Colombia Expat Feed
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reggio987 posted Medellin Apartment Tax Issue on the Colombia forum on August 29, 2015:
Hello, My wife and are Americans (we are not residents of Colombia, but have a TP7 visa) buying an apartment in Medellin and are looking for a reliable company to help us with our tax issues in Colombia. We paid 345 million COP for this apartment. Our lawyer informed us that this must also be the registered "official" cadestral value that our potential presumptive taxes will be based off of. As we understand it, usually this "official" value and the market value paid is different, but she explained that these values have to match on all of the forms for bringing money into Colombia, etc. Anyways, our question regards the presumptive income tax on this property. Our ownership of the apartment is split 70% for me (242 million COP) and 30% (103 million COP) for my wife. As we understand it, that would make me (but not her) liable to pay the presumptive income tax because I have ownership of assets greater than the threshold (123 million COP). My questions are... 1. Is the presumptive income tax levied only in periods in which we rent the apartment out and it is producing income? What about if we live there for 6 months of the year and it is producing no income? 2. Is the amount levied for the presumptive income tax my entire 242 million COP ownership percentage, or just the amount that is above the threshold of 123 million COP (242 - 123 = 119 million COP of taxable base)? 3. Do I understand the situation correctly? Is there a way for us to more efficiently structure our affairs? Thank you and kind regards, Reggie
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soystar1 replied to the thread Anyone have experience getting a mortgage here in Colombia? on the Colombia forum:
juanm123 initially posted:
Hi everyone. We are thinking of taking advantage of the high USD to finally buy a house (in Bogota). I´ve been looking for a good mortgage calculator here to better understand how they mortgages are calculated here in Colombia but haven´t found one yet. Given that mortgage rates are around 10% I´m wondering if they are calculated the same as in the US? Maybe I´m being overly optimistic, but I have a hard time seeing how people could pay the monthly payment if done the same way. I had a mortgage in the US for $350k and that was around $2k/month (at 4.7% for a 30 year). So would that imply the same amount here but most likely on a 15 year mortgage as that is more the norm here would be roughly $5k/month? If so, who can afford that? If that is the case, who Anyhow, if anyone has experience with this please do reply. Thanks, John
soystar1 replied on August 28, 2015 with:
Since we now know that mortgages are a mythical fart. We should for all intended purposes focus on how to establish capital to acquire real estate. I think one of the methods as proposed by another writer was to use some type of equity aka using opm (other people's money) to buy real estate. As you probably can start to see by the writing on the arepa that creative financing should have been in place long before you try your hand at Colombian real estate investing. But you know this already. We are blessed with a strong dollar and with rumors stating that October might be our zenith. One can only smile as the greenback pushes past the 3000 cop level and beyond.
thelocogringo replied on August 28, 2015 with:
Rafa, Jim Main from Cartagena First American Realty has two small locals avialable that have a nice ROI. His phone is 313 532-5731
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A New Life in Colombia? by Dean LaCoursiere
Expat ArticlesArticle Summary: Expat Dean LaCoursiere gives an overview of several pueblos (communities) in or near the coffee country that are little known outside of Colombia and are even off the radar of most expat magazines. (Continue)
A reader replied on August 27, 2015 14:08 with:
Thank you so much, the article is very informative and the videos are very nice. We are looking for a very nice town to retire in Colombia and one of these towns could be. Thanks again.
Sonofpatter replied on November 10, 2014 15:11 with:
Great article. I visited a friend in Cartagena a couple of years back and really enjoyed it. But your comment about the heat there makes sense.
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JohnnyD replied to the thread "yes, or No", need to make Colombian tax declarations? on the Colombia forum:
fecherklyn initially posted:
I am frequently amazed at the number of persons who do NOT make tax declarations in Colombia when they SHOULD DO SO. On discussion, most of them state they were unaware of these obligations. An article in today’s El Colombiano sets out the tax rules in this respect. Anyone falling into ANY of the following categories is obliged to make a tax declaration in Colombia under sufferance of financial penalties if they do not do so: - “Ingresos brutos” (Gross incomes) within Colombia greater than COP 38.48 millions in 2014. - “Patrimonio bruto” (Gross assets) within Colombia greater than COP 123.68 millions at 31/12/2014. - “Compras y/o consumos” (Consumer spending) within Colombia greater than COP 76.96 millions during 2014, no matter what means of payment is used. - “Depósitos o inversions financieras” (Financial investments) within Colombia greater than COP 123.68 millions at 31/12/2014. The above conditions apply to the following categories of individuals: - Any person (Foreign or local) who spends 183 (or more) consecutive days resident in Colombia. - Any Colombian national residing outside Colombia who derives more than half of his global incomes from activities realized within Colombia. I do hope this clarifies a subject on which, not only expats, but also locals are very ignorant. I am not an expert on Colombian taxes; this is just what I read in the newspaper.
JohnnyD replied on August 28, 2015 with:
FYI . . . . The US has no tax treaties with any country in Central or South America. I cannot speak for any other countries in the world. The best any American can do is to offset US tax with a credit based on foreign earned income. Pensions, like dividend, interest, or capital gains, are not earned income.
bigjailerman replied on August 27, 2015 with:
I do not know if others are aware of this but I had no idea. There are more things in place that I knew about United States and Colombia Sign FATCA Intergovernmental Agreement and this as well Colombia court approves tax agreement with United States
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wittea posted Student v. Tourist Visa options on the Colombia forum on August 27, 2015:
Hello all- hoping to gain some insight on what might be the *best* option for me given my plan for being in Colombia for up to about a year as a US citizen. I'll be arriving in Medellin in mid-October and I want to take Spanish classes part-time (at least 10 hours per week, less than 15 per week). EAFIT has classes beginning Nov. So the question is, is it better for me to come in on a tourist visa for 90 days, and then extend for another 90 days, then apply for a student visa for the remaining 6 mo (or so)? Or is it better for me to start on a student visa, say for 6 mo, and then either extend the student visa for up to another 6 mo, or transfer to a tourist visa at that point)? I'm not sure how easy it is to transfer/extend the 2 types of visas, or if it's even possible to go from a student to tourist. My considerations are 1) ability to do either option 2) hassle involved i.e. having to leave country to get different visa 3) costs - ex. I know that I need to have paid for at least 50% of classes I intend to take for student visa upfront, ex. I think it's $50 to apply for different visa 4) other - ex. if I apply & pay for a 6 mo. student visa beginning mid-Oct, but the school doesn't hold classes in Dec., does that impact my visa at all? Apologies for the long 'question', haven't been able to find the info anywhere and hoping someone can provide sound advice! Thanks for the help.
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Migelita posted My Blog as an Expat in Colombia on the Colombia forum on August 27, 2015:
If you haven't seen my blog you should sign up by email. I write about my life and adventures here in Colombia. I also have a popular FB page for those who enjoy nature and my posts about living in Colombia. My blog is I am always available for questions. I am getting my last Visa next month and then will be able to apply for residency. Michele
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rafapark replied to the thread Living as a retiree in Colombia on the Colombia forum on August 27, 2015:
pbcoastal initially posted:
In about a year I might be living in the north Bogota area several months out of the year. I need flexibility to enter and leave Colombia. I will continue to own property in the USA and need to return to check it out, see doctors, and attend to other details. My wife (a native of Bogota) and daughter will live in Bogota so my daughter can attend a bilingual school and my wife will teach at the school. I am confused as to the best option for a visa that allows easy entry and exit (perhaps more than allowed on a 3 month tourist visa). Since my wife is a Colombian citizen (also USA citizen), a friend suggested I obtain a Colombia passport, but I don't prefer that option. Also, I have questions about the best options for health insurance. I will keep Medicare Parts A & B, but I'm concerned what would happen if I ever need to be hospitalized in Bogota and cannot return to the US. My wife will have access to Colombian health insurance (prepagada?), but the costs to include me are very high. I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks
rafapark replied on August 27, 2015 with:
Look at the other post regarding taxes. That is a key thing to consider. Get a good accountant to review your personal situation.
Patricio replied on August 22, 2015 with:
I have a "preexisting" condition, and my insurance is around $16/month. To me that is dirt cheap, and I am well over 60. You need to shop around or get on your wife's policy. And I am gringo with no Colombian wife to fall back on. Good luck.
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LaPiranha replied to the thread Just FYI US EMBASSY Counsel General on the Colombia forum on August 26, 2015:
bigjailerman initially posted:
U.S. Embassy Bogota Town Hall in Cali with U.S. Citizens All U.S. citizens are invited to Town Hall Meeting with Consul General Julie Ruterbories Friday, August 28, 2015 Time: 1:45pm -2:45pm at the Colombo Americano Center in Cali (Auditorium) Calle 13N #8N-45 Barrio Granada Please bring a valid government – issued ID for admittance. La Embajada de los Estados Unidos Asamblea Informativa en Cali con Ciudadanos Los ciudadanos estadounidenses están invitados a una Asamblea Informativa con la Cónsul General Julie Ruterbories Viernes, Agosto 28, 2015 Hora: 1:45pm -2:45pm Lugar: CentroColombo Americano de Cali (Auditorio) Calle 13N #8N-45 Barrio Granada Por favor, lleve con usted un documento de identificación expedido por el gobierno, este le será solicitado en el ingreso.
LaPiranha replied on August 26, 2015 with:
Would be a great opportunity to raise the subject of ex-pats being treated unfavorably compared with Colombians, regarding their pensions being taxed. Its a complete disincentive to relocate here, with all the benefits they bring to the local economy. It may turn out that Colombia loses quite a few now. Maybe they can bring some pressure to bear on the Govt. Anyone in Cali that plans going?
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perdidogringo replied to the thread Colombia labor laws - cleaning lady replacement on the Colombia forum:
bmcb initially posted:
So can anyone help me clear up a dispute? Our cleaning lady stopped showing up, she cancelled and rescheduled, then didn't show up to the reschedule and didn't contact us in advance. Then she couldn't do the next week's cleaning either or walk dog. So we found a new cleaning lady. Now the old cleaning lady is saying we fired her and owe her severance. There was only verbal agreements or texts, no contract, and she only cleaned once a week. I'm here on a 3 month tourist visa. The cleaning lady continues terrorizing my girlfriend that she owes her every thing she's been paid as severance. Now my gf believes this because the porter said it's true and a guy at her office. I think it's bs and she should block the old cleaning lady's number. Is there anyone who can answer this? Thanks
perdidogringo replied on August 25, 2015 with:
For those interested, here is an maid agency in Bogota: The owner, Matteo, speaks English for you non-Spanish speakers and last I heard they charge 60,000 COP for full day and 46,000 COP for 1/2 days. You can even pay on your credit card, which is convenient. These prices include everything (all social security for the worker, uniform, gloves, shoes, etc.).
bmcb replied on August 22, 2015 with:
skip the headache and go for the agency
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sammiimarie posted Renting Apartment in Medellin on the Colombia forum on August 23, 2015:
Hey guys, I am planning my move to Medellin June 1st, 2016. The more research I do, the more difficult it seems for foreigners to rent apartments without a fiador. I have read that some places will accept 6month-1year of rent in advance to replace a fiador, which i would be willing to do. Does anyone have any advice on this? To make my situation a little bit more complicated, I will be moving to Colombia with my two cats. (I have already looked into immigration) Does anyone have experience looking for an apartment that allows pets? Ideally, I would like to find a studio, 1 or 2 bedroom apartment for myself, preferably furnished. Thank you for any help! Samantha
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