An Expert on Taxes: Frederick S. Brook, CPA

How would you like an expert certified public accountant to prepare your tax returns?

Frederick S. Brook, CPA, has been completing Alamedans' tax returns for more than 30 years.

Fred decided to become a CPA because he has always had a fascination with numbers, since he was a boy growing up in the Bronx in New York City.

He worked his way through college and graduated with a bachelor's degree in accounting from New York University. Soon after, he moved to California, passed the CPA exams, and hung out his shingle right here in Alameda. Fred's specialty is to save people taxes. Every return that he prepares is like doing his own. "It's an enjoyable challenge," said Fred.

Fred has prepared taxes for a lot of interesting people, among them Monsignor Patrick O'Brien, Jim Chapin and a former Alameda mayor. Fred also prepared returns for the Captain of the Coral Sea who, when transferred to Washington, D.C. and Japan continued to hire Fred to prepare his taxes. "A lot of my clients have relocated all over the U.S. and still mail me their tax papers — like I am a part of their family," said Fred.

"Quite a few years ago, I sent home a couple of clients who live in Berkeley, to get more papers to further reduce their taxes. They sent back their son who was visiting from the East Coast so he could show me his newly invented computer software; I was amazed by it!" exclaimed Fred, "Soon after, his folks told me that he had partnered with a gentleman by the name of Bill Gates. Yes, the new system was given the name, Microsoft Windows. It is a small world, isn't it?"

Fred offers some incentive to new clients, such as an organizer and a year-end tax-planning letter. When Fred receives a call from a potential client, he suggests that they bring their prior year's returns and come in for a brief chat so that they can meet each other at no cost.

Fred will estimate the current year's fee from their prior year's taxes, give them a year-end tax planning letter, and arrange to prepare an organizer especially made for them. Fred frequently fi nds mistakes in the prior year's returns, and corrects them, which can result in thousands of dollars in refunds. 'With skillful analysis and tax planning, I can increase my clients' future income while reducing their taxes," added Fred.

Fred has taken a very active part resulting in his clients both increasing their income and decreasing their taxes through tax shelters. "Most CPAs were afraid to get their clients involved in these kinds of operations. Instead, they told them to put their money in the bank and pay their fair share of taxes. I took the approach that if their investment was backed by property or other security; why not have them earn 20 percent or more with the same funds? I also advised my clients, when indicated, to purchase tax shelters. I had one client put down $14,000 and received a refund of $68,000 for a prior year. Needless to say, he remained with me until he died," said Fred.

Fred knows there are people who are behind in filing their taxes, and for those who don't have any prior records, Fred wants you to call him. "For people who haven't fi led tax returns for years, there are several things I can do from preparing them, to zeroing out their taxes, to fi ling an Offer in Compromise, all without any data, if necessary," continued Fred. "I will take the burden right off your shoulders."

Just so you know, there are definite levels of expertise between preparers, such as an attorney, enrolled agent, a plain tax preparer, or national offi ce preparation service. CPAs are at the absolute top level of expertise in tax preparation. You can reach Fred at 523-7444. He is located at 1318 High St. close to the intersection of High Street and Encinal Avenue and behind Encinal Market.