Tag Archives: Bittner

Part 7: US Supreme Court Denies Toth Cert Petition. Justice Gorsuch Invites Lower Courts To Consider Constitutionality of FBAR Penalties

Prologue – Before The Supreme Court – The Background To The Toth FBAR Case

This Is Post 7 in a series of posts describing the statutory and regulatory history of Mr. FBAR.

These posts are organized on the page “The Little Red FBAR Book“.*

Historically the strength of America has been found in its moral authority. As President Clinton once said:

“People are more impressed by the power of our example rather than the example of our power…”

The FBAR penalty imposed on Ms. Toth is an example of the legal power to impose penalty and NOT an example of the restraint on power and the application of law in a just way. I have heard it said that when a person (and by extension country) loses its character it has lost everything.

The Story Of Monica Toth – Three Perspectives

Perspective 1: The story of Ms. Toth’s encounter with Mr. FBAR as described by Justice Gorsuch in his dissent:

In the 1930s, Monica Toth’s father fled his home in Germany to escape the swell of violent antisemitism. Eventually, he found his way to South America, where he made a new life with his young family and went on to enjoy a successful business career in Buenos Aires. But perhaps owing to his early formative experiences, Ms. Toth’s father always kept a reserve of funds in a Swiss bank account. Shortly before his death, he gave Ms. Toth several million dollars, also in a Swiss bank account. He encouraged his daughter to keep the money there—just in case.

Ms. Toth, now in her eighties and an American citizen, followed her father’s advice. For several years, however, she failed to report her foreign bank account to the federal government as the law requires. 31 U. S. C. §5314. Ms. Toth insists this was an innocent mistake. She says she did not know of the reporting obligation. And when she learned of it, she says, she completed the necessary disclosures. The Internal Revenue Service saw things differently.

Pursuant to §5321, the agency charged Ms. Toth with willfully violating §5314’s reporting requirement and assessed a civil penalty of $2.1 million—half of the balance of Ms. Toth’s account—plus another $1 million in late fees and interest.

Perspective 2: The issue in the Toth case as described in a September 20, 2022 post:

The penalty imposed on Ms.Toth was dependent on a finding of “willfulness”. “Willfulness” is a question of fact to be determined by the court. In the Toth case the District court deemed Ms. Toth to be “willful” as a court imposed sanction. There was no independent evaluation of the facts to determine whether she was “willful”. Absent an independent evaluation of the facts, can there ever be a finding of willfulness necessary to support the 50% account penalty?

Perspective 3: The August 26, 2022 PETITION FOR A WRIT OF CERTIORARI to the Supreme Court of The United States described the issue as follows:

QUESTION PRESENTED

The Bank Secrecy Act and implementing regulations require U.S. persons to file an annual report — called an FBAR — if they have foreign bank accounts containing more than ten thousand dollars. The maximum civil penalty for willfully failing to file the report is either $100,000 or half the balance in the unreported account, whichever sum is greater. 31 U.S.C. § 5321(a)(5)(C)-(D). Using this formula, the government imposed on petitioner a civil penalty of $2,173,703.00.

The question presented is whether civil penalties imposed under 31 U.S.C. § 5321(a)(5)(C)-(D) — penalties that are avowedly deterrent and noncompensatory — are subject to the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause.

Eighth Amendment Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The indisputable facts include (but are not limited to) that, Mr. FBAR is being used to confiscate approximately two million dollars of a Swiss Bank account with a balance of approximately four million dollars. The account was owned by an 82 year old woman and was funded by money received from her father in Argentina. The account was initially funded by money that was NOT and never was subject to US taxation. The penalty was based on the penalty for failing to file an FBAR. In addition, the necessary condition of “willfulness” was based on a court sanction and NOT on an independent evaluation of the facts.

These facts resulted in Ms. Toth’s encounter with Mr. FBAR in the penalty zone!

The Supreme Court Response – January 23, 2023:

I had the opportunity to discuss the decision in a podcast with Dubai based lawyer Virgina La Torre Jeker.

On January 23, 2023 the Supreme Court of the United States (Justice Gorsuch dissenting) denied the cert petition. In other words, the court declined to consider whether Ms. Toth’s 2 million willful civil FBAR penalty, based on a 4 million Swiss bank account balance, violated the “Excessive Fines” clause of the eighth amendment. (The effect of the court’s decision to NOT hear the case means that the US government is now – through the law of FBAR – in a position to confiscate two million from Ms. Toth. But,”It’s The Law”.)

More broadly and abstractly, the refusal to grant the cert petition means that the court refused to hear the case. The court’s refusal to hear the case is NOT equivalent to a ruling that civil willful FBAR penalty is constitutional. It means only that the Supreme Court of the United States will NOT be the court (at least as of January 23, 2023) to decide the issue. In his dissent Justice Gorsuch reinforces this point (and invites lower courts to consider the issue) by writing:

For all these reasons, taking up this case would have been well worth our time. As things stand, one can only hope that other lower courts will not repeat its mistakes.

Nevertheless, the court’s refusal to hear the Toth case will likely be interpreted:

– by the IRS (and other government agencies) as a license to continue a growing penchant to impose punitive FBAR penalties in general and engage in civil forfeiture in particular

– by the public as a continuing signal that there is a clear distinction between the interpretation of law and the application of justice and never shall the twain meet

– by the legal profession that the penalties under Title 31 are a subset of civil forfeiture penalties in general

– by the international community as further confirmation that the United States is a country lacking proportionality between violations of the law and the penalties imposed

Interestingly and significantly Justice Gorsuch penned a vigorous dissent*. In this dissent he took the time to describe the facts, describe the history of penalty in the United States and to explain why the court should have agreed to hear the Toth appeal. Justice Gorsuch appeared to rely on an amicus curie brief filed by California law professor Beth A. Colgan**. Excerpts from both are included as Appendixes *A and **B to this post.

One is left with the impression that:

Justice Gorsuch is an island of justice and sanity in an ocean of unfairness, injustice and insanity.

The world eagerly awaits the Supreme Court’s decision in the Bittner FBAR case!

John Richardson – Follow me on Twitter @Expatriationlaw

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11 Key Moments In The Supreme Court’s Engagement During The Bittner #FBAR Fundraiser Argument

Introduction

On November 2, 2022 the Supreme Court of the United States heard the appeal in the case of:

ALEXANDRU BITTNER, Petitioner, v. UNITED STATES, Respondent

On November 2, 2022 the Supreme Court Of The United States heard the Bittner case. The issue was whether in the context of a non-willful FBAR penalty:

1) The government is restricted to imposing one penalty based on the failure to file one FBAR; or

2) The government is authorized to impose one non-willful penalty for each of the accounts that should have been reported on the single FBAR form.

For example, let’s imagine that a US citizen has ten accounts that are “foreign” and he fails to file an FBAR form. Is the penalty based on the failure to file the form itself (one form means one $10,000 penalty)? Or may the government impose a penalty based on the failure to disclose each of the accounts on the FBAR form (10 times $10,000 = $100,000)?

Mr. Bitter is/was a dual US Romanian citizen who was living in Romania during the years that the FBAR penalties were imposed. According to the closing comments of his lawyer, Mr. Bittner (while living in Romania) had filed US tax returns for years that he had a business connection to the United States (apparently investing in a relative’s business in California). In other words, there is some evidence that Mr. Bittner was not fully aware that as a US citizen, his US tax and reporting obligations applied even when he did not live in the United States. In any case, Mr. Bitter argues that he should have received one $10,000 penalty for each of the five years ($50,000). The government imposed penalties of 2.7 million dollars based on a failure to report 52 accounts.

On Wednesday November 2, 2022 the Supreme Court of the United States heard argument on the “per account vs. per form” issue.

A transcript of the arguments is here:

http://citizenshipsolutions.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/21-1195_5i36.pdf

A post describing the background and some initial discussion is here.

The briefs are available here.

Purpose of this post

The purpose of this post is to identify the questions and dialogue with counsel that suggest which areas the Justices found most important, interesting and troubling. Although one cannot predict the outcome, the dialogue suggests the following three broad themes and areas of concern:

First: Many of the Justices had difficulty agreeing (based on the plain text of 5314) with the Government’s claim that it can impose a separate FBAR penalty based on and only on a failure to report each account. Justices Jackson, Gorsuch and Thomas appeared to be the strongest advocates of this position. (Justices Kagan and Sotomayor comprised the most vocal opposition.)

JR Comment: The issue is whether the Justices will decide the case based on what the statute actually says (which favors the per account interpretation) or based on what they think Congress “might have intended” in the complete legislative scheme. The legal arguments for the “per form” penalty were compelling.

Second: A number of the Justices were clearly troubled by the their view that the “per form” penalty would mean that all non-willful FBAR penalty violators would be assessed penalties based on the “form”. Basing the penalty on and only on single form, would mean that a $10,000 penalty would be the maximum non-willful penalty regardless of the facts. Should a person who fails to report one simple checking account be assessed the same penalty as someone with millions of dollars and multiple accounts? Justices Roberts and Kagan seemed particularly focussed on this issue. (See the audio clip of Justice Roberts below.)

JR Comment: Interestingly the hearing did not discuss (in the question and answer) that non-willful violators can be assessed ZERO penalties. My impression was that the argument proceeded on the basis that the $10,000 penalty was the default penalty for the failure either file the form or report the account. The default penalty is NOT $10,000. The language of 5321(1)((5) includes: “Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the amount of any civil penalty imposed under subparagraph (A) shall not exceed $10,000. Neither the assessment of penalties NOR the $10,000 penalty is automatically assessed. My point is that the statute does allow for the calibration of penalties based on the facts of the case.

Third: The court expressed concern over whether “reasonable cause” really was a defence to a civil non-willful penalty assessment. Presumably if “reasonable cause” were a defence, it would serve the purpose of appropriately calibrating penalties. See the clips of Justices Alito, Gorsuch and Jackson below. The concern appeared to be: Does the “reasonable cause” defence work in practical application?

JR Comment: Does the existence of “reasonable cause” make it easier for the Justices to rule that a “per account” penalty may be permitted? Alternatively were the Justices simply concerned by the draconian potential of the penalties?

These are the three “pieces of the puzzle” that I expect will inform the decision.

The complete audio of the hearing is available here:

And a version from C-span (that picks up the audio from some protestors) is here:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?523324-1/bittner-v-united-states-oral-argument

I have included the statutory provision as *Appendix A below.

I have included the regulations as **Appendix B below.

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November 2, 2022 Supreme Court FBAR Case: ALEXANDRU BITTNER, Petitioner v. UNITED STATES Respondent – No. 21-1195

Here is the audio recording of the November 2, 2022 Bittner FBAR hearing …

On November 2, 2022 the Supreme Court Of The United States heard the Bittner case. The issue was whether in the context of a non-willful FBAR penalty:

1) The government is restricted to imposing one penalty based on the failure to file one FBAR; or

2) The government is authorized to impose one non-willful penalty for each of the accounts that should have been reported on the single FBAR form.

For example, let’s imagine that a US citizen has ten accounts that are “foreign” and he fails to file an FBAR form. Is the penalty based on the failure to file the form itself (one form means one $10,000 penalty)? Or may the government impose a penalty based on the failure to disclose each of the accounts on the FBAR form (10 times $10,000 = $100,000)?

Mr. Bitter is/was a dual US Romanian citizen who was living in Romania during the years that the FBAR penalties were imposed. According to the closing comments of his lawyer, Mr. Bittner (while living in Romania) had filed US tax returns for years that he had a business connection to the United States (apparently investing in a relative’s business in California). In other words, there is some evidence that Mr. Bittner was not fully aware that as a US citizen, his US tax and reporting obligations applied even when he did not live in the United States. In any case, Mr. Bitter argues that he should have received one $10,000 penalty for each of the five years ($50,000). The government imposed penalties of 2.7 million dollars based on a failure to report 52 accounts.

On Wednesday November 2, 2022 the Supreme Court of the United States heard argument on the “per account vs. per form” issue.

The above podcast contains the audio file of the live arguments.

A transcript of the arguments is here:

http://citizenshipsolutions.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/21-1195_5i36.pdf

A recording from C-span is here:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?523324-1/bittner-v-united-states-oral-argument

The following twitter thread reflects my impressions while listening to the arguments …

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1587807427327655937.html

Earlier podcasts discussing this case are included as an *Appendix to this post.

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Part 6: Mr. FBAR’s Civil Penalty – Does 31 USC 5321(a)(5) Authorize The Imposition Of ANY Civil Penalty For Failure To File An FBAR?

This Is Post 6 in a series of posts describing the statutory and regulatory history of Mr. FBAR.

These posts are organized on the page “The Little Red FBAR Book“.*

Mr. FBAR Visits The Supreme Court Of The United States!

But, maybe the issue is whether a civil FBAR penalty can be imposed at all instead of how much of a penalty can be imposed?

All of which is explained in the following video discussion

Conclusion:

The existing statutory scheme 31 USC 5321(a)(5) combined with 31 USC 5314 does NOT authorize the imposition of a civil penalty on an individual for the failure to file an FBAR prescribed by 31 C.F.R. § 1010.350. Furthermore, the original 5321(a)(5)created in 1986 is written in the same way and fails to authorize the civil FBAR penalty for the same reasons.

For more extensive analysis and parsing of the statutes read on …

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Part 5: Mr. FBAR’s Civil Penalty – 5321(a)(5): Bittner – Maximizing The Penalty By Imposing It On Each Account

This Is Post 5 in a series of posts describing the statutory and regulatory history of Mr. FBAR.

These posts are organized on the page “The Little Red FBAR Book“.*

As previous posts have described, the threshold question in an FBAR civil civil penalty case governed by 5321(a)(5), is whether the violation is “willful” or “non-willful”. If “non-willful” the penalty is limited to $10,000 (appropriately adjusted for inflation). If Willful” a much higher penalty regime – the greater of $100,000 USD or 50 percent of the account balance – applies. Given the potential for FBAR penalties to be a significant “fundraiser”, the government has clear incentives to argue for “willfulness”. In Schik we are reminded that “willfulness” is a question of fact which the government must prove by a “preponderance of the evidence standard”. In Toth we saw the government greatly assisted by a judicial sanction that deemed Ms. Toth to be willful. The most egregious aspect of Toth was that the government was not even required to meet its factual burden of proof. In Bittner the government was stuck with a factual finding of non-willfulness.

Q. How can the government maximize FBAR penalties in the context of non-willfulness?

A. By imposing the FBAR penalty on each unreported account rather than on the failure to file the FBAR itself.

Such is the context of Bitter where the government:

First, imposed a $10,000 penalty on each individual account; and

Second, repeated the process for five years resulting in approximately 2.7 million in FBAR penalties.

Interestingly, the effect of this approach was that the Government could assert FBAR penalties that exceeded the maximum penalties authorized under the 5322 criminal penalty provision. Why would the government take this approach? The answer comes from the last paragraph of the Solicitor General’s brief filed in the Bittner petition for certiorari.

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Part 1: Mr. FBAR’s Civil Penalty – 5321(a)(5): Evolution – The Wonder Years, Those Teenaged Years, Young Adult, To Mature Thug

This Is Post 1 in a series of posts describing the statutory and regulatory history of Mr. FBAR.

These posts are organized on the page “The Little Red FBAR Book“.*

Introduction – Toward An Understanding Of Bittner, Roth And The Road To The Supreme Court

For Good And For Evil:

The late Charles W. Adams was the author of For Good And Evil: The Impact Of Taxes On The Course Of Civilization. The title is descriptive of the content. At the end of the book Mr. Adams summarizes 27 lessons that can be learned from the past. The principle summarized in lesson 11 reads:

If liberty is to defended with success against the dominance of the state, then financial privacy must be preserved. Banking privacy is one of the cornerstones of liberty, having its roots in the early principle of English law that a man’s castle (primarily his treasury) is beyond the surveillance of the King.

Whatever its origins, the FBAR has evolved into an assault on financial privacy and part of the growing trend of civil forfeiture. To put it simply the civil FBAR penalty found in USC 31 5321(a)(5) – enacted in the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 – is being used as a vehicle for asset confiscations. In some cases (Toth) the confiscation is taking place under the guise of the “willful” penalty without a sufficient factual finding of willfulness. In other cases (Bittner) the confiscation is taking place under the guise of a “non-willful” penalty by imposing multiple penalties based on the number of accounts rather than a single penalty based on the failure to file the form itself. In each case the penalties are imposed under USC 31 5321(a)(5) which was enacted in 2004 as part of the American Jobs Creation Act.

This is Part 1 of a series of posts for the purpose of understanding the evolution of Mr. FBAR and the civil penalty regime. The purpose of Part 1 is to trace the legislative history of Mr. FBAR and the evolution of the penalty regime found in 31 USC 5321(a)(5).

“From Here To There Eventually” – The Life Of Mr. FBAR

There are four distinct periods to Mr. FBAR’s life …

Period 1: Birth October 26, 1970 – Public Law 91-507 – The “Wonder Years” – Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act – See Appendix A

October 26, 1970 – Public Law 91-507 – Currency and financial Reporting Act – 201 on – page 5
https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/STATUTE-84/pdf/STATUTE-84-Pg1114-2.pdf

STATUTE-84-Pg1114-2

Penalty Status for individuals: Only criminal penalties for willful violation of the statute

§ 209. Criminal penalty
Whoever willfully violates any provision of this title or any regulation under this title shall be fined not more than $1,000, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

§203. Definitions and rules of construction
(i) References to this title or any provision thereof include regulations issued under this title or the provision thereof in question.

Note that the penalties (criminal) are imposed for violating either the statute or a regulation made under the statute!

Period 2: Teenager September 13, 1982 – Public Law 97-258 – Those Teenage Years: Joining His Friends In The Title 31 Sandbox – See Appendix B below

September 13, 1982 – Public law 97-258 – Creation of Title 31 – See page 121
https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/STATUTE-96/pdf/STATUTE-96-Pg877.pdf

STATUTE-96-Pg877

The purpose of this law was to consolidate a number of statutes into USC 31. The 1970 “Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act” was one of the statutes brought under the umbrella of USC 31. (Note the under the “Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act” any violation of the law would include a violation of any regulations made pursuant to the law. This is NOT the case for USC 31. This point will be developed in more detail later.)

Penalty Status: Only criminal penalties for willful failure to file an FBAR. Although the 1982 statute introduces civil violations for some violations of Title 31, the statute did NOT legislate a civil penalty for FBAR violations. It did NOT create 5321(a)(5) which was created in the 1986 amendments.

§ 5321. Civil penalties

(a)(1) A domestic financial institution, and a partner, director, officer, or employee of a domestic financial institution, willfully violating this subchapter or a regulation prescribed under this subchapter (except section 5315 of this title or a regulation prescribed under section 5315) is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $1,000. For a violation of section 5318(2) of this title or a regulation prescribed under section
5318(2), a separate violation occurs for each day the violation continues and at each office, branch, or place of business at which a violation occurs or continues.
(2) The Secretary of the Treasury may impose an additional civil penalty on a person not filing a report, or filing a report containing a material omission or misstatement, under section 5316 of this title or a regulation prescribed under section 5316. A civil penalty under this paragraph may not be more than the amount of the monetary instrument for which the report was required. A civil penalty under this paragraph is reduced by an amount forfeited under section
5317(b) of this title.
(3) A person not filing a report under a regulation prescribed under section 5315 of this title or not complying with an injunction under section 5320 of this title enjoining a violation of, or enforcing compliance with, section 5315 or a regulation prescribed under section 5315, is liable to the Government for a civil penalty of not more than $10,000.
03) The Secretary may bring a civil action to recover a civil penalty under subsection (aXD or (2) of this section that has not been paid.
(c) The Secretary may remit any part of a forfeiture under section 5317(b) of this title or civil penalty under subsection …

The criminal penalties for FBAR violations continue …

§ 5322. Criminal penalties

(a) A person willfully violating this subchapter or a regulation prescribed under this subchapter (except section 5315 of this title or a regulation prescribed under section 5315) shall be fined not more than $1,000, imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
(b) A person willfully violating this subchapter or a regulation prescribed under this subchapter (except section 5315 of this title or a regulation prescribed under section 5315), while violating another law of the United States or as part of a pattern of illegal activity involving transactions of more than $100,000 in a 12-month period, shall be fined not more than $500,000, imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both.
(c) For a violation of section 5318(2) of this title or a regulation prescribed under section 5318(2), a separate violation occurs for each day the violation continues and at each office, branch, or place of business at which a violation occurs or continues.

Note that the penalties (civil or criminal) are imposed for violating either the statute or a regulation made under the statute!

Period 3: Young Adult – October 27, 1986 – Public Law 99-570 – The First Civil Penalty For The “Willful Failure” To File Mr. FBAR – See Appendix C

October 27, 1986 – Public Law 99-570 – Creation of 5321(a)(5) Civil Monetary Penalty for Violation of 5314 – See page 26

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/STATUTE-100/pdf/STATUTE-100-Pg3207.pdf

Civil Penalty 1986 STATUTE-100-Pg3207

Penalty Status: Criminal penalties for willful violations continue. The first civil penalty under 5321(a)(5) for willful violations of USC 5314 is created.

(5) FOREIGN FINANCIAL AGENCY TRANSACTION VIOLATION.—

(A) PENALTY AUTHORIZED.—The Secretary of the Treasury may impose a civil money penalty on any person who willfully
violates any provision of section 5314.

Note that the civil penalties imposed under USC 5321(a)(5) are imposed only for violating the statute. There is no mention of a penalty for violation of the regulation made under the statute! (The criminal penalty under USC 5322 is imposed for violation of either the statute or the regulation made under the statute.)

Period 4: Mature Thug – October 22, 2004 – American Jobs Creation Act – “Form Crimes On Steroids” – The Creation Of The Non-Willful Civil FBAR Penalty See Appendix D

October 22, 2004 – Public Law 108-357 – American Jobs Creation Act October 22, 2004 – see page 170 – Creates Nonwillful Civil FBAR Penalty – See Appendix D

https://www.congress.gov/108/plaws/publ357/PLAW-108publ357.pdf

PLAW-108publ357

Penalty Status: Civil penalties for both willful and non-willful violations of 5314. Criminal penalties for willful violations.

(5) FOREIGN FINANCIAL AGENCY TRANSACTION VIOLATION.—

(A) PENALTY AUTHORIZED.—The Secretary of the Treasury may impose a civil money penalty on any person who violates, or causes any violation of, any provision of section 5314.

(B) AMOUNT OF PENALTY.—
(i) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the amount of any civil penalty imposed under subparagraph (A) shall not exceed $10,000.
(ii) REASONABLE CAUSE EXCEPTION.—No penalty shall be imposed under subparagraph (A) with respect to any violation if—
(I) such violation was due to reasonable cause,
and
(II) the amount of the transaction or the balance in the account at the time of the transaction was properly reported.

(C) WILLFUL VIOLATIONS.—In the case of any person willfully violating, or willfully causing any violation of, any provision of section 5314—
(i) the maximum penalty under subparagraph (B)(i) shall be increased to the greater of—
(I) $100,000, or
(II) 50 percent of the amount determined under subparagraph (D), and (ii) subparagraph (B)(ii) shall not apply.

(D) AMOUNT.—The amount determined under this subparagraph is—
(i) in the case of a violation involving a transaction, the amount of the transaction, or
(ii) in the case of a violation involving a failure to report the existence of an account or any identifying information required to be provided with respect to an account, the balance in the account at the time of the violation.

(b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendment made by this section shall apply to violations occurring after the date of the enactment
of this Act.

Note that the civil penalties imposed (whether civil or criminal) under USC 5321(a)(5) continue to be imposed only for violating the statute. There continues to be no mention of a penalty for violation of the regulation made under the statute! (The criminal penalty under USC 5322 is imposed for violation of either the statute or the regulation made under the statute.)

John Richardson – Follow me on Twitter. @Expatrationlaw

Appendix A – 1970 Statute

Chapter 4.—FOREIGN TRANSACTIONS
Sec.
241. Records and reports required.
242. Classifications and requirements.

§241. Records and reports required

(a) The Secretary of the Treasury, having due regard for the need to avoid impeding or controlling the export or import of currency or other monetary instruments and having due regard also for the need to avoid burdening unreasonably persons who legitimately engage in transactions with foreign financial agencies, shall by regulation require any resident or citizen of the United States, or person in the United States and doing business therein, who engages in any transaction or maintains any relationship, directly or indirectly, on behalf of himself or another, with a foreign financial agency to maintain records or to file reports, or both, setting forth such of the following information, in such form and in such detail, as the Secretary may require:

(1) The identities and addresses of the parties to the transaction or relationship.
(2) The legal capacities in which the parties to the transaction or relationship are acting, and the identities of the real parties in interest if one or more of the parties are not acting solely as principals.
(3) A description of the transaction or relationship including the amounts of money, credit, or other property involved.
t>isciosure. ^j^^ ]^Q persou required to maintain records under this section shall be required to produce or otherwise disclose the contents of the records except in compliance with a subpena or summons duly authorized and issued or as may otherwise be required by law.

§242. Classifications and requirements

The Secretary may prescribe:

(1) Any reasonable classification of persons subject to or
exempt from any requirement imposed under section 241.
(2) The foreign country or countries as to which any requirement imposed under section 241 applies or does not apply if, in
the judgment of the Secretary, uniform applicability of any such requirement to all foreign countries is unnecessary or undesirable.
(3) The magnitude of transactions subject to any requirement imposed under section 241.
(4) Types of transactions subject to or exempt from any requirement imposed under section 241.
(5) Such other matters as he may deem necessary to the application of this chapter.

Appendix B – 1982 Statute Creating Title USC Title 31

SUBCHAPTER II—RECORDS AND REPORTS ON MONETARY
INSTRUMENTS TRANSACTIONS

§5311. Declaration of purpose
It is the purpose of this subchapter (except section 5315) to require
certain reports or records where they have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory investigations or proceedings.
§ 5312. Dennitions and application
(a) In this subchapter—
(1) “financial agency” means a person acting for a person
(except for a country, a monetary or financial authority acting
as a monetary or financial authority, or an international financial institution of which the United States Government is a
member) as a financial institution, bailee, depository trustee, or
agent, or acting in a similar way related to money, credit,
securities, gold, or a transaction in money, credit, securities, or
gold.
(2) “financial institution” means—
(A) an insured bank (as defined in section 3(h) of the
Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1813(h)));
(B) a commercial bank or trust company;
(C) a private banker;
(D) an agency or branch of a foreign bank in the United
States;
(E) an insured institution (as defined in section 401(a) of
the National Housing Act (12 U.S.C. 1724(a)));
(F) a thrift institution;
(G) a broker or dealer registered with the Securities and
Exchange Commission under the Securities Exchange Act
of 1934 (15 U.S.C. 78a et seq.);
(H) a broker or dealer in securities or commodities;
(I) an investment banker or investment company;
(J) a currency exchange;
(K) an issuer, redeemer, or cashier of travelers’ checks,
checks, money orders, or similar instruments;
(L) an operator of a credit card system;
(M) an insurance company;
(N) a dealer in precious metals, stones, or jewels;
(O) a pawnbroker;
(P) a loan or finance company;
(Q) a travel agency;
(R) a licensed sender of money;
(S) a telegraph company;
(T) an agency of the United States Government or of a
State or local government carrying out a duty or power of a
business described in this clause (2); or
(U) another business or agency carrying out a similar,
related, or substitute duty or power the Secretary of the
Treasury prescribes.
(3) “monetary instruments” means—
(A) United States coins and currency; and
(B) as the Secretary may prescribe by regulation, coins
and currency of a foreign country, travelers’ checks, bearer
negotiable instruments, bearer investment securities,
bearer securities, stock on which title is passed on delivery,
and similar material.
(4) “person”, in addition to its meaning under section 1 of title
1 use 1. 1, includes a trustee, a representative of an estate and, when the
Secretary prescribes, a governmental entity.
(5) “United States” means the States of the United States, the
District of Columbia, and, when the Secretary prescribes by
regulation, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a territory or
possession of the United States, or a military or diplomatic
establishment.
(b) In this subchapter—
(1) “domestic financial agency” and “domestic financial institution” apply to an action in the United States of a financial
agency or institution.
(2) “foreign financial agency” and “foreign financial institution” apply to an action outside the United States of a financial
agency or institution.

§ 5314. Records and reports on foreign Hnancial agency transactions
(a) Considering the need to avoid impeding or controlling the
export or import of monetary instruments and the need to avoid
burdening unreasonably a person making a transaction with a
foreign financial agency, the Secretary of the Treasury shall require
a resident or citizen of the United States or a person in, and doing
business in, the United States, to keep records, file reports, or keep
records and file reports, when the resident, citizen, or person makes
a transaction or maintains a relation for any person with a foreign
financial agency. The records and reports shall contain the following
information in the way and to the extent the Secretary prescribes:
(1) the identity and address of participants in a transaction or
relationship.
(2) the legal capacity in which a participant is acting.
(3) the identity of real parties in interest.
(4) a description of the transaction.
(b) The Secretary may prescribe—
(1) a reasonable classification of persons subject to or exempt
from a requirement under this section or a regulation under
this section;
(2) a foreign country to which a requirement or a regulation
under this section applies if the Secretary decides applying the
requirement or regulation to all foreign countries is unnecessary or undesirable;
(3) the magnitude of transactions subject to a requirement or
a regulation under this section;
(4) the kind of transaction subject to or exempt from a
requirement or a regulation under this section; and
(5) other matters the Secretary considers necessary to carry
out this section or a regulation under this section.
(c) A person shall be required to disclose a record required to be
kept under this section or under a regulation under this section only
as required by law.

§ 5321. Civil penalties
(a)(1) A domestic financial institution, and a partner, director,
officer, or employee of a domestic financial institution, willfully
violating this subchapter or a regulation prescribed under this
subchapter (except section 5315 of this title or a regulation prescribed under section 5315) is liable to the United States Government for a civil penalty of not more than $1,000. For a violation of
section 5318(2) of this title or a regulation prescribed under section
5318(2), a separate violation occurs for each day the violation continues and at each office, branch, or place of business at which a
violation occurs or continues.
(2) The Secretary of the Treasury may impose an additional civil
penalty on a person not filing a report, or filing a report containing
a material omission or misstatement, under section 5316 of this title
or a regulation prescribed under section 5316. A civil penalty under
this paragraph may not be more than the amount of the monetary
instrument for which the report was required. A civil penalty under
this paragraph is reduced by an amount forfeited under section
5317(b) of this title.
(3) A person not filing a report under a regulation prescribed
under section 5315 of this title or not complying with an injunction
under section 5320 of this title enjoining a violation of, or enforcing
compliance with, section 5315 or a regulation prescribed under
section 5315, is liable to the Government for a civil penalty of not
more than $10,000.
03) The Secretary may bring a civil action to recover a civil
penalty under subsection (aXD or (2) of this section that has not been
paid.
(c) The Secretary may remit any part of a forfeiture under section
5317(b) of this title or civil penalty under subsection (aX2) of this
section.

§ 5322. Criminal penalties
(a) A person willfully violating this subchapter or a regulation
prescribed under this subchapter (except section 5315 of this title or
a regulation prescribed under section 5315) shall be fined not more
than $1,000, imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.
(b) A person willfully violating this subchapter or a regulation
prescribed under this subchapter (except section 5315 of this title or
a regulation prescribed under section 5315), while violating another
law of the United States or as part of a pattern of illegal activity
involving transactions of more than $100,000 in a 12-month period,
shall be fined not more than $500,000, imprisoned for not more than
5 years, or both.
(c) For a violation of section 5318(2) of this title or a regulation
prescribed under section 5318(2), a separate violation occurs for each
day the violation continues and at each office, branch, or place of
business at which a violation occurs or continues.

Appendix C – 1986 – Introduces 5321(a)(5) – Willful failure to file an FBAR

(c) SEPARATE CIVIL MONEY PENALTY FOR VIOLATION OF SECTION
5314.—Section 5321(a) of title 31, United States Code, is amended by
inserting after paragraph (4) (as added by subsection (a) of this
section) the following new paragraph:
“(5) FOREIGN FINANCIAL AGENCY TRANSACTION VIOLATION.—
“(A) PENALTY AUTHORIZED.—The Secretary of the Treasury
may impose a civil money penalty on any person who willfully
violates any provision of section 5314.
“(B) MAXIMUM AMOUNT LIMITATION.—The amount of any civil
money penalty imposed under subparagraph (A) shall not
exceed—
“(i) in the case of violation of such section involving a
fi transaction, the greater of—
-it ? ? “(I) the amount (not to exceed $100,000) of the transaction; or
“(II) $25,000; and
(ii) in the case of violation of such section involving a
3;?-; failure to report the existence of an account or any identify-
. ing information required to be provided with respect to
s Obig a I f such account, the greater of—
,i>Ki “(I) an amount (not to exceed $100,000) equal to the
balance in the account at the time of the violation; or
“(II) $25,000.”.

Appendix D – Replaces 5321(a)(5) – Introduces Non-Willful Civil Penalty For Failure To File FBAR

SEC. 821. PENALTY ON FAILURE TO REPORT INTERESTS IN FOREIGN
FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS.

(a) IN GENERAL.—Section 5321(a)(5) of title 31, United States
Code, is amended to read as follows:
‘‘(5) FOREIGN FINANCIAL AGENCY TRANSACTION VIOLATION.—
‘‘(A) PENALTY AUTHORIZED.—The Secretary of the
Treasury may impose a civil money penalty on any person
who violates, or causes any violation of, any provision
of section 5314.
‘‘(B) AMOUNT OF PENALTY.—
‘‘(i) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the amount of any civil penalty imposed
under subparagraph (A) shall not exceed $10,000.
‘‘(ii) REASONABLE CAUSE EXCEPTION.—No penalty
shall be imposed under subparagraph (A) with respect
to any violation if—
‘‘(I) such violation was due to reasonable cause,
and
‘‘(II) the amount of the transaction or the balance in the account at the time of the transaction
was properly reported.
‘‘(C) WILLFUL VIOLATIONS.—In the case of any person
willfully violating, or willfully causing any violation of,
any provision of section 5314—
‘‘(i) the maximum penalty under subparagraph
(B)(i) shall be increased to the greater of—
‘‘(I) $100,000, or
‘‘(II) 50 percent of the amount determined
under subparagraph (D), and
‘‘(ii) subparagraph (B)(ii) shall not apply.
‘‘(D) AMOUNT.—The amount determined under this
subparagraph is—
‘‘(i) in the case of a violation involving a transaction, the amount of the transaction, or
‘‘(ii) in the case of a violation involving a failure
to report the existence of an account or any identifying
information required to be provided with respect to
an account, the balance in the account at the time
of the violation.’’.
(b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendment made by this section
shall apply to violations occurring after the date of the enactment
of this Act.