About Nicola Fuentes Toubia

nicola fuentes toubiaNicola Fuentes Toubia is the founding member of Fuentes Toubia, PLLC, which she formed in July 2008.  With almost 25 years of experience as a lawyer representing nonprofit organizations, Nicola offers her clients a unique skill set:  she knows the tax laws that control these organizations exempt status, as well as the laws regulating nonprofit corporations that influence their governance structures and operations.  Nicola concentrates on issues facing tax-exempt organizations.  Sample nonprofit clients include:

  • Community development organizations
  • Housing organizations
  • Trade associations
  • Religious organizations
  • Arts organizations
  • Environmental and parks organizations
  • Nonprofit health care systems
  • Universities and other educational organizations
  • Private foundations
  • Juvenile justice organizations
  • Animal welfare organizations
  • Social clubs
  • Mental health and drug-treatment organizations

Nicola's practice focuses on issues relating to structuring transactions, unrelated business income taxation, nonprofit formation, executive compensation, governance, public-private partnerships, international activities, lobbying  and political campaign activities, tax-exempt bond private use rules, and debt restructurings.

Nicola has assisted numerous clients in applying for and receiving federal tax-exemption. She has represented a large number of tax-exempt clients before the IRS. Nicola also has significant experience in general corporate matters and has negotiated numerous transactions, for both commercial and nonprofit clients.

Professional Associations

Nicola is a member of the Tax Sections of the Texas Bar, the American Bar Association (Exempt Organizations Committee), and the District of Columbia Bar Association.  Since 2007, she has been involved with the University of Texas School of Law’s Nonprofit Organizations Institute as a speaker, member of its planning committee, and for 3 years as a conference chair or co-chair. 

Nicola serves as an instructor at Rice University Leadership Institute for Nonprofit Executives, where she teaches the Current Legal and Ethical Considerations in Nonprofit Management.  She has taught this class since 2010 and really enjoys her students’ engagement and thoughtful questions.  Nicola has spoken at  Rice’s Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership Best Boards Program on two occasions. 

From 2010 through 2017, Nicola served on the Board of Commissioners for the Houston Housing Authority, which is the largest provider of affordable housing in Houston and accommodates over 60,000 Houstonians.  The highlights of this role were helping to significantly reduce veterans’ homelessness, filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on fair housing laws, helping the Authority’s clients, and visiting the Authority’s developments at least once a month.

Nicola is a member and previously served as Exempt Organizations Coordinator of the Gulf Coast Tax-Exempt/Governmental Entities Council, a liaison group between the IRS and private practitioners.  She is a frequent CLE speaker on nonprofit and tax-exempt topics.

She was formerly with the laws firms of Chamberlain Hrdlicka (Houston); Ballard Spahr (D.C.); Epstein, Becker & Green (D.C.); and Weil, Gotshal & Manges (Houston).  Nicola also was a Senior Manager at Ernst & Young (Houston) where she served as Functional Industry Leader for its Gulf Coast Health Sciences Tax Practice.

Admissions

Nicola is licensed to practice in Texas, the District of Columbia, the United States Supreme Court, the United States Tax Court, and the United States District Court Southern District of Texas.   Prior to returning to Houston, Texas in 2006, Nicola practiced law in Washington, D.C. 

Education

Nicola is a graduate of Texas A&M University (B.S., magna cum laude, 1987), University of Texas School of Law (J.D., 1994), and University of Houston Law Center (LL.M. in taxation, 2002).