There is increasing evidence that gene copy number (CN) variation influences clinical phenotype. The low-affinity Fc receptor 3B (FCGR3B) located in the FCGR gene cluster is a CN polymorphic gene involved in the recruitment of polymorphonuclear neutrophils to sites of inflammation and their activation. Given the genetic overlap between systemic lupus erythematosus and systemic sclerosis (SSc) and the strong evidence for FCGR3B CN in the pathology of SLE, we hypothesised that FCGR3B gene dosage influences susceptibility to SSc. We obtained FCGR3B deletion status in 777 European Caucasian cases and 1000 controls. There was an inverse relationship between FCGR3B CN and disease susceptibility. CN of ≤ 1 was a significant risk factor for SSc (OR=1.55 (1.13-2.14), P=0.007) relative to CN ≥ 2. Although requiring replication, these results suggest that impaired immune complex clearance arising from FCGR3B deficiency contributes to the pathology of SSc, and FCGR3B CN variation is a common risk factor for systemic autoimmunity.