Supreme Court Reins in Civil Penalty Prosecutions for Small Businesses

Date: February 28, 2023

Bittner v. U.S. concerned violations under the Bank Secrecy Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 28, 2023)NFIB applauds today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Alexandru Bittner v. United States of America. The Court reversed the lower court’s decision and protected small businesses by concluding that the failure to file a statutorily required financial report was one violation with one penalty, instead of a violation for each account not reported with multiplying penalties. NFIB filed an amicus brief in the case.

“Small businesses will benefit from today’s Supreme Court decision,” said Beth Milito, Executive Director of NFIB’s Small Business Legal Center. “By concluding that the failure to file a required report is a single violation, the Court has protected small businesses from costly penalties that could be detrimental to their businesses.”

The case questioned the Bank Secrecy Act and whether a violation under the Act is the failure to file an annual Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts, or whether there is a separate violation for each individual account that was not reported.

The NFIB Small Business Legal Center protects the rights of small business owners in the nation’s courts. NFIB is currently active in more than 40 cases in federal and state courts across the country and in the U.S. Supreme Court.

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