Happy Super Bowl weekend to all our wonderful clients and friends!
We are eagerly awaiting the final outcome of the battle between the Panthers and the Broncos. My wife still finds the game very boring, and I don't pick up the USA commercials, which is something I miss down here in Colombia. We do get High Definition coverage in English so I can not complain. However, we literally have no interesting commercials during the big game, so its hard to keep Colombians interested, unless you throw a good party!
The Colombian expat community continues to grow at an amazing rate along side the rapid modernization of Colombia. Its truly an awesome time to be in Colombia witnessing the transformation of a quickly developing country. Many thanks to all the great expats living in Colombia who have contributed to Colombia in so many ways. We also want to thank all the warm and friendly Colombians who have extended their hospitality to foreigners and accepted us into their community. Please enjoy our latest newsletter on popular legal themes for expats.
To all Tourist StampVisa Holders
It is that time of year again when everyone gets another 180 days to stay in Colombia as a tourist! You should keep in mind that in order to reset your tourist visa and maximum time in Colombia as a tourist, you must leave the country for 1 day to reset your time your allowed to be here as a tourist. Please keep in mind this does not apply to countries which have tourist visa stickers. We are referring to countries which may enter the country with just a stamp at the airport. Some citizens which posses United States visas may travel to Colombia with the USA residency visa. This is a very limited and should be verified before travel.
COLOMBIAN CORPORATE TAX FILINGS DUE SOON!
For everyone that has a Colombian corporation please keep in mind tax season is upon us. For foreigners who are required to file taxes in Colombia, you do not have to file until August. Every year you must look up your filing date as it depends on your cedula number or company tax id number (NIT). Feel free to call us to find out your exact tax filing date. 444-6634 / 301 337 1881. Late fees are high: Colombia Legal & Accounting has a new accounting team specialized in audits, and corporate tax returns. Late fees start at 900,000 pesos for sas companies. Don't be late! Colombia Legal & Accounting now has senor tax expert and auditor Jorge Alexander Anzola Rozo running the accounting department. CL&A sas also has certified bilingual accounting specialist serving the Medellin area.
1) After 183 DAYS - You are a tax resident in Colombia and you are also not able to make foreign investments unless you leave the country for 1 year. Its a hidden rule that many people miss is that you must make sure your investment is legalized before you pass 183 days or you wont qualify to legalize the investment as a "direct foreign investment" with the Colombian federal bank (Banco de Republica). The DIAN (Colombian government tax entity) and the Banco de republica now state that if in any 12 month period your are in Colombia 183 days then you become a Colombian tax resident. see www.colombiabankaccount.com for more info on legalizing Colombian Investments.
2) Real estate used and pre-construction project investors - If you are paying a builder or project development you will not get credit as being a property investor until the project is completed. The key ingredient here is that you have a finalized purchase agreement, which has been notarized by the buyer and seller. If you need a purchase agreement please feel free to contact Colombia Legal & Accounting for a quote.
Remember to qualify for an investors visa: The wire transfer in your name must exceed 650 minimum salaries to qualify for the Colombia Investor's Visa. is for those who buy property, stocks, or a business in Colombia. An investment of a bit more than US $140,000 (the current equivalent of 650 minimum salaries in this country) will qualify you for this visa, which is good for five years. As a foreigner, you only need a passport to get this process started. Please see the latest values here for qualifying for these visas in 2016.
3) Corporate Investors
You can invest in a company and purchase shares instead of real estate to get an investors visa. You don't have to worry about the property closing process, so this makes the investment easier.
Helpful Tips for Wire Transfers:
1.) Chose your bank to wire money to well: A few tips for those of you handling wire transfers. Keep in mind that many persons prefer to use stock broker agencies in Colombia to avoid long lines at larger banks like BanColombia. Bancolombia and other banks require you to turn in documents at the local bank branch nearest you. Each time you go to one of these banks your average time spent is about 1 hour. Stock brokerage or investment banks will allow you to wire money to Colombia from the comfort of your own home, and conduct transfers to Colombia from outside the country. They will receive documents via email, and later physical mail or via local messenger in major cities.
2.) Wire money from an account in your name when you wire money to Colombia to avoid complications. Power of attorneys are also accepted but due to money laundering laws and other issues may not work for you.
3.) Finally purchase agreement for property purchase investments should match name on wire transfer or power of attorney. Stock purchase agreements also follow this rule.
4.) The wire transfer in your name must exceed 650 minimum salaries to qualify for the Colombia Investor's Visa. For those who buy property, stocks, or a business in Colombia. An investment of a bit more than US $140,000 (the current equivalent of 650 minimum salaries in this country) will qualify you for this visa, which is good for five years. As a foreigner, you only need a passport to get this process started.
1) Concepts of wire transfers must be handled carefully: A foreigner transferring money from overseas who is not a tax resident will find transferring money to Colombia easier than a person who is already a tax resident. Tax residents foreign wire transfers are more likely to have income looked at as taxable income. Foreigners in Colombia must pay taxes on foreign income if they are not paying taxes outside of Colombia for this income. Foreign tax records should be kept carefully in tune with Colombian tax filings.
2) Foreign Investment Wire Transfers: are not subject to taxes, as the idea is that these funds have already had taxes paid on outside of Colombia.
3) Colombian Foreign Tax Residents: should conduct wire transfers to Colombia cautiously, keeping in mind that every transfer may be counted as income in Colombia. To avoid this problem its important that transfers to Colombia are carefully coded, and coded correctly to indicate transfer of personal assets. Of course for backup one should have to show taxes have been paid on money outside of Colombia if you were to be audited. Colombia does not double tax.
4) Use only Very Experienced Accountants - I have found that over 10 years of living in Colombia, that many accountants actually only operate at a level equal to bookkeepers from developed countries. They will make costly errors that can come back to haunt you in the future. You should find and use only persons who have auditor level experience. Concepts such as loss carry forward and tax credit over various years can only be handled by the best accountants. Colombia Legal & Accounting SAS accounting services is managed by a senior level auditor who watches over the accounting department and handles all tax, and monthly accounting services.
How to get Married in Colombia:
Read up on the documents required to marry a Colombian, and how to qualify for visa on our new website www.ColombiaMarriageVisa.com. Just remember to get started on your documents before you leave your home country or you may end up very frustrated! Marrying a Colombian, whether the wedding takes place in or out of the country, qualifies the foreign bride or groom for a Colombia Marriage Visa, which lasts up to three years. Common law partnerships also qualify, usually for a three-year visa just like a normal marriage. Read more about Colombian Marriages.
Colombia Pension Visa
Colombia is an excellent place to retire, and the Colombia Pension Visa allows people to do that with a one-year visa renewable each year (with original documents). Your pension must be three times the minimum salary in this country, and you are more likely to be approved if your pension comes from the government, such as Social Security. Private pensions and savings accounts are much less likely to get your visa approved Read more on the Colombian Pension Visa here...
Qualified Colombian Residency
There are two types of Colombia Residency: temporary and permanent, but unless you are the parent of a Colombian child or a major investor, you will have to spend up to five years as a temporary resident (commonly referred to as the TP VISAS). Popular temporary residency visas are for Work, Pension, Business Share Holder/Owner, Property Owner, Annuity or Marriage Visa before you qualify for permanent residency.
If you'd like to become a permanent resident in this country, it pays to start your process as soon as possible by establishing temporary residency with one of the visas mentioned above. There are benefits and obligations you need to be aware of, especially regarding taxes, and we would be happy to discuss these with you.Read more on Colombian Residency Visas...