Tax Cheats Flood IRS, Looking to Come Clean

Inquiry into Swiss banks leads hundreds of evaders to come clean
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2009 9:07 AM CDT
UBS, the largest Swiss bank, has been cooperating with American authorities in tax evasion cases.   (AP Photo/Keystone/Walter Bieri,File )
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(Newser) – A crackdown on tax evasion has led to a flood of wealthy Americans lining up to reveal their offshore accounts to the IRS, reports the Wall Street Journal. A limited-time offer of lower fines, coupled with the ongoing probe of Swiss bank accounts held by UBS, has produced a stampede of tax sinners eager to pay up. "Last week we had 400 applicants, four times as many as in all of last year," says an IRS spokesman.

UBS is still wrangling with US authorities over how many names it will hand over. But if tax evaders fess up before this fall, they may face only civil charges, which carry substantially lower fines than criminal charges. Not every confession is accepted, however; says one lawyer, "They could wind up both rejected for clemency and helping the IRS case against them."