WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Thursday sided with New York City in its efforts to collect property taxes from the governments of India and Mongolia.
In a 7-2 decision, the justices said U.S. courts have jurisdiction to decide the dispute. New York City is seeking $16.4 million from India and $2.1 million from Mongolia for those nations' United Nations missions.
The city is trying to collect property taxes from nations that house their employees in the same buildings where they operate diplomatic offices.
The countries have tax exemptions for the diplomatic mission section of the properties, but the city says they must pay taxes for the space that houses employees.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld a federal judge's ruling in support of the city. The judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit against the missions of India and Mongolia. They had sought dismissal on sovereign immunity grounds.
The jurisdiction of American courts generally does not extend to foreign governments. But there is an exception when "rights in immovable property" are at issue.