Mexico: Declaration Of Special Economic Zones ("SEZs")

Last Updated: 13 October 2017
Article by Gerardo Nieto Martínez, Gil Alonso Zenteno, Alejandro Barrera, Sergio Barajas and Victor Barajas

Most Read Contributor in Mexico, October 2018

The Executive published on September 29, 2017 declarations of the first three SEZs: (i) Puerto Chiapas, (ii) Coatzacoalcos (Veracruz) and (iii) Lázaro Cárdenas – La Unión (Michoacan).

The main purposes of each SEZ are to reduce poverty and promote the sustainable economic growth of the country. The way to reach such purposes is through energy and transportation projects, granting certain tax, customs and social security benefits.

Each SEZ offers the following benefits:

I. tax :

  • Income Tax ("IT"). Reduction of IT during the first fifteen fiscal years during which activities are carried out within the SEZ. The discount will be 100% during the first ten years and 50% during the following five years.

    Also, an additional deduction equivalent to 25% of the expenses actually paid for training (either technical or scientific for SEZ operation) of employees within such zones will be allowed.
  • Value Added Tax ("VAT"). The individuals and entities resident in Mexico located outside the SEZ shall apply the 0% rate to the value of the sale of goods acquired by Integral Managers or Investors located in the SEZ. Any acts or activities carried out within the SEZ shall not be subject to the payment of VAT. The extraction of goods out of SEZ to any state of Mexico shall be subject to VAT for import purposes [unless such goods are tax exempt, subject to a 0% tax rate or temporarily imported by a Manufacturing, Maquiladora and Export Services Business (IMMEX for its Spanish acronym)], but will not be affected by the transfer VAT; while the extracting goods out of the SEZ whose destination is abroad (export), shall not be subject to such tax.

II. custom :

  • Creation of new customs regime that allows the importation of foreign, domestic or nationalized goods during a period of time not exceeding 60 months to product, transform or repair goods, having the following specific advantages:

    1. No customs duties will be paid, except for foreign goods in situations eset forth under Article 63-A of the Customs Law.
    2. Customs duties shall be paid when there is a shortage of goods for custom regime purposes in the SEZ.
    3. Will not be subject to the compliance with non-tariff barriers and Mexican Offic ial Standards published by the Ministry of Economy under specific rules.
    4. The shrinkages resulting from the production, transformation or repair will not trigger customs duties.
    5. Wastes produced in SEZ will continue being subject to the customs regime of such zone. When wastes are disposed of, they shall not be subject to any customs duty provided that such disposal is evidenced.
    6. Upon the date that the domestic or nationalized goods are allocated to the customs regime of the SEZ, the goods will be deemed finally exported for customs purposes.
  • In general terms, all goods necessary to perform the activities or duties set forth article 33 of the Economic Zone Act may be brought in Mexico; however, a clause enabling the Tax Administration Service ("TAS") to create rules determining which goods may not be used for such purpose.
  • Goods located within the SEZ could be extracted from such zone, using any of the following options:

    1. Be finally imported.
    2. Be finally exported.
    3. Return abroad
    4. Reincorporate to the domestic market, if any.
    5. Change of customs regime to:

      1. Temporary import to produce, transform or repair.
      2. Warehouse deposit.
      3. Strategic bonded facility.
      4. Production, transformation or repair in the bonded facility.
      5. Internal transit
    6. Transfer to other investment within the same SEZ.
    7. Transfer to other SEZ.
  • For purposes of the general import duty for final import, any of the following may be applied:

    • For those foreign goods extracted from the SEZ in the same state where they were entered, the rate applicable will be that in force at the time of its introduction into the SEZ.
    • For those goods after they were undertaken to a preparation, transformation or repair process, the rate applicable will be that in force at the time of extracting them from the SEZ, except when foreign inputs subject to quota have been used.

III. Social Security

  • A tax credit will be granted during the first fifteen fiscal years equivalent to 50% of the employer contribution for the Health and Maternity Insurance paid by the employer, (ranging from 13.9% through 6% additional to employees paying from three times the value of the Measurement and Updating Unit. The application of this tax credit shall be granted during the first ten years, with a reduction equivalent to 25% of such contribution during the five following years. To compute the above-mentioned tax credit, the Health and Maternity Insurance fee payable by the employee shall not be taken into account, although the employer assumes the obligation to pay such fee. If the employer pays the fee after the due date set forth in the Social Security Law, the employer shall not be entitled to apply the credit, unless the employer has entered into an agreement with the Social Security Institute (IMSS for its Spanish acronym), to pay in installments or deferred amounts.

    To be entitled to the tax credit, the employees will not be listed in other Employer's Registration. The employers will provide the IMSS the information on its Employer's Registration and the number of employees registered in the Mandatory Regime. The IMSS will issue the general rules regarding the procedure to provide the information held by the employers.

    Finally, the employers shall keep enrolled in the Employer's Registration at least the same number of insured employees registered in the mandatory IMSS Regime.

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.

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