Congress meets to avoid possible fiscal disaster over tax repayment

Colombia's Congress (Photo: Wesley Tomaselli)

The Colombian Congress is discussing how to legally reverse orders by the State Council to return nearly $800,000 in customs taxes to the multinational company Goodyear before a precedent for similar cases is set, reported national media on Wednesday.

Director of the Agency of Judicial Defense of the Nation, Adriana Guillen, argued that the State Council’s ruling to return the taxes previously paid by the company was based on a “narrow and isolated interpretation of the law,” and that congress should not have to return the payment, reported Vanguardia.

The ruling refers to a special customs tax established in 2000, which was later found unconstitutional in 2001.

Between the time the tax law came into effect and its declaration of unconstitutionality, the multinational company Goodyear had paid the treasury approximately $786,000. After the multinational demanded that the state return the sum, the Colombian State Council ruled in its favor and declared that congress responsible for returning the payment.

The taxes are still legally owed for the period of time when the law was in effect, according to El Nuevo Dia newspaper, and the ruling of the State Council to return Goodyear’s payment would undermine Colombia’s fiscal system and lead to monumental costs as it sets a precedent for the return of any taxes paid before the decision of unconstitutionality.

According to El Nuevo Dia, the state may have to repay several millions of dollars if the ruling is not overturned, which would result in a crisis of large proportions.

Congress expects a to hold another meeting about the Goodyear ruling with the assistance of the Minister of Justice, Alfonso Gomez, Comptroller Sandra Morelli, and Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez.


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