NYC Goes After Foreign Governments For Back Taxes

When economic times are tough, state and municipal taxing authorities get creative. Facing a multi-billion budget deficit, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city has sued four countries for over $100 million owed in unpaid real estate taxes.

The taxes due are all for Manhattan properties, and some have been delinquent for over 30 years.

Four separate law suits have been filed against the governments of Turkey, the Philippines, India and Mongolia seeking payment of real estate taxes, charges, and interest of approximately $70 million, $17.7 million, $16.4 million and $2.1 million, respectively.

"The vast majority of foreign countries and other foreign entities in the city, like most other responsible property owners, pay their real estate taxes in a timely manner," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"Unfortunately, there are a handful of countries that consistently fail to pay these taxes - some for no reason at all, and some under a mistaken impression that their commercial and other nonexempt activities in the city are not taxable."

So far, only the Philippine government has responded to the lawsuit, indicating that it "is not obligated to pay New York City real property taxes with respect to its" Fifth Avenue property.

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