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Federal Courts Disagree On Whether The 50% Willful FBAR Penalty Is Illegal

By: Bryan C. Skarlatos & Michael Sardar
June – July 2018 Edition
Journal of Tax Practice & Procedure

Imagine a situation in which Congress passed a statute establishing civil penalties for certain conduct, including the maximum penalty that may be imposed for such conduct, and delegated enforcement of the statute to a federal agency. What if the federal agency issued a regulation stating the maximum penalty the agency would impose under the statute and then Congress later amended the statute to increase the maximum penalty the agency could impose, but the agency never changed its own self-limiting regulation? Would the agency be bound by its regulation, or could it ignore the regulation and impose the higher penalties authorized under the new statute?

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