Monday August 21 2017

Posted by Tomas on April 27, 2015
  • Aduana Mexico inspection point
    Aduana Mexico inspection point

Mexico revised many of its importation rules in 2014 and some of them can be a shocker when you cross the border. Most personal import items are subject to 16% IVA, but tobaccos and alcohols can really sting.

Here is a quick run down of importation of personal goods into Mexico. This information is taken directly from the SAT Aduanas website, but should not consider a definitive means of calculating your import taxes due. As of January 1, 2014, you may now complete importation forms and submit them on imports of less than $3000USD, without a broker. Click here to visit the SAT website.

The first rule of the importation restrictions is that the item you are importing must be legal under other Mexican laws. For example, you can't have someone ship you a gun or ammunition. You may also find that importation of medications into Mexican can be problematic.

For decades, the "Baja Pony Express" network brought US goods into Mexico. North American's would gladly transport significant items south with their annual migration and only have to play the red light / green light lottery on occasion. Folks did it gladly because it was rare to get bagged at the border for importation.

But that has changed, Mexico got wise to the huge loss of revenue it was missing out on with both foreigners and Mexican's alike, making untaxed hauls across the border. New passive inspection gear the US gave to Tijuana, Mexico has made the southbound lanes nearly as 'duty-tight' as the northbound lanes. Amongst other things, they can tell you how many heart beats in the car and how many kilos of manufacture's curb weight is your car as you drive through the crossing. Just because you get a green light doesn't mean an agent won't flag you down. There can be fines on top of duty if you are caught, sometimes depending on how cranky the agent's spouse was that morning at breakfast. (or what a *%$$*!  Gringo, you may be that day)

If you volunteer to bring down large ticket items for friends, be sure you have enough room on the credit card or cash in hand to pay the appropriate duty and 16% IVA. Your odds of that happening are significantly greater than just a few years ago.

A Pile of Duty

For those of you reading, the vast majority of your cross-border transactions will qualify as Small Imports (see below) under $3000 and the classification and country of origin will not apply. If you are looking to import more, I found an excellent duty HS machine online that provides the correct importation code, then you click "Calculate Duty" and it provides a breakdown of what duties will be due. It gives you two free calculations before it asks you to join up for a fee. http://www.dutycalculator.com/

If you are going to be importing on your own or making it a business, you need to know the HS code for your product. Click here from a complete list of product codes and the import and export taxes due on each category. The website will generate the file for you, based on what categories you select, including 'all' and download the file to you as an Excel, CSV or XML file. Click here to visit the World Trade Organizations website.

I found the list of HS codes and duty amounts for both import and export in Mexico on the Mexican government site but the document is dated 2010 and I am aware that revisions were made in 2013.

The term "country of origin" does not mean where it was purchased, it is where the final assembly or production of the product took place. I discovered this was important when purchasing a large outboard motor. One model of the same company was assembled in China, the other in Japan, which has a more favorable trade status with Mexico. I saved about 4% by getting the Japanese model.

There are no fees assessed on items mailed into Mexico less than $100USD and items transported in by freight forwarder under $50USD

Duty When Traveling

Duty-free allowance: Merchandise additional to the baggage, which monetary value Maybe proved by invoice or sale receipt and such value doesn’t exceed $300 USD, or the equivalent in MXN currency when passenger entries to Mexico by maritime or air or $75 USD when the passenger entries to Mexico by land. Alcoholic drinks, tobaccos, and gasoline may not be part of the duty-free allowance.

Payment of Taxes

Passengers may import merchandise, other than their personal baggage, without hiring a Customs broker, paying the general tax of 16%, provided that the value of merchandises, excluding duty-free allowance, doesn’t exceed 3,000 USD or the equivalent in MXN currency, and provided that the passenger has the invoice, sale receipt, or any other document expressing the commercial value of merchandise.

When traveling you are allowed to enter the country with one computer per person. If new, it will be assessed at the invoice value. If used, it will be assessed at a minimum $350 value for the 16% IVA.

The Small Importation

This applies to personal use imports of the equivalent of $3000USD  or less. No duty applies, just the 16% IVA and the transporter's fees.

I found a list of items to which importation duties do not apply and the list was amazingly long. Electronics of many kinds, computers, power tools all were exempt from importation duties. High-end computers and electronic items that also had a potential military application (GPS) had a small (like a few bucks on a $900 laptop) fee for registering the technology export, but that is a state side thing. But in bringing these items to Mexico you are still liable for the 16% IVA.

Special Duties on Alcohol and Tobacco Products

Importing alcohol and tobacco products face steep importation duties. If the country of origin is not specific or not from a tariff agreement country the following duties are applied in addition to 16% IVA. As you will find when you read below, why Mexico is a local beer drinking country. A nice $200 dollar bottle of Cognac would be subject to $228 worth of duty and a $30 bottle of Jack Daniel's would have to add another $27 worth of import duty.

Alcoholic beverages and beer with an alcohol content of up to 14 ° GL

76.98%

Alcoholic beverages and beer with alcohol content of more than 14 ° to 20 ° GL and GL

82.17%

Alcoholic beverages and beer with an alcohol content of more than 20 ° GL

114.40%

Cigars

573.48%

Cigars and tobaccos.

373.56%

Footwear, saddlery, artificial fur.

40.13%

Apparel and clothing accessories and other textile products.

40.13%

If the products come from one of the following countries these duties apply

 

U.S. and Canada

Chile

Costa Rica

Colombia

Guatemala

European Community

El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua

1

52.61%

52.61%

52.61%

52.61%

67.69%

75.81%

67.69%

2

57.76%

57.76%

57.76%

57.76%

57.76%

57.76%

57.76%

3

89.78%

89.78%

89.78%

89.78%

89.78%

112.98%

89.78%

4

492.55%

570.27%

570.27%

570.27%

570.27%

570.27%

570.27%

5

318.76%

370.96%

370.96%

370.96%

370.96%

318.76%

370.96%

 

Uruguay

Japan

Israel

European Free Trade Association

Peru

1

70.49%

53.78%

75.81%

75.81%

72.34%

2

75.67%

58.97%

80.96%

80.96%

79.85%

3

107.90%

91.20%

112.98%

112.98%

112. 08%

4

573.48%

495.76%

570.27%

570.27%

573.48%

5

373.56%

321.36%

370.96%

370.96%

373.56%

1. Beverages containing alcohol and beer with an alcohol content of up to 14 ° GL
2. Alcoholic beverages and beer with an alcohol content of more than 14 º to 20 º GL and GL 
3. Alcoholic beverages and beer with an alcohol content of more than 20 º GL 
4. Cigars.
5. Cigars and tobaccos. Similarly, any goods, if any, shall comply with the regulations and non-tariff restrictions, according to the tariff item. 

Legal basis: Article 172 of the Customs Act and 193 of its Regulations and Rules 3.7.3. and 3.7.4. of the General Rules on Foreign Trade for 2013

Servicios de Administracion Tributaria

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