Prior to January 1, 2015, companies that introduced goods under temporary importation customs regimes, such as the IMMEX (Maquila) Program, in bond deposit for the assembly and manufacture of vehicles, in-bond premises and strategic foreign trade zones, had the benefit of importing goods temporarily to carry out their production process or service, without paying the value added tax, and, where applicable, the Special Tax on Production and Services for said imports.

On December 11, 2013, the addition of Article 28-A of the Value Added Tax Law and the reform of Article 15-A of the Law on the Special Tax on Production and Services were published in the Official Journal of the Federation, which established that companies that operate under any of the indicated regimes will pay VAT and IEPS on temporary importations. It was also established that companies could qualify for a special certification known as the "VAT Certification," which would allow them not to make an actual payment of the VAT. Companies that did not obtain the VAT Certification would be obligated to pay the VAT on temporary importations as of 2015.

The rules for qualifying for the VAT Certification were published in January 2014 in the General Rules on Foreign Trade for 2013. Since their original publication, the rules have been in constant flux. The most significant change was made on May 9, 2016, establishing a permanent compliance program for companies that will be certified under new categories or modalities, including VAT Certification, Trader and Importer, Authorized Economic Operator (formerly NEEC) and Certified Business Partner.

This new system requires permanent compliance with numerous obligations, which can be verified through inspection visits or other mechanisms. Any breach of such obligations could result in the degradation or even cancellation of the certification.

Thus, the fact that a company qualifies and complies with the obligations for any of the categories of the new certification system should not be understood to mean that the company is in compliance with all of its obligations when it carries out its importations. Rather, it is essential for companies to establish the internal measures necessary to monitor compliance with all of their customs obligations in order to ensure an optimal level of compliance.

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.