Colombia expects record tax collection this year

(Reuters) – Colombia’s tax revenue in full-year 2013 will likely fall below the level expected for 2012 because of lower oil prices, the head of the country’s tax office said on Friday.

Colombia may collect a record 103 trillion pesos ($58.3 billion) in taxes this year, well above the target laid out in the government’s financing plan, said Juan Ricardo Ortega, director of the DIAN tax office.

“Tax collection next year will very likely fall below this year’s,” Ortega told reporters on the sidelines of a banking conference in the port city of Cartagena.

If oil prices continue falling, the revenues of state-run oil company Ecopetrol will decrease and it will end up paying less in taxes, Ortega said. Ecopetrol is the biggest company in the Andean country, and the top taxpayer.

High tax collection this year may let Colombia issue less debt in 2013, the government has said.

In an interview with Reuters last week, Finance Minister Juan Carlos Echeverry ruled out the sale of a government stake in Ecopetrol this year and said financing needs would be met with higher tax revenue.

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