On November 2, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments with respect to a contentious appeals court split over whether the definition of the term “violation” under the Bank Secrecy Act (the “BSA”) means “per-form” or “per-account” for purposes of the requirement to file a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, FinCEN Form 114 (the “FBAR”).
The Court did not appear to lean one way or the other as justices probed and challenged both sides of the argument regarding the statutory interpretation of the BSA. The court is expected to issue its decision before the end of June 2023. The question presented to the Supreme Court is whether the term “violation” under the BSA means the failure to file an annual FBAR, without regard to the number of unreported foreign accounts, or whether each unreported account is considered a separate violation.1
Taxpayers with delinquent FBARs should be aware that there are several IRS compliance programs that can bring taxpayers into compliance and should not wait for the Supreme Court’s final decision to come into compliance.