US Cracking Down on Your Offshore Bank Account

The US has little wiggle room these days when it comes to its finances, so it’s no surprise that it’s now going to new and more extreme lengths to hunt down tax cheats.

This Thursday, October 15th, is the final day for Americans with foreign bank accounts to make sure they aren’t hiding any funds from Uncle Sam. Traditional tax havens like Switzerland and Panama have come under a microscope recently as the IRS ferrets out every last dollar owed it.

No one is forcing the offshore account holders to take action before the 15th but, after that date, offshore bank holders caught red-handed avoiding taxes will face much harsher penalties, fines are usually equal to 50 percent of the tax bill uncovered, than if they come clean voluntarily before the deadline.

Earlier this year, UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, paid the US government $780 million in a fraud settlement and turned over the names of 4,450 US clients.

When the federal government needs its taxes as badly as it does now it’s not an easy time to be a tax payer or a tax evader. Now it appears that the latter option has a whole new host of risks. The complete story is included in New York Times coverage of hidden offshore accounts.