All the taxes created or readjusted in the tax reform approved last year will come into force, progressively, from this year. The State aspires to collect 298.1 billion pesos, which means an increase of 30.4% compared to the collection of the previous year, as revealed in this report by the director of the Dian, Luis Carlos Reyes.

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The senior official, who has dedicated most of his professional life to economic research, also assured in his interview with this chronicler that he will have to «someday reach tax high pensions”. The dialogue begins with a kind of list of the new tax charges that arrive. Or, better said, that they arrived.

With this reform, how is taxation this year for companies or legal entities?

We committed ourselves to the country to carry out a tax reform for equality and social justice, and we are materializing that purpose. We’re going to get closer to a really progressive tax system. We won nothing by having high rates on paper, when in practice those who earned more paid less.

Does the income tax not increase for legal entities?

In terms of rates, legal persons will maintain the rate of 35% at which they had been paying taxes. Very few legal entities with rents high net income will pay additional points in the income tax. This is the case of entities in the financial sector, which will pay an additional 5 points. Last year there were 3. Also, the entities that generate energy through water resources, which will pay an additional 3 points. Entities that extract coal and oil will pay additional points if the prices of their products are high.

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All new taxes will be used for this year.

And what about companies that pay royalties?

In addition, companies that pay royalties can no longer deduct them from their income tax.

Will all the new taxes or new rates imposed by the reform be applied from this year?

Yes, they all begin to be applied in 2023. The last to do so will be the so-called healthy taxes, starting next November 1.

Regarding natural persons, who will have their taxes excluded this year and by how much?

There are individuals who will increase their tax burden, and others who will see it reduced. The increase or decrease of that tax burden performance of the particular conditions of people.

Give me an example, please, to understand your answer…

For example, the tax reform included the deduction of 1% of the purchases made by natural persons through the financial system requesting an electronic invoice, and perfecting up to 4 the number of dependents with which they can request the deductibility. Thus, people who have more than one dependent and request an electronic invoice will have their tax burden reduced. The limits for the benefits of exempt income for natural persons will also be reduced.

For example…

Let’s say, the limit of income exempt from work of 25% of the salary went from 122 to 33 million, approximately, by 2022. That means that a person who in 2022 has earned 11 million per month will not be affected by the decrease in the limit. A person who has earned more than 11 million a month will increase their tax burden.

On this issue, why was Fedesarrollo’s idea of ​​increasing the base of people who pay rent not accepted, which, according to that institution, is still very low?

The central purpose of the measures contained in the reform is to support the social expenses to promote equality and tax justice, as well as promote the realization of equity, progressivity and efficiency of the tax system. This is how the Constitution orders it.

Reyes talks about tax charges and their scope.


Cesar Melgarejo/CEET

But what does that have to do with the proposal?

Increasing the base of people who pay rent means increasing the tax burden of minors taxable capacity have. That would go against what we have set out to do. For this reason, the reform focused on ensuring that those with greater tax capacity pay more.

Taxes on ultra-processed food and beverages, to whom do they apply and how much are they equivalent to?

It is a public health issue. We want people to understand the effects that the consumption of these foods implies for their health. Promoting a healthy diet to prevent diseases is something that benefits all Colombians, and not just a segment.

Inflation in the year that has just ended was 13.12%. With such a rise in prices, is it a good idea to increase consumption taxes?

This reform did not introduce excise tax: taxes on the manufacture of products that have potentially harmful effects on health or the environment. Those responsible for taxes Healthy and environmental are the producers or importers, and not the consumers. These taxes are economically efficient and desirable to deal with environmental impacts and in the health system.

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In other words, it is a tax on producers, who, obviously, pass it on to consumers. How can we ensure that taxation in Colombia does not always fall on them?

The first step, if the wedge will allow me, is the implementation of reforms like the one that was produced and is coming into force. This is a reform in which progressivity is a fundamental axis to correct a good part of the regressivity of the Colombian tax system. increase the progressiveness of the tax system, which is a priority for the National Government, implies a greater effort from privileged sectors of the economy. An effort, which is important to reiterate, will not make those who have the most poor.

The Dian has just obtained from Congress, through the law, powers to make reforms. Specifically, what is going to be done?

With the faculties we look for the Dian to be efficient in collection and control at the tax, customs and exchange level, without neglecting the facilitation and closeness with our taxpayers. This strengthening process will also be essential to attack the evasion, circumvention and smuggling.

How did Colombia do in terms of tax collection last year?

As of December 31, we had a gross collection of 228.6 trillion pesos, that is, millions of millions of pesos. This means that there was an overachievement of the goal set by the Treasury, which was located at 105.9%. This figure represents a growth of 31.4% compared to 2021, represented by $54.7 billion pesos in addition to the $173.9 billion collected in 2021.

And what were the taxes that contributed the most to a similar figure in 2022?

The taxes that presented a better performance were those associated with foreign trade, with a growth of 43.8%; followed by income, with 42.2%, and VAT withholding, with 35.5%.

And, in terms of participation in the total collection, which was the largest?

The largest taxpayer is by withholding at the source for income, with 34.6%; foreign trade taxes, with 21.3%; VAT, with 19.8%, and rent, with 10.8%. These taxes represent 86.5% of the total collection.

The goal and objective from a public policy point of view is to have effective progressive taxation and I think we are moving in that direction.

What is the collection projection for this year?

The gross collection goal was increased by 30.4% compared to the expected end of 2021, which means that we will be focused on collecting 298.1 billion pesos. This value includes the collection expected by the tax reform for equality and social justice, which amounts to 20.3 trillion pesos.

But since this will be a year of economic slowdown, will tax collections not fall?

ocampo minister has mentioned it. Despite the economic situation that Colombia could face during 2023, the truth is that the country will keep its income afloat and its fiscal sustainability will not be affected.

Taxes on soft drinks and ultra-processed drinks, how much can they affect household consumption?

The effect arose from the price elasticity of supply and demand for each product. There will be consumers who are more sensitive to eventual price changes, and there will also be producers who are more sensitive to regulation. There will be others who don’t. In addition, the change will be gradual: the rates will increase year by year progressively, and this year, as I told you, they will only be used from November.

On this same topic, don’t you think a reduction in corporate income tax is necessary or convenient?

One of the achievements of the tax reform was to introduce the discussion of real taxation in the country. There is nothing to be gained by having high rates on paper if they are not being paid in practice. The goal and objective from a public policy point of view is to have effective progressive taxation and I think we are moving in that direction.

How is the electronic invoice and the simple regime for formalization going?

We are very satisfied with the widespread use of electronic invoicing. We closed 2022 with 920,718 enabled. Of these, 198,799 are new electronic billers.

Do you know that electronic invoices were issued?

Those responsible for invoicing issued more than 1,747 million of these documents and they were finalized with 315,000 subjects who revealed electronic payroll. As of February 1 of this year, from 5 UVT (Tax Value Unit), that is, 212,600 pesos, an electronic invoice must be issued in all cases. According to our projections, we are going to have daily validations of about 11 million transactions. This will allow us to strengthen the control processes that advance the dian.

What about the simple tax regime?

Progress has been positive. We are about to reach 75,500 historically registered, of which 55.2% are legal persons and 44.8% are natural persons. This has allowed us to take important steps towards formalization, since 54% of those registered do not have a RUT. This indicates that new companies have been created or activities started, and that there is more and more formalization of the economic activities that are being developed. Currently, the simple remains a voluntary mechanism that facilitates compliance with tax obligations for taxpayers, in which you do not pay on profit, but very low rates on gross income.

Is it good to tax high pensions in the future?

We will have to get there one day. There are very few high pensions on which the principle of progressivity should also be applied.

How much did the plan to fight tax evasion recover at the end of 2022?

This is an ambitious plan with real teeth to combat the evasion, circumvention and smuggling. During 2022, the plan to fight tax evasion allowed us to raise approximately 31.6 trillion pesos. Of that money, $25.3 billion correspond to cash collection, that is, money that has already entered the state coffers. The remaining $6.3 billion correspond to inspection actions; is money that will enter the pocket of the Nation in the next fiscal periods.

One of the priorities of this plan to fight tax evasion was to give taxpayers real options to regularize their situation with the Diana. If they’ve done badly for the IRS in the past, we’ve given them a chance to catch up. Thus, last year close to 1,600 payment facilities were granted. Here we go: working for equality and social justice.

Special for EL TIEMPO