In accordance with judgement C-292 of 2020, Legislative Decree 551 of 2020 has lost its validity since January 1st, 2022.
Legislative Decree 551 of 2020 loss its validity
On April 15th, 2020, related to the state of emergency faced by Colombia as consequence of pandemic generated by Covid-19, National Government issued Legislative Decree 551, through which established a VAT exemption without right to refund or compensation, on the sale or importation of 211 category of medical and sanitary products.
This measure was taken with the purpose of promoting the importation and commercialization of supplies destined to attend the public health of Colombian people.
Likewise, as a general rule, Legislative Decrees are effective until the state of emergency that caused their issuance is over. In this way, due to Official Ruling 1913 of 2021 issued by the Ministry of Health extended the sanitary emergency until February 28th, 2021, the Legislative Decrees would lose their validity once that time expires.
However, Colombian Constitutional Court, through judgment C-292 of 2020, analyzed the constitutionality of Legislative Decree 551 of 2020, stating that:
“The Court found that the measures provided by the Decree are related to the principles of Colombian tax system. However, since section one of Legislative Decree establish that the exemption in will be in force "During the Health Emergency declared by Ministry of Health, due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19", the Court found that it could be interpreted that its validity could be extended beyond December 31st, 2021, which would be against the provisions of section 215 of Colombian Political Constitution, according to which, the modifications of existing taxes estates "the measures shall cease to be in force at the end of the following fiscal year, unless Congress, during the following year, grants them a permanent.”
Therefore, Constitutional Court declared the conditional constitutionality of the provision, stating that the Decree would be in force until December 31st, 2021, unless Congress granted it permanent character.
Finally, due to the Congress has not issued any regulation that grants such character to the exemptions contained in Legislative Decree 551 of 2020, it is understood that the regulation lost its validity since January 1st, 2022.