The Internal Revenue Services’ Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) offers incentives for taxpayers to disclose their secret foreign bank accounts. This allows them to pay overdue taxes, interest and reduced penalties to avoid criminal prosecution that would otherwise be pursued by the IRS in an audit.

Here are some figures about the OVDP from a March 2013 Government Accountability Office report, which analyzed the program.

39,000 Number of disclosures of previously unreported offshore bank accounts, 2009–2011

$5.5 billion Total amount in those secret accounts

$923,300 Highest penalty, tax and interest amount assessed

$2,318 Lowest assessed

378 Cases in which taxpayers were penalized more than $1 million, 2009

$5 million Account balance that would incur a $1 million penalty

Top countries for secret accounts

  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Israel
  • France
  • Germany
  • China
  • India
  • Taiwan

Top banks housing offshore accounts with penalties greater than $1 million

  • UBS
  • Julius Baer
  • Credit Suisse
  • Zürcher Kantonalbank
  • HSBC