February 28, 2023

The U.S. Supreme Court held today in a 5-4 decision that the $10,000 penalty for a non-willful failure to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) for foreign accounts accrues per report, not per account (Bittner, No. 21-1195 (U.S. 2/28/23)).

The decision resolves a split between the Fifth and Ninth circuits. The Fifth Circuit had held that the penalty can be imposed per unreported account (Bittner, 19 F.4th 734 (5th Cir. 2021)); the Ninth Circuit has held it can only be applied per unfiled FBAR covering all foreign accounts each year (Boyd, 991 F.3d 1077 (9th Cir. 2021)).

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