Donald Bernards

Donald N. Bernards



+1 (608) 240 2643

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Donald Bernards, principal in the real estate group with Baker Tilly, has been active in many aspects of affordable housing since 1999. He is well versed in structuring affordable housing transactions, including the tax issues. Don is adept at creating a checklist of major issues for each project that can put a deal at risk. Immersed in the affordable housing practice, Don has a wide range of experience with projects, owners and investors and has built a wide network of contacts within the field. His enthusiasm and passion for the industry are infectious. “It’s not just about numbers,” he says, “it’s about the end product and growing capacity.” Don has worked on affordable housing transactions in twenty-six states.

  • Manages a portfolio of clients with the affordable housing industry utilizing various programs including Section 42, Section 8, Section 236, and Section 515
  • Provides financial modeling for acquisition/rehabilitation and new construction tax credit deals
  • Part of HUD technical assistance team providing Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) technical assistance nationwide to housing authorities through one-on-one training as well as presenting at educational conferences and seminars
  • Consults on various 4 percent and 9 percent deals that have a RAD award and are working toward closing
  • Assists in the preparation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) applications and applications for soft sources of financing, including HOME, Affordable Housing Program (AHP), and Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
  • Determines optimal historic tax credit transaction structure, works with attorneys to ensure structure abides by safe harbor guidelines, and advised on maximizing qualified rehabilitation expenditures (QREs)
  • Assists with obtaining debt for various types of affordable housing, including taxable and various tax-exempt debt totaling more than $350 million over the past five years
  • Provides assistance with portfolio acquisition and disposition strategies and implementation
  • In the past five years, assisted in raising and closing more than $500 million in equity for LIHTC, historic tax credit, and New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) projects
  • Reviews budgets and performs financial analysis on assisted living projects
  • Assists with cost segregation studies for affordable housing properties
  • Involved in many tax aspects of a project, from transaction structuring to planning and preparation
  • Reviews 10 percent tests and cost certifications
  • Clients include developers that are not-for-profit, Public Housing Agencies, Tribal Housing Entities and for-profits, as well as tax credit investors
  • Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants (WICPA)
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
  • American Bar Association -- Member Forum on Affordable Housing & Community Development Law; also, Tax Credits and Equity Financing Committee
  • Tax Credit Advisory Board Member for State Housing Finance Agency
  • Affordable Housing Tax Credit Coalition – Member of State Housing Tax Credit Group
  • Frequent speaker at regional and national conferences on affordable housing issues, including Affordable Housing Finance, National Housing & Rehabilitation Association, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, HUD, Iowa Finance Agency, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, Illinois Housing Development Authority, Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority, Michigan State Housing Development Authority, among others
  • United Way of Dane County Foundation Board Member
  • Luke House community meal program lead


Madison, WI


Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting
University of Wisconsin – Madison

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