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Colombian gov’t aims to jump-start economy by suspending VAT for three days



National Tax and Customs Bureau

Colombia’s government said Tuesday that it plans to jump-start the economy after weeks of stalled productive and commercial activity by temporarily scrapping the value-added tax (VAT) on goods.

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Colombia’s steep 19-percent VAT will be suspended for three days, the head of the National Tax and Customs Bureau, Jose Andres Romero, told reporters.

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Restaurants are also to receive tax breaks to help them recoup some of the losses suffered during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and lockdown, said Romero.

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“In this situation of lockdown and economic freeze, consumption is low, and through this measure we hope to raise it to a normal level,” Romero said, adding eliminating the VAT is expected to save consumers “close to 500 billion pesos” (about 130 million U.S. dollars).

Consumers will be exempt from paying the VAT on June 19, July 3 and July 19, but only if they are paying with a credit or debit card, not cash, and purchases can be made online.

As part of the economic stimulus package, restaurants, cafes, bakeries and bars will be exempt from paying an 8-percent tax through December.

Colombia’s nationwide lockdown is in place until May 25, though the government has said it might extend the deadline to the end of June in areas where the virus is still raging.


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