In the midst of a re-stratification process in Bogota, some have proposed that the creation of a higher class is necessary. Some members of the district’s planning committee think it is time to create a socio-economic Class 7 so that people who own expensive property pay the proper taxes.
In Colombia social and economic status are divided into six classes, with Classes 5 and 6 representing the upper class. These classes determine the amount Colombians pay for property taxes, utilities, and other public services.
According to Bogota’s City Councillor Carlos Guevara, many well-off families in Bogota aren’t paying enough for public services and property taxes. “Evidently these are people who are able to pay more and contribute more than the poorer people of the city.” Guevara went on to say that there are families that should be in higher classes living in houses worth COP2 billion, and in some parts of the city there are plans to build houses worth US$1 million.
However, creating a higher class would not be easy. The initiative would have to be discussed in Congress and taken into account by the National Planning Committee.
The district’s Treasury Secretary Juan Ricardo Ortega notes that there are homes in Bogota that are worth much more than the class in which they are categorized. He proposes that property taxes should be calculated based on the individual house or property, not by the class, as is done in many other countries.
The problem of how to classify socio-economic differences in Bogota opens up the debate about the way property taxes are collected.