On Friday it was announced that UBS and the Internal Revenue Service had reached a settlement in the IRS lawsuit against UBS. The lawsuit sought to require UBS to turn over the names of 52,000 U.S persons with Swiss bank accounts at UBS. The IRS believes that the owners of some of these offshore accounts failed to file foreign bank account reports (FBARs), and may also have engaged in tax fraud. Settlement negotiations have been ongoing, and apparently those discussions have focused on how many offshore account holder names will be turned over to the IRS. The terms of the deal have not been announced, and the parties have agreed not to reveal the details at this time. The final settlement papers are due to be filed on August 7th, at which point I expect that the IRS will reveal how many offshore account holders names will be turned over.
This puts the holders of offshore financial accounts at UBS in a precarious position. Once UBS turns over the information those folks will no longer be eligible to make a voluntary disclosure under the IRS tax amnesty program, and will subject the owners of these Swiss bank accounts at risk for the 50% FBAR penalty, possible criminal prosecution for tax evasion, and a pile of other tax problems.