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COLOMBIAN TAXES FOR FOREIGNERS: A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE

Breaking down Colombian taxes for foreigners: an easy guide

When you consider moving to Colombia, living in Colombia, or even just visiting the country, many aspects should be kept in mind besides choosing the perfect city or perhaps obtaining your Colombian resident visa, (for which we have an entire section here in our page that you should definitely check out), like remembering some other important duties, one of them is: getting to know how Colombian taxes for foreigners work.

So, the question is: do you, as a foreigner in Colombia, have to pay taxes? How can you be sure if you qualify as a tax resident in Colombia? And if so, are you eligible to declare taxes in the country?

Here we explain how Colombian taxes for foreigners work: plain and simple.

Determining if you are a tax resident in Colombia

First things first, to become familiar with Colombian tax law, you need to ensure that you are considered a tax resident in the country.

What is the tax residency in Colombia?

According to Colombian law, an individual is considered a tax resident if:

  • They have stayed in the country (continuously or not) for more than 183 days (taking into account entry and exit dates) within a period of 365 consecutive days. If the 183-day period spans two different calendar years, the individual would be considered a Colombian taxpayer for the second year.

Here, the days count from the day you arrived in the country to the day you left. Importantly, it doesn’t matter which month you arrived; it will be counted over a period of exactly 365 days, even across different years.

  • If they are related to the foreign service of the Colombian state.
  • Or, if they are Colombian nationals, not only if they were actually born in the country but also because of their condition, i.e., foreigners who now own a Colombian “cédula” or ID. For this particular category, there are also some other conditions attached to it; first, when 50% or more of the individual’s income comes from a national source, when 50% or more of their assets are administered in Colombia, when 50% or more of their assets are understood to be owned in Colombia, if they have not yet been able to prove that they reside in another country, OR if their place of residency is considered a tax haven country according to Colombian law.

An individual is considered a tax resident in Colombia if they have stayed in the country for more than 183 days per year, if related to the foreign service of the Colombian state or if they are Colombian nationals, not only if they were actually born in the country but also because of their condition.

So you are a tax resident, what's next?

How long can I stay in Colombia without paying taxes?

In Colombia, you are considered a tax resident if you stay in the country more than 183 days per year.

Yet, being a tax resident does not necessarily mean you have to declare taxes in Colombia, as declaring taxes in Colombia will finally depend on your income itself, not relying only on whether you are a  tax resident in the country or not. 

And the other side of the coin is, when you are not considered a tax resident in Colombia BUT you earn income in Colombia, if this is the case, you will have to declare taxes in the country. 

Colombia has tax relationships with many countries preventing double taxation, meaning that even though you must file taxes in Colombia, you’ll likely only pay taxes in your home country, so make sure you get in contact with our specialized legal team to evaluate your specific case first. 

There’s the case that, if you do not meet the requirements to become a tax resident in Colombia, you will be even allowed to live in Colombia without even having to declare income at all, but this is, depending on the amount of your income.

Now, if you do meet the conditions and must declare income tax in Colombia, it is advisable to do a tax projection before becoming a tax resident, since there are several deductions that can be made in your return, such as taxes paid abroad.

Your situation could be that you can live in Colombia and that after deductions your taxes are cero, in order to evaluate this situation it is necessary to review all the income generating agents in Colombia from abroad to be able to project your taxes in case you become a tax resident in Colombia.

All situations may differ and be unique depending on your specific case, this is why we reinforce the importance of having the right legal assistance by your side when doing your taxes as a foreigner in Colombia.

So, do foreigners have to pay taxes in Colombia?

The answer is yes, but only if you as a foreigner resided more than 183 days per year in the country or you earn income in Colombia and further fulfill other characteristics, unless of course, you already are a foreigner who is considered as a national, belonging to that last previously explained category.  

Being a tax resident in Colombia does not automatically mean you are required to report your income, this is, depending on the amount of your income.

doing your taxes in Colombia as a foreigner is a important part pf moving to colombia

What are the most important taxes in Colombia?

The primary Taxes in Colombia are Value-Added Tax (VAT), Financial Transactions Tax, Stamp Tax, Income Tax, and Wealth Tax.

Income tax is a tax that applies to natural persons and legal entities who must pay it to the state based on their salary, earnings, commissions, and other income marked on the previous year. 

So, your tax return is basically the information that the DIAN (the Colombian Tax and Customs National Authority) requires you to submit in order to calculate your income tax obligation. 

The fact that you are required to report your income or not will finally depend on your income itself, not relying only on your tax residency, since you can be a tax resident but not required to declare your tax income, depending on it’s amount. 

The income statement you present is based upon the economic transactions of your previous year, for example, your income statement of 2024 will be based on your movements of 2023.

What is the tax rate in Colombia for 2024?

Personal Income Tax Rate in Colombia is of 35 % for 2024, and natural persons that are required to declare the 2024 income tax are those whose:

Gross equity at the end of the 2023 fiscal year is equal to or greater than $190.854.000 COP.

Income of the taxable year is either $59.377.000 COP or equal to it.

Credit card payments accounted for a total amount of more than $59.377.000 COP.

Total value of purchases and consumption is equal to or more than $59.377.000 COP.

Total value of accumulated income from bank appropriations, deposits, or financial investments is at least $59.377.000 COP.

Income tax in Colombia: Deadlines

For the income statement of natural persons in Colombia, the first step is to take a look at the DIAN 2024 tax calendar. It is between August 12/2024 and October 24/2024, that the natural person who meets the previously detailed criteria is required to file their tax return.

The due date for the declaration and payment appears on the dates shown below, taking into account the preceding two numbers of the NIT corresponding to the RUT, (your tax identification numbers). 

It is very important to do it before the established date and protect yourself against possible fines.

Last digits of your NIT and deadline to declare:

DIGITSDEADLINEDIGITSDEADLINEDIGITSDEADLINEDIGITSDEADLINE
01 and 02August 1227 and 28September 253 and 54September 1979 and 80October 9
03 and 04August 1329 and 30September 355 and 56September 2081 and 82October 10
05 and 06August 1431 and 32September 457 and 58September 2383 and 84October 11
07 and 08August 1533 and 34September 559 and 60September 2485 and 86October 15
09 and 10August 1635 and 36September 661 and 62September 2587 and 88October 16
11 and 12August 2037 and 38September 963 and 64September 2689 and 90October 17
13 and 14August 2139 and 40September 1065 and 66September 2791 and 92October 18
15 and 16August 2241 and 42September 1167 and 68October 193 and 94October 21
17 and 18August 2343 and 44September 1269 and 70October 295 and 96October 22
19 and 20August 2645 and 46September 1371 and 72October 397 and 98October 23
21 and 22August 2747 and 48September 1673 and 74October 499 and 00October 24
23 and 24August 2849 and 50September 1775 and 76October 7
25 and 26August 2951 and 52September 1877 and 78October 8

Take a look at the full DIAN’s calendar for taxes in Colombia in their official website: https://www.dian.gov.co/Paginas/CalendarioTributario.aspx

What happens if I don't file my tax return or if I do it late?

Among the consequences of not declaring your tax income or declaring it outside the established calendar period dates, you may face some of the following:

  • If you file your tax return after the payment deadline has passed, you will incur a late filing penalty equal to 5% of the amount owed. 

The penalty will increase by 5% for each month or fraction of a month that passes between the payment deadline and the date on which the tax return is submitted. 

  • A warning message will be sent to you, notifying you that you have as long as one year to make payments corresponding to the amount of the tax, if this payment is not registered by the end of the month, 10% will be added, as agreed on the article 642 of the established Colombian law.

 

  • In case you don’t file your corresponding income taxes at all, it would mean paying a 20% fine of the value of the bank deposits or gross income at the year you were supposed to declare, or 20% of the gross income that appears in the last income tax return filed, depending on which has the highest value.
Consequences of not doing your taxes as a foreigner in colombia

Colombian taxes for foreigners: easier if you have someone by your side

We get that Colombian taxes for foreigners may be complicated to understand or difficult to keep up with. This considering the bureaucratic processes, the dates, and even the language itself if you are not so much of a fluent Spanish speaker. 

Nevertheless, if you ever consider living or investing in Colombia this information is vital and required for you to know, that’s why Nexo Legal can be your best ally on any tax related activities. 

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us to receive the guidance you need regarding your taxes in Colombia, we will be more than happy to answer your questions and help you from the first to the last step of the way.

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