The head of the National Directorate of Taxes and Customs (DIAN), Santiago Rojas, stated in a recent interview with the El País newspaper that the electronic billing project is now “at a very advanced stage”. This year will see the launch of the first e-invoicing pilot, with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank. According to Rojas, the regulation governing the new system will soon be published and the aim is to achieve its widespread use in 2016.
The black economy present in Colombia makes it difficult to accurately calculate the tax evasion rates. Even so, the DIAN considers that, on VAT issues, we could be talking about figures of up to 22%. The aim is to cut this figure by half with the new e-Invoicing System (SIFEL) and the structural tax reform proposed in the National Development Plan.
Widespread use of e-invoicing will also help achieve tighter control of income tax evasion, which currently reaches high levels. In fact, the DIAN has already detected 130,000 people that should have declared income and did not. Now the challenge for the coming years is to reach 300,000 new Colombians currently hiding from the Treasury.
Countries such as Mexico or Chile have already found that e-invoicing is a staunch ally in improving fiscal control and cutting down tax evasion. In Mexico, for example, in the first few months of 2014 the Tax Administration Service collected 34.2% more than in the same period the previous year, due to widespread use of the CFDI. And automatic declaration of transactions to the tax authorities makes avoidance difficult.
However, beyond fiscal control, the rollout of e-invoicing has a number of advantages for the public and private sectors. This technology speeds up procedures and so boosts the productivity of administrative departments. In addition, it cuts economic costs arising from printing, sending and storage.