Mexico - Changes to treatment of imports by maquiladoras, IMMEX companies 

November 14: Tax reform legislation has been approved by Mexico’s Congress and will be enacted once signed by the president and published in the official gazette.

The tax reform principally concerns income tax and certain indirect tax changes. However, it also contains measures that may affect the treatment of imports by maquiladoras and entities operating under the IMMEX program.

Temporary imports no longer exempt from VAT withholding

Companies operating under the IMMEX program or companies in the automotive industry (that manufacture road vehicles and vehicle parts) are no longer exempt from withholding on value added tax (VAT).

Also, the temporary import of goods will no longer be exempt from VAT withholding. The reform measures repeal the VAT exemption for companies under the IMMEX program for the temporary import of goods, imported goods to be warehoused in automotive in-bond warehouses, and goods imported under the strategic in-bonded warehousing system. These imports were considered as exempt to the extent the goods were handled under the respective customs regimes.

Because of the repeal of this exemption, companies will have to pay and credit VAT when goods are imported, and then recover it later by refund or by setting it off against other federal taxes.

The reform includes two options for companies not to pay VAT on temporarily imported goods:

  • The importer may obtain a certificate from the tax administration that proves that the requirements for properly controlling its operations are met. In this case, the importer will be entitled to a credit of 100% of VAT.
  • The importer may guarantee the tax liability with regard to VAT assessed by providing a bond granted by an authorized institution.

As the rules for obtaining the certificate referred to above have not yet been published, there is a transitory provision that establishes that these changes to the VAT law will come into effect one year after the rules are published in the official gazette (Diario Oficial de la Federación).

KPMG observation

Although the amount of tax collected under this regime is not large, companies could incur major financial costs incurred in recovering VAT, which means that these companies would need to increase their working capital for their maquila and manufacturing businesses.

In view of the magnitude of this reform, in many instances, companies may have to apply for external financing in order to cover the cost (assuming that they are unable to obtain the certificate or guarantee the tax liability for the tax assessed).

The combination of these reforms could have a major effect on the business of maquiladoras and export manufacturers in Mexico and may reduce the industry’s competiveness internationally, in that most countries in which there are similar regimes have measures that reduce corporate tax and also provide that VAT is not liable on temporarily imported goods.

Read a November 2013 booklet (English) [PDF 397 KB] and (Spanish) [PDF 462 KB] prepared by the KPMG member firm in Mexico: Reforma Fiscal 2014

For more information, contact a professional with KPMG’s Trade & Customs practice:

Douglas Zuvich

(312) 665-1022

Andrew Siciliano

(631) 425-6057

John L. McLoughlin

(267) 256-2614

Todd R. Smith

(949) 885-5617

Luis A. Abad

(212) 954-3094

Amie Ahanchian

(202) 533-3247

Or your local KPMG Trade & Customs professional.

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