US withdraws tax exemption for Pakistan Embassy staff

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, left, and other senior military officers attend a military parade to mark Pakistan National Day, in Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday, March 23, 2019. Pakistanis are celebrating their National Day with a military parade that's showcasing short- and long-range missiles, tanks, jets, drones and other hardware. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Washington:  The US State Department has withdrawn its Diplomatic Tax Exemption programme for staff at the Pakistan Embassy here, a media report said on Friday.

The programme provides sales and use, occupancy, food, airline, gas, and utility tax exemptions to eligible foreign officials on assignment in the US. The said facility is enjoyed by officials’ dependents too, reports The News International.

The decision to withdraw special Tax Exemption cards issued to Pakistani officials was made on May 15, after which the effected staffers had to surrender the privilege. The number of affected staffers of the Pakistani embassy are a little over 20.

A State Department spokesperson told The News International on Thursday that there were pending tax exemption issues related to the US diplomatic mission in Pakistan.

However, the department said that both sides were in discussions and hoped to resolve the issue and restore the tax privileges.

The move comes after the US last yeat barred diplomats working at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington from travelling outside 250-mile radius around the city without approval.