Posted on: August 26, 2022, 09:30h. 

Last updated on: August 26, 2022, 11:15h.

Gustavo Petro Urrego, the new president of Colombia, announced sweeping changes to financial policies for the country soon after taking office. In response to that, the Directorate of National Taxes and Customs (DIAN) is going to become more involved in oversight of the gaming industry.

Colombia's DIAN
The offices of Colombia’s tax authority, DIAN, in Bogatá. The agency is going to crack down on bad tax debt in the gambling industry. (Image: Colombia Legal Corp)

Petro was concerned about tax fraud and capital flight before he took office, and made those concerns part of his platform ahead of the elections.

A former economist, Petro believes tens of millions of tax dollars are slipping through the country’s grip because of lax controls and outdated policies.

To correct the situation, he and the incoming Minister of Finance, José Antonio Ocampo, worked out a new framework. It will implement new taxes on certain people and sectors, but also give some gamblers a break. DIAN is going to help enforce those policies.

New Eyes on Gaming

DIAN announced this week that it will carry out control and oversight of entities and persons responsible for the development of gaming and betting activities. This will be a coordinated effort among different units within the organization, and will also include oversight of casinos.

The new initiatives respond to the financial reforms Petro is implementing, but also to DIAN’s own research. The directorate determined there are a number of taxpaying entities in violation of their tax obligations. The list is apparently extensive, encompassing land-based and online operations.

As a result, DIAN’s units are going to visit each city and pour over the books of the operators in each one. This will include the verification of compliance, billing information, tax declarations, payment transactions, and more.

DIAN also emphasized the importance of compliance at all levels. Therefore, it is also going to contact taxpayers who are behind in their obligations. The goal is not to punish them, but to help them work out a solution on a case-by-case basis to resolve their outstanding debt.

However, taxpayers don’t have to wait for the visit. DIAN explained that if taxpayers want to get a jump on resolving their issues, they can schedule an appointment with the agency to work on a solution.

DIAN’s Efforts Pay Off

In the proactive fight against capital flight and tax evasion, DIAN’s strategies and actions are paying off. It reported that it collected COP18.6 billion (US$4.26 billion) as of July 31.

Of this, COP14.7 billion (US$3.36 million) is income. Another COP3.9 billion (US$893,100) is the result of collecting payments in arrears. This is an improvement of 38.3% over the same period last year.

All of the efforts – those of Petro, DIAN, and others – are aimed at achieving more financial control. The gaming sector isn’t alone, though, as DIAN is increasing its scrutiny of all industries. From just another two, agriculture and livestock, it expects to recover COP369 million (US$84.46 million) in outstanding tax debt.