Guide

Exporting to Colombia

Taxes, duty and legal considerations when exporting to Colombia

There are a lot of things to consider before you start exporting to Colombia. It's essential to find out about local rules and regulations on tax and duty in your intended market.

Start-up considerations

There are three common forms of business enterprise in Colombia:

  • corporation
  • limited liability partnership
  • branch of a foreign company

Companies wanting to expand their business activities into Colombia most commonly establish a foreign branch. It operates under Colombian rules and it must be registered with a Notary Public.

It is advisable to use an agent or a distributor. Colombians prefer to do business with foreign companies that have local representatives in the country.

Legal considerations

Colombia has legal stability and legislation.

Investors who are in a permanent business in Colombia must establish a subsidiary or a branch of a foreign company.

Tax

Value added tax (IVA) is collected in Colombia. The general rate of IVA is 16 per cent but certain products are subject to different rates.

The company tax rate for a Colombian resident company is currently 33 per cent of its taxable income.

Customs

Duties on imports to Colombia are generally no higher than 15 per cent, but there are exceptions.

Documentation

The general documentation requirements for importing and exporting to Colombia are:

  • customs import declaration
  • manifest
  • declaration of dutiable value
  • commercial invoice
  • pro forma invoice
  • packing list
  • Certificate of Origin
  • air/sea waybill
  • Bill of Lading
  • Single Tax Register (RUT) of importer

Some goods may be subject to additional requirements.