Russell Bedford International
Russell Bedford International

Online Tax Filing Boosts Colombia’s International Ranking as a Business-Friendly Destination

Luis Carlos Robayo, managing partner at Russell Bedford Colombia, comments on World Bank Paying Taxes survey.

London, United Kingdom, March 14, 2012 --( A recent World Bank report has seen Colombia leap 25 places in rankings of the world’s easiest tax compliance regimes. Despite having one of the highest total tax takes of any economy in the world (businesses are subject to a rate of 74.8%), in terms of ease of paying taxes at least the country has moved from 120th place to 95th. The country also improved its overall ranking for “ease of doing business,” climbing from 47th place to 42nd.

The annual World Bank Doing Business report assesses regulations affecting domestic firms in 183 economies, ranking each on the basis of various criteria including ease of starting a business, insolvency resolution, cross-border trade and the ease (or otherwise) of paying taxes. Russell Bedford member firms have contributed to the report’s Paying Taxes survey since 2009, with 51 member and correspondent firms this year contributing data on tax regulation, compliance and the real tax burden on businesses and entrepreneurs.

The country’s improved rankings may be attributed to the wider use of electronic filing. Further reforms have seen mandatory electronic filing introduced for certain major taxes.

The report cites Colombia’s use of joint filing in minimising the compliance burden, particularly regarding payroll taxes. “Another way to make compliance easier when firms are subject to numerous taxes is to allow joint filing and payment of taxes levied on the same base. Firms in Colombia face 4 different taxes on salaries—but can meet these tax obligations by filing 1 form and making 1 payment.” As a result, businesses in Colombia are required to make only nine tax payments per year – lower even than the average 13 payments per year in OECD high-income countries – and spend an average of 193 hours per year on tax compliance, broadly in line with the 186-hour average in OECD countries.

Luis Carlos Robayo, managing partner of Russell Bedford Colombia S.A., commented: “It is highly encouraging to see recent administrative reforms boosting the country’s investment appeal. It is difficult to believe that less than five years ago companies were having to spend an average of 456 hours (effectively 57 working days) on managing their tax compliance. We will continue to support any initiatives to reduce what can often be an unnecessarily cumbersome burden, particularly on new and developing businesses.”

For further information, contact Luis Carlos Robayo on +57 1 6293891 or Kempton Bedell-Harper on +44 20 7410 0339. Alternatively, visit the websites at and .

Note to Editors

About Russell Bedford International

Established in 1983, Russell Bedford International is a global network of independent firms of accountants, auditors, tax advisers and business consultants.

Ranked amongst the world's leading accounting and audit networks, Russell Bedford is represented by some 460 partners, 5000 staff and 200 offices in more than 80 countries in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific.

All Russell Bedford affiliates are well-established firms offering international business advice and services to local and multinational clients. Most provide a full range of services comprising accounting, auditing, tax advice, general business guidance and financial consulting. In addition, many have special expertise in particular fields, such as international taxation or information technology.

In January 2008 Russell Bedford International was named one of the first 17 full members of the IFAC Forum of Firms after reporting it had implemented a globally coordinated quality assurance programme, committed to the use of International Standards on Auditing (ISAs), and met other specific ethics requirements.

Issued by:

Kempton Bedell-Harper
Marketing Director
Russell Bedford International
Russell Bedford House
250 City Road, London EC1V 2QQ
United Kingdom
T: +44 20 7410 0339
F: +44 20 7459 2337
Russell Bedford International
Mr. Kempton Bedell-Harper
+44 20 7410 0339