Who We Are
The History of Directs
In October 2013, partnering with a local C.P.A., California tax attorney Michael W. Brooks formed DIRECTS to assist non-US persons with their FIRPTA obligations. In the early days, DIRECTS’ clients consisted almost exclusively of Canadians selling (or earning rental income from) their winter vacation homes in the Palm Springs area. DIRECTS now has three offices in California (Palm Desert, Arcadia and Irvine) and assists around 1000 non-US persons (and rising) each year from countries around the globe. Many of DIRECTS’ current clients are Chinese investors with US real estate in Los Angeles County, Orange County and San Diego County, plus DIRECTS serves many foreign investors with properties in Northern California each year. Finally, as DIRECTS’ services become better known nationally, each year we assist a growing number of non-US persons with their tax obligations stemming from real estate transactions throughout the United States (including transactions in Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, and transactions each year from Florida, Nevada and Arizona). DIRECTS regularly works with realtors and brokers from many major real estate companies. DIRECTS works with brand name firms such as Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Partner’s Trust, First Team, Realty ONE, Sotheby’s, John Aaroe Group, Remax, Rodeo Realty, and Bennion Deville Homes.
DIRECTS is headed by CEO and President Michael W. Brooks. Michael W. Brooks is an over 20 year licensed tax attorney, with a LL.M. in taxation from New York University School of Law and B.A. from Vassar College. Michael spent many years working for law firms and accounting firms known worldwide, including PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in Chicago. He spent much of his career working in the area of International Taxation, including how the IRS taxes non-US persons who enter into US real estate transactions. Michael is a regular lecturer throughout the State of California on the issue of mandatory federal tax withholding on sales of US real estate. Michael has spoken on multiple occasions at the California Escrow Association and Escrow Institute of California, and nationally on behalf of the American Escrow Association. He has written several published articles on FIRPTA-related issues for the California Escrow Association Quarterly Magazine. He spoke on many occasions at real estate associations throughout California (including at the real estate associations in Beverly Hills, Arcadia, San Gabriel Valley, and Palm Springs); he was invited (and presented at) the annual conference of the British Columbia Bar Association (where he instructed Canadian attorneys on how the US taxes Canadians who invest in US real estate); and finally he’s held many, many classes directly for foreign investors, particularly for Canadian and Chinese investors.
With over twenty years of experience in the fields of tax and accounting, Linda Aldrich is DIRECTS COO and Lead Tax Director. Angela Li serves as Tax Director of Chinese Affairs for DIRECTS. Born and raised in China, Angela has lived and worked in the United States since 2009, and recently received her M.B.A. from U.S.C. Angela worked for several years with Chinese companies engaging in business in the United States, and more recently with US companies with a large Chinese client base. Angela is fluent in English, Mandarin (her native language) and Cantonese, and communicates daily with clients throughout China. She is uniquely qualified to lead and oversee DIRECTS’ engagements with its many Chinese clients.