Date: 07/29/2009 Description: Credit Card © State Dept Image
In 1982, Congress passed the Foreign Missions Act, 22 U.S.C. 4301-4316, which created a new office in the United States Department of State. This office is called the Office of Foreign Missions or OFM. The purpose of OFM is to serve the foreign diplomatic and consular communities stationed in the United States, and to control their activities. All services are based on the principle of reciprocity. In other words, no privileges are granted to a foreign official here unless United States Embassy and Consular personnel receive the equivalent privileges in that country.

OFM responsibilities include the Diplomatic Tax Exemption Program, which provides sales and use, occupancy, food, airline, gas, and utility tax exemptions to eligible foreign officials on assignment in the United States. Tax exemption privileges for foreign diplomats, consular officers, and staff members are generally based on two treaties: the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. These treaties have been ratified by the United States and are the supreme law of the land under Article VI of the Constitution.

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.

Questions concerning bookkeeping requirements should be directed to the appropriate City or State Department of Revenue. Any questions regarding the eligibility of diplomatic or consular officers for sales and use tax exemption should be directed to the Office of Foreign Missions by electronic mail at OFMTaxCustoms@state.gov or:

Office of Foreign Missions
3507 International Place, NW
Washington, DC 20522-3303
(202)895-3500

Office of Foreign Missions
Chicago Regional Office

77 W. Jackson Blvd, Ste 2122
Chicago, IL 60604-1503
(312)353-5762

Office of Foreign Missions
Los Angeles Regional Office

10940 Wilshire Blvd, Ste 1425
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310)235-6292

Office of Foreign Missions
Miami Regional Office

95 Merrick Way, Suite 505
Coral Gables, FL 33134
(305)442-4943

Office of Foreign Missions
New York Regional Office

799 United Nations Plaza, 8th floor
New York, NY 10017
(646) 282-2825

Office of Foreign Missions
San Francisco Regional Office

One Market, Spear Tower, Suite 1375
San Francisco, CA 94105-1839
(415)744-2910

Office of Foreign Missions
Houston Regional Office

8701 S, Gessner Suite 906
Houston, Texas 77074
(713)272-2865



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