New York seeks millions of USD in unpaid taxes from Nigeria

08:45, January 13, 2010      

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New York City announced on Tuesday that it would sue Nigeria over millions of U.S. dollars in unpaid taxes.

"The Nigerian government has failed to pay real estate taxes, interest and other charges for commercial offices and other non-tax exempt spaces in the 22-story building," the mayor's office said.

The city is seeking between 4.1 million U.S. dollars and upwards of 16 million dollars in unpaid taxes for the Manhattan tower at 822 Second Avenue. The precise amount owned is unknown "because of the refusal of the Nigerian government to supply documentation."

A Xinhua request for comment from the Nigerian Mission to the United Nations went unanswered before deadline.

"Especially in these tough economic times, we will go after every dollar that is owed to city taxpayers," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement.

The building, known as "Nigeria House," is used partially for tax-exempt purposes, including as offices for the Nigerian consulate and the Nigerian Mission to the UN.

However, at least since 2002, and the city believes possibly as far back as 1993, portions of the building have also been used for commercial and other non-tax exempt purposes. A Nigeria Airways office, for example, formerly occupied space in the building's lobby.

"Nigeria was given many opportunities to settle this debt to the city, but it declined to do so," said Commissioner Tiven. "The city seeks to be a good neighbor to foreign governments that own property in the city, but we also expect these governments to do their part and pay their taxes."

Source: Xinhua
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