Banking: What is the “cuatro por mil”?

24 years ago, the Colombian government started a tax on bank accounts that was supposed to end in a year’s time, and it’s expected to continue indefinitely.

Withdraw cash or pay bills or withdraw money in any fashion from your Colombian bank accounts, and your statement will show a 0.4% national tax, commonly referred to as the cuatro por mil or “4×100”, whereby for every 1000 pesos withdrawn you’ll be taxed 4 pesos.

This at first doesn’t sound like much, only 4,000 pesos on a million, but if you have a business that moves a lot of money around, it can be a nuisance!

That said, you are allowed one account that will be exempt from the tax. Wisdom dictates that this should be the account you use the most, typically the one you use to pay bills with.