This report contains the 2014 “Phase 2: Implementation of the Standards in Practice” Global Forum review of Colombia.
The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes is the multilateral framework within which work in the area of tax transparency and exchange of information is carried out by over 120 jurisdictions which participate in the work of the Global Forum on an equal footing.
The Global Forum is charged with in-depth monitoring and peer review of the implementation of the standards of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes. These standards are primarily reflected in the 2002 OECD Model Agreement on Exchange of Information on Tax Matters and its commentary, and in Article 26 of the OECD Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital and its commentary as updated in 2004, which has been incorporated in the UN Model Tax Convention.
The standards provide for international exchange on request of foreseeably relevant information for the administration or enforcement of the domestic tax laws of a requesting party. “Fishing expeditions” are not authorised, but all foreseeably relevant information must be provided, including bank information and information held by fiduciaries, regardless of the existence of a domestic tax interest or the application of a dual criminality standard.
All members of the Global Forum, as well as jurisdictions identified by the Global Forum as relevant to its work, are being reviewed. This process is undertaken in two phases. Phase 1 reviews assess the quality of a jurisdiction’s legal and regulatory framework for the exchange of information, while Phase 2 reviews look at the practical implementation of that framework. Some Global Forum members are undergoing combined – Phase 1 plus Phase 2 – reviews. The ultimate goal is to help jurisdictions to effectively implement the international standards of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.
Colombia needs a comprehensive tax reform that boosts revenues and shifts the tax burden to support more inclusive and green growth. Tax loopholes and exemptions that reduce the tax base and favour mainly the rich should be reduced significantly.
Colombia has engaged in a sustained process of fiscal decentralisation over the past decades. Evidence is presented that the current framework is conducive to fiscal sustainability, especially after the reforms in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The Colombian corporate tax system is highly complex and distortive. The effective tax burden on businesses is very high due to the combined effect of the corporate income tax, the corporate surtax introduced in 2012 (CREE), the net wealth tax on business assets and the value added tax (VAT) on fixed assets.
Despite progress in the past decade, financial markets in Colombia remain relatively small and shallow. In particular the banking system suffers high intermediation costs, which limit constrains access to finance by households and firms.
The Colombian economy has done remarkably well over the last decade, consistently ranking among the fastest-growing countries in Latin America, but a comprehensive tax reform that promotes investment and diversifies the economy is now needed to put the country on a path toward stronger, sustainable and inclusive growth, according to the latest OECD Economic Survey of Colombia.
The international community continues making progress toward greater cooperation to ensure effective information exchange in tax matters. The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes issued today 12 new reports that highlight action being taken by jurisdictions to implement the international standard for exchange of information on request.
Tax revenues in Latin American countries continue to rise but are lower as a proportion of their national incomes than in most OECD countries. Revenue Statistics in Latin America 2012 shows that Argentina and Brazil have the highest tax revenue to GDP ratio, while Guatemala and Dominican Republic stand at the lower end.
Tax revenues in Latin American countries are lower as a proportion of their national incomes than in most OECD countries, but are rising slowly. Revenue Statistics in Latin America shows that the average tax revenue to GDP ratio in the 15 Latin American countries covered by the report increased from 19% in 2009 to 19.4% in 2010, after falling from a high point of 19.7% in 2008.
Country Notes from the publication 'Revenue Statistics in Latin America 1990 - 2010'.