NYC Loses Out on Property Taxes

Jack Humphrey, Regulatory journalist
August 20, 2010 /

New York City has lost its bid to collect about $47 m (£30 m) on UN property taxes.

The New York City had claimed that two foreign governments were using parts of their UN United mission building to perform tasks that were of a non diplomatic nature.

The court has ruled that the City’s claim of getting $47 m in taxes was invalid.

The federal appeals court, which was reviewing the case, overturned a judgment by a lower court which found that the government of India owed $42.5 m (£27 m) while Mongolia owed $4.4 m (£2.8 m) to the City.

India was using 20 of the 26 floors of its mission as apartments for employees. On the other hand, Mongolia was using 2 of the 6 stories of its building as living quarters for its employees.

Michael Bloomberg, who is the New York Mayor, has been trying for a long time to force UN missions to pay property taxes for using its space. He has been forthcoming in suing other governments as well for the same reason.

New York City has traditionally been known for exempting property taxes on embassy buildings in the city.

In the year 2003, the Government of Turkey had agreed and made a payment of $5 m (£3.2 m) on property taxes. Earlier in 2010, Philippines too had made a payment of $9 m (£5.7 m) as settlement with the City.

However, the last year saw the US State Department passing a legislation which granted tax exemption on property that is owned by foreign governments and being used as residential premises for the UN, consular diplomats or their families.

The appeals court has added that “‘the city’s tax liens are invalid” and that no tax is due or owing by foreign governments.


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