Via the Washington Post. Leaving aside the ethics of tax avoidance, any American who had an undeclared offshore bank account at UBS made a bad decision. Whatever they saved in taxes was more than outweighed by the risk and consequences of being caught.
The article mentioned that about 1,000 out of the 20,000 American clients of UBS Switzerland did disclose their bank accounts to the IRS. Which to me means they maintained these offshore accounts not for tax avoidance/secrecy, but for other reasons, perhaps related to our Family Foresight Thought Experiment. I'm not yet an expert on the subject but the idea of offshore safe havens fascinates me. Not the tax part--if you're American you should pay your taxes, especially if you're already rich--but the idea of a place where your money is safe from the depradations of war, pogroms, dictators, etc. I hope to do more research on this subject and address it in a future post.