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Civil Monetary Penalties: Federal Agencies' Compliance with the 2023 Annual Inflation Adjustment Requirements

GAO-24-107193 Published: Apr 18, 2024. Publicly Released: Apr 18, 2024.
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Fast Facts

When enforcing regulations, federal agencies use fines to hold violators accountable and to deter future violations. But if agencies don't regularly adjust these fines for inflation, they may become less effective deterrents. Congress enacted the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 partly to address this issue. In 2015, Congress amended the act to require GAO to annually review agencies' compliance with certain provisions.

We found that the 49 agencies subject to the act adjusted for inflation in 2023 and published the new amounts in the Federal Register. Most also published them in their Agency Financial Reports.

A judges gavel laying on a stack of money that is fanned out.

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What GAO Found

In this eighth annual review, GAO found that most federal agencies that could be subject to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990, as amended (IAA), have published civil monetary penalty inflation adjustments for 2023 in the Federal Register and reported related information in their 2023 or 2022 agency financial reports (AFR) or equivalent. However, one agency published its inflation adjustment in the Federal Register as of December 31, 2023, but did not report the required information in its 2023 AFR for its civil monetary penalties.

Why GAO Did This Study

The IAA includes a provision, added in 2015, for GAO to annually submit to Congress a report assessing agencies' compliance with the annual inflation adjustments the act requires.

For more information, contact Paula M. Rascona at (202) 512-9816 or

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