In December 2014, the IRS announced that it was extending its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) for an indefinite period.  The OVDP is a tax amnesty program that was launched in 2009 with the intent of encouraging taxpayers with unreported foreign bank/investment accounts to avoid criminal charges and pay reduced civil penalties by making a voluntary disclosure to the IRS. According to the IRS, since the inception of the OVDP there have been more than 50,000 disclosures, resulting in the collection of more than $7 billion in taxes and penalties.