Dear clients and friends,

Through this bulletin, we share with you the main regulations and authority rulings and opinions that were recently issued in relation to customs law, foreign exchange law, and foreign trade law matters. We trust this is of your interest.

− Through Bulleting 8 dated February 10, 2016, the Colombian Central Bank modified External Regulatory Circular Letter DCIN 83. The main modifications made are the following:

  • A procedure was included to "nullify" foreign exchange declarations filed through a foreign-exchange market intermediary ("IMC" for the Spanish initials). The purpose of this procedure is to pool this type of transactions [declarations] with amended declarations that are filed as "modification and corrections for "typing errors" that existed previously. In case it is admissible, the effect of the nullification would be that the information contained in the foreign exchange statistical system (SEC for the Spanish initials) will be eliminated.
  • A procedure was included to "nullify" foreign exchange Forms 6 ("Report of foreign indebtedness granted to Colombian residents") and 7 ("Report on foreign indebtedness granted to foreign residents"). The nullification will be acceptable provided that the underlying loan or credit has not been disbursed; and it must be processed only before the IMC that processed the recorded transaction that is to be nullified.

Likewise, Form 3A ("Report on disbursements and payments under foreign loans/credits") may also be nullified through the IMC to whom the report that is to be nullified was submitted. In case this paperwork was done through SEC, the interested party must send an email to the following email address:

  • Registering a free market bank account in the mode of a "compensation account" is admissible not only to carry out transactions that must be channeled through the regulated foreign-exchange market but also to comply with obligations that derive from domestic transactions denominated in foreign currency. In this case, the registration date will be the date on which said transaction is carried out.
  • The criterion of "exclusivity" no longer applies for the channeling of transactions carried out by a trust Company under commercial trust agreements the purpose of which is to operate as a guarantee or a continuing source of payments for obligations acquired by the trust grantors or by the related trust assets (the "autonomous patrimonies" established by the trust grantors). This is an exception to the prohibition of channeling any transactions other than those that belong to the compensation account holder.

- Through Ruling 36948 dated December 30, 2015, DIAN expanded on its prior position which it had adopted through Official Letter 16201 of 2008. This relates to the base upon which import duties must be computed at the time a long-term temporary import is switched to regular import status.

The tax administration took its interpretation further by establishing that the customs value of the goods at the time the importation changes status to "regular" is the value of the property minus appropriate impairments or reductions according to obsolescence, breakdown, damage, deterioration or [normal wear and tear]. This is the manner of the modification of temporary imports which were originally customs-duties and VAT exempt. The importance of this new Ruling is great, given that, up to this day, DIAN had established that the importer of record had to pay the relevant import duties on the value of the property as reported in the initial declaration without any reduction whatever.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.