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Tax Cheaters' Choice: Reveal Secret Accounts Or Go To Jail
CNBC.com | April 15, 2011 | 08:43 AM EDT

An estimated half million Americans have a painful decision to make between today and August 31 — admit to the IRS that they’ve been hiding secret offshore bank accounts, or take their chances the government won’t find out about their secret horde and possibly send them to jail.

For many, it’s not an easy choice.

To take advantage of the amnesty program — the second one it has offered, though the IRS says it will be the last — the US government is asking account holders to pay a steep penalty: 25 percent of the highest value of the account in recent years.

In exchange, they get to avoid prosecution, and to bring the remaining money home with a clean conscience.

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