Mexico: Major Legislative Overhaul For Maquila Companies In Mexico

Last Updated: 24 February 2014
Article by Mauricio Llamas and Javier A. Cortés

The Mexican tax law amendments that entered into effect on January 1 pose various challenges for the maquila sector and related foreign trade participants, with significant value-added tax ("VAT") and income tax implications. Maquilas or maquiladoras are assembly plants located in Mexico, and authorized to operate by the Mexican government, to which imported materials and parts are shipped and from which the finished product is then returned abroad.

Former Value-Added Tax Exemption for Temporary Maquiladora Imports Replaced by Tax Credit, Subject to Certification Requirements

The VAT law was amended to eliminate the VAT exemption for temporary imports of raw materials and machinery by maquila companies. As a result, in principle all temporary imports made by maquiladoras will now be subject to VAT upon their entry into Mexican territory. However, the maquiladora can obtain a certification from the Mexican Tax Administration Service ("SAT") authorizing it to take a tax credit equal to the amount of the entry VAT, thereby offsetting the tax.

Maquiladoras may also obtain this benefit if they guaranty the VAT payable with a bond issued by an authorized bonding company.

The SAT's requirements for accreditation follow the existing trend of relying heavily on formalities (timely and correct filings, maintain accounting records, etc.) rather than on true compliance with the maquiladora's substantive obligations, namely (i) the use of the temporarily imported assets in an industrial transformation process, and (ii) their return abroad after their legal term of stay.

Some of the new certification requirements are cause for concern. For example, a certified maquiladora will be required to:

  • Prove that the value of the merchandise transformed and returned during a given year represents at least 60 percent of the value of the temporarily imported materials during the same period.
  • File the response to an electronic verification via the SAT's electronic system attestingthat not only it, but also its members, shareholders, legal representatives, and sole director or board members, are in compliance with their respective tax obligations.
  • Have the infrastructural capacity necessary to operate under its specifically approved maquila program. (It is unclear whether the SAT presently has the capacity to verify this. If the SAT denies a certification for this reason, the company may not reapply for certification for six months.)
  • Engage SAT-authorized Mexican or foreign transportation companies for the movement of temporary imports.
  • Reapply for certification if it is the resulting entity in a merger or spin-off.
  • Notify the SAT of any change in its members, shareholders, directors, sole administrator, or legal representatives.
  • Comply with its social security obligations.
  • In case of an audit, evidence the lawful stay in Mexico of any assets with a value of US$7,500 or more.

Failure to comply with any of the above requirements will result in the cancellation of a maquiladora's "certification."

In principle, certification is subject to yearly renewal. However, maquiladoras with five or more years operating under the same authorization, or with machinery and equipment valued at more than US$3.85 million or more than 1,000 employees, may obtain this certification for two-year periods. Maquiladoras with seven or more years operating under the same authorization, or with machinery and equipment valued at more than US$7.7 million or more than 2,500 employees, may obtain this certification for three-year periods.

Maquiladoras are no longer required to withhold VAT from the sales by their Mexican suppliers. While this may benefit the Mexican suppliers, it could affect the cash flow of smaller maquiladoras.

Additional Requirements for Favorable Income Tax Treatment for Maquiladoras

The new tax law amendments also create additional legal requirements for maquiladoras to obtain certain previously available income tax benefits. Prior to the amendments, maquiladoras were deemed not to create a "permanent establishment" for their foreign contractor for Mexican income tax purposes if certain administrative requirements were met. With the present amendments, maquiladoras that wish to preserve this benefit are required to prove, besides other formalities, that:

  • All of their foreign material suppliers (other than their main contractor) have a "commercial relationship" with them.
  • All materials that were not temporarily imported by the maquiladora are being used together with the temporarily imported materials in the relevant industrial process, and definitively exported with the temporarily imported materials.
  • The temporarily imported machinery and equipment used to carry out the maquiladora's operations is owned either by it or by its foreign parent. At least 30 percent of this machinery and equipment must be owned by the foreign contractor.

Maquiladoras are granted a period of two years to comply with the requirement of ensuring that at least 30 percent of the machinery and equipment used in their operations is owned by the foreign resident with whom they have a maquiladora agreement (the foreign contractor). Such machinery and equipment may not have been previously owned by the maquiladora or a related party.

Certain additional income tax benefits are provided for maquiladoras:

  • They are allowed to deduct, in addition to currently existing deductions, an amount equal to less than half of the wages paid to their workers.
  • VAT caused by the sales of temporarily imported goods that a maquiladora's foreign resident contractor makes to a maquiladora may be offset by the maquiladora purchaser against the amount payable for the tax in monthly VAT tax returns, which overrides the negative impacts of VAT.

Finally, it also bears mentioning that the benefit consisting of a reduced 17.5 percent income tax rate for maquiladoras (and other temporary importers) was repealed. Therefore, temporary importers must now pay the full income tax.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Mauricio Llamas
 
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.