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Colombia - 19% VAT for tourists ?

Colombia - 19% VAT for tourists ?

Old Nov 29, 17, 10:59 am
  #1  
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Question Colombia - 19% VAT for tourists ?

I am trying to book a hotel in CTG for FEB. 2018.
I have been searching on :TRIVAGO , KALIGO , BOOKING.COM , and LMT CLUB.All show total prices including 19% VAT.
On ORBITZ it is stated that the VAT applies only to 1) Colombian guests and 2) Tourists who stay for over 60 days.
Is ORBITZ correct ? and as I assume they are , how do I go about booking on one of the above websites without having to commit to the total price(including VAT)
that they show ?
Thanks for any advise.
Michael Thaler
Montreal
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Old Nov 30, 17, 3:45 am
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You can get a refund of the IVA for hotel services, but you have to pay it first at the hotel and then apply for the refund at the first airport on your trip leaving Colombia. For example, if you are flying MDE-BOG-home you should apply at MDE and not wait until you get to BOG.

Search Colombia VAT IVA hotel refund on the web and you will see plenty of articles about it. A lot of the articles don't mention that you can be refunded for hotels. That was a new law in 2016 and a lot of writers seem to have missed it. Here is one article that discusses it:

https://thecitypaperbogota.com/busin...e-tricky/12703

Here are a couple of good articles on the refund process, though the one from Medellin Guru uses the old list of refundable items that is still on the Colombian Tax Department's website:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopi...epartment.html

https://medellinguru.com/iva-tax/
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Old Nov 30, 17, 12:19 pm
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VAT 19%

Originally Posted by coolcoil View Post
You can get a refund of the IVA for hotel services, but you have to pay it first at the hotel and then apply for the refund at the first airport on your trip leaving Colombia. For example, if you are flying MDE-BOG-home you should apply at MDE and not wait until you get to BOG.

Search Colombia VAT IVA hotel refund on the web and you will see plenty of articles about it. A lot of the articles don't mention that you can be refunded for hotels. That was a new law in 2016 and a lot of writers seem to have missed it. Here is one article that discusses it:

https://thecitypaperbogota.com/busin...e-tricky/12703

Here are a couple of good articles on the refund process, though the one from Medellin Guru uses the old list of refundable items that is still on the Colombian Tax Department's website:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopi...epartment.html

https://medellinguru.com/iva-tax/
Thank you very much for your informed reply.
I'll probably not bother with the VAT-refund process.
In BOG , I'm staying 4 nights with SPG points so no tax. In CTG , out of 6 nights , 3 will be with IHG points and only 3 are on paid stay ,so the VAT will not become a
big deal.
Now , on another matter.
I have read the above link (thecitypaperbogota),about Colombia wanting to encourage tourism.Well, in my opinion , the major thing they should do is to eliminate the
Reciprocity fee.Do they think that CANADA cares whether I travel to Colombia or not .
I was surprised by the fee 2 years ago and had to pay $140 for me and my wife.( it is my fault that I didn't know about the fee ). Anyway , now I will travel to COLOMBIA
with a foreign Passport ,not a Canadian , and will need to pay the fee only for my wife.
This certainly doesn't encourage tourism as it only punishes Canadian citizens and not the Canadian government.( the same applies to Argentina and Chile )
O.K. , enough with my rants.
Thanks again for the info.
Michael
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Old Jun 23, 18, 1:40 pm
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The problem coolcoil is the OP said he is booking on Orbit, etc. Many of these require prepayment and they charge the tax. How do we get that refunded? You stated, you first need to pay at the hotel. What if you prepaid through a travel site? How would we get that refunded?
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Old Jun 23, 18, 3:47 pm
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Originally Posted by yulmichael View Post
Thank you very much for your informed reply.
I'll probably not bother with the VAT-refund process.
In BOG , I'm staying 4 nights with SPG points so no tax. In CTG , out of 6 nights , 3 will be with IHG points and only 3 are on paid stay ,so the VAT will not become a
big deal.
Now , on another matter.
I have read the above link (thecitypaperbogota),about Colombia wanting to encourage tourism.Well, in my opinion , the major thing they should do is to eliminate the
Reciprocity fee.Do they think that CANADA cares whether I travel to Colombia or not .

I was surprised by the fee 2 years ago and had to pay $140 for me and my wife.( it is my fault that I didn't know about the fee ). Anyway , now I will travel to COLOMBIA
with a foreign Passport ,not a Canadian , and will need to pay the fee only for my wife.
This certainly doesn't encourage tourism as it only punishes Canadian citizens and not the Canadian government.( the same applies to Argentina and Chile )
O.K. , enough with my rants.
Thanks again for the info.
Michael
Well..it IS a "Reciprocity" fee..... imposed presumably because Canada charges Colombians to enter Canada. Presumably if enough CANADIANS wanted to do something about it they could lobby their own representatives to remove the fee charged to Colombians. Seems an appropriate way to apply pressure to me!
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Old Jun 27, 18, 8:21 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingBoat View Post
The problem coolcoil is the OP said he is booking on Orbit, etc. Many of these require prepayment and they charge the tax. How do we get that refunded? You stated, you first need to pay at the hotel. What if you prepaid through a travel site? How would we get that refunded?
I just did a quick search for Bogotá on Trivago. The first hotel that came up was NH Royal La Boheme

Booking on the NH website. The reservation is guaranteed by credit card but not paid. So you simply tell them you are not liable for VAT when you check in
Booking on hotels.com. I did not check if the reservation is prepaid or not but it stipulates that the VAT is paid locally in the hotel if applicable
Booking on booking.com. Reservation guaranteed with a card but paid locally
Booking on agoda.com. Agoda charges clients and the VAT is included in the total price but the rate is wrong.

So simply do not prepay through a travel site that charges you the VAT upfront. Paying at the hotel and then reclaiming it at the airport when you leave is not optimal advice. The tax-refund process is really for tax-free shopping and not for reclaiming taxes that you are not liable to pay in the first instance.
Michael likes this.
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Old Jun 27, 18, 8:37 am
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Originally Posted by trooper View Post
Well..it IS a "Reciprocity" fee..... imposed presumably because Canada charges Colombians to enter Canada. Presumably if enough CANADIANS wanted to do something about it they could lobby their own representatives to remove the fee charged to Colombians. Seems an appropriate way to apply pressure to me!
It's really not a reciprocity fee. If it were then people from the USA, UK, Australia etc. would have to pay too.

It's a curious one. It is borne out of Canada changing their requirements for visas. All visas now require biometric details and biometric info can only be gathered in Bogotá. The argument made by the Colombians is that this means that people that do not live in Bogotá now have to pay more to get a visa because they have to travel to Bogotá rather than going to their local consulate. This in and of itself is a stupid argument because Canada only has one consulate outside of Bogotá and that is in Cartagena. So sure someone from Barranquilla cannot get the bus to Cartagena to get their visa. But what of people from Medellín, Bucaramanga, Cali etc? They would have had to go to Bogotá anyway

Other countries such as Chile, Argentina and Brazil yes, apply a reciprocal fee. That seems fair. The Colombian fee which only applies to Canadians seems more to be a case of some or other Colombian official got his panties all bunched up. Threatened Canada with a fee if they didn't remove the biometric requirement from visas. The corresponding Canadian official told him to shuttup and voila! Canada got a fee.

Yes it is stupid. Canada has every right to decide who can enter and what information they need to provide. That is a meaningful choice that they are entitled to make. The Colombian response is just childish. And yes, as someone that works in tourism, I can say that it has indeed reduced the number of Canadians visiting Colombia. It's not even well organised. It is priced in USD but do they even accept that in the airport? Do you have to bring pesos? They should at least have a website with an e-visa application if they want to be petty.
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