FcγRIIb, the immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif-containing receptor for IgG (Mendelian Inheritance in Man no. 604590), plays an important role in maintaining the homeostasis of immune responses. We have identified 10 novel single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the promoter region of human FCGR2B gene and characterized two functionally distinct haplotypes in its proximal promoter. In luciferase reporter assays, the less frequent promoter haplotype leads to increased expression of the reporter gene in both B lymphoid and myeloid cell lines under constitutive and stimulated conditions. Four independent genome-γ wide scans support linkage of the human FcγR region to the systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE; Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man no. 152700) phenotype. Our case-control study in 600 Caucasians indicates a significant association of the less frequent FCGR2B promoter haplotype with the SLE phenotype (odds ratio = 1.65; p = 0.0054). The FCGR2B haplotype has no linkage disequilibrium with previously identified FCGR2A and FCGR3A polymorphisms, and after adjustment for FCGR2A and FCGR3A, FCGR2B showed a persistent association with SLE (odds ratio = 1.72; p = 0.0083). These results suggest that an expression variant of FCGR2B is a risk factor for human lupus and implicate FCGR2B in disease pathogenesis.