Georgia: Tax Exemptions for Foreign Diplomats
- Sep 4, 2014 | Gail Cole
Working as a foreign diplomat has its perks. You immerse yourself in different cultures, meet famous people, and have travel and lodging expenses paid. And often (though not always) foreign diplomats are entitled to sales and use, occupancy, food, airline, gas and utility tax exemptions.
According to the Office of Foreign Missions, “Not all foreign missions and their personnel are entitled to tax exemption, because this privilege is based on reciprocity and not all foreign countries grant such tax exemption to American Embassies and personnel.”
“More than 25 foreign governments have operations in Georgia to promote trade between their countries and the state.” And more than “70 governments from around the world [have] consular offices and/or trade representation located in metro Atlanta.” The question of who is entitled to the foreign diplomat tax exemptions therefore arises.
To alleviate confusion, the Georgia Department of Revenue has issued a policy bulletin on foreign diplomat tax exemption privileges in Georgia, reminding sellers that a copy of the buyer’s U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Tax Exemption Card (front and back) must be kept in order to validate exempt sales. Sales tax records should be maintained for a period of three years, at least.
Since the eligibility of diplomatic or consular officers for sales and use tax exemption depends upon reciprocal privileges for American diplomats abroad, eligibility status is subject to change. Questions regarding eligibility should be directed to the Office of Foreign Missions.
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