Are you happy in Colombia?

Sorry I did not make myself clear. I read on another post by a man who said he did extensive research into the new Tax Reform currency before colombian congress. He said social security (not general income) will  be taxed at a 33% rate. You sounded knowledgeable in you first post, so I thought I would verify this information with you. Don't worry about it if you haven't research that part.

Thanks again for your information

That has already been addressed, Visa King.

Expats who pay income tax in other countries may deduct such from their COL tax obligation.


That's not the same thing.  Social Security is generally not taxable in the US when received because it was already taxed when earned years earlier.  I don't think Colombia is going to allow you to take credit for that tax when you collect Social Security which means they will be taxing that income which has already been taxed.

maren1 :

I read on another post by a man who said he did extensive research into the new Tax Reform currency before colombian congress. He said social security (not general income) will  be taxed at a 33% rate.

Your man is wrong.  Colombia makes no distinction - foreign income is foreign income no matter what the source, no matter what foreign country it is from, no matter if it is Social Security from the USA or a pension from Great Britain or the proceeds of selling your house in Bulgaria.   Colombia will treat you as a tax resident if you spend 183 days or more in country in any 365 day period and in that case asserts the right to tax your worldwide income (subject to tax credit for taxes paid in another country as cccmedia explained and subject to the marginal tax rates on income I explained in my post, which may change with the reforma tributaria).

Please provide a cite for your information.  Otherwise do not spread unsubstantiated rumors.

K1VisaKing :

Social Security is generally not taxable in the US when received because it was already taxed when earned years earlier.

This is not correct.

"Some people who get Social Security must pay federal income taxes on their benefits. But, no one pays taxes on more than 85 percent of their Social Security benefits. You must pay taxes on your benefits if you file a federal tax return as an “individual” and your “combined income” exceeds $25,000.  If you file a joint return, you must pay taxes if you and your spouse have “combined income” of more than $32,000. If you are married and file a separate return, you probably will have to pay taxes on your benefits. "

The above is from the Social Security Administration: … y-benefits


It seems like a lost opportunity for Colombia. I've always felt very welcome there. And it's an opportunity for gringo retirees an entrepreneurs to come spend their pensions and investments.

Instead, the government is being shortsighted and trying to wring what they can out of expats instead of seeing the long picture of having new relatively wealthy residents buying things, going out to eat, seeing movies, paying rent, etc.

There are no guarantees with Ecuador's government, but it seems like a nice alternative if the Colombians want to rob my wallet.

OsageArcher - What you posted is correct, but what I posted is also "generally" correct.  "Generally" people in the US who are retired don't earn more than $25,000 in Social Security and other income per year, but some do, and they will have to pay taxes on that excess, and if they live in Colombia they will be taxed a second time on the first part of their Social Security and a third time on the part that the US government double-taxes and they can deduct that portion of taxes from the Colombian taxes, but they're still being double taxed.  They paid taxes on the Social Security benefits when they were held out of their paycheck years ago and again when they receive the benefits to the extent that Colombia or the US or any other country taxes them.  Some countries (I think Panama is one) don't tax Social Security benefits even if you expat there.  [Generally - in most cases; usually]

So, so far.... it looks like the foreigners that come to Colombia to take advantage of what Colombians cannot, are very happy.

To tell if Colombians are happy you must walk in their shoes.  So none of us can really say.  If their facial expressions and demeanor say to us (people who do not have their cultural experience, and genetical make up, or history) that they are happy, that really does not say much.

If they smile or dance or laugh or tell jokes; it does not mean they are happy. If they are welcoming to you or kind, that does not mean they are happy.   It just means they deal with what they have in the best way possible.

They are largely happy.  My colombiana wife comes from a large family with 9 brothers and sisters total and I have come to know them and their cousins, aunts and uncles and extended family, and their friends and families who live in and around Cali, Buenaventura and Bogotá and who have lived in other areas in Colombia as well.

It is axiomatic that if you don't have money worries, it is easier at least to satisfy your material wants if not your spiritual needs.  So it is in Colombia, those who earn enough are largely happier on balance than those who do not earn enough.  Although there are a lot who fall in the lower earnings category they are sage enough to know that they must help themselves if they are to survive, the government certainly won't do much - so they are mostly quite self-reliant and that in itself is a big contributor to personal happiness.

They have the happy facility to take life as it comes, to enjoy it while they may, because it is always certain in Colombia that hard times are a-comin' again sooner or later, whether it be from the economy or loss of a job, a natural or man-made disaster, robbery or worse, a guerilla attack, or just family squabbles.  As Jim Morrison sung in "Roadhouse Blues", the future's uncertain and the end is always near...

They question is 'Are YOU happy in Colombia?",  not are Colombians happy.

Hello, I don't think he's exactly stereotyping. What he's impling to me is that if you are born and raise in the USA or have been apart of the US or I guess the gringo culture, you've been conditioned culturally to gravitate towards consumption. Yet, of course it doesn't me that everyone is like this, such as yourself for example. Also, you don't need lots of wealth to struggle with over consumption. It's more about what a society as a whole gravitated towards as oppose to certain individuals who oppose this aspect of our culture. I'm not putting people down at all for desiring nice things, cars, homes etc. it's about balance and that's where I think it's not easy to live within balance when the cultural fabric is over consumption. I have noticed too how Colombians are able to be resilient and content with what they have. This doesn't imply that some Colombians also are into going after many things or opportunities. But I think it's safe to say overall it's easier to find people in Colombia who are so happy to just have their family, good food and great salsa. Community is so strong in Colombia!

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