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Mexico Considering Major Tax Reform, Could Impact Trade Flows

Friday, October 04, 2013
STTAS Advisory

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has submitted for legislative approval a series of initiatives that would constitute a major overhaul of the Mexican tax system. Some of the proposed changes aim to encourage trade while others could have negative impacts on important sectors like the maquila and automotive industries. Some of the most important provisions include the following.

Value-Added Tax Law

- The VAT for sales in border areas or regions would be increased from 11% to 16% to harmonize it with the VAT imposed in the rest of the country. 

- The VAT exemption for all temporary imports, including such imports into automotive tax warehouses and strategic fiscal areas as well as virtual importations, would be eliminated.

- The VAT exemption for sales between residents abroad or between a resident abroad and a maquila, terminal automotive industry or tax warehouse would be eliminated. 

- The obligation to withhold the VAT that domestic suppliers transfer would be eliminated. 

Special Tax IEPS 

- Temporary imports, including imports under the IMMEX customs regime or into automotive tax warehouses or strategic fiscal areas, would be subject to the corresponding IEPS. 

Customs Law

- Use of customs brokers would no longer be mandatory and importers and exporters would be able to file for customs clearance directly.

- Strategic fiscal areas could be established anywhere in the country and goods in these areas could be subject to processing and even commercialization.

- Documents sent to customs authorities electronically would be afforded legal recognition.

- Customs clearance could be granted through any customs office.

- All of a company’s representatives would be legally responsible before customs authorities. 

- Imports of locomotives, railroad cars and specialized goods of the railway industry would be allowed under temporary import regimes.

- Customs authorities could authorize individuals (except importers, exporters and customs brokers) to provide pre-validation services.

- Customs declarations could be corrected both before and after a determination is made to subject a transaction to examination by customs authorities. 
- The ability to change the customs regime under which goods are imported without prior notice to customs authorities would not be limited to maquilas. 

- Importers would be able to convert temporary imports to regular imports even if the authorized length of time for the temporary import has expired or customs authorities have begun verification. 

- Goods would be eligible for storage in a customs warehouse regardless of how they are transported (land, air, sea).

The reform package is expected to be approved by the House by Oct. 20 and by the Senate by Oct. 30. Sandler & Travis is closely monitoring this proposal and can help you understand how it may affect your trade and customs compliance efforts.

For more information, please contact Jorge Morales at +52 (55) 52 63 84 40 or USA & Canada Toll Free: (866) 455-0548 or Rachel Pisani at (202) 216-9307.

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