So you’ve done some shopping in Colombia from retailers like Dr Martens, Forever 21, Zara or brought some sparkling new jewellery? If you are a Foreign tourist who doesn’t reside in Colombia, then YOU have the right to claim 100% IVA tax back from your goods purchased in Colombia.
Currently, the IVA Tax is at 19% and Colombia is allowing tax refunds for foreigners as they want to boost tourism. I would say this is a great tactic to see an increase in travellers, holiday makers and help boost the economy. I just wished other countries in South America would do this!
It’s a great cost saving but there are some rules… I’ve quickly pointed out the below for you to be aware of:
- You need to have a full transaction receipt and ALL purchases must be done by a card with your name (as they will cross check this) and in person. You cannot claim for online or cash transactions.
- There is a minimum and maximum purchase amount that you can claim back. The UVT (Unidades de Valor Tributario) for 2019 is 34,270 COP x 10 (Colombia sets the rules) = 342,700 COP minimum amount including VAT that you can submit a claim for. The maximum is 100 times the 34,270 = 3,427,000 COP. You will not be able to claim any further than this.
- You can claim your VAT back at the airport – just look or ask for the ‘DIAN Tax Office’. You will need to fill out a form and they will ask to see the items you have purchased with tags (they are very particular and cross check most things). I would suggest you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to do this and use the time to repack your bags (if needed).
- The refund process time can take up to 3 months but as a precaution, make sure you take photos of all your receipts and your application form so if you need to contact them – you have the evidence.
The following goods are eligible for the IVA tax refund (this may be subject to change):
- Compact discs
- Linens and underwear
- Leather Products
- General jewellery (not including watches)
- Hardware items
You cannot get an IVA tax refund for many items including:
- Entertainment costs
- Food (restaurant or groceries)
- Medical services
- Technology items like laptops and phones
Currently, the Colombian IVA is set at 19% so if you can claim back – it’s a good cost saving that you’ll see again in the a few months and dosh for you to put towards your next trip!