If you've been in Colombia for even a short period of time, you've probably heard fellow ex-pats mention DIAN.
What is DIAN?
DIAN stands for Dirección de Impuestos y Aduanas Nacionales (Colombian Tax and Customs Organization). In the United States, a similar organization would be the IRS.
What Does DIAN Do?
The DIAN deals with the national taxes, like the IVA you see on your restaurant bills and the tax on financial transactions, including wire transfers, overdrafts, currency exchange, and ATM withdrawals.
They also handle corporate and individual income taxes. If you start a business in Colombia, you will be visiting the DIAN offices to get a temporary RUT (tax identification number) and, after you set up your corporate bank account, a permanent RUT. You will want to have a lawyer and an accountant for your business to keep track of any monthly, quarterly, and annual taxes your company owes.
Individual Taxes in Colombia
Individuals also need to pay income taxes--and that includes you if you reside in Colombia for more than 183 days each year. You must file based on your worldwide income, though there are deductions for taxes paid to other countries. Your tax planning becomes incredibly important if you have a responsibility to two countries, so it's best to get an accountant who understands your unique situation.
Visiting DIAN Offices
There are three DIAN locations in Medellín, with the main office at Cra. 52 No. 42 - 43. It's a large, bustling building, so you need to have your papers in order before you arrive, and know exactly what it is you're there for.
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