with bankruptcy and fiduciary matters.

As an employee benefits lawyer, Steve focuses pragmatically on compliance with a myriad of tax rules, compensation, retirement, pension plans and various forms of qualified and non-qualified plans. He has spent a growing portion of his practice on the design of welfare plans – health care, dental and life insurance – mindful of the impact of the Affordable Care Act on employers.  

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, State Bar of Texas
    • Member, Taxation Section
    • Member, Health Law Section
  • Member, American Bar Association
    • Member, Taxation Section
    • Member, Health Law Section
    • Member, Nonprofit Corporations Committee
    • Member, Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Committee
  • Member, SouthWest Benefits Association
  • Former Faculty, Paralegal Program, Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law

Community Involvement

  • Officer and Board Member, Youth for Tomorrow Foundation
  • Officer and Board Member, Texas Legal Resource Center for Child Abuse and Neglect Inc.
  • Board Member, Strong Minds Rise Together
  • Former President and Board Member, Wednesday's Child Benefit Corp.

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™
  • Recognized, The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Tax Law (2022)


  • LL.M., Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law (1986), with honors
  • J.D., Texas Tech University School of Law (1981), with honors
  • B.B.A., The University of Texas at Austin (1978), with honors


  • Texas (1981)