Lara R. Chwat is a Partner of Katz, Smith & Chwat, PC. Her areas of practice include Federal and State tax matters, business transactions and estate administration.
Lara guides clients facing Federal, New York State and New York City tax audits through the often confusing and nerve-wracking audit process. If the client’s tax issue is not resolved at audit, Lara represents her clients before the Appeals Office of the Internal Revenue Service, the New York State Bureau of Conciliation and Mediation Services (BCMS), or, when necessary, in Federal Tax Court or at the Division of Tax Appeals for New York State.
In tax collection matters, Lara helps clients to effectively handle their outstanding tax debt and reduce their tax liability through tools such as Offers In Compromise (which allow qualified individuals with an unpaid tax debt to negotiate a settled amount that is less than the total owed) or Innocent Spouse Relief (which provides relief from additional tax owed if a spouse or former spouse failed to report income, reported income improperly or claimed improper deductions or credits). She also works with clients who have foreign bank accounts to provide voluntary disclosure of foreign bank accounts through the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative (OVDI), allowing them to become compliant, avoid substantial civil penalties and eliminate or reduce the risk of criminal prosecution.
Lara’s tax knowledge and experience also helps her to be a more effective advisor and advocate for the firm’s business clients, who often seek her counsel about the ramifications of their business transactions. She has worked with many of those clients to restructure their business deals to make them more effective for tax purposes. She devotes a great deal of her time to the preparation of sophisticated business agreements and integrates her tax knowledge to provide the best results for her clients and limit the tax consequences to their business.
As one of the firm’s lead attorneys in estate administration and probate matters, Lara helps executors and administrators carry out their fiduciary responsibilities to the estate’s creditors and beneficiaries. Her clients receive the benefit of her tax background as she aids them in preparing estate tax returns, identifying and locating assets, providing an accounting , and distributing the assets. Lara is admitted to practice in both New Jersey and Florida, so she is able to handle estates in those states as well as those in New York.
Lara has served as the Chair of the Nassau County Bar Association’s Tax Law Committee and has presented lectures on taxation issues for several organizations, including the Long Island Tax Practitioner Symposium, the Women’s Focus Group of the Nassau County Chapter of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Nassau County Bar Association.
Lara is a graduate of the Sy Syms School of Business at Yeshiva University, and received both her J.D. and LL.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law. In addition to New York, Lara is admitted to practice in the courts of New Jersey and Florida and before the United States Tax Court.
Lara resides in Cedarhurst with her husband, daughter and son.