Some 30 foreign embassies across the Capital, including the United States of America and the Russian Federation, are refusing to pay their share of business rates bills which fund street cleaning and lighting outside their own embassies.
The Foreign Office has confirmed, in a Freedom of Information Request, that diplomatic missions and embassies from around the world owe the taxman £1.5m in unpaid business rates following years of pressure being applied to Ambassadors in unpaid congestion zone fines and parking tickets which a handful refuse to pay.
Diplomatic representatives from foreign countries are officially exempt from all national, regional or municipal taxes for their buildings but the Government has encouraged most to pay a “beneficial portion” of their bill.
Embassies from Tunisia, Romania and Qatar are also amongst 30 countries which each owe the taxman more than £10,000 in unpaid rates as are the High Commissions of Malaysia and Pakistan despite demands from officials at the Foreign Office.
Robert Hayton, Head of U.K. business rates at the real estate adviser Altus Group said, “Many of these embassies operate from prime Central London real estate are intentionally refusing to pay their tiny tax contributions of just 6%.”
Hayton added, “Offices across the Capital were largely closed during the lockdown and firms will be wondering why countries can avoid paying nominal contributions, yet they had to pay in full whilst they were unable to occupy.”
Who Owes The Taxman Business Rates?
|The Missions listed below owe over £10,000 in respect of business rates:||£|
|Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan||164,178|
|Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran||143,217|
|Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe||124,175|
|Embassy of Libya||94,519|
|Embassy of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria||92,830|
|Embassy of the Republic of Iraq||88,568|
|High Commission for the Republic of Zambia||74,794|
|High Commission for Sierra Leone||70,088|
|High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan||64,492|
|Malaysian High Commission||59,578|
|Uganda High Commission||52,254|
|Embassy of the Russian Federation||47,642|
|Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia||41,658|
|High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka||37,001|
|High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria||36,975|
|Embassy of the Republic of Liberia||36,149|
|Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire||32,525|
|Kingdom of Eswatini High Commission||29,860|
|Embassy of the Republic of Korea||26,896|
|Embassy of the State of Qatar||25,028|
|Embassy of the United States of America||23,694|
|Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar||18,808|
|Embassy of Tunisia||15,791|
|Embassy of Romania||13,891|
|Embassy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea||13,300|
|Embassy of the Republic of Angola||12,293|
|Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania||12,143|
|Embassy of the Republic of Yemen||11,964|
|The Gambia High Commission||11,716|
|Embassy of the Republic of Haiti||10,413|