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Tax Season 2021: Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 02 2021

Q. Can I schedule an in-person tax appointment this year?

A. Yes, we are currently accepting in-person appointments for anyone wanting to meet in our office. You can call 330-332-4646 for our Salem office and 330-385-2326 for our East Liverpool office.

Q. What COVID-19 protocols do I need to follow for in-office appointments?

A. To keep our clients and staff safe, we are asking everyone in the office to wear masks. We have also installed plastic shields in front of our front desk and in each of our staff members’ offices.

Q. Do you offer appointments via Zoom or Microsoft Teams?  

A. Yes, if our clients prefer to meet virtually, we can schedule a video meeting with them through Microsoft Teams. To request one of these meetings, call our office.

Q. Can I email you my tax information?

A. Yes. We can also send you a link you can use to securely upload your tax information. Call our office to get more details.

Q. Should I wait to make an appointment until after all the stimulus bills pass?

A. If you did not receive the second stimulus payment ($600) yet, you might be able to get it through your tax return. The third stimulus bill is expected to be passed in February or March and affect 2021 income tax returns. We recommend that clients schedule an appointment soon so we have time to examine all the possible deductions and tax implications that may apply.

Q. Do I need to file if I was unemployed all of 2020 due to COVID-19?

A. Yes, unemployment is taxable income. There may be other credits you are eligible for. We will determine that during your appointment.

If You Thought Taxes Were Complicated Before, Wait Until This Year

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 02 2020

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a year like none other. Masks mandates, social distancing, no dining in, toilet paper shortages, working from home and limited entertainment options have made it a challenge to enjoy life. But if you’re a “glass half full” kind of person, there have been some positive things this year – more time with family, the ability to work from home (you can’t beat the commute) and a little bit of cash from the government.

As we head into December, you’ll want to start thinking about your taxes. It might not be the most enjoyable thing to consider, but because of all the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s better to plan now so you don’t pay big later.

Here are some considerations that may impact your 2020 returns. You should ask your accountant about them when tax season starts in January:

Teleworking (Working from home)

Normally, you pay taxes on income you made in the state where you live and the state where you work. But because some employers asked their employees to work from home most of 2020 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, some workers may end up paying taxes to two states. This could happen if you’ve moved, even temporarily, but your income is still coming from work done for a company located elsewhere.

If you didn’t ask your employer to withhold taxes for the appropriate states, you might get an unexpected tax bill. Working even one day in another state could trigger taxation. Some states have agreements with other jurisdictions to exempt employees from this. In addition, you may have local tax implications if you work in one city, but live in another. Ask your accountant about your specific situation to see if you’ll need to plan to pay two tax bills.

Payroll tax

You might recall that President Trump signed an executive order in August to allow companies to stop withholding payroll taxes from their employees’ checks. It was designed to give you a little extra cash in our check – maybe you noticed the difference.

But that payroll tax (about 6.2 percent) that was not withheld didn’t just disappear – it was deferred. That means that it’s possible that come early 2021, millions of workers might see a significant pay cut as businesses try to recoup some of those lost taxes.

Unless Congress acts to forgive the deferred tax, the break could become a burden for a lot of people. From January through April, employers will have to recover the payroll money they didn’t withhold. That means that you need to start planning ahead now to figure out how you might come up with that money. Note: Those participating will receive an amended W-2 when deferred taxes are repaid in 2021. In that case, you may choose to file return normally.

Home office deduction

You’ve been working from your couch, bedroom, basement or kitchen table for 9 months. That means you can take a home office deduction, right? Not so fast. Unfortunately, employees are not eligible to claim the home office deduction, even if an employer requires remote work because of Covid-19.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017 eliminated employee business expenses on Schedule A. However, if you are an independent contractor and self-employed, you can still take a home office deduction. If you need help determining if you are, a CPA can help.

Refund of 529 funds

Some colleges went to all virtual classes because of the coronavirus, which means they reversed on-campus housing decisions or sent students home. You might want to know that if you used money from a 529 college savings plan to cover the cost of housing and food, you’ll need to put the money back to avoid paying income tax and a 10 percent penalty on the earnings.

Why? Because a 529 plan allows contributions to grow tax-free. So here’s the issue when it comes to education expenses: You can’t keep the money; otherwise, it’s considered what is called a non-qualified distribution. Ask your accountant why that matters.

You also can’t hold on to the money you took out this year to cover 2021 expenses. Distributions from a 529 plan need to match up with qualified expenses incurred during the same tax year. An account holder has just 60 days from the date of the refund to return the money to the 529 account without incurring taxes and the 10 percent penalty on earnings.

More changes

Other areas of change include:

  • Need to report the 2020 stimulus payment received for reconciliation on the tax return
  • COVID-19 related effects on your W-2
  • Above-the-line charitable contribution deduction up to $300
  • Federal Student Loan payment relief
  • Expanded Unemployment benefits
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and other dependent care assistance relief
  • Changes to retirement plans, including IRA contributions and suspended Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) and the ability to take a retirement withdraw and repay it within a three-year period


Many of these changes are interrelated. In other words, as one item above changes another deduction or credit may also be affected.

Hire a professional

If you’ve always filed your own taxes and think you have things down to a science, you might want to think twice this year. If there was ever a year to ask for a professional’s help, 2020 is it. Tax preparation will be as complicated as ever and if you miss something, the consequences could be huge.

If you are self-employed or a business owner, there are many more tax changes not mentioned above. Congress is still discussing tax laws changes and another stimulus package in the lame duck session. Therefore, more changes are expected. To make sure your return is completed correctly, contact a professional whose job it is to be updated on all the most current tax laws.

For more information or to set up an appointment, contact our Salem office at 330-332-4646 or East Liverpool office at 330-385-2160.

Tax Deadline Approaching This Wednesday: File or Request an Extension

Posted by Admin Posted on July 13 2020

It’s almost here. Tax Day 2020.

If you took advantage of the three-month tax filing delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, time to file – and pay – is almost up. Taxpayers must file or seek an extension by July 15 or face a penalty.

The IRS is expecting about 150 million returns from individuals. As of last count, it had received almost 139 million. 

Taxpayers who need more time can request an extension on the IRS website. That will give them until October 15 to file. However, an extension to file does not mean added time to pay. If you are planning to file later, estimate what you will owe and make that payment by July 15.

Here are brief answers to some other common questions taxpayers might have:

What do I do if I can’t pay?

Go ahead and file your taxes even if you cannot pay. The IRS is willing to set up payment plans or make other arrangements with taxpayers who cannot pay in full. Many of those can be set up online. The penalty for failure to file may be much more expensive than the failure to pay.

What about my refund?

The IRS is still processing and issuing refunds, most within three weeks. Those getting refunds will be paid interest, dating back to April 15, if they file on time. The interest rate is 5% per year through June 30. Starting July 1, it dropped to 3% per year. The interest is compounded daily for refunds. Any refund issued after July 1 will get a blended rate.

Can I file and pay online?

You can file or pay your taxes online. The IRS urges taxpayers to use electronic options to support social distancing and speed the processing of returns, refunds or payments. The agency is still working its way through a backlog of mail that built up during its closure in response to the pandemic.

What about estimated taxes?

Taxpayers who make estimated quarterly tax payments have until July 15 to make the payments for the first and second quarters. Those were originally due on April 15 and June 15, respectively.

One more note

July 15 is also the deadline to claim a refund for 2016 tax returns. An estimated $1.5 billion in refunds for 2016 are sitting unclaimed because people failed to file tax returns. The law provides a three-year window of opportunity to claim a refund. But if taxpayers do not file a return within that time, the money becomes property of the Treasury. There is no penalty to file a later return if a refund is due.

There are a host of other tax deadlines linked to July 15. Check out the IRS website or contact our Salem office at 330-332-4646 or East Liverpool office at 330-385-2160.

PPP Loan Terms Updated, Deadline to Apply Remains June 30

Posted by Admin Posted on June 14 2020

If your business was successful in obtaining a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan, legislation signed June 5 comes with a dose of good news.

Under the new law, borrowers can qualify for partial loan forgiveness if less than 60 percent of the PPP loan is used for payroll, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Treasury. Originally, 75 percent was the minimum percentage of PPP funds borrowers had to spend on payroll costs to have the loans forgiven.

The SBA, in consultation with Treasury, will soon issue rules and guidance, a modified borrower application form and a modified loan forgiveness application implementing the amendments to the PPP made in the new law. Small businesses are still able to apply for PPP loans, with the deadline remaining June 30, 2020.

Program changes

The new PPP legislation includes the following changes:

  • Extends the covered period for loan forgiveness from eight weeks after the date of loan disbursement to 24 weeks after the date of loan disbursement. This provides greater flexibility for borrowers to qualify for loan forgiveness. Borrowers that have already received PPP loans retain the option to use an eight-week covered period.
  • Provides a safe harbor from reductions in loan forgiveness based on reductions in full-time-equivalent (FTE) employees for borrowers that are unable to return to the same level of business activity the business was operating at before Feb. 15, 2020, due to compliance with requirements or guidance issued between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020, by the secretary of Health and Human Services, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration related to worker or customer safety requirements related to COVID-19.
  • Increases to five years the maturity of PPP loans that are approved by the SBA (based on the date the SBA assigns a loan number) on or after June 5, 2020.
  • Extends the deferral period for borrower payments of principal, interest, and fees on PPP loans to the date that the SBA remits the borrower’s loan forgiveness amount to the lender (or, if the borrower does not apply for loan forgiveness, 10 months after the end of the borrower’s loan forgiveness covered period).

About Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The PPP launched in early April with $349 billion in funding that was exhausted in less than two weeks. Congress provided an additional $310 billion in funding in an April 21 vote, but demand for the program soon waned due to controversies over publicly traded companies and other large enterprises being awarded loans. Concerns about the attainability of loan forgiveness under the program’s rules also contributed to small businesses and other eligible entities casting a wary eye to the program.

Congress established the PPP to provide relief to small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic as part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The legislation authorized Treasury to use the SBA’s 7(a) small business lending program to fund loans of up to $10 million per borrower that qualifying businesses could spend to cover payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities.

In order to apply for a PPP, businesses should contact a bank or lending institution that does handles SBA loans. For guidance on how to spend PPP loan funds or how it will affect your company’s financial situation, contact one of our CPAs in Salem at 330-332-4646 or East Liverpool at 330-385-2160.

BWLK Now Accepting Appointments, Offering Guidance on PPP Loans

Posted by Admin Posted on May 12 2020

For our firm, it’s been a tax season unlike any other. But as we head into the month of May when business and life begins to gradually return to “normal,” we are optimistic. We hope you are, too.

The purpose of this communication is to update you on how we intend to navigate the next couple of months. Since the COVID-19 related limitations began in March, we’ve continued to serve our business and individual clients the best we could. Our goal is to continue that uninterrupted service to meet your tax and business service needs.

As the Governor starts to map out the path toward “Re-opening Ohio,” here a few things we’d like you to know:

Appointments in the office

Both our Salem and East Liverpool offices will begin accepting limited face-to-face appointments - with certain conditions. Both parties will need to wear face masks. The meetings will take place in the conference room at each of our locations, where we can better adhere to social distancing procedures. After each client meeting, the area will be sanitized.

Although we are beginning to accept these appointments, we still prefer clients to continue dropping off their information or be open to meeting via phone or sort video conferencing.

Paycheck Protection Program loans

If your business is receiving funds as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), we encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our CPAs to discuss the best ways to use that money. This is especially important because there are specific and complicated rules that dictate how the funds can be spent in order to have your loan forgiven later.

Tax season continues

As you may know, the tax filing season has been extended until July 15. However, if you have not yet made an appointment with one of our accountants, we suggest you do so sooner rather than later. That will give us enough time to determine your liabilities or refund now, so that once the summer hits and life begins to return to “normal,” you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Salem office at 330-332-4646 or the East Liverpool office at 330-385-2160.

BWLK Maintains Normal Office Hours Despite Delay of Federal Tax Day

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 24 2020

The COVID-19 crisis is taking a toll on families, businesses, government leaders and our healthcare system. No doubt, your routine has been disrupted in some way – ours has, too. But we’re continuing to serve our clients while keeping our employees safe.

You’ve probably heard that the Department of the Treasury announced that the IRS is moving the income tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15 to allow all taxpayers and businesses additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties. That’s a good thing.

However, we’d still encourage you to call our office sooner rather than later to make a phone appointment. If you are eligible for a refund, filing now could help you receive that sooner. Also, if you get us your tax information now, we’ll have more time to process it and follow up with you if we need additional information.

Please note that move by the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service does NOT affect state income taxes. Some states, including Ohio, are considering their own tax filing delays.

While our staff is maintaining regular business hours, we are not accepting in-person appointments at this time. But you can get us your tax information by dropping it off at the front desk in our Salem or East Liverpool offices, emailing it to us or dropping it in the mail. We plan to resume scheduling in-person appointments on April 6 – unless the COVID-19 situation dictates that we can’t.

Also keep in mind that our firm has experience assisting business clients with Small Business Association loans, if needed.

Thank you for business and allowing us to continue serving you during these uncertain times. We wish you and your family good health.

BWLK to Maintain Regular Business Hours During Public Health Scare

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 13 2020

Despite the concerns over the coronavirus, our firm will continue to operate during normal business hours. We are still accepting appointments and clients may drop from off returns and tax documents, mail them to our office or email them using the client portal in our website.

You may also have heard about possible tax relief legislation related to COVID-19, specifically a payroll tax cut and the extension of the April 15 tax deadline. At this time, these possibilities are only being discussed - nothing has been passed. We will continue to monitor these discussions.

If you have any questions, call our Salem office at 330-332-4646 or our East Liverpool office at 330-385-2160.

BWLK Adds Administrative Assistant in Salem

Posted by Admin Posted on Feb 25 2020

Byler, Wolfe, Lutsch & Kampfer CPAs, Salem and East Liverpool, Ohio, recently hired Laurie Delbridge as an administrative assistant in Salem. 

Originally from Virginia, she earned an associate’s degree in Business Management from Southside Virginia Community College. 

Throughout her long career as a business professional, Laurie has worked in sales, management, and law and accounting firms. At BWLK, she enjoys her role in building and maintaining key client relationships and working in a small, family atmosphere. 

 “Laurie’s is the face clients see when they visit the office and voice they hear on the phone, so her role at our firm is very important,” said Gene Byler, principal, BWLK. 

“She does a great job being the liaison between our staff accountants and our clients, and making sure that providing top-notch customer service is at the forefront of everything we do.”

Readers choose BWLK as top accounting firm during Salem News ‘Best of the Best’ campaign

Posted by Admin Posted on Sept 26 2019

The Salem News readers have spoken.

Readers in the Salem News circulation area recently selected Byler, Wolfe, Lutsch & Kampfer as the top accounting firm during the newspaper’s annual Best of the Best campaign. BWLK was readers’ top choice among eight nominated accounting firms.

A representative of the Salem News presented BWLK principal Rick Lutsch with an award to mark the distinction.

“We’re honored to be selected by the community as the area’s top accounting firm,” said Lutsch. “What makes this recognition special is that it comes from the Salem News readership, some of who we’ve had the privilege to provide services for. We enjoy receiving feedback from our clients and others in the community so that we can continue to deliver professional and customized business and accounting services to meet their needs.”

Salem News has coordinated its Best of the Best awards campaign for more than 15 years, highlighting area businesses in various industries. Each year, award-winners are selected by readers in the various categories during a three-phase process.

Initially, the Salem News asks readers to nominate any business in each of its industry categories, like accounting firm, law firm, restaurant, hair salon, auto repair service, etc. After the nomination period is over, the Salem News publishes an official ballot that includes the nominees. Readers are asked to vote for their choices in any of the categories. Once the voting phase is completed the Salem News tallies the votes, notifies the winners and publishes the results, along with “thank-you advertisements” from the winning businesses.

For more information about BWLK’s financial and accounting services, contact the Salem location at 330-332-4646.

Daniel Wolfe Participates in Youngstown Business Journal Tax Reform Roundtable

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 24 2019

Byler, Wolfe, Lutsch & Kampfer principal Daniel Wolfe recently participated in the Youngstown Business Journal’s Tax Reform Roundtable discussion, along with other well-known CPAs from around the Mahoning Valley.

Wolfe discussed how tax reform has affected both personal and businesses. A major change for small business is the “Qualified Business Deduction,” which in general terms grants a small business owner the ability to pay tax on only 80% of their net income. On the individual side, the standard deduction (example: joint return) increased from $12,400 to $24,000. In the area ofiItemized deductions, almost all miscellaneous deductions were eliminated and there is a $10,000 cap on the SALT deduction (State and Local Taxes).

“With the standard deduction increase many people didn’t have the capability of itemizing deductions this year.” Said Wolfe during the forum. “Some individuals that may have had that based on past numbers couldn’t. I had salesmen who put 60,000 miles a year on their car. That was a $30,000 deduction that was previously itemized. They did away with the 2% minimum miscellaneous deduction, which mileage falls into as a business expense, thereby eliminating the deduction of $30,000.”

Coverage of the roundtable appears in the mid-August print edition and online here.

BWLK Principal Rick Lutsch Attends Accounting Conference in Las Vegas

Posted by Admin Posted on July 02 2019

Sustaining a successful career as a Certified Public Accountant takes more than the ability to punch buttons on a 10-key calculator, enter numbers into accounting software or count beans. Even after years of schooling and being one of the few to conquer the CPA exam, the work – and education never stops.

Similar to other industries like teaching, real estate and insurance, laws, procedures, technology and requirements constantly change. CPAs are required to continually increase their knowledge and qualifications in order to meet licensing requirements and provide the best and most accurate services possible to their clients.

Lutsch Attends Accounting Conference

BWLK principal Rick Lutsch recently attended Engage 2019, an accounting conference in Las Vegas, sponsored by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). The conference included more than 350 sessions covering various industry topics, networking opportunities and an exhibit hall. Keynote speakers included top CPAs and business executives from around the country. John Elway, the current general manager of the Denver Broncos, gave an address about “Scoring Big in Business.”

Lutsch earned Continuing Professional Education (CPE) credits at the event by updating his knowledge base in the topic areas of accounting and financial reporting, tax and consulting services.

“Training and continuing education are not only mandatory in the accounting profession, but they are extremely important because without them, we cannot provide our clients with the exceptional service they need and deserve,” said Lutsch. “Our clients rely on our expertise and expect us to have the most updated knowledge on tax laws, financial reporting and personal and business accounting.”

Licensing Requirements

CPAs must meet Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements established by the State Board of Accountancy of the states where their CPA licenses are held.

All Byler, Wolfe, Lutsch & Kampfer principals and Laurie Chaffee (a CPA) are members of the Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA) and American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). These organizations provide CPE and reference materials to help ensure that CPAs are equipped to provide the highest level of service. In order to maintain their CPA license, CPAs must earn 120 CPE credits every three years, including a minimum of 20 each year.

These CPE requirements can be completed using online courses, book studies or attending seminars and training conferences that cover a variety of industry topics and laws. This education is considered a way for professionals to keep up to date on the latest information in the accounting industry.

Back on WFMJ-TV: Byler Offers Tax Tips

Posted by Admin Posted on Mar 01 2019

Our Gene Byler was recently invited back to WFMJ-TV's Midday News to discuss some individual and business tax tips, based on the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The tax law is considered to be the largest tax overhaul in 30 years.

To watch the video, click here.

Byler appears on WFMJ-TV to discuss Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 22 2018

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which is considered to be the largest tax overhaul in 30 years, will have a significant effect on income tax returns next year.

There are many tax law changes comng that will impact both businesses and individuals. Our Gene Byler recently discussed several of the most impactful during an interview with Jennifer Brindisi on WFMJ-TV's Midday news show. 

To watch the video, click here.


Dan Wolfe Celebrates End of Tax Season with a Run Around the World - via Epcot

Posted by Admin Posted on May 30 2018

How did our Daniel Wolfe celebrate the end of a hectic tax season? He went to Disney World in Orlando. While he was there, he laced up his sneakers and participated in the Star Wars Dark Side 5K at Epcot. The Force was with him for the 5:30 a.m. race, as were his son Joel Wolfe and daughter Sarah Carr.

“I would be lying if I said I ran the whole thing,” said Wolfe. “And, my time is a secret.”

Dan is a big Disney World fan, as he and his family have visited Mickey Mouse and his friends practically every year since 2002. He and his wife honeymooned there in 1973, and they began taking their young children there in about 1980.

This most recent visit was a great way to let off some steam after a hectic tax season that often involves 60 to 70-hour work weeks from January to April. 

New BWLK office manager ready do some heavy lifting

Posted by Admin Posted on Jan 10 2018

In the gym, Samantha Scott is used to doing the heavy lifting.

Now in her new role as office manager in Byler, Wolfe, Lutsch & Kampfer’s Salem location, she’s preparing to help the firm handle the heavy workload during the upcoming tax season., who competes alongside her husband as a power lifter, joined the team in Salem in November. Her job responsibilities will include assembling completed tax returns, answering incoming calls, filing, setting up new client appointments, applying payments, and assisting the CPAs with anything they need.

“Everyone here has been really friendly and welcoming,” Samantha said. “It’s a little bit different than the legal industry, but there are similarities. I like that I have my own work space where I can do my own thing and get things done.”

Samantha spent the last five years working in a law office in East Palestine. She has a good deal of experience in the service industry, also spending time in the insurance business. She was born and raised in East Palestine and is a graduate of Crestview High School.

After high school, she attended the University of Akron for a year, then transferred to Kent State Salem for a year. She still wasn’t sure what career field interested her, so she took time off from college to work. Ultimately, she decided to use the working world as her classroom.

One of her job stops was at a tanning salon, which proved to do more than provide a paycheck. While she was there, she met her future husband, who had moved from California to work as a personal trainer at the gym next door. Three years later, they are married and traveling the country competing in power lifting events.

“I met my husband at the gym,” said Samantha. “His dad was originally from Beaver Falls and lives in East Palestine, so that’s how he ended up back here. Power lifting keeps us pretty busy, and we really enjoy it.”

While they’ve competed at events all over the country, they’ve recently narrowed their focus to a special event that is about more than being the strongest or taking home the biggest trophy. Twice a year, they lift in an event called Relentless. These meets serve as fundraisers for children who are terminally ill. Funds raised from the competitions are donated to HopeKids, a non-profit organization founded in 2001.

As members of “Team Hope,” lifters are introduced to a HopeKids children and their families who they will be raising money and lifting in honor of. They are invited to the private Relentless Kickoff Events in Minnesota and Detroit where they will be introduced to their HopeKid honoree and their family.

Competitors are encouraged to stay in contact with their HopeKids family as they focus on training and fundraising. The lifters’ strength will inspire the HopeKid, and hopefully the HopeKids’ strength will inspire the lifter to press on in training and fundraising.

“It means so much more than competing for some trophy that will just sit on a shelf collecting dust,” said Samantha, who dresses up as the Elsa from the movie “Frozen” during the events to make it fun for the HopeKids who attend. “It’s for a great cause.”

Catch BWLK’s commercial at Salem Twin Cinema

Posted by Admin Posted on Dec 11 2017

BWLK has hit the big screen!

To increase the firm’s visibility and support Salem’s local movie theater, BWLK recently agreed to participate in an advertising program coordinated by a company called Before the Movie. Twin Cinema on State Street recently began showing BWLK’s commercial on the big screen prior to movie presentations.

“We have always felt that supporting local businesses is very important,” said Rick Lutsch, one of the firm’s principals and coordinator of the commercial project. 

“It was a creative and unique way to communicate with prospective clients and showcase the capabilities of our firm.”

The commercial is 15 seconds in length and features information about the firm, as well as several photos recently taken as part of BWLK’s website upgrade.

Salem Twin Cinema has been a part of the Salem community since it opened under its original owner in 1972. Previously owned by Geoff and Kim Goll of Salem, it was sold in 2014 to Jock and Natalee Buta. 

The theater was then completely remodeled and upgraded to use digital projectors allowing 3-D movies, surround sound audio equipment, and deluxe seating featuring both reclining and vibrating seats.

You can watch BWLK’s commercial here

BWLK Principal Dan Wolfe Participates in Tax Reform Roundtable

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 22 2017 reform is complicated. But when you get a group of tax accountants all in one room, the topic seems a little more simplified.

Recently, the Youngstown Business Journal invited some of the Mahoning Valley’s best and brightest tax accountants to participate in a roundtable discussion about the complexities of the state and federal tax codes. 

Our Daniel Wolfe was among those offering his viewpoints. Comments from Dan and the other accountants were featured in the Business Journal’s print and online editions. 

Dan was also featured in the newspaper’s ‘3 Minutes With’ video, which can be viewed here.

Website upgrade highlights firm’s history and focus on customer experience

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 21 2017 its long history, Byler, Wolfe, Lutsch & Kampfer, CPAs has always been willing to change when needed. Whether it was expanding the firm’s tax and business services to better accommodate clients’ needs or adding more staff or locations to serve more business communities, BWLK has maintained an eye toward progress.

Changes in technology

In the past decade, the changes in technology have been incredible across all industries. From cell phones and other mobile devices to the Internet and wireless connections, technology has transformed the way the world does business. Clients and customers have more access to goods and services than ever before. Indeed, it’s possible to get virtually everything one needs to survive – goods, services, information - without even leaving the house.

Recognizing these changes, BWLK has embraced the use of technology to better serve its clients. While we certainly value the good old-fashioned handshake and face-to-face meetings and communication, we also understand that technology has its benefits. These include speed and convenience of business transactions, improved customer service and increased access to information.

Improving your online experience

In 2009, BWLK launched its first website to provide current and prospective clients access to tools and information that would benefit them. Three years later, in 2012, a major website upgrade was completed to further improve clients’ online experience.

We added a news blog and email newsletter in 2015 to better communicate with our client base, prospective clients and the communities we serve. Much of the news in these communications are housed on our website.

Check out the new

Recently, we upgraded our website again, and we think you’ll like what you see. Some of the changes are easy to notice, while others are more subtle. Here’s what website visitors will notice:

Home page feature photos: We’ve replaced the old “generic” photos of strangers with new professional photographs of our own staff and facilities from both the Salem and East Liverpool offices. We feel this better aligns with the local and personal service we provide to our clients.

About Us page staff bios: We’ve updated the information in our staff bios, including adding a few new ones. We believe it’s important for you to get to know us, as we learn about your business and how we can provide solutions for your needs. We added photos to our bios so you can put a face with a name or voice as you work with us.

Firm History page: Just as you are proud of your company’s history, we feel the same way about ours. In order to share that history and experience with you, we created a new History page on our website. It can be accessed under the About Us menu. We had fun looking back to where we’ve been, what we’ve accomplished and we thank our loyal clients for allowing us to serve them for so many years.

We hope you like the improvements we’ve made to our website as we strive to improve our clients’ experience in as many ways possible – both online and offline. Through it all, our goal remains the same as its always been: To help clients maintain financial viability in the present while taking a proactive approach to achieve future goals.

We invite you to explore our new and improved website, and give us a call to discuss how we can support your business. You might be surprised at all our services that could help your business.

Byler Discusses New Overtime Rules in Youngstown Business Journal

Posted by Admin Posted on Nov 26 2016

Gene Byler was quoted in a recent Youngstown Business Journal news story about the new overtime laws that the U.S. Department of Labor are implementing starting Dec. 1.

In the article, Byler said "managers of fast-food restaurants and department managers at retail stores paid less than $913 a week are the two groups that often work beyond 40 hours and aren’t paid for the extra hours they put in."

He noted that "maybe we’ll see more part-time workers hired.” He suggests that "it’s more likely part-time employees will see their hours increased and more duties reassigned to them."

Read the entire story here.

BWLK Launches Social Media Program to Communicate with Clients

Posted by Admin Posted on Oct 21 2015

In business and friendship, communication is critical.

In order to deepen relationships with its clients, prospects and friends, BWLK recently launched a new social media program. The firm created BWLK Facebook and LinkedIn pages and began posting information intended to more regularly engage clients and followers.

Posts will educate and inform followers on accounting and business matters, update them on firm news, and highlight how partners and staff are involved in the communities they live and work in.

You can find BWLK’s Facebook page here. Once you find us, Like our page. You can also follow us on LinkedIn. We encourage you to interact with our content by liking, commenting and sharing it with your friends and followers.

Salem CPA Marks 25 Years With BWLK

Posted by Admin Posted on Aug 20 2015

A Salem native who wanted to work locally has marked her 25-year anniversary with Byler, Wolfe, Lutsch & Kampfer CPAs, Inc.

Laurie Chaffee, a certified public accountant and manager at the Salem office, reached the milestone this Spring.

“I wanted to stay in the local area,” said Laurie, 48, still a Salem resident. “Over the years I have developed good relationships with many of my clients and in the community. We have a good team in our Salem office, and each of us has specialties.”

Among Laurie’s strengths is work with Intuit QuickBooks accounting software. She does most of the firm’s QuickBooks training and consulting.

Her work also includes tax return preparation, accounting and financial statements and business consulting.

“She’s become an instrumental component for all of our client services, including tax, consulting and financial statement preparation,” said firm principal Rick Lutsch.

Laurie graduated summa cum laude from Youngstown State University in 1990 with a bachelor’s of science degree in business administration. She had amassed real-world experience by that point through her work for a professor who had a tax practice.

The offer from BWLK’s predecessor, A.S. Fricano Inc., enabled her to stay in the Salem area.

“I wanted to work in public accounting, and I lived in Salem, so getting an offer from a firm so close to home was great,” she recalled.

Laurie started as a staff accountant, entering data and preparing simple tax returns and payroll reports. She “learned quickly that the neat and tidy exercises they teach with are nothing like the real-world accounting problems, especially when working with small businesses,” she said. 

As QuickBooks became more popular among small businesses, Laurie was “elected” by her colleagues to bone up on it. Her work as a certified QuickBooks consultant now ranges from helping clients complete a new install to answering a few questions to various levels of service in between.

Over her 25 years, she’s become involved in the community. She is now treasurer of the Salem Rotary, where she’s been a member for 18 years, and has served on the organization’s board.

She has also served on the board of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce and was a treasurer of the Salem YMCA.

Asked what BWLK clients like about the firm, she points to its local roots. In addition, “we are willing to tailor our services to meet the needs of each client,” Laurie said. “We do our best to provide quality services while keeping our fees affordable.”