India to appeal against PMI property tax

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New York, Mar 23: The Indian government is likely to file an appeal against a US court order which sought payment of property tax of more than 40 million dollar. New Delhi had earlier argued with the court that its 26-storyed building, situated near the United Nations in New York, has been exempted from tax under international agreements.

The building is occupied by the Indian diplomatic staff and the Permanent Mission of India (PMI) to the UN office premises. ''We continue to explore legal action in this matter,'' the spokesperson for the PMI told the sources adding, ''We're going to appeal against the case.'' The US district Court judge Jed S Rakoff, ruled earlier in the week that only the residence of the head of the mission has been exempted from property tax under the Vienna Conventions. The US State Department had earlier expressed an opinion that buildings that house the diplomatic staff of foreign countries are exempted from paying property tax.

According to a knowledgeable source, there is no tax implication involved. This is an old case, the source pointed out. ''It is a diplomatic mission and diplomatic missions across the board are not charged this kind of taxes, we in India don't,'' the source said.

The City of New York filed a suit in 2003 against three countries, India (42.3 million dollar), the Philippines (10.9 million dollar) and Mongolia (4.4 million dollar) claiming that lower level case staff has been using the building as well.

UNI

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