About us

What is a Certified Tax Coach?

A Certified Tax Coach (CTC) is a tax professional with advanced training inproactive tax planning. They specialize in working with affluent business owners, professionals, and investors like you.

Signing Tax ReturnsA Certified Tax Coach can give you the plan you need to stop wasting money on taxes you don’t have to pay. There are fewer than 1,000 Certified Tax Coaches so you know that you are working with the best of the best when you hire a CTC!

Typical tax professionals focus on putting the right numbers in the right boxes on the right forms. They do a great job recording history – usually the history you give them!

Certified Tax Coaches focus on proactive tax strategies to save you money before April 15. They don’t just record history – they help you write it.

What is an enrolled agent?

“Enrolled” means to be licensed to practice by the federal government, and “agent” means authorized to appear in the place of the taxpayer at the IRS. Only Enrolled Agents, attorneys, and CPAs have unlimited rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS.

The Enrolled Agent (EA) license is earned in one of two ways, by passing a comprehensive examination which covers all aspects of the tax code, or by having worked at the IRS for five years in a position which regularly interpreted and applied the tax code and its regulations. All candidates are subjected to a rigorous background check conducted by the IRS.

Tax Return CalculatorOnly Enrolled Agents are required to demonstrate to the IRS their competence in all areas of taxation, representation and ethics before they are given unlimited representation rights before IRS. Unlike attorneys and CPAs, who are state licensed and who may or may not choose to specialize in taxes, all Enrolled Agents are federally licensed and specialize in taxation.

In addition to the stringent testing and application process, the IRS requires Enrolled Agents to complete 72 hours of continuing education, reported every three years, to maintain their enrolled agent status. Because of the expertise necessary to become an enrolled agent and the requirements to maintain the license, there are only about 46,000 practicing enrolled agents.

(Text adapted from https://taxexperts.naea.org/content/what-is-an-enrolled-agent.html)

What Does Diamond Certified Mean?

The prestigious Diamond Certified designation denotes a company that has undergone and passed a business certification process administered by the American Ratings Corporation (ARC) and has earned a customer satisfaction rating of 90 or higher (on a 100 scale). Companies that score Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise, in customer satisfaction, insurance coverage, license, business practices, and complaint bureau status earn Diamond Certified. Most companies can’t make the grade.

Diamond Certified Agent

Diamond Certified Agent

Click on the image above to view Russell's full report.

ARC’s uses a rigorous 12-step company certification process in order to ensure that only the best companies achieve Diamond Certification. They survey a large, random sample of REAL customers by telephone to get the most accurate rating and verify only actual customers are responding. By surveying from a company’s entire customer base, they ensure the results of our study, good or bad, truly represent the company’s customer satisfaction level. All responses for each Diamond Certified company are displayed on its Diamond Certified Company Report page.Companies must score Highest in Quality and Helpful Expertise (a 90+ on a 100 scale) and pass all our credential-based ratings to earn Diamond Certified. By requiring such a high score to qualify, we cut out mediocre and poorly performing companies. We then conduct ongoing research and ratings to ensure all companies maintain their high performances.(Text adapted from https://www.diamondcertified.org/our-certification/)

Staff Bios

Russell Barnett, EA, CTC
Russell has been working in the tax industry since 2003, and earned the Enrolled Agent designation in 2004 after passing the IRS administered Special Enrollment Examination (SEE) test. Russell has 15 years of experience in preparing all manner of tax returns, as well as in representing taxpayers whose returns have been selected by the IRS or state tax agencies for audit or who find themselves in collections due to being behind on their taxes. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Golden Gate University in 2009. Russell has served multiple terms on the board of directors for the Mission Society of Enrolled Agents, and has also served as Secretary and as Treasurer for the organization.

Russell has lived in the San Jose area since 1987. He lives with his wife Jolene and his two daughters, along with two Pembroke Welsh Corgis and two chinchillas. Outside of work Russell serves as treasurer for a local chinchilla rescue and also for his daughters’ school’s PTA. His hobbies include reading, walking for exercise, and playing the ukulele.