By Rick Dandes

The Daily Item

LEWISBURG — Barbara Weiss, owner of Accu-Tax Express, a business that has recently relocated to 175 International Drive, is soft spoken, but loud in defense of her clients' interests.

"I know how to work with the I.R.S. and the state," Mrs. Weiss said. "The point is to be honest and know the tax codes. I fight for my clients, but it's crucial for taxpayers to maintain good records and to keep all your receipts," she said. "If you claim a deduction, you have to be able to back it up."

Mrs. Weiss, who lives in Williamsport, comes to the job with more than 30 years of experience. Her husband, Elliott, is a longtime tax attorney and she worked in his office before taking up tax preparation as a profession. "I had to do my husband's business payroll and his taxes and gradually I found that I loved what I was doing. I began studying taxes, and now I'm doing it for a living."

AccuTax started in Williamsport in 1998 and expanded from there. "My son opened an office in Scranton," Mrs. Weiss said, "and at that point we decided to make it a family business. Both of us were unemployed at the time so we went into business together. After Scranton was successful, we decided to expand south of Williamsport and here I am, in Lewisburg."

This is the company's third and newest address in Lewisburg.

"I never felt like we had adequate parking space at our prior locations," Mrs. Weiss said. When Art Keister at Silver Moon Developments suggested she move the business to the new strip mall opposite the Wal-Mart SuperCenter, she jumped at the chance.

Accu-Tax now has four offices in northeast Pennsylvania. "We've expanded from Scranton to Wilkes Barre, and of course there are the Williamsport and Lewisburg offices. In nine years, we've come pretty far," she said modestly.

Over the years in Lewisburg, they've employed approximately 20 part-time people.

"I only employ locals," Mrs. Weiss said. "I think it's important to be a part of the community as much as I can." Company wide, she figures she's had 60 employees.

Another philosophy she lives by is to train potential new employees. To that end, every Thursday, Mrs. Weiss teaches taxes at the Lewisburg location.

"I teach people how to do taxes and that person will have a job when they're done." This is something Mrs. Weiss has done ever since she started in the business.

"That's how I get my employees and staff my businesses."

It's also the kind of business that keeps changing, with new regulations and nuances. "That's what my husband is for," she said. "He's an expert at codes and tax law."

What does she like most about her job? "I like working with people," she said without hesitation. "No doubt, people don't like doing their taxes. But everybody has to do them. For me, this job provides a chance for me to get out, meet people and help them, which I enjoy enormously."

The new Lewisburg location does not formally open until Jan. 1, 2008, "but if someone needs advice or help, I am open to being contacted anytime at 523-1066. Once opened, hours will be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and possibly Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m."

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