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The Digital Signature and other frequently asked questions about the Income Tax Return

In view of the 2020 tax calendar, you should know all the fundamental data to file the 2019 income tax return for individuals. It is important to know in which cases it is necessary to declare and the deadline for doing so. But it is also essential to know other important data. One of them is the new digital signature enabled by the DIAN, as well as being aware of the most common errors when filing income tax returns.

What is Digital Signature?

The digital signature is an electronic solution to perform fully formal an electronic solution to perform before the Dian. It is a much more modern and efficient method than the autograph signature, and is valid for complying with tax obligations.

The Tax and Customs Authority has made this new signature available to taxpayers because it is simpler to use and is generated quickly. This is a very useful solution for filing your income tax return before the tax calendar reaches its deadline.

The new signature allows to comply with other obligations and to formalize several types of procedures before the agency. This way, you will be able to keep up with your tax obligations from home.

How to obtain the new digital signature?

Generating your digital signature is quite simple, first you must enter the DIAN transactional portal and log in to your account with your username and password. Then you must click on the “Generate Electronic Signature” button and follow the steps indicated by the system to generate your new signature.

The advantages of this signature are that it is easier to use than the previous one, for example, it is not necessary to create security questions or schedule an appointment in case of forgetting the password. It can be done whenever it is needed, even if it has not expired.

When to generate the signature?

The digital signature can be generated in the following cases:

  • For natural person with the duty to comply with formal obligations in his own name or in the name of a third party, acting as legal representative.
  • If you are an income tax filer or wish to request an online refund or compensation of a credit balance.
  • To perform customs operations.
  • In case you need to make a billing numbering authorization request.
  • If you reside abroad and must declare in Colombia.

The digital signature is a very secure and beneficial tool, it is valid for 3 years. This is an essential step in order to comply with obligations and make the request for refund of balances during the tax calendar.

Frequently asked questions about income tax returns

When it is time to file income tax returns in Colombia, it is normal to have doubts about the steps to follow and how to avoid fines. Now that you know how the digital signature works, we will answer some frequent doubts about penalties that may be imposed by the Dian for errors associated with this process.

Penalty for late filing

Also known as penalty for untimeliness, it is applied when the citizen files the income tax return with the tax calendar already expired. This penalty involves the payment of interest in arrears and can be from 4 to 10% of the tax payable.

The longer the delinquency, the higher the amount to be paid. To avoid this penalty, the citizen may file the tax return during the tax calendar, as far in advance as he/she wishes.

Penalty for failure to report

As its name indicates, this is imposed by the Dian when a citizen does not file a tax return. Before sanctioning, the entity calls upon the citizen to complete the procedure and only pay the penalty for the expired term. If the taxpayer still does not file a tax return, the Dian may impose a fine of up to 20% of the taxpayer’s gross income.

Penalty for errors in the declaration

This is applied when the declarant, even though he/she has completed the procedure, presents errors that generate a lower tax to be paid. In this case, the tax return must be corrected and a penalty ranging from 10% to 20% of the total tax that was not paid by mistake must be paid. If the Dian finds multiple errors of this type, such as omission of assets or inclusion of liabilities that do not exist, the filer will be heavily penalized.

Penalty for filing and not paying

If the taxpayer made the declaration procedures, but did not pay the value of the amount, the situation may be subject to coercive collection. This means that the Dian will look for the citizen and not the other way around, adding interest for late payment. The situation may lead to seizure of accounts and real estate.


In order to be prepared for the income tax return and file it within the tax calendar, remember to generate your digital signature. In addition, you must avoid any of the above-mentioned errors, which may lead to a penalty. It is best to rely on a group of tax advisors to help you with your tax return.

In OBC PARTNERS we have a team of professionals with extensive tax experience in Colombia. Contact us and we will make your tax return the safest and most reliable process.

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