Objective To investigate whether the Fcγ receptor IIIa-66L/R/H (FcγRIIIa-66L/R/H) polymorphism influences net effective receptor function and to assess if the FCGR3A combined genotypes formed by FcγRIIIa-66L/R/H and FcγRIIIa-176F/V, as well as copy number variation (CNV), confer risk of developing systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and lupus nephritis. Methods FcγRIIIa variants, expressed on A20 IIA1.6 cells, were used in flow cytometry-based human IgG-binding assays. Using Pyrosequencing methodology, FCGR3A single-nucleotide polymorphism and CNV genotypes were determined in a cohort of 1,728 SLE patients and 2,404 healthy controls. Results The FcγRIIIa-66L/R/H (rs10127939) polymorphism influenced ligand binding capacity in the presence of the FcγRIIIa-176V (rs396991) allele. There was a trend toward an association of the low-binding FcγRIIIa-176F allele with lupus nephritis among African Americans (P = 0.0609) but not among European Americans (P > 0.10). Nephritis among African American patients with SLE was associated with FcγRIIIa low-binding haplotypes containing the 66L/R/H and 176F variants (P = 0.03) and with low-binding genotype combinations (P = 0.002). No association was observed among European American patients with SLE. The distribution of FCGR3A CNV was not significantly different among controls and SLE patients with or without nephritis. Conclusion FcγRIIIa-66L/R/H influences ligand binding. The low-binding haplotypes formed by 66L/R/H and 176F confer enhanced risk of lupus nephritis in African Americans. FCGR3A CNVs are not associated with SLE or lupus nephritis in either African Americans or European Americans. Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Rheumatology.