All about taxes for expats in Colombia

Hi everyone,

Taxation is an important subject, especially when you are an expatriate in Colombia. We would like to know what you think about the tax system in your host country. This could be helpful to other people preparing for expatriation in Colombia.

How to do your tax return in Colombia? Are there different steps beforehand and if so, what are they?

Is it easy or did you have to get help to complete it?

Are there any important elements that should be taken into account when doing your tax return in Colombia?

If you are self-employed, do you need an accountant to do your tax return?

Is there a non-double taxation agreement with your home country? In any case, do you have to pay taxes there as well?

Thanks for your contribution!

Diksha,
Expat.com team

Good topic and alot of expats dont want to here about colombia DIAN tax filing requirements and have there little schemes to stay under the radar. If you stay in colombia for 183 days or more you are required to file DIAN taxes each year
The reason is that in 2022 no cedula will be issued or renewed or other visa issued without proof of DIAN tax filing.
DIAN will ask the question how do live in colombia and where does that income come from into colombia. CHeers

USA social security retirement benefits are
raxable income by DIAN in colombia.

The process is simple.
- hire a competent tax account.
- get a RUT / colombia tax id.
- tax accountant will advise what information you need to gather for filing.
- File DIAN form 210 each september for previous year.
DIAN has access to your cedula card number which is your colombia social security number and they can track and see all your ATM and other activity.
- cost each year for DIAN filing is 300,000 plus

ernietorricelli9 wrote:

If you stay in colombia for 183 days or more you are required to file DIAN taxes each year

A clarification:  It is not just staying for more than 183 days in a given year - it is staying more than 183 days total in any 365 day period.  So you need to keep a running count of days in-country, even if crossing a year's boundary.  Here is the page with the DIAN (Dirección de Impuestos y Aduanas Nacional) explanation:

https://www.dian.gov.co/impuestos/perso … encia.aspx

Los nacionales colombianos se consideran Residentes para efectos tributarios en Colombia si cumplen cualquiera de las siguientes condiciones:

1. Permanecer continua o discontinuamente en el país por más de ciento ochenta y tres (183) días calendario incluyendo días de entrada y salida del país, durante un periodo cualquiera de trescientos sesenta y cinco (365) días calendario consecutivos, en el entendido que, cuando la permanencia continua o discontinua en el país recaiga sobre más de un año o periodo gravable, se considerará que la persona es Residente a partir del segundo año o periodo gravable.

.  .  .

So in the year that you go over 183 days in-country is the year you will be considered a tax resident.

Note that even though the excerpt above says "nacionales colombianos" this does include foreigners, also, as explained here:

https://www.gerencie.com/residencia-par … arios.html

Great thanks for clarification / if you stay out of colombia for more than 183 days contigious your cedula is null and void - so kind of mute issue

ernietorricelli9 wrote:

The reason is that in 2022 no cedula will be issued or renewed or other visa issued without proof of DIAN tax filing.

The above statement does not pass the sniff test.

As an example, Expat X did not stay in Colombian for 183 days in the 12 months before applying for a first-time visa.  X was not required to file a tax return with La DIAN for any portion of the period.  Ipso facto, he cannot be required to furnish a document (proof of DIAN tax filing) that was not required and does not exist.

cccmedia in Ipiales, Nariño

ernietorricelli9 wrote:

DIAN will ask the question how do live in colombia and where does that income come from into colombia.

This had to be a typo.  La DIAN is not asking how do live in Colombia?

Want to rephrase that, Ernie?

----

There's also a problem with the second part, the supposed question "where does that income come from into Colombia."  Many Expats receive most or all of their income in their home country and access it mostly via bank-card purchases; much of this money never "come(s) into Colombia" as income.

cccmedia in Ipiales, Nariño

ernietorricelli9 wrote:

The process is simple. - hire a competent tax account(ant).

This process is not so simple.  A savvy Expat will follow the advice that Osage Archer and I have given for years -- get input from multiple tax experts.

Expat X emailed four tax accountants and tax attorneys regarding a recent year .. and got wildly varying responses as to what he owed in Colombia taxes .. ranging from zero to $8,000 US.  One respondent, a tax attorney, said it would cost X a fee of $900 just to figure out what he owed.

Even though he thought all the tax experts were "competent," naturally Expat X didn't pay $8,000.

cccmedia in Nariño

ernietorricelli9 wrote:

DIAN has access to your cedula card number which is your colombia social security number and they can track and see all your ATM and other activity.

Having your Colombian ID number doesn't mean La DIAN has access to all your financial activity unless all of it has been recorded by Colombia-based entities.

If you dealt with bank(s), trust(s), brokerage(s), etc. that were outside of Colombia, the Colombian tax authority will probably not have direct access to such information.

cccmedia in Nariño

I now have competent and skillful tax accountant in medellin. I have fired 3 ither psuedo colimbia accountants. I was in her office and using my cedula,card sho showed me what information DIAN has access to and it is encompassing. Colombia,has made major strides in last few years to udentify norco and money laudering activitiez

Ernie said "The reason is that in 2022 no cedula will be issued or renewed or other visa issued without proof of DIAN tax filing."

Now  where did you get this information Ernie? Some type of "crystal ball"?

Sounds obviosly like Chismes.(Gossip-misinformation). You cant believe everything tha comes out of a Colombian´s mouth.

First of all, new Visa appliers will not be in Colombia long enough to do a "Declaración de renta", or be liable to do one.

Secondly, even if you are extending visa, doesnt mean you are tax liable, only if you have been  in the country more than 183 days in 12  months. And this does not apply to all nationalities (I dont want to get into the details of this).

I know a few expats who have visas and are in the country less than 6 months.

As a matter of fact, I know an expat who is in the country less than 6 months and has Colombiian citizenship, and is not liable for tax on his investments outside the country.

Visa has nothing to do with taxation. Being in the country more than 183 days  (in most cases) does.

However, they are getting more strict with visa requirements vis-a-vis health care requirements, etc.

Theoretically DIAN and IRS have information sharing, i.e. tax returns,  but no DIAN does not have direct access to your financial information  , only what you provide to IRS.

And this is all Theoretical.

Actually, information can also theoretically be shared by countries that shared the CRS (Common Reporting Standard) agreement, which is most of the countries in the world.


Even if they make a claim against you, and have it enforced with a court order, good luck, unless you have bien raíces which can be "embargoed" in Colombia (Property, business, bank accounts)

As far as withdrawals from ATMs. how the heck would they know if you made it with a foriegn card?

Same with CC purchases.

Why would they bother with all this if they can just get your income from Migraciones data?

DIAN Knows every ATM transaction when you use your  Bank America debit card in colombia territory - same with transfers

Yes it is / your visa and cedula number are basically  your social number in colombia - DIAN knows that and have systems in placd  to track your transaction and money movement at banks and atms in colinbia from foreign banks.

Nico / you are getting too much bad info and talking to expats who are out of touch. Every expat has there own spin / they end up paying fines or deported.

No / Thats what you want to believe and your personal perspective. Be enlughtened by talking to skilled tax acountant and DIAN agent.

ernietorricelli9 wrote:

DIAN Knows every ATM transaction when you use your  Bank America debit card in colombia territory - same with transfers.

I don't see the point here, Ernie.

Even if La DIAN knows every peso an Expat took out of ATM's in Colombia since the beginning of time, that does not mean they know much, if anything, about the sources of income or amounts of income .. or have information they can use to squeeze money out of someone for overdue income tax.

cccmedia in Nariño

ernietorricelli9 wrote:

Nico / you are getting too much bad info and talking to expats who are out of touch. Every expat has there own spin / they end up paying fines or deported.

I doubt Ernie has any idea whom Nico is talking to.

There is no evidence presented here or that I've seen elsewhere that Colombia has been extracting fines or deporting more than one Expat in a million over income taxes.  It's all just like your opinion, man.

cccmedia in Nariño

ernietorricelli9 wrote:

I was in [my accountant's] office and using my cedula card she showed me what information DIAN has access to and it is encompassing. Colombia has made major strides in last few years to udentify norco and money laudering activitiez

Maybe you're under the impression that members of this Expat.com forum are involved in "norco and money laudering activitiez" (sic).

They're not a bunch of Pablo Escobars -- they just may like to keep a low tax profile and would hire a sharp attorney to pay the minimum tax owed if La DIAN had the wherewithal to pursue them.

cccmedia in Nariño

Diksha : The best decision on colombia taxes is the hiring of a young entrepreneur competent and skill financial planning and taxation accounting firm.
I have filed the last 3 years and sleep good at night knowing i am doing the right thing.
Cheers

Exactly.

Dian changes their tax rules every year. There is no way to know what you will pay next year. You can only know what you have to pay at any time period after you file your taxes.
That is the only way your Colombia tax accountant will know what you have to pay too in any taxation year..... after it is submitted and accepted by DIAN!
Myself, I just get them done on time and follow all other Colombian government rules like mandatory national medical because I have no desire to cause myself problems for my VISA renewal applications. I like living here.
Some aditional advise,,,, by avoiding snafus you will save yourself a lot of time and effort trying to solve them, a nearly impossible Colombian task.

Doug / Exactly - colombia DIAN Shifts there tax template every year. A competent a tax accountant who stsys abreast of these tax change shifts is the best solution. I know numerous expats who play the 'Head in the Sand wont catch me ' scenario. They are grenades ready to explode. No change - No change.
Cheers

I imagine ATM withdraws or credit Card purchases in Colombian can be simply acquired by the Colombian gov.

ronaldo2021 wrote:

I imagine ATM withdraws or credit Card purchases in Colombia can be simply acquired by the Colombian gov.

No need to worry about that IMO unless someone has been acquiring high-ticket assets as a result of illicit activity.

Making withdrawals at an ATM or legally purchasing an item does not by itself show improper tax evasion.

cccmedia

@earnie
I always kept my taxes honest back in my originating country. Not gonna change that if I choose to stay in a foreign country. While traveling I didn't worry about taxes because the countries were fleeting. I have settled down in Colombia for 4 years now because I LIKE IT HERE. As such, and as a guest I do what is necessary and required by the Colombian government system. I am not interested in doing anything that would spoil my stay, like gaming the system.
I know there are lots of expats who "avoid" taxes but I just do what I have to do. I am not intending to live anywhere else and have nestled in to beautiful Colombia nicely.
I just renewed my 3 year VISA effortlessly BECAUSE I paid my DIAN taxes proptly and BECAUSE I paid my Colombia medical bills. I have an expat friend who ran into gliches on his VISA renewal because of medical payment hassles. It took him a lot of effort and time to clear that up.
p.s. I guess I am different than other expats in that my Colombian wife is a licensed accountant and she takes care of ALL paperwork..... EVERYTHING.... to make my stay here even more enjoyable.

Yes / colombia banks have readily available tansaction records of all atm trsnsctions both local and foreign issued debit/credit cards. DIAN has access to those records.

Would this work on a Tourist Visa and avoid DIAN Income Tax?
Arrive Colombia July 1, 2022, stay 182 days
Leave Colombia on Dec 30, 2022
Return to Colombia on January 1, 2023,
Leave Colombia after 182 days and don’t return until January 1, 2024

Curious, Did you respond to the post about $30,000 tax liability on pension income?

Thanks for the reply.  My statement was not about avoiding, paying or not paying taxes.  It was just a simple statement that a gov could simply look up your ATM, Credit Card and Banking Activity.  It probably takes just a few minutes to accomplish. 
Thanks again

Ronaldo / tourist visas are good for 90 days plus,90 days of extension which is 180 days over 1 year and not calendar year.
DIAN tax filng is 183 days of more.

Good Luck / keep it simple and file

Keep it simple file your taxes

Dian has access to your bank/atm transactions info when you use your foreign (ie bank of America ) debit card at colombia bank atm

You are so right / until i found my current accountant i talked with about five accountants and attorneys and fired five. ***

Moderated by Priscilla last month
Reason : no generalized comment please
We invite you to read the forum code of conduct

Not true / my accountant showed me in her office the bank information she has access to. Encompassing whether used cedula or RUT.
You can run but not hide

ronaldo2021 wrote:

Would this work on a Tourist Visa and avoid DIAN Income Tax?
Arrive Colombia July 1, 2022, stay 182 days
Leave Colombia on Dec 30, 2022
Return to Colombia on January 1, 2023,
Leave Colombia after 182 days and don’t return until January 1, 2024.

Even if the second stay (1/1/23) could be approved, it would have to be through an actual visa -- not a tourist stamp.  A "tourist visa" is not a thing in Colombia.

Ipso facto, the above plan will not work on tourist stamps alone.

cccmedia in Ipiales, Nariño

The Colombia tax rules do not allow for a tourist to game the system by manipulations around the start/end of a calendar year.

If any Expat is in Colombia for more than 183 out of any consecutive 365 days, the Expat can be considered a tax resident by La DIAN.  If the 183-plus days overlap calendar years, the Expat can be considered a tax resident for the latter year.

cccmedia

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