July 17, 2022 - Douglas Myser

Supreme Court to hear fbar penalty case. The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear, or in the Court's words grant "Certiorari" to Alexandru Bittner's case. He is a Romanian-American business person who was held liable for $2.72 million in penalties for failing to file Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN) forms 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts. By granting his requests in the Fifth Circuit's decision, the Supreme Court will determine a split among two different Appeal's Circuit's, the Fifth and the Ninth, who held differing opinions on the matter. Bittner had argued and the Ninth Circuit had held, per unfiled FBAR covering all foreign accounts each year. The interpretation in the Bittner case would result in a $50,000 penalty for Bittner, which is why he appealed to the Supreme Court. Supreme Court to hear fbar penalty case.

FBAR's are an annual requirement under the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, P.L. 91-508. And even though the form iss issued by the Treasury Department FINCEN, it is filed with the IRS, due as a part of the normal tax return process, due on April 15th for the tax filing season. Any account that a U.S. citizen has outside the U.S., must be reported on the FBAR form, with all transactions and all financial interests in any financial accounts overseas, if the combined total of those accounts exceeds $10,000 at any time during the preceding tax calendar year. The IRS had assessed FBAR penalties for 2007 thru 2011 totaling $2.72 million on 272 accounts. Bittner contested the penalties in a district court that held for him in 2020. The government then appealed.

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