Property Tax is an annual or semi–annual tax imposed by one or more governmental jurisdictions that is normally based on the assessed value of the property.
Subsequent to the settlement of the contract between the foreign mission and the seller, and the recordation of the deed by the mission, a request for property tax exemption should be submitted to OFM. This request should include the complete address of the property, the date the deed was recorded, and a copy of the Department’s prior approval of the purchase.
If exemption is appropriate, OFM will inform the relevant tax authority that the property is entitled to an exemption from property tax.
Foreign missions are reminded that exemption from property taxes does not include exemption from fees separately stated on a property tax bill that relate to specific services to the property. Typical examples of such services include utilities, water, sewerage, and refuse collection. The property tax bill in Montgomery County, Maryland, for example, includes a charge for refuse collection, and a “front foot benefit charge” for sewerage and water related services imposed by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission. Such charges are separately stated on the tax bill and must be paid.
For properties owned and used by chief of mission or head of post, subsequent to granting its approval of such uses, OFM will authorize an exemption from property tax for such locations that will be valid for a period of twelve months. Missions are required to annually request in writing the reauthorization of this privilege to OFM.
In accordance with Articles 23 and Article 1 (i) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Article 32 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, residential properties owned by a Chief of Mission or the Head of a consular post and used as the official residence of such individuals also enjoy exemption from real property taxes. In such cases, OFM will authorize exemption from property tax for a period of twelve months. After which, missions will be required to request the renewal of this privilege for an additional twelve months. As long as the property’s owner continues to enjoy this privilege, such requests will be reauthorized on an annual basis.