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UBS Probe Spurs Rich Americans Into Confessions

Wealthy taxpayers are singing a chorus of mea culpas to the Internal Revenue Service amid a desire to come clean about past tax evasion as the government cracks down on undeclared income from overseas accounts, The Wall Street Journal reported.

An I.R.S. spokesman told The Journal that request volume last week alone was four times as high as in all of last year. This increased urge to confess on the part of the wealthy forced the I.R.S. to issue a streamlined, three-page form for those seeking entry into its temporary voluntary-disclosure program.

Two main factors appear to be driving the spree, the newspaper said. One is the agency’s disclosure program, which began in March and is set to end Sept. 23, and which offers Americans the possibility of facing civil rather than criminal charges for volunteering details of tax evasion.

The other is fear being driven by the investigation by I.R.S. and the Justice Department of taxpayers who failed to report income earned from undeclared accounts with the Swiss bank UBS .