Enquiry: When an aircraft is temporarily imported into Colombia and is re-exported for being repaired, how must it be declared from a customs perspective when it is re-imported (once repaired)?
Answer from the Chief of the Division of Regulation and Customs Doctrine of the Legal Office of the Colombian Tax and Customs Authorities (Opinion 07969 of 31 August 2001):
Pursuant to article 149 of Decree 2685 of 1999 (Customs Statute), when a good imported into Colombia under a long-term temporary import regime is re-exported to be repaired or replaced abroad, it must be re-imported into Colombia under a new temporary import statement.
This new import statement must include the assessment of customs duties and payments already made in connection with the good re-exported, which must then be deducted.
The balance resulting from said deduction must then be divided in the number of semi annual periods remaining until the expiry of the re-exported good's original import term, and paid on semi annual installments.
The original import term may not be extended.
It is worth noting, though, that a different conclusion would have been reached by the Customs Authorities if the question had been related with aircraft engines rather than with aircraft, as explained below.
As per the paragraph of the above-mentioned article 149 of Decree 2685 of 1999, when aircraft engines corresponding to aircraft temporarily imported into Colombia by airlines engaged in passenger or freight transportation are damaged abroad, they may be repaired or replaced (abroad) without having to be re-exported.
In addition, the relevant replacement aircraft engine must not go through any new import procedure while the other engine is being repaired abroad. However, the airline must keep available in its files the documents evidencing the damage and the engine's replacement.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.