Matthew Yglesias may have figured out why Romney has been unwilling to open his 2009 tax returns to public scrutiny. Yglesias refers to a late-2009 article in the LA Times describing the moment when Swiss banks found themselves in trouble.
Wealthy U.S. taxpayers, concerned about an Internal Revenue Service crackdown on the use of secret overseas bank accounts as tax havens, are rushing to meet a Thursday deadline to disclose those accounts or face possible criminal prosecution. The concern was triggered this summer when Switzerland's largest bank, caught up in an international tax evasion dispute, said it would disclose the names of more than 4,000 of its U.S. account holders. ...LATimes
That hard reality -- the end of secrecy in Swiss banks -- sparked a short-term offer from the IRS. American taxpayers with Swiss accounts could avoid prosecution if they'd come clean before the end of 2009. "As a result," the LA Times reported, "tax attorneys across the nation have been besieged by wealthy clients who are lining up to apply even though they will still face big financial penalties."
Some 3,000 U.S. residents have voluntarily disclosed their foreign bank accounts to the IRS this year, compared to fewer than 100 in 2008, said one U.S. government official who asked not to be identified.
Demand for the amnesty program exploded in August when Swiss bank UBS agreed to settle U.S. criminal charges that it had engaged in a "multibillion-dollar scheme" to help U.S. taxpayers hide assets from the IRS.
In all, UBS agreed to pay $780 million in penalties and to disclose the names of 4,450 American clients to Swiss officials, who would then provide them to the IRS. ...LATimes
Since prosecution by the IRS could cost the Romney bank account a serious hit, it's entirely possible that Mitt Romney was one of those prosecution duckers. But there's a downside.
Failing to apply for the amnesty and then getting charged by the IRS would have been both financially and politically disastrous. So amnesty it was. But even though the amnesty would eliminate any legal or financial liability for past acts, it would hardly eliminate political liability. ...Matthew Yglesias, Slate
If Romney walked like a ducker and quacks like a ducker... well, the presidency doesn't seem like something America owes him.