Meet the Strothman+Co Tax Team

At Strothman+Co, our people are integral to our mission. It’s why we focus on hiring the best and brightest and invest in our team’s professional development. It’s also why we were recognized as one of the best places to work in Kentucky in 2022.

When you trust Strothman+Co with your tax strategy, you’re forming a partnership with a dedicated team that puts clients at the heart of everything they do. We provide a full spectrum of business and personal tax services, centered on the principle of taking a proactive approach to deliver the best possible outcomes for our clients. 

Innovation and technical excellence are at the forefront of everything we do, but it’s our tax advisors that really sets us apart from other firms. It’s our mission to provide personalized, high-touch service that’s tailored to every client’s unique needs, and our tax advisors embody that vision every day.

As tax season kicks off for 2023, we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce four key members of our tax practice:

  • Neil Zinser, CPA
  • Chantelle Engle, CPA
  • Paul Stafford, CPA
  • Nicole Lebanion

We asked everyone to introduce themselves, talk a little about what they do at Strothman+Co, and share some tax advice clients should have top of mind as we begin a new year.

Neil Zinser, CPA

Neil Zinser heads up Strothman+Co’s tax practice. With over 14 years working in public and corporate accounting, his unique blend of experience across multiple industries makes him an extremely valuable partner to many of our clients. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I joined Strothman+Co in 2008 after graduating from the University of Kentucky. 2023 will be my fifteenth year in accounting. In that time, I’ve built up a lot of experience providing business and personal tax services to clients from all kinds of industries.

Outside of the office, you’ll find me spending time with my wife and two children, working on my golf swing, and fine-tuning my grilling skills. 

What do you do at Strothman+Co?

I specialize in complex tax structures, including consolidating entities and multi-state entities. I also have significant experience working with high-net-worth individuals and closely held businesses. 

I’ve worked for clients across the manufacturing, commercial real estate, retail, nonprofit, and restaurant industries. Currently, I focus on a lot of our local breweries here in Kentucky.  

I’m based in Strothman+Co’s Middletown office and am a member of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accountants.

What’s one thing clients should know about their tax strategy right now?

My biggest piece of advice is to take a proactive approach to tax planning, particularly when it comes to major transactions. We often see businesses complete transaction agreements before considering the tax implications. 

In many cases, the transaction could have been set up in a much more tax-efficient manner. As tax advisors, that’s our role, and we encourage our clients to stay in touch with us to ensure they achieve their financial objectives. 

Chantelle Engle, CPA

Chantelle Engle is a Tax Partner in Strothman+Co’s Middletown office and specializes in advising closely held entities and high-net-worth individuals. Chantelle is also a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) with extensive experience serving as a financial advocate and advisor to clients as they age. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN, and moved to Kentucky after my husband retired from the military. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and have spent 18 years in the accounting industry, joining Strothman+Co in 2017. 

I love to read and cycle (though not at the same time) and spend time with my husband and our son. You’ll often find me hiking in National Bridge State Park, my favorite place in Kentucky. 

What do you do at Strothman+Co?

I provide a wide range of services to closely held businesses with owner-led management teams, including tax consulting, compliance, retirement planning, and business financial solutions. 

I’m also a member of our Professional Services team and specialize in providing advisory services to physician practices, legal firms, and other service-oriented businesses. It’s my goal to provide our clients with tax and financial expertise paired with a personal touch. 

Like Neil, I’m also based in our Middletown office and am a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Kentucky Society of Certified Public Accountants.

What’s one thing clients should know about their tax strategy right now?

The IRS sees 2022 as something of a transition year. The 1099-K $600 reporting requirement has been pushed back to 2023. For 2022, filing requirements will remain at previous levels, and you only need to file a 1099-K if you have gross payments over $20,000 and over 200 transactions. 

We’re also losing some of the favorable Child Tax Credits that have been in place over the past couple of years. The Child Tax Credit is going back to $2,000 for children under the age of 17, compared to $3,000 for children aged 6 – 18 and $3,600 for children under 6 in 2021. Of this, only $1,500 is refundable, compared to the full amount being refundable in 2021.

On top of that, the Dependent Care Credit will once again be 20% for most taxpayers. The maximum expense allowable is now $3,000 for one child or $6,000 for two or more children, and is now non-refundable. That’s a big decrease compared to 2021, where the credit was 50% for most taxpayers, with $8,000 and $16,000 of refundable expenses allowed for families with one or two and more children respectively.

Paul Stafford, CPA

Paul Stafford is a Tax Manager at Strothman+Co. He’s focused on helping businesses in the service, retail, and real estate industries to grow revenue and profits while minimizing their tax exposure. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I joined Strothman+Co in 2021 after spending over a decade in public accounting and three years in corporate accounting. I’m a Louisville native and graduated from Transylvania University. 

As an avid outdoorsman, I serve on the board for the Buffalo Trails District of the Boy Scouts of America and am also an active member at the Prospect Campus of Southeast Christian Church

Outside of work and spending time with my wife and young daughter, I also enjoy hunting, hiking, and playing golf. 

What do you do at Strothman+Co?

At Strothman, I focus on providing tax advice to small businesses and entrepreneurs. My aim is to be a trusted advisor to my clients: someone they can rely on when complex tax and business matters come up. 

I aim to get to know all my clients on a personal level and focus on helping them to achieve all of their goals, both in business and in their personal lives. My experience primarily lies in advising businesses in the service, retail, and real estate sectors. 

What’s one thing clients should know about their tax strategy right now?

If you have a child with earned income, you should explore working with a CPA to set up a Roth IRA for them. It might seem early to start retirement planning, but the earlier you start, the more those tax-free Roth IRA gains compound – giving your child a head start in life. 

Nicole Lebanion

Nicole Lebanion is a Senior Staff Accountant in Strothman+Co’s tax department. Nicole is also a member of various committees within Strothman+Co and is actively involved in helping us build a better firm for the future. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

I joined Strothman+Co in 2019 after graduating from Bellarmine University and currently serve as a Senior Staff Accountant in our tax department. 

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends while also making time to travel, hike and craft! I’m also involved in my local community. I volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana and The Humane Society. 

What do you do at Strothman+Co?

As a Senior Staff Accountant in our tax department, I’m primarily focused on preparing tax returns for our larger clients, while also reviewing sometimes. 

In addition to my core responsibilities, I also play a role in various other areas of the firm, including training interns, recruiting the next generation of talent, and serving on our committees. 

What’s one thing clients should know about their tax strategy right now?

Right now, we’re seeing a shift away from some of the Covid era tax benefits back to pre-Covid times. As Chantelle explained, the Child Tax Credit and Dependent Care Credit were re-adjusted back down in 2022 and the charitable contribution deduction was also eliminated for taxpayers who take the standard deduction.

Partner with the Strothman+Co Tax Team in 2023

Now that you’ve met some of our tax team, it’s time for us to meet you! 

Our professionals pride themselves on being available and responsive to all clients, new and existing. If you’re in need of tax planning or tax preparation services, don’t hesitate to contact our team.

Author: Strothman and Company

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