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May 31, 2024

Colombia | Government Decree updates customs regulations

The Ministry of Finance and Public Credit issued Decree 659 of 2024 on 22 May, partially amending Decree 1165 of 2019 (Customs Code) to update customs regulations to reflect current operational realities and improve the country's logistical performance.

The Decree introduces significant changes to various aspects of the customs regime, including Customs Brokers, Primary Customs Zones, Import Regime, Customs Classification, Free Trade Zones, and provisions on seized, confiscated and abandoned goods.

One notable change is the requirement to submit an Advance Declaration for all import operations. This declaration must be made at least 48 hours before the goods arrive in the national customs territory and updated after submitting the discharge report of inconsistencies and before requesting authorization for payment, entry, release or inspection. This requirement applies even to Authorized Economic Operators (AEOs), except in the following cases:

  • Imports from Free Trade Zones
  • Corrections, amendments and legalization declarations
  • Importation of electrical energy
  • Importation of oil and liquid fuels derived from petroleum
  • Initial declaration of an urgent delivery
  • Postal traffic and urgent shipments

Failure to submit the Declaration will result in a fine of 1% of the free-on-board (FOB) value, not exceeding 300 TVU1 per transport document, and the seizure of the goods. Late submission of the Declaration will incur the same penalty, reduced to 80% of the value, provided the Declaration is submitted with the fine paid to obtain legal validity. Otherwise, the Declaration will not take effect, meaning that although it has been submitted and filed it does not have legal validity, and the goods will be subject to seizure and confiscation, or alternatively, a fine of 200% of the value of the unseized goods will be imposed.

It is worth noting that Entry Declaration will also apply for the entry of goods into Free Trade Zones and transfers to International Logistics Distribution Centers, Authorized Deposits and other Free Trade Zones. Noncompliance with this obligation will result in either a fine of 400 TVU or even seizure of goods.

Additionally, compliance with the submission and processing of the shipment authorization request will be required for operations originating in Free Trade Zones destined for the rest of the world. This obligation will serve as proof of compliance with the internationalization plan commitments applicable to Free Trade Zone users qualified from 13 December 2022.

Finally, the Decree includes new procedures, forms and definitions for certain terms or concepts. For instance, a new term included is "Expected Behavior," which refers to the way the customs administration expects its users to act. Regarding procedures, it is now possible to perform adjustments to the consolidated payment provisions of customs duties for Authorized Economic Operators, Simplified Procedure Users, and Special Import Declarations from Free Trade Zones. Further, the Decree categorizes certain obligations introduced by Decree 920 of 2023 (Customs Sanctioning Regime). These obligations, such as the submission of an advance declaration, when categorized, have a direct correspondence with the sanctions for this type of obligation (category 3), which include severe penalties.

Decree 659 of 2024 will partially come into effect on 7 June 2024, implying that customs-obligated parties must promptly adjust to the new provisions. Then entry into force of Advance Declarations and Entry Declarations will depend on the update of Customs Electronic Information System, which has not yet occurred.

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1 TVU: Tax Value Unit: For 2024 is COP47.065 Approx. USD11.80

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Contact Information

For additional information concerning this Alert, please contact:

Ernst & Young S.A.S. Bogota, Indirect Taxes, Customs and International Trade

Published by NTD’s Tax Technical Knowledge Services group; Carolyn Wright, legal editor