Parent Q&A

CPA recommendation - the next level Feb 3, 2020 (2 responses below)
Affordable accountant, 401k questions Jul 9, 2019 (1 responses below)
Small Business Tax Accountant? Jul 20, 2018 (1 responses below)
CPA corporate and individual tax filing Jun 29, 2018 (2 responses below)
Accountant needed for complex rental situation Feb 28, 2017 (2 responses below)
  • CPA recommendation - the next level

    (2 replies)

    Needing a solid CPA for a relative's high-net worth individual taxes.  There's complexity to it, so looking for a next level CPA with experience. The large companies quotes are sky-high and their advice seems unduly complicated.  Simply wanting to comply and plan.  Appreciate any leads!

    We use JP Cross with Cross Capital in SF.  He’s an independent CPA and CFP. He has given us sound money saving and wealth building advice for several years. 

    I wish we had started with him earlier.

    You can reach him via email at jp [at]

    From our days of living down south we have kept our CPA (who can also be a business manager), Larry Rogers, in L.A., precisely because he is used to dealing with high net worth individuals, and would give you one-on-one personal advice. He does not delegate to a "team." What almost happens with a high net worth situation is that an accountant will advise the individual to incorporate. It sounds complicated, but Larry makes it easy, and it is well worth the trouble from a tax savings perspective, if the individual's income is ongoing. Also, in over 30 years, he has had more access to our money that most people would be comfortable allowing-- yet every dollar is there -- he is the anti-Madoff! (New clients, of course, do not have to set up their finances that way, if they don't want to.) He can be reached at Rogers Accountancy, (818) 783 2600. Tell him Tom and Leslie sent you.

  • Affordable accountant, 401k questions

    (1 reply)

    I am looking for a recommendation for an affordable accountant or tax preparer to file three years of back taxes for me. They are not terribly complicated — I have minimal income but mainly am a graduate student. However I am in the middle of a divorce and totally overwhelmed so I just want someone to tell me what to do and take care of it. 

    I also have some questions about the implications of cashing out a 401k to pay educational expenses this year. Is an accountant the right person to talk to about this? 

    I highly recommend my CPA, Deborah Fisher of Fisher & Co in Albany/North Berkeley. She has helped me and my husband, along with many other folks I know. She helped us figure out how to save money on income taxes, and she knows all about the tax implications of raiding your 401k early.

  • Small Business Tax Accountant?

    (1 reply)

    I run a small business in Berkeley and am in search of a tax accountant who can handle filings for our business, knows something about the R&D tax credit, and is familiar with the Board of Equalization requirements.  Most of the tax recommendations I have come across here are for individual tax prep, but I need something for my business.  Any recommendations of individuals or reputable firms?  Thanks in advance!

    RE: Small Business Tax Accountant? ()

    I own my business and have a complicated tax situation. I completely rely on my CPA Lars Hansson. We’ve worked with him for years. He’s great!! He’s thorough,  knowledgeable, responsive and timely. He’gives sound advice and gets things done. He seems to work with a lot of business people. Over the years I have referred him a couple of my business friends. They all like his work. I believe he’s been voted the Best CPA on the Alameda Magazine for the last several years. He truly is the best! Lars Hansson CPA: 510-521-2343. 

  • CPA corporate and individual tax filing

    (2 replies)

    We are seeking a trusted and competent CPA who can prepare both individual and corporate tax filing (S Corp and LLC), advise on profit sharing and determine tax withholdings, and prepare adjusting journal entries. We are located in Berkeley.

    We use Deborah Fisher. She is amazing, with many years with the IRS supervising audits, and she's always keeping us up to date. When she explains details she keeps going until she's sure we understand. Her office is in Albany. Her email is dfishercpa [at]

    A bit of a drive, but Sam Kan/SK Accountancy in the Harbor Bay business park in Alameda has been a godsend to us with my husband's small business.  He and his staff are thorough and have helped us manage business expenses to favorably take advantage of IRS code.  He also helped us straighten out a family member's years long tax mess.  His hourly fees and retainters are less expensive than the last two CPA firms we had and we feel he gives us better guidance.  Contact info:

    1151 Harbor Bay Parkway, Alameda, 94502


  • Hi everyone - I am in search of a new accountant. I have very specific needs - my financials are very complex and involve multiple out-of-state properties, in addition to rental income and other investments. I am looking for someone who is patient, thorough and VERY competent. Thank you for any recs you can give me. 

    Kim Lee-Conwright at Lee-Conwright and Hartley has done our accounting for years and is fantastic.  We have a rental, I am self-employed and she is used to complicated situations.  She is located in Fremont, but I don't think that we have met in person more than 2 or three times in 10+ years.  Her number is (510) 739-6075.

    Tell her that Laurel sent you.

    Lars Hansson is a VERY competent CPA!! He is also very easy to work with. He helps me with my business tax  as well as individual tax returns before, during and after my divorce. Lars also helps my friend who owns 22 properties all over the places. Lars helped him clean up the mess that the previous CPA made, dealt with the estate taxes after his wife's death, re-established cost basis, and saved him so much money on taxes. His phone number: 1 (510) 521-2343. 

    A very happy client 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Accountant Reviews Related pages

Accountants for Taxes

Need tax accountant for independent contractor

March 2013

Hi, can anyone recommend a Bay Area accountant with expertise in tax services for freelance/independent contractors? My spouse is a theater arts professional, and ideally we would like to work with an accountant who is familiar with the theater industry. Thanks! Jamie

I highly recommend CPA Iryna Oreshkova. She has a lot of experience and stays on top of the game. She is thorough and easy to work with. Her office is in downtown Oakland. Email: io [at] Ph# (510) 467-9506. Lan

Small Business & Personal Tax Accountant

Sept 2012

We are in need of a friendly, knowledgeable, patient tax accountant that can: 1) Walk us through gathering what is needed for year end taxes for our mid-sized business - every year it seems we don't know exactly what forms we need (thus the need for patience). 2) Process our business & personal year end taxes efficiently and accurately 3) Be proactive in helping us find tax savings 4) Advise us with best structure for handling spouse's involvement in the business (should she draw a salary, form her own business as a subset of current business, not claim a salary?) 5) Be able to handle ever changing tax laws related to domestic partnerships 6) Point us in the right direction for long term financial planning Again, we want someone who is easy to work with (tolerant of financial naivete), smart & strategic. Thanks! trying to get ducks in a row

HI, I suggest you give Couch & Associates in El Cerrito a call. KeAloha and Charles are smart, fun and easy to work with. 510-778-3115 Love my tax people

I've used Bruce Friedman over the past few years. He can help with tax planning (which are important yet small details that some small businsses miss out on)and helps me do the payroll. His email is Bruce [at] Miranda

Accountant for an artist

Sept 2012

Hello! I am a self-employed artist and I am looking for a new accountant in the East Bay (preferably Berkeley or Oakland). I have had the same accountant for 25 years in San Francisco. Someone else took over her company and the rates just skyrocketed! My taxes are not terribly complicated. But I do need someone to prepare them for me. Thanks so much! Lynn Lynn

My friend who specializes in Russian Art uses Yoav Havshoush in El Cerrito. His number is (510) 620-0644 and he also works with a CPA if you need other services Miranda

Seeking CPA good with inherited real estate & tax

Sept 2012

We are looking for a Certified Public Accountant who won't be daunted by the complexities of my mother- in-law's estate. She left us seven properties (houses and commercial) to manage for the family trust. Her taxes for 2011 need to be filed, and then there will be her individual taxes for the first part of 2012 and the family trust taxes for the latter part. My husband and I are both self-employed and I do our taxes on Turbo Tax, but this estate business is too rich for my blood! Any suggestions are appreciated. A.

We consult with Mildred Brown, a partner at Mowat, Mackey and Anderson We, also, have been blessed with complicated estate and property issues, Mildred and her team are extremely professional, patient, instructive, responsive in dealing with them. When an issue has been overlooked, they've taken responsibility for remedying it. It's worth consulting with Mildred, she will refer you elsewhere if their higher level services are not required, i.e. you may not have to pay ''top dollar''! Good luck- C. P.

Accountant for personal taxes

Feb 2012

Does anyone have an accountant for personal taxes they can recommend in the EB (preferably in the lake merritt/Berkeley/Oakland area)? Thanks! Andrea

We have been using Gusman and Associates for the last 7 or 8 years. Henry is our accountant and Catherine his wife is the office manager. They are nice people and Henry is good at what he does - he's thorough and calm and instills confidence. We had a different person before, but a friend recommended Henry, and we've been very happy with him. His contact info is 510-273-8630. The office is on Harrison @ 20th, right across the street from Snow Park, very near Lake Merritt. Lisette

My accountant is wonderful! His name is John Stephenson and his business is called Just Taxes in El Cerrito (on Fairmount), tel. 510-528-8299. He is patient, knowledgeable, and, he is reasonably priced! Camille

Tax accountant for complicated amended returns

Jan 2012

My partner has a somewhat complicated tax situation that we need help with. If anyone has dealt with anything even remotely comparable to the following situation and can recommend a stellar tax accountant, we would be grateful...

Luise Roke at 1516 Oak Street, Suite 104. Alameda CA (510-521- 1890) is excellent. cetadoc

Accountant for tax

Jan 2012

We're looking for a good accountant near Berkeley, one who is flexible and reasonable. We have a quite complicated situation; working outside of the country, also need to file backward for a few years. Please give me any advice. Thank you very much.

I can recommend David Brown at Brown Armant Gibson in Oakland. He's been our accountant for many years. Ray phone: 510-635-3011 Ray


Jan 2012

Hi all - I am looking for a new tax accountant - we're not happy with the guy we have now, and our taxes this year are more complex than usual. We need someone really competent and who can deal with some complexities (separation, house purchase, 1099s, and an overseas acct, etc.). I started looking thru the BPN files and getting in touch with people, but many are not taking new clients at this time ... Do you have someone you like who IS taking new clients? Many thanks

I've had the same CPA for many years, have always been very happy with her work, and have referred many people to her (they are all happy, too!). She's smart, knowledgeable, and friendly. She's located in Alameda. Call Anne Farrell at 510-521-8822 and tell her that Cece Littlepage referred you. Cece

I suggest you check out Couch & Associates in El Cerrito. They have been doing a lot of foreign accounts cases. I'm sure they'll be able to handle your situation...and I know for sure they are still taking new clients. Give them a call. 510-558-8060 Angela

Tax Accountant for Self Employed

Nov 2011

I have a small consulting practice that I started the middle of this year. As the end of the year approaches I realize I will be needing tax advice, as I don't know squat about taxes. I am a sole proprietorship, so figure I need to prepare a Schedule C. I would like someone who can either prepare this for me or who can guide me in the process and how to classify my expenses. There don't seem to be a lot of recent recommendations on the website, so I welcome recommendations. I am in Berkeley, and would prefer someone close to that area for travel time purposes. Thank you, Need Tax Help

To both the questions about tax help this week, I'd recommend Wade Hufford (510-531-6120) in Oakland. He's an attorney and CPA and has been so helpful with straightening out our corporate taxes - knows the code well, and always patient answering questions. Happy to Outsource

Hi, May I recommend a book for you? ''Minding Her Own Business'' by Jan Zobel. It's a straightforward, nicely organized book for self-employed people. Jan offers seminars on self-employment and taxes in the Bay Area. (Jan has been my tax person for years. She is located in Oakland but, unfortunately I don't think she is accepting any new clients at this time.) Pat

KeAloha Couch is the best there is. She's a small business owner herself and is an expert in all tax matters. She's located in El Cerrito, right by the EC Plaza on Fairmount. She's helped several folks establish their small business LLCs as well. 510-558-8060 tax happy

Kevin Thurman is my accountant and has helped me organize my business, represented me in an audit and an all around nice guy. Here's his cell phone. (925) 708-6747 Bob

I use Beall & Weil Tax Service, for personal and small business taxes. Low stress, get it done, conservative on deductions (we all need to pay taxes)... (510) 524-4820, 1329 Solano Ave. Albany, CA 94706 O.

Looking for accountant for IRS dispute

Oct 2011

I'm asking on behalf of a friend who received a letter from the IRS stating that she received income in the form of a 1099 from her brother. She never received such income and her brother says he did not file any such 1099. Has anyone out there worked with either an accountant or attorney who deals with such discrepancies? Thank you so much for your input. This is really causing her duress. anonymous

I would recommend Mel Lee, a former SF IRS employee and lecturer on taxes for small businesses. He is an IRS enrolled agent, prepares tax returns for his private clients and is truly knowledgeable about disputes. You can reach him at at 510-763-1145.

Hi! I don't think your friend needs an accountant or a lawyer to dispute the IRS when the claim is false. Simply send a clear and concise letter, perhaps with a signed statement from the brother, stating that the 1099 was never issued (maybe a copy of his taxes for that year), and have them recheck their records. Do all this in writing, and keep copies, send certified with a signature on receipt. And keep records or everything. But, it should go away with a few simple letters like that.

I had an accountant that made multiple mistakes on my taxes many years ago. To the tune of $10K, which I paid back over time- though a payment plan I set up with the IRS. After it was over, they re-calculated my taxes for that year, and told me that I owed a couple thousand dollars more. I went through my old records and disputed the new charges, and they were immediately dropped. I only had to send one letter explaining to them why they were wrong. I never used a lawyer or CPA for the resolution of the issues with the IRS. I doubt if your friend needs to either.

Another interesting thing that happened to me during this period: I moved to a different state while I was still paying off the original $10K, and immediately received a very threatening notice that I was delinquent on my payments, even though I was not. I called the office in a panic, and the guy that answered said ''Oh yeah, we always send those notices out. Just ignore it.'' This made me realize that the IRS just works on peoples fears, and you cant play into it.

If her brother really never did 1099 her, then it should be easy to prove- in fact, make them produce proof that he did! And definitely don't stress out to much over it -Don't fear the tax man!

Desperately seeking CPA!

Aug 2011

Please, we need help! We have had absolutely terrible luck with our taxes lately. We had an expensive SF firm, they messed up our taxes, didn't communicate, and lost stuff. We went with a small, inexpensive N. Bay co-op, they messed up our taxes, didn't communicate, and lost stuff! My husband is a sole proprietor attorney and we have a rental property in Berkeley, so our situation is not too complex but takes a bit more attention than some. We need someone who can help us get back on track and can resolve some loose ends with the IRS. Nothing major, just a payment plan for last years quarterlies as our last person didn't tell us what to pay them as we went. We definitely need someone who isn't afraid of dealing with the IRS, but at the same time will be conservative in their dealings and not raise any red flags. Most of all, we need someone who is an excellent communicator and can help us plan ahead, pay quarterly, and stay on track. We are now in the Santa Rosa area but will travel for the right person. Desperately seeking CPA!

We highly recommend Jeff Vogel, CPA in Novato. We have used him for years and find it worth driving for the sake of his solid, unflappable, highly experienced guidance. All the best. Hate taxes, love Jeff Vogel

I am so sorry you have had a bad experience with your tax professional. I would like to suggest you consider an enrolled agent to get you back on track. Enrolled agents are federally licensed to practice before the IRS and unlike CPA's or attorneys, they only specialize in tax. (That is not to say there are not excellent tax attorneys and CPA's out there.)Often an EA's services include tax planning, tax preparation and tax representation (specialist in dealing with the IRS).

You can look for an enrolled agent in Santa Rosa by visiting the California Society of Enrolled Agents website at and click on the ''Find an EA'' link. Best of luck to you. Lisa W

I highly recommend Peter Morfin of Morfin Finances. I got Peter's name through BPN and have been with him for a number of years. I had a CPA for decades who took weeks and weeks to do my taxes, always waiting to finish them on April 15th and made errors. Peter is careful and knows his stuff AND does my taxes within days of having all my materials. Check him out. He's also a trained therapist......he communicates really well and is always available. His wife works with him and she too has this double training. win-win, in my view. good luck!

I am so sorry for the ineptitude you've encountered with your tax prep. I can very highly recommend Michael Schoenholz of Schoenholz & Associates in Walnut Creek. We've used him for close to 10 years and have never, ever had a problem. Mike is totally up to date on every new tax law. He mails us everything we need to do to prepare our taxes well ahead of time every year.

Mike helped me enormously with my father's trust and estate. He also helped my dad's widow with her taxes which got a little complicated, plus she was in the early stages of Alzheimers and all that implies. He was incredibly kind and patient in dealing with her.

Even though he is in Walnut Creek, you might only have to meet with him once. I of course went in more often while handling my dad's issues, but for my family's taxes we do it by mail mostly.

As far as dealing with the IRS goes: there we some confusing issues with some of my dad's investements and holdings. I asked Mike during a meeting if he wanted to investigate and get back to me. He said, ''Let's just call the IRS now.'' He got someone in the right dept. on the phone immediately and got the questions resolved right there. I was amazed. It was like he had some secret hotline.

So, in answer to that part of your question: has no problem dealing with IRS and does so quicky and easily. His firm info: Schoenholz & Associates 1350 Treat Blvd., Suite 280 Walnut Creek, CA 94597 Tel. 925-939-3200 Mary

I highly recommend our CPA, Hank Levy. I had known Hank for decades before switching to him for our tax work about 6 or 8 years ago ... he immediately managed to get us enormous refunds by redoing returns that our prior accountants (including the late unlamented Arthur Anderson) had done badly. Since then he has guided us painlessly through an audit and given us great advice. And he's a very sweet guy: Henry C. Levy & Associates; 510.652.1000 AJ Kutchins

Carl Flemming is and has been my families tax guy for about 35+ years he is truly amazing and an excellent communicator he doesn't pull punches and he's truly a genius when it comes to taxes and the delicacies that come with taxes and their preparation. To be honest Carl has been in business for quite sometime I'm not sure if he is accepting new clientele or only referrals. You can send me an email and I can give u a referral if necessary shorte415 [at] thank you lynn

Accountant for small business

Jan 2011

My husband and I are looking for an accountant to work on our taxes. We both have our own small businesses and own income property. Any recommendations? thanks

I've used several local accountants and have been very happy with Bob and Carole DeSilva at DeSilva and Holman (510)531-6262. optimoms [at]

I use KeAloha Couch in El Cerrito: kealoha.couchtaxes [at] / 510-558-8060, she's great, as is Bill Pezick in Albany: bill [at] / 510-526-6121. Good luck. Jean

I highly recommend Deborah Bell Fisher. She is the Director of Tax for Williams, Adley and Co., a CPA firm. She has been a CPA for over 25 years and worked at IRS in charge of auditing for 18 years. So, she knows the tax law inside and out. Many of her clients own real estate and business. Her services are beyond filing taxes. She puts in lots efforts in tax planning and strategies. Several clients of mine work with Deborah and speak highly about her. She is thorough, takes initiative and always stays on top of the game. Her fees are very reasonable and competitive. She is a wonderful person, and she offers free consultation upfront. You should give her a call and find out for yourself. Deborah's phone # is 510-893-8114, ext. 16 or email: dkbell [at] Lan

March 2009

I'm looking for a good accountant (at this late date!) in the East Bay, preferably one who has experience, is flexible, and reasonable. We have other issues to discuss, including one of us trying to start a business, prior IRS challenges, and childcare/school write-offs. Any recommendations, please let me know. Thank you so much.

Monika Hengesbach, Decision Financial Services, (925) 756-7815 - I believe she's been doing this for over 15 years - patient, personable, trustworthy - she's been doing my taxes since 2003

Jan 2009

We are looking for an accountant to help us with our 2008 personal income taxes. We will be employing a nanny in 2009, so we would also like an accountant who can help us pay employment taxes. If you have a good accountant / tax preparer / CPA who has experience with nannies, please let us know about him or her. Thanks! tax man cometh

Dennis Middleton is a great CPA, skilled in all things tax related. I've used him for the last two years and am always confident in his work. He's conveniently located in Montclair off Hwy 13 and Moraga. Reach him at 339-8860. Denise

I highly recommend Michael Steele. He has been a CPA for over 25 years and has a lot of experience with similar situations like yours. He is very easy to work with. I have heard nothing but good feedback from people who have worked with him. I am sure Michael and his partners will be able to help you out as well. His contact is 510-985-0505 or michael [at] Cheers, Lan

I can't speak highly enough of my accountant, Diane Tyler at D.A. Tyler and Associates. She always gives sound advice that keeps you within the guidelines of what is acceptable by the IRS but she never gives me the sense that she is too much on the side of ''the taxman''. She is very professional and good at getting back to you in a timely fashion. She handles many clients who either have employees or are self-employed. Good luck! Sara

Jan 2009

My accountant of thirty years retired. I am looking for a progressive, sensible accountant in Berkeley.

Hi, I live in Berkeley and I use an accountant based in Walnut Creek. He's been great for me and helps a lot with various issues. Give him a try: Brent Burr - Brent [at] - (925) 676-6007 Steve

August 2008

Help! We're looking for someone in the Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito area who can prepare our 2007 tax returns. Our paperwork should be relatively straight forward; we just need someone we can trust and who may be able to provide tax advice. All the previous postings from BPN are outdated or the contacts are not accpeting new clients. Better late than never

John Paul Cross, CPA and Masters in Tax, has done a terrific job for us at finding deductions we were unaware of for our tax returns and doing a very thorough job. 805-637-4700. crystal

Patrick McDermott is fabulous. He is a C.P.A. and really knows what he is doing. He is down to earth and speaks to you in a way you can really understand. I highly recommend him. His office is in Berkeley. ph:(510)841-9801 email: patrickthecpa [at] rachel

Jay Schneider, 234-1040, does my taxes and was rec. by a colleague. He is a lovely and professional person. Reba

We enjoyed working with Rob Stephenson of Just Taxes on Fairmont Ave. in El Cerrito for a number of years. His fee is very reasonable and he helped me with two audits when I had a small business. kl

May 2008

We are looking for someone/firm that deals with smaller portfolios, simple plans for the future (savings, investment, education, retirement, daily budget, etc), just on our level...modest!! Someone in the east bay is preferred! Also, we're doing this from abroad so please...someone/firm that is truly good, trust worthy, and NOT too expensive!!

We have used for our personal taxes Mark Hawkes, with Hawkes & Hastings in Walnut Creek for many years. I have also worked with Mark, I'm a third party plan administrator for pension plans and he is the CPA for mutual clients. His number is 925-946-4141, 2700 Ygnacio Valley Road, Suite 140, WC 94598. Check out their website Mark is great to work with. You can tell him we referred. Ali R.

Nov 2007

I'm looking for current recommendations for CPAs in Berkeley. I've seen the reviews on BPN and would like to get a few more. Nothing complicated, just a tax return, some deductions and the occasional question. Thanks! Jill

I have a great accountant in El Cerrito (next to BART and EC Plaza) near Berkeley. She helped me straighten out a prior messy tax situation. Since then, she and her staff have responded to my questions on a timely basis. What I enjoy about KeAloha is she considers me and my situation first, then presents options and advice. Here is her contact information, give her a call: KeAloha Couch, EA Couch & Associates, LLC (510) 558-8060 kealoha [at]

I wanted to respond to the person looking for a CPA in Berkeley. Our accountant is Malcolm Roberts who has an office in the Golden Bear building on the corner of University/Milvia. My husband first worked for him way back in 1997 as his systems administrator, and later we ended up hiring him when our taxes became too complicated for us to handle on our own. My husband learned a lot about him from being his employee and we find him very honest, precise and easy to deal with. We are very happy with Malcolm and recommend him highly. He is a very ethical, trustworthy accountant. Malcolm Roberts Roberts & Company 1995 University Ave Ste 265 Berkeley, CA (510) 548-0223

Sept 2007

I am seeking the answer to a complicated question regarding Mortgage payments and tax claims. I am not sure of who exactly (what profession) would have the best, legally thorough answers. The question: If I am not on the title of the house or a co-signer on the loan, but will be paying the full mortgage payments, property taxes, and contributing to the account set-up for house maintenance, (essentially as a renter) how can I (or can I?) claim this legally for a tax deduction?

This is not an uncommon scenario. These particular tax deductions, as a matter of public policy, support home ownership. So you have to be a homeowner, on title, to take these tax deductions - the tax law is clear on this. I recommend that you go to the IRS website - they have a publication (that is designed to be readable by lay people) on home deductions. These publications have FAQs and will probably answer your questions and can be accessed at your convenience. I don't know the local tax professionals but do know that there is a local H Block and they'd be able to answer this for you quickly. Anonymous

I highly recommend ''Just Taxes'' in El Cerrito - they are super knowledgeable and have always saved us money and given great advice. Just Taxes is located at 6327 Fairmount Ave in El Cerrito (near the plaza) and their number is 510 528 8299. Audrey

July 2007

My mother is looking for a CPA to help her with taxes. Her situation is not all that complicated, but involves a number of weird twists - income from a dislaimer trust, sale of a house, moving to another state mid-year, sale of stocks many many years after acquisition, etc. etc. I'd like to find her someone in the Albany/El Cerrito or Berkeley area. Any recommendations? Thanks!

You should definitely call Mike Schoenholz of Schoenholz and Spiegel in Walnut Creek. His office is right off of 24 and is quick to get to from anywhere in the East Bay. He has done our personal taxes every year for the past 7 or 8 years. He also helped me with my father's estate tax filing and his trust filings. (It was pretty complicated.) Furthermore, he was a big help to my father's widow when she needed to file after he died -- part of the year they filed jointly, then the rest of the year the trust kicked in. It was messy and he handled it extremely well. My co-executor and co-trustee on my father's estate was an old family friend who was an investigator for the federal gov't. (He handled many financial fraud cases.) He was blown away by how up to the minute Mike's knowledge of obscure tax laws was and how quickly he got things done. I would recommend him to everyone. Mike Schoenholz Schoenholz & Spiegel, LLP 2033 N. Main St.,Ste. 365 Walnut Creek 925-977-4000

A great CPA is Dennis Middleton, CPA. phone 510-339-8860. e-mail is: dnm[at] Best of luck. Karen K

Feb 2007

We had a terrific tax accountant who is retiring. We are looking for recommendations for a tax accountant who can help us with our personal taxes and my business taxes, which is a sole proprietorship. Lisa

I recommend for a tax accountant: Barry Goldstein Work 925-283-1040 Work Address 938 Dewing Ave #3 Lafayette, CA 94549 We have been with him since 1999 - he was with the IRS before and knows really the details. Steff

We have worked with Michael Schoenholz of Schoenholz & Spiegel for several years now. He also handled my late father's quite complicated trust and estate tax issues. I cannot recommend him highly enough. He is kind, quick, efficient, easy to talk to, and is so completely up to date on even the most arcane new tax laws it is unbelievable. His office is in Walnut Creek, very near the 24/680 interchange. His number: 925-977-4000.

I love Herb Yarmo. He was recommended to us a couple years ago, and after talking to, and considering three people, we went with Herb. He's all the adjectives you want in an accountant, *and* he saved us big bucks - thousands - helping a situation created by a mistake my husband made using Turbo Tax the year before Herb started doing our taxes. We were going to be hit with huge penalties plus the taxes - Herb fixed it. I can't remember the details - too painful - lol. His office is across the street from Walnut Square in Berkeley. 510-849-0360, Jessica B

We have been with Hawkes & Hastings for many years. I have worked with Mark Hawkes both on our personal taxes and we also have mutual clients regarding pension plans. We highly recommend him. 2700 Ygnacio Valley Road, Suite 140, Walnut Creek, CA 94598 (925) 946-4141 Ali

Try Maria Ku, whose info we got from this list years ago. Maria is a parent of two and an obsessively careful tax accountant. She keeps in touch with us all year about tax laws and ideas for saving us money. Maria is excellent and professional. Hilary

Hi, I found Christine Harkinson, CPA, through this list and she is fabulous...We also have a small business and I feel her advice and tax prep for the business (and also some sale of stock earlier this year), has been excellent. She helps us come up with all deductions we're entitled to, yet she is totally ethical and above-board. She does our taxes for $300/year; we had been paying twice that with our previous accountant! She's in Oakland near Lake Merritt but doesn't advertise in the Yellow 482-9729. cs

I have been using a wonderful tax preparer for more then ten years now. He is fabulous, always available to answer questions during the year, rewriting me the addresses of places I need to send papers to, etc. He is great at using all possible deductions and gives great financial advise. I think he's quite reasonable too. I often send him the stuff by mail, we talk re questions, and he e- files and mails me the originals. His name is John Yannotti, his business Marin Tax and Financial Services, phone (415) 488-0626. happy

Nov 2006

We are looking for an accountant to help us with our taxes. Someone who will be sharpeyed and diligent and could perhaps advise on on strategies. Wendy

I strongly recommend Ann Valliant for accounting and tax help. She has many years of experience helping small businesses and has loads of integrity. You can reach her at ann[at] (510) 848-1516 Ernie M

Feb 2006

hi. i'm looking for a good, easy to work with and reasonably priced tax accountant in the Lamorinda area for tax preparation. if you know of someone who has experience with deductions related to more alternative medical treatments that would be even better. thanks! Patsy

David Coulter (925-962-2999) in Lafayette is an excellent tax accountant AND tax attorney. He is a solo practitioner on Dewing Avenue. He remembers everything about us even though we usually only speak around tax time. He seems to really enjoy his work and his enthusiasm always cheers me up when I am in the throws of getting all of the paperwork together. He has been doing our taxes for about four years as well as those of many of our friends for even longer. He is very smart and handles the tricky stuff (stock options, investment properties, etc.) with ease (and creativity). A delighted client

John Harper is very good. He has been our accountant for several years. My husband has a fairly complicated tax situation, not related to alternative medicines, though. John's number is 925-295-3024. He is located on Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Walnut Creek. Jeanne

I would highly recommend Mark Hawkes of Hulme & Hawkes Accountancy Corp. in Walnut Creek (925) 946-4141. He is a registered representative and financial planner. I have worked with him professionally and he does our personal tax return. He is very reasonable and his office also offers Investment, Planning, Insurance & mortgage advise. Feel free to tell him I recommended him. A couple of our friends now go to him and they all seem to like him too. Ali

Nov. 2004

My husband and I are looking for a good and not too expensive accountant in the Berkeley/Albany/El Cerrito area to help us figure out our taxes this year. irina

I will echo the recommendations for Christine Harkinson, CPA (whom I found on this list). She prepared the taxes for our small business last year, and did so for half the fee of our previous accountant. In addition, she advised us on setting up a retirement account for the self-employed, which our previous accountant had never done, so I felt we actually got more for less money! She is willing to give help over the phone on small matters, and in general I find her to be very competent, reassuring, and helpfully assertive (I could easily imagine her going to bat for us in case of an audit!). She's at 3640 Grand Ave. in Oakland, phone 510-482-9729. (She doesn't advertise in the phone book, so copy her number down from here!) Happy Client

Susan Kopman who does my taxes is reaaly good and not too expensive. I am self employed have been paying a couple hundred a year for years. She also seems really knowledgeable, gets back to me quickly when I have questions and is easy to get to, she's at the bottom of Solano in Albany. Her Name is Susan Kopman 510-526-8255. Give her a call Happy Tax Payer

Jan. 2004

We're looking for a CPA, mainly for tax-filing purposes, who can handle a change of state mid-year, child support, and a recently self-employed spouse who wants to start off on the right foot, tax-wise. Ideally, this person would be a certified financial planner who can answer questions for us but will not try to sell us anything. We've read the archived recommendations but want to know if there are any new ones. Thanks! shari

As a self-employed consultant, I have used the services of Tom Young, CPA, in San Francisco for the last 5 years. As a fellow self-employed person, he is acutely aware of tax law and processes as they impact small business people. I was referred to Tom several years ago by one of my entrepreneurial colleagues, and have been very pleased with his services ever since. Tom does my taxes, as well as provides me with ongoing counsel over the course of the year on a variety of financial and tax decisions as needed. He is a Single Dad of two young boys and, in addition to being very savvy on tax matters (former Manager at Anderson Tax Division-back when they were a credible entity), is also a very nice guy to do business with. Tom can be reached at 415-296-3855 or tyoung at (he's an avid golfer, too...) Janice

Hank Levy. He's on College Avenue, in Rockridge. 652-1000. He's really great, and wonderful to deal with. And he saved us a ton of $$$ aj kutchins

We have used Maria Ku, who we found on this website for the last couple of years. She's been really great. She is knowledgable and very good at explaining the complications of tax filing! She is honest and dependable, and I think that she should be able to handle the things you mentioned very well. She will not sell you anything! If you would like further information, you can e-mail me. Diana

June 2002

Hello, We are in need of an accountant who can deal with New York taxes. Anyone lurking on the list, or do you know of anyone? This is for filing for, um, a missing return. Thanks,

I have had 4 accountants in the last 8 years and I can wholeheartedly recommend Bloom & Company in Berkeley. They are incredibly knowledgeable, incredibly through and they don't treat you like you should have taken Accounting 101 to understand what they are saying. They are dealing with our overseas taxes so I imagine they can handle some stuff in NY. No doubt. Ask for Judith 510 644 3645 Hadley

Accountants for Small Business & Self-Employed

Tax Accountant for self-employed + K-1 income

Dec 2012

My partner and I are looking for a new accountant/tax preparer. Our needs run the gamut. We are not married, but we co-own a home and have two kids together, so we would like to find one accountant to take care of both our taxes. I am self- employed and work in arts/media, so I need someone who is familiar with the ins and outs of filing taxes in CA as a single-member LLC. My partner has employee income (W-2) but also has significant income from real estate investments (K-1's). And we both have a boatload of questions about what tax liability (if any) we may have for two irrevocable trusts my father in-law recently set up with our kids as beneficiaries. Sheesh. We live in Oakland and would prefer to find someone nearby, but we are willing to cross the bridge or the tunnel for the right person. If you have someone to recommend, can you please provide details on what your experiences with your accountant have been and what, exactly, you like about him/her? Many thanks! Rockridge Mama

Hi Rockridge Mama, I honestly would recommend Bruce Friedman - (510)-984-0349. He helped us when my father passed a few years ago with our trust issues. We had huge problems with our trust because we went to H Block and they really didn't pay attention to our trust at all. Everything got mixed up (like the handling of our properties and investment portfolios) and basically we need a LOT of help. Bruce was really sweet and understanding and he helped our get our issues in order before my mother passed. He also does my taxes and I own a small business, so I really recommend him and if he can't help you I'm sure he can find someone who can. Coleen

I am a self-employed attorney who has had some tax problems in the past. I've also used three different accountants - two CPAs and one Tax Attorney. A friend recommended Chris Detzer who has a Masters of Law in Taxation, is a trained accountant (although not a CPA) and is amazing. Chris is one of the smartest people I've ever met and is reliable, funny, very creative and is able to deal with the FTB and IRS beautifully. I had to negotiate some back tax debt and Chris got me an incredible deal. He also looked at some previous tax returns prepared by my tax attorney and pointed out problems. He amended three years of tax returns and saved me thousands of dollars when I didn't even know I had any problems with those returns. He's also a really interesting guy. (415) 742-5403 Hannah

I have the perfect CPA for you! her name is Christine Harkinson, and she just saved my family and our LLC. We have a super complicated picture too-- own a rental property, married (LGBT) only in the state, have a child, have K-1s for four members of our family from family business. She dealt with all our back taxes from two years and got us in good shape for the future in just a few weeks. She worked a miracle for us and is striaghtforward, honest, with reasonable fees. Call her. 510-482-9729. Tell her dani marchman sent you. dani

Accountant knowledgable about small businesses

Aug 2012

I find myself needing someone with very specific knowledge to move forward on my best footing as a small and unique business, soon to become an LLC. If you know of a tax attorney who might sit with me for a one-hour and give very specific advice running the gamut from structuring an LLC umbrella covering more than one DBA or brand (and .com, and trademark), ecommerce issues (retailing), and how to handle the sticky business of not having an office address but not wanting my home address appearing on paperwork like a trademark or LLC filing - and whether or not I have to file for a local business license even though I don't do any business locally... whew, yes, I need help from someone in the know! Please let me know if you have a good referral for me! Anon

You don't need an attorney, that's for sure! For probably half the price of an attorney, you should call Couch & Associates in El Cerrito (510-558-8060). They will give you the exact advice and guidance for the issues you are asking. One of their specialties is tax planning for individuals and small businesses. They can help you get through all the red tape associated with setting up your LLC (if that's the best way to go). Best of luck on your mompreneurship! Angela happy with her tax folks

Need savvy accountant/financial adviser for my small business

Jan 2008

I'm looking for a sharp savvy creative aggressive but honest accountant/financial adviser for my small business and for me personally. I've reviewed all the postings but would like some more current recommendations, specifically for someone who can handle both the personal and business side of things in a coordinated way. I've been using an accountant whose advice I really respect, but his responsiveness has become utterly unreliable (it frequently takes over a month with lots of prodding to get a response to an email query or phone call.) I clearly need someone who is more accessible. In particular I'm looking for a person of integrity who knows this stuff inside and out, who can help bring a big picture perspective to my business and personal finances, who can offer sound financial advice, who is aggressive in preparing taxes, who is trustworthy and responsive, and who can relate to people like me for whom taxes and finances don't come naturally. Looking For the Full Package

After years of using a high-end accountant who offered no proactive advice, we switched to Kim Lee-Conwright (510-739-6075). She is located in Fremont (we are in Berkeley), but after one visit we have had great experiences via email and phone. She is responsive and proactive. Our taxes are somewhat complicated as I am self-employed, my husband works for someone else, and we have a business partnership with my in-laws. She has done a great job on both our personal and business taxes. We've saved money using her, not only because her fees are very reasonable, but also because she has made some great suggestions about ways to reduce our taxes. Feel free to email me if you want more information. l_l

Please call Cathy Mu, Tax expert and financial advisor par excellence! She's adorable, very used to dealing with those of us (myself included) who are not so savvy in this area. She's doing with me exactly what you are asking for and I couldn't be more pleased. She has offices in Albany and Walnut Creek, (925) 2378. Julie

Accountant for my retail business

April 2007

I'm looking for a new accountant for my retail business (small corporation) in Berkeley. Ideally I'd like someone who is in the East Bay and is very experienced with taxes. I'd also prefer someone who can offer advice in the area of financial planning/investments and someone who is familiar with Quickbooks. I also want the person to be someone I can call throughout the year with questions if they come up - so someone personable. My current accountant who I've been working with for the past 9 years is very unorganized and always waiting until the very last minute to complete my taxes - I've also caught too many mistakes on my payroll taxes, so I'm ready to find a new one. anon

It is difficult to find someone who does both the financial planning/investment planning piece AND the tax preparation well. You may find someone who does them both, but someone who attempts to do both, will inevitably end up doing neither very well. These are both very separate and distinct skill sets. I would recommend that you go talk to Jonathan DeYoe of DeYoe Wealth Management (510) 848-0012, to get the financial and investment planning part started. Jonathan could help you with tax planning and would be able to help you build a local ''board of advisors'' that would include a tax-preparation person. I have worked with DeYoe Wealth Management and he not only is the best, but he's honest, intelligent, easy to talk to and at the top of his game. Lynch.larry

This guy is fabulous; he can solve all of your tax problems. He is great with planning ahead and explaining everything, and he's a really nice guy. Call Mike at The Tax Pros in Oakland: 836-6003 cass m

Accountant who specializes in restaurants/small business

March 2007

Hi Everyone. Hoping I can get a recommendation for an accountant that specializes in restaurants/small business. I just opened a small cafe and need help with the books for taxes, etc. Any names or leads would greatly be appreciated. Thanks in advance for any advice. need help with taxes

I have not used an accountant myself, but I have heard a lot of good things about, and have met, Dennis Middleton, CPA in Oakland/Piedmont. Super nice guy. Very, very professional: (510)339-8860 Eliot K

Hi there- That is so exciting that you are opening a restaurant!! I would love to hear more about your business. What type of food? Where is it located? When will you open?? I have a recommendations for you - I don't know if she specializes in restaurants, but she is top notch in terms of accounting and ethical standards in her work. She takes a great interest in working with people who are starting new businesses. I found her to be very clear in explaining what I need to do for record keeping and what her role is so that I can have the freedom to just do my business (solo psychotherapy practice) Her contact info is: Shelagh Gallager 510 614-1830. Please feel free to email me to get more info. Best of luck in your business venture! Greenberg

Accountant for self-employed attorney

Nov 2005

I am an attorney who just started working on my own and I need to find someone to talk to about the tax implications of my working situation. A good tax attorney who has worked with self-employed attorneys before would be great. Any recommendations are welcome! Melanie Melanie

I'd like to recommend an excellent CPA, Jim Stern, who could easily advise on the tax implications of your new venture. He been in business for well over 25 years and has been working with me for almost 15. His e-mail address is jbstern[at]

Oct 2005

I'd really appreciate any recommendations for a CPA/tax preparer who is knowledgable about self-employment issues and small businesses, as well as real estate investment (we have several rentals and will be doing our first 1031 exchange soon). Thanks in advance! newbie

We see Michael Shaw with Shaw and Shaw in Mill Valley and LOVE him for both self-employment and small biz taxes. Elizabeth

I am self employed and have an accountant that I absolutely love. Her name is Diane Tyler. She is very organized, honest professional and knowledgeable about tax laws for small business owners. Her website is and her phone is 510-444-1355. I have never worked with her on real estate issues, but do give her a call and ask if she can help you in this department. Sara

We use Mark Schisler, CPA for our tax needs. My husband runs his own business out of our home and we own our own home. He and his staff are very knowledgeable and friendly. His contact information is: (510) 658-5600 or 1865 Pleasant Valley Ave., Oakland, CA 94611. Email if you need further info. Kukana

March 2005

My family needs a new accountant in the Walnut Creek area, both for our small school business and for personal taxes. There is one local recommendation in the archives from 2003, but I would also like to hear from anyone with a more recent and perhaps, but not necessarily, school specific accountant to recommend in the Walnut Creek area.

We love our accountant, TIM Mulgrew at API in concord. I don't have his number handy as thye recently moved from Walnut Creek. He's great, up on things, creative, does personal as well as business and is responsive when you call with a question. If you can't find his number in information e-mail me and I will track it down kristi

I've used Wayne Lippman of Lippman & Associates CPAs, Inc. for more than 10 years for business and personal accounting. I would highly recommend him. He spent 20 years as an accountant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers before starting his own firm.
Lippman & Associates CPAs, Inc. 201 North Civic Dr., Suite 180 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 924-256-0800

I would wholeheartedly recommend our fantastic accountant, Cathy Mu to help you with all your taxes and financial planning both business and personal. She is warm, friendly and very knowledgeable. Her main office is in Walnut Creek but she also does business out of her Albany office once a week. Her number is (925)979-2378 Elizabeth

I highly recommend Mark Hawkes, Hulme & Hawkes Accountancy Corp., 2700 Ygnacio Valley Rd. #140, Walnut Creek, 925-946- 4141. Mark does our personal tax return and for my husbands sole proprietorship and some of my clients. Their fees are very reasonable. And he is very personably. Ali

I use accountants in Concord for my small business, about five minutes from Walnut Creek. They are very responsive and knowledgable about small business needs -- proficient in Quickbooks, allowable deductions, etc. There are two woman, Lois Caggiano and Susan Hanson -- phone number 925-969-9404. Tara

I have used Charles Schreiber (Chuck) for my tax returns for the past 5 years and have been very happy with his service. He was highly recommended by a friend who has a small business. Schreiber Jr, Charles F CPA (925) 932-3443 150 N Wiget Ln # 110 Walnut Creek, CA

Oct. 2004

Looking for an honest but ''aggressive'' CPA to do tax preperations for our small business (and also individual) returns. Ideally located in Albany, Berkeley or El Cerrito. Thanks! Francesca

We've been using Jon Kanter CPA in the East Bay for the last 10 years. With a Masters in Tax, Kanter is probably one of the most personal and business tax savy accountants we know. He's thorough and extremely detailed oriented. As for his personality, he's warm, honest, and wonderfully personable. He's a professional who you know is truly looking out for you and your interests. Contact:
Jon Kanter Associates p: 925-945-6989 e: JonKanter at

Jan. 2003

We're looking for a CPA, mainly for tax filing purposes, for our personal and small business (corporation) income tax returns. Can anyone give a recommendation (or otherwise) for either Jeff Brethauer or Peter Brethauer, whose offices are in Walnut Creek? We're not familiar with either person but their names have been mentioned to us. Thanks. CC

I have been going to Peter Brethauer for many years - he is prompt, inexpensive, knowledgeable, and does good, quality work. His assistant, Olga, is wonderful. I also know people who have been going to Jeff, and have heard the same great things about him. I would definitely recommend them! They are in business together now and their phone number is 925-934-1884. Anonymous

July 2000

I can strongly recommend our accountant, Tess Hoover, who is located off of Lakeshore in Oakland. She's very nice and very knowledgeable and also gives price breaks to lower income customers. Her phone number is 444-0061. Toby (7/00)

April 2002

Hi all, I checked the listings for accountants and financial services and didn't see this particular issue addressed. My wife is on the verge of starting to work for herself, possibly out of our home, and we'd like to find an accountant who can advise us now in the event that there is anything we need to do to make things better at tax time next year, and who could also do our taxes for us. Ideally, we'd like to find someone experienced with home- based businesses. Thanks! Michael

I have a home-based business and I use Kathleen Stone, of David Stone and Associates. They are on Piedmont Avenue, phone number 547-5090. We've had a couple of problems, but nothing serious. I've used her for 5-6 years. Valerie

You might try Mark Morris at Morris and Morris, CPAs in Emeryville. Both my wife and I have been self-employed for many years and he has always handled our tax returns and provided advice about doing the self-employed thing correctly from a legal / accounting perspective. He isn't cheap, but he has always done good work for us. You can reach Mark at 510-65-9080 Good luck on your self-employment. adam

Accountants for Financial Planning

Recommendations for CPA/Financial Planner

Sept 2013

Hi all, I'm looking for recommendations for a financial planner who can help with deciding on Mortgage Loans and advise on tax laws related to buying a home. We are first time home buyers and could use some help figuring best options for loans. We are hoping to find someone who is familiar with real estate tax law and is in the berkeley or Oakland area. Thanks A & Z

Cathy Mu, an Albany and Walnut Creek-based CPA and CFP, would be a terrific place to start. I've known her for over 9 years, and trust her advice and expertise with my money as though she were family. Plus, she is an absolute delight. She has saved me a ton of money in taxes, and made me a lot in interest, shifting my funds into much more appropriate vehicles. My husband and I just took on refinancing ourselves, and until Cathy told me it was a good idea for us, I wouldn't do it! She can be reached at (925) 979-2378, or email at cmu [at] You will love her! Julie

May 2009

We need good, sympathetic, financial and tax advice. Our finances are in a snarl since our beloved accountant retired--he used to come to the house to do our taxes!--and we are hoping to find someone who has a secure grasp on legal/tax aspects as well. In short, a therapeutic accountant/financial advisor! Does such a person exist? Do you know him or her? If so, please share! Thanks. -- Financially Incompetent

Our accountant is literally a licensed therapist and a very experienced CPA. He won't do house calls, but he is fantastic, sympathetic, helpful and has saved us thousands. His name is Peter Morfin, his office is in Kensington. I know lots of people who use him and haven't heard any complaints. -good luck

Jerry Ostrander is a financial advisor who is sympathetic as well as thoughtful. He is well versed in the therapeutic side of things as his wife is a therapist. He is experienced and helpful - give him a call and see what you think. His number is 510.547.4589 Pat

April 2008

We're looking for a tax accountant who could review our last few years of individual tax forms (nothing too complicated) to make sure we're doing everything we can to keep our taxes low, and also give advice on how we might invest or plan for the future (whether to open a 529 account for our daughter's education, ideas for retirement planning, etc.). Can anyone recommend someone in the east bay who is excellent at either accounting or financial planning, or ideally, both? Ideas about how much someone would charge for these services would also be appreciated. thanks! stephanie

I think it's best to have both a CPA and a financial advisor who can communicate with each other. The fields are both too deep to be fully facile in each, and I like the confirmation, idea generation, back-up of having two perspectives. (I have come across financial advisors who have a CPA background but only provide financial advisory services.) That said, I do look to my CPA for financial advice but not for what exact investments to choose. I also think it's important to have an accountant who understands the implications of your situation (e.g., I have met many CPAs who are not excellent with real estate investors).

Here is a CPA and a Financial Advisor I can recommend without hesitation: Marvin Tate, CPA, JD 510-271-8512 marvint [at]

Timothy Yee, Cathedral Financial Group 510-638-6331 timothy [at]

Forgot to mention another excellent accountant with whom I have experience. Herb is an Enrolled Agent, not a CPA, but has *many* years experience and, like Marvin Tate, has also saved people (including me) bundles o' cash:

Herb Yarmo 510-849-0360 hyarmo [at]

P.S. Need I add that - unless your situation is an emergency - it's best to contact tax people after 4/15? jessica

End financial/tax woes; call Maria Ku! I cannot recommend Maria Ku (CPA) highly enough as a remarkable financial and tax advisor. I had a very complicated tax and financial situation involving the sale of a house, the purchase of another, rental income, investment issues--all of which were handled with extreme professionalism, knowledge, and product excellence. Maria is extremely intelligent (UC Berkeley Haas School of Business with Honors), completely updated on new tax laws, far sighted and creative--offering year-round financial and pre-tax planning advice, remarkably organized (maintaining a client's complete history of questions and issues), accessible (she's always available to answer questions), quick (she turned around my complicated tax return in less than a week!). Moreover, Maria is a community activist committed to many issues including public education. What's not to like? Please see Maria's web site: Or call her at: (510) 531-6614 maria.ku [at]

October 2003

Re: Financial planner for middle class family

I've had my accountant, Jim Jourdonnais, for 15 years and can't say enough good things about him. He's very warm and easygoing, extremely competent, and a pleasure to work with. He's in the Glem Park section of San Francisco, so it's a bit of a drive, but worth it. You can email me with specific questions if you like. Jim's number is (415) 337- 8548. Ann

I enthusiastically recommend my accountant Harry Bergland in Richmond, (510) 243-9943 Jonathan

Dec. 2002

I'm seeking an accountant who can help me prepare a financial plan as well as help me with my taxes. I'd prefer someone who is creative about his/her work - not the straight and narrow thinker. Thanks! LH

I can't speak too highly of our accountant, Hank Levy ... he's a good guy, easy to deal with, low key and with a much better sense of humor than your average CPA ... and he has saved us a lot of bucks in taxes over the last few years. In fact, when we switched to him two or three years ago, he filed amended returns for the years before that, and managed to get us refunds that our previous accountants (my wife and I had separate ones) had missed. He's on College Ave. in Rockridge, 510.652.1000. AJK

Sandra Madison Reinhardt415-453-0207- she does the accounting for my small non profit and I find her very professional and not too expensive. If she can't do it I am sure she can make a good recommendation. Juliette


Accountants for Domestic Partners

Jan 2010

Can anyone recommend an accountant/tax preparer in Berkeley/Albany area. I checked the post and they are a few years old. We need someone who is familiar with filing for a married lesbain couple with children. Thanks Diana

We've been working with Lillian Lea, EA in Kensington for years (she used to be in Albany). I highly recommend her for your tax needs - She's work with us through a number of complex transactions (including relocating out of the country, then back, adoption, etc.). (510) 526-2220 Christine

Oct 2007

My partner and I are looking for an accountant who specializes in or understands the tax issues facing gay couples and families. We had our first child and bought our first home this year and need advice on our taxes! Thanks. anon

Jay Schneider is the go to tax guy for you! He's great at what he does. Not only is he extremely knowledgable, but also very, very open and accepting and understanding. He can be reached at (510)234-1040. Happy with the Tax Man

We are a lesbian couple with kids and we use Ellen Abel, in San Francisco, at 415-469-9100. She is patient, smart, very well-versed in same-sex tax stuff, and good at explaining things in English.

I recommend you talk to Katy Pletter. I know she has several lesbian/gay clients. She's sharp and easy to talk to. katy [at], (510) 444-9200, John

February 2000

I would recommend Jan Zobel, EA for dealing with gay/lesbian families. In fact, she is giving a free lecture on Fri Feb 11 at Boedecia's Books in Kensington. She will be talking about her book, Minding Her own Business: The Self-Employed Woman's Guide to Taxes and Recordkeeping, and talk about tax law changes for 2000. I find her quite knowledgeable and to the point in dealing with her speciality, taxes.
[Sept 2014 Editor Note: Jan Zobel is no longer accepting new clients]

Accountants for Real Estate Issues

Seeking knowledgeable CPA for landlords

Feb 2013

My wife and I own a triplex, live in one unit while renting the other two. We're looking for a CPA who can help us with the proper deductions, improvements, depreciation, and all those other little things related to rental properties. Doesn't have to be a specialist necessarily - if you have an all-around kick-ass accountant that you think can help us then we're open to those recommendations too. Thanks in advance. Brian

You want a kick ass tax guy? I was thinking of fooling with Wikipedia to put Chris Detzer's picture under that definition. He is brilliant. He is down to earth. He is amazing with deductions but not overly aggressive. I know because he's defended me with the IRS. I did just fine. Chris is over in SF but travels to the East Bay for clients. (415) 742-5403 Happy Client

Seeking CPA Familiar with Real Estate Issues

Jan 2013

We are seeking recommendations for a tax accountant who specializes in real estate taxes (capital gains), and who can help us file our 2012 taxes after selling some rental property and buying residential property this year. We are a same sex couple legally married in California and required to file separately (with community property) at the federal level. We prefer someone located in Berkeley, Albany or El Cerrito but we would go to Oakland for the right person. (The archives are somewhat outdated and certainly don't address the more recent same-sex couple issues.) In need of tax help

My CPA is worth his weight in gold. I have been with him over 7 years. My wife and I look forward to tax season each year because its like a second Christmas. He is able to do all that he does for us because we have real estate (that's his specialty). Call him up his name is Marvin Tate 510-893-8304. Michael

Accountant familiar with tax issues renting a duplex

Sept 2005

Any recommendations for an accountant in the East Bay who is familiar with the tax issues of owning and renting a duplex or triplex?

We own a duplex, live in one unit and rent the other. Our accountant, Bill Lafayette, has handled our taxes since we bought our house a couple of years ago, and seems knowledgeable about the implications of the situation as far as improvements, writeoffs, depreciating expenses and so on. We were recommended to him by friends who own a triplex. His phone number is (510) 428-2577 (Emeryville)

Other Recommendations

Fulbright Fellowship and taxes

June 2011

I'll be a Fulbright scholar in the UK this next academic year and am hoping to consult with a CPA or other tax preparer about how best to document expenditures for tax purposes. Can you recommend someone or do you have any advice yourself? Thanks! Melinda

Congratulations on your Fulbright. I served as a Fulbright Scholar to Viet Nam in 2007 and was advised by Eliott Buchdruker, CPA (office on the Embarcadero in SF). I found I could write off all my expenses: travel, housing, meals, transportation in country (train, bus, taxi's etc,some dependent education expense/childcare/tutor, all of misc. teaching supplies, books, media materials, and equipment, shipping expenses, etc. I simply kept all receipts and a journal of entries of expenses organized by category, which I updated periodically while abroad. Hope this helps, but I think you'd be wise to get updated advise from a CPA. Best wishes on your time abroad, M.

Home grown accountant

June 2011

I am looking for a home grown accountant, which means a person who works out of their home or a small office (not a large accounting firm) and is someone who is personable and easy to talk to. Thanks. T.

Patrick McDermott fits your needs exactly. He has a small office in Berkeley (just recently moved out of his home). He is very personable and knowledgeable about a wide variety of topics (not just accounting, although he is a self- professed ''tax-nerd''). 510-841-9801 geraldine

I use a a great accountant who works out his home office in Oakland (Glen Park area). His name is Youssef Kubis, and his email is youssefkubis [at] He is great. Very relaxing and easy to work with. He is also a certified nutrition educator and a trained chef, and he usually serves you tea and a snack before delving into the tax talk. It makes what can usually be a stressful situation quite enjoyable. Nicole

October 2002

I can highly recommend my CPA. His name is Tony Carion and he has proven to be invaluable, saved me countless hours of frustration AND managed to recoup tax savings for my business and personal taxes. He listens, understands the pressures of parents living in the Bay Area (because he is one) and can also assist you in financial planning. His number is 415-362-4999. Feel free to contact me via e-mail with any questions. sioux

February 2000

I recommend my excellent and reasonably-priced CPA, Connie Vandament for tax return preparation and tax planning advice. She is meticulous and explains everything you want to know. (415) 461-4466 700 Larkspur Landing Circle #140. Well worth the drive to Marin for this yearly task. Suzanne

January 2000

We use Ann Hubrig at EH Associates on Solano, just below San Pablo, and think she's great. Lauren

Dec 1999

I am really happy with my accountant: Ron Yee, 510-843-6511 in Berkeley. He is easy to talk with, flexible about when to get together and very creative about deductions. Besides preparing taxes, he has given great financial advice about buying our home, investing in stocks, etc. He is very knowledgeable about the tax code and has done excellent work for my consulting business and a friend's home writing business as well as handling our personal taxes. Good luck. Kirsten

October 1998

Here is my recommendation for a TERRIFIC and VERY REASONABLE accountant in Berkeley who specializes in and knows a great deal about tax issues common to academics. His name is is Ron Fujie and he has an office in downtown Berkeley. He is best reached by e-mail: ronfujie AT earthlink DOT net Kiren

I've had my tax accountant, Jim Jourdonnais, for over 10 years and I absolutely love him. He's extremely nice, always on top of tax laws, never makes me feel inferior for not being organized, and is a joy to work with. He's been my accountant since I started my own editing/writing business and I couldn't be happier with his work. He's in San Francisco, 415.337-8548. Ann

CPA: I highly recommend Doris (last name escapes me...Ford perhaps). She works at Merchants bookkeeping & Tax Service in Oakland. (They also have offices in SF but she is in the Oakland office). She is excellent and will give you endless advice patiently. I have been to many before her and now I wouldn't go anywhere else. she also has a wonderful personality and a great sense of humor. Maura.

Re A great CPA is Nancy Voils who has her own firm located in Walnut Creek. I have used her for 3 or 4 years and have referred many people to her with nothing but good feedback. I would recommend her highly. Ebneumark