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  1. The government announced that people who already have a CURP can apply for an RFC tax ID number online without having to make an appointment and bring documents to one of the SAT offices.
  2. The check is in the mail, international travel with cash or checks… Many countries have enacted legislation to combat money laundering which is used to avoid lawful payment of taxes or disguise illegal operations. Many countries have based their laws off of or copied the US provisions that regulate crossing borders with money or negotiable instruments. Comments from US Customs and Border patrol state: “When entering the U.S. in-transit to a foreign destination, you will be required to clear U.S. Customs Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. If you have "negotiable monetary instruments" (i.e. currency, personal checks (endorsed), travelers checks, gold coins, securities or stocks in bearer form) valued at $10,000 or more in your possession a "Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments" form FinCEN 105 must be submitted to a CBP Officer upon your entry into the United States. Forms can be requested from a CBP Officer is required. Monetary instruments that are made payable to a named person but are not endorsed or which bear restrictive endorsements are not subject to reporting requirements.” Source: https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/778/~/declaring-currency-when-entering-the-u.s.-in-transit-to-a-foreign-destination While it makes sense to restrict people with suitcases full of cash, many people are innocently being caught when buying properties in Mexico. Many send checks through Fedex or other overnight courier services that are made out to the seller of a property and therefore do not violate US laws. Mexico, however, copied the US law but did not differentiate between checks made out to a party and endorsed checks. Any check over $10,000 dollars must be declared. Source: http://www.sat.gob.mx/aduanas/pasajeros/Paginas/declaracion_dinero.aspx This has had the result of customs in Mexico seizing checks sent for the purchase of properties even when made out to the seller and fining the sender or receiver for failure to declare the check causing delays and extra costs. An example is when I request certified copies of judgments from the LA County Superior Court and they are archived due to being older and the court wants a check but doesn’t know the amount so I fill in the payee but leave the amount blank but also put “Not to exceed $40.00” and Aduana will not send my checks arguing there is no amount listed even though it is true except it will never exceed $40.00 and never $10,000 obviously. Another serious danger people find themselves in is when there is a rollover of their IRA and their trustee sends them the rollover check to their address and they list an address in Mexico or one of the Laredo mailing services which then forwards the letters to Mexico, this also can be dangerous as if the rollover check is seized then you will likely blow the 60 day limit and pay US taxes and penalties on top of those to the Mexican government. Each year the laws become stricter with fewer people and places accepting US or foreign checks and Customs in Mexico is being streamlined and checking almost all packages entering the country which means the chance of being caught has skyrocketed. The best practice is to use electronic transfers for payment of large items. Far too many people are erroneously assuming that the law of their home country is the same in Mexico causing them innocently to break the law due to it being poorly drafted in the first place. Europe, the US and Canada all have the same policy on checks and only consider traveler`s checks, endorsed checks or bank checks as cash, not unendorsed personal checks made out to a party. Remember these laws apply to money entering and leaving countries.
  3. We went to present another retorno seguro on Tuesday of this week (November 24, 2015) and had it rejected. The rules changed and the new ones took effect Monday, November 23, 2015 and they will now only accept them in Mexico City and once they receive all the papers (there are new forms and they now require the vehicle titles to be translated officially into Spanish) they have 15 business days to respond and the person or their legal representative must personally pick up the retorno seguro in Mexico City. Prior to this we were getting them done at the SAT offices in Guadalajara and Zapopan and we usually would be able to turn them around in 3 to 5 business days from the time the person signed papers at our office. Now the cost will be much higher and logistically it will be more difficult for people to plan their trips as they will need to submit the papers week in advance and not have much idea of when the retorno seguro will arrive needing to be ready to go at a moments notice for a few weeks. Effectively this will stop all retorno seguros this year as the holidays are coming soon and maybe longer until we get a handle on how they will apply the new regulations. They also want proof of address but what if a person rents? Also they want a notarized power of attorney, so now people will pay extra for that, also they ask people to attach their tourist visa, what if they are Mexican or temporal or permanentes? Also copy of the Banjercito receipt, what if nobody kept it as most people throw them away? We will file a complaint with PRODECON as this new policy will wreak havoc and make it difficult if not impossible for people to comply and if they can then the cost will be thousands of pesos extra. For now we are trying to sort out the new regulation and things that they did not provide for so that we can give people answers and help ease them into the new system. 4.2.20. Para efectos de lo dispuesto en el artículo 183, fracción II, segundo párrafo de la Ley, los propietarios de vehículos de procedencia extranjera que hayan sido importados o internados temporalmente a territorio nacional en términos de las reglas 3.4.6. y 4.2.7., y cuyo plazo para el retorno haya vencido, podrán presentar una solicitud mediante escrito libre en los términos de la regla 1.2.2., utilizando el formato "Solicitud de autorización para el retorno de vehículos extranjeros con permiso de importación temporal de vehículos vencidos, de conformidad con la regla 4.2.20.", ante la ACAJACE, cumpliendo con lo establecido en su instructivo de trámite. El beneficio señalado en la presente regla, no será aplicable cuando la autoridad haya iniciado el ejercicio de facultades de comprobación.
  4. As you may have read when I broke my story in November, 2013 regarding 2014 new taxes and issues, I stated "Also, customs is going to be checking the value of imported goods more closely and communicating with the countries where merchandise is leaving, to check declared values. People may be more likely to get caught if their car nationalization pedimento says the car is worth just $10,000 pesos, while it clearly is worth much more." Customs did exactly this and is seizing property of 9 importers and shut down over 100 for defrauding the Mexican government out of more than $3,000,000 dollars as well as providing falsified papers saying the cars were legally exported from the US. Original press release in Spanish http://www.sat.gob.mx/sala_prensa/comunicados_nacionales/Paginas/com2015_077.aspx
  5. On May 14, 2015 PRODECON (Procuraduria de la Defensa del Contribuyente) [Tax Ombudsman's Office] issued bulletin number 007/2015 which outlined the top 10 bad practices of SAT, the federal tax authority to alert taxpayers about these abusive practices and that they violate their rights. The top 10 are 1.- Making a request that the taxpayer go to their offices, including by phone so that they can clear up "inconsistencies" respecting one or more tax years, using as a reason, abstract and generic expressions such as they detected "atypical behavior." 2.- Contacting the taxpayer about showing up at the offices of the tax authority only verbally without putting anything in writing about any supposed irregularities. 3.- Pressuring the taxpayer to sign a declaration where they agree to self correct. 4.- Not allowing the taxpayer to bring their attorney or accountant to meet with the tax authorities in their offices. 5.- Citing legal provisions that contemplate procedures that will never happen. Example: Letters of invitation due to cash deposits citing the legal basis of a tax discrepancy, even though that specific audit procedure was never initiated. 6.- Failure to explain to the taxpayer in an easy to understand manner how to explain their situation. 7.- Setting an arbitrary time frame deadline to respond to the "invitation." 8.- Requesting burdensome amounts of information and documents which are more than the law permits them to request. 9.- Attaching to requests forms that are not official ones and that are designed by them for the sole purpose of placing the burden on the taxpayer to audit themselves. 10.- Notification of payment proposals to taxpayers without specifying the reasons and method used to determine the tax liability. If you get a notification from the SAT tax office or any tax agency you need to act quickly to protect your rights and PRODECON exists to help taxpayers free of charge. They do not have English speaking personnel but they do tax litigation and intervention on behalf of taxpayers free of charge at all steps of collection actions. The ideal method is to have your attorney and / or accountant work directly with PRODECON to resolve your issue. There have been many recent success stories where PRODECON has helped people after their right to appeal has expired or where they were able to help the taxpayer get an offer in compromise accepted or taxes annulled. PRODECON can help in any tax collection situation with agencies such as SAT, Aduana, IMSS, INFONAVIT, CONAGUA, Secretaria de Finazas del Estado, etc.
  6. Starting in June 2011, Mexican customs (Aduana) instituted a system where every person who temporarily imports a vehicle into Mexico pays a deposit to ensure the return of the vehicle out of Mexico on or before the date of expiration of the temporary vehicle import permit (TIP). The deposit amount is are based upon the age of the vehicle, with vehicles 2007 and newer paying $400US, 2001 to 2006 paying $300US, and 2000 and older paying $200US. Temporary Import Permits (TIPs) are issued for 180 days if you get them via the online permit system, or for 180 days for tourists, or until the immigration document you present at the Banjercito module (at your point of entry) expires. In practice, though, some people who present immigration documents which expire in 2 years only get 180 days, depending on the practices of their point of entry. Supposedly, you get the deposit back when you return the vehicle along with any trailers or motorcycles which entered on the same permit (entailing going to the border and having the customs agent remove the sticker and turn in the permit), and get a receipt which looks like a long credit card merchant receipt before the expiration date on the TIP. The issue arises for foreigners who have the right to have their import permit extended past the expiration date on the TIP. RMCE 4.2.7 El plazo autorizado para retornar los vehículos que hubieran sido importados temporalmente por extranjeros de conformidad con la fracción II del segundo párrafo de la presente regla, será el de la vigencia de su condición de estancia y sus renovaciones. Aduana rules state that the foreigner shall notify aduana within 15 days of getting a new immigration document, stating: En caso de que el residente temporal y el residente temporal estudiante renueve su estancia en territorio nacional, la vigencia del permiso de importación temporal del vehículo se acreditará con el documento oficial que emita la autoridad migratoria, sin que se requiera autorización de las autoridades aduaneras; asimismo, a efecto de que no se haga efectiva la garantía otorgada en los términos de la presente regla, dentro de los 15 días siguientes a aquél en que les hubiere sido otorgado el canje o la renovación de su condición de estancia de residente temporal o residente temporal estudiante, se deberá presentar ante cualquier aduana del país o a la ACOA, un aviso en el que se haga constar dicha circunstancia, anexando copia del comprobante de dicho trámite y del permiso de importación temporal del vehículo; dicho aviso se deberá presentar al momento de efectuar el retorno definitivo del vehículo. First, they use the term 15 days. Is that 15 calendar days or 15 working days? As the notifications should be done by presenting them at the local Aduana offices or by mail (which are not open weekends) per Mexican law, if the term is not specifically stated to be calendar days, then it shall be deemed to be business days. It’s too bad that Aduana and Banjercito never read the law nor apply its principles, and are using 15 calendar days against people in order to steal their deposits when they have complied within 15 business days, but not 15 calendar days. The next issue involves the phrase where the time period starts to notify Aduana, which the above rule states is when the renewal or change in status is granted. Does the granting occur when immigration approves the request which is in the middle of the process, before the person places their fingerprints and still has to wait weeks to receive their new card? This is the biggest point of contention. Logically, in order for a person to notify Aduana, they need their new card with the new expiration date where they can demonstrate the new expiration date. The problem here is that in many parts of Mexico, the process to create the new card may take days or even months (as was the case when the cards were only manufactured in Mexico City) and the date of issue was random, with immigration placing the date of issue as the date of entry for canjes (people who received preauthorized visas from consulates), even though by law they have 30 days to present their application after entering Mexico. This presents a problem if their final card has their date of entry as the date of issue on their card, their 15 days started then, and their deadline passed before they were even obligated to start with immigration or submit their documents to immigration to be able to get their final card weeks or months later. Think that by starting early you can avoid this mess? Other foreigners submitted their immigration documents for renewal on time (immigration policy and law only permits them to submit documents 30 days or less before renewal), and then due to normal times or delay with immigration, received their new immigration cards with a date of issue of days, weeks, or even months before they were actually available to be picked up. This has been the main problem. Immigration´s random placing of the date of issue which has nothing to do with the date when the foreigner first is able to actually receive their card is taken as the date by Aduana when their 15 days to notify first begins. Many people have received their renewal immigration cards or canje cards with a date of issuance of more than 15 days prior, which makes their timely notification to Aduana impossible, and therefore makes them automatically lose their deposit and have their TIP canceled. What have we done in these situations? In order to disprove the date of issuance, we would usually include the receipt for when the person applied for their new document, showing that they applied on time (late renewals and regularizations will revoke the permit, and the person would lose their deposit). Next, we would print out a history from immigration showing the date their immigration card was being made (this should have satisfied Aduana as if the date of issue on the card showed one date but the computer showed that a month later the card was being manufactured. Then the date of issue should have been deemed unreliable.). Currently the computer system of immigration does not show when the card is manufactured, although we include a sworn statement of the date when the foreigner actually received their card in order to proved when the 15 days should start. The system also does not show any more when the card is ready to be picked up. What are we doing to resolve this problem with the authorities? I went to talk to the head of immigration in Guadalajara and tell him about the date of issue on the cards. He was sympathetic, but really did not offer any alternatives, as they have their set way of doing things. Their recent ability to manufacture cards at the Guadalajara office has helped, but people in Chapala still have issues, as the local office has to send the request to make the cards to Guadalajara, and then they have to make them and then send them to Chapala, and then notify the people that they are ready (they stopped posting notifications online about cards being ready a year ago). Then the foreigner has to pick the card up. Although the card may have a date of issue, it has no bearing on the date when the card was ready to be picked up and was actually handed to the foreigner. Perhaps they could create a new form that immigration signs and stamps, and the foreigner signs when they pick up their card to prove the date they received their card. But that would probably require many approvals as it would be an official government document. And even then, who is to say that Aduana, SAT and Banjercito would not ignore it? Once the foreigner has the card, then they can notify Aduana in the proper format. We notify Aduana for our clients, and have a form. We include the form, new immigration document, copy of the TIP, passport, copy of the receipt for when they turned in their renewal, and a printout of their history, and a sworn declaration of the day they actually received their card. What happens after that!!!???.... We present the documents in triplicate at the closest Aduana office, which for us is at the Guadalajara International Airport. They keep two copies, and the give us one back with a serial number stamp and Aduana Received stamp. We return a week later to get another oficio (official communication), which evidences that they sent one copy to Aduana in Mexico City, and has the serial number of the registered mail they used to do so (the law only requires the foreigner to do the notification. The oficio is icing on the cake. and proves the receipt and that the copy was sent to Mexico City. The law does not require a response, although it is helpful to know what their situation is and whether to fight). Then the fun begins. Sometimes Mexico City Aduana decides to send us a response. They used to do it all the time, and were great. Recently, the only responses were negative ones when the person renewed late and lost their deposit due to renewing late. The other people who submitted their renewal notices were left guessing, and the only time they learned of any problem was when they returned their vehicle to the border and wanted the refund of their deposit. Currently, Aduana only sends back a response to those who did regularizations (renewed late), where there was a lapse in their immigration status, and then the person knows that their TIP was canceled and their deposit is gone. But what about the rest of the people who notified Aduana in writing, had their file- stamped copy, and who did so within 15 calendar days of receiving their new immigration document? Many times the only way people find out if their TIP was canceled and their deposit forfeited (stolen) is when they drive their vehicle to the border and have their sticker removed and get a receipt showing they removed the vehicle from Mexico. At this time, they usually have their paperwork showing they did their notification on time, but the people at the border always tell them they will find out in a few days. People wait a few days, and then a few months, and the deposit is never refunded to their credit card. This is when my office receives the call to check up on things. In the past, armed with stamped copies of the notification, a call to Aduana or SAT would solve the issue. It usually was because Aduana forgot to forward info to SAT, or SAT did not tell Banjercito. So, once that was done, the deposits were refunded. Now, SAT has taken a very hard stance approach, and refuses to honor any evidence that contradicts the erroneous date of issue and supports the date when the foreigner actually picked up their new immigration document to start the 15 day time limit. The agencies refuse to communicate with each other to see if one received the notification and passed it on to the other, as they are required to. SAT used to be helpful, but now are not. Banjercito employees have been rude, as well, and neither wants to help to resolve the situation. Now what do we do? A new tax ombudsman's office was created in Mexico, PRODECON. Fortunately for us, their office is located only a few blocks from ours in the Providencia area of Guadalajara. We have presented written requests to them to help our clients. They invited me to meet with the local state head, so he could fully grasp the issue. He invited all his attorneys to be there. We have presented quite a few cases, and they understand the situation, and have made various requests for information to Immigration, Banjercito, SAT, and Aduana. Our results have been mixed. Some cases are still in process, and others we have won where PRODECON agrees that SAT was wrong and ordered them to return the deposit to the foreigner. But then SAT says that they do not have it, Banjercito has it, and that PRODECON only covers tax matters and tax agencies and not banks. It is funny how in all cases, SAT tells Banjercito to refund deposits, but only when they lose a case like this that they decide it cannot be done. We must then file a complaint using the positive resolution from PRODECON with CONDUSEF (who regulates banks, and takes complaints, as they can make Banjercito refund the deposits). We are in the process of doing this, but first we need to locate the foreigners, and have then sign a clarification form which must then be sent by certified mail to Mexico City. Then, if we get a negative response, can we file a complaint with CONDUSEF. Are the authorities doing anything? Our many, many meetings with PRODECON have been bearing fruit. We stop by very frequently, and they have been talking to the head PRODECON office in Mexico City to arrange a round table meeting with representatives from Immigration, SAT, Aduana and PRODECON to address this problem so all involved can participate in the solution. I have been invited, but the date has been changed often over the past few months. I will appear by phone, and hope to help them see the problem and find a solution. Whether through ignorance, design, or multiple agencies not talking, or legislators, foreigners are being harmed and losing money unnecessarily and improperly. We have been trying to help people get their deposits back, but what was once a phone call or two and email has become a labor of months or years, talking to many agencies, presenting piles of documents with the same copies of everything being presented over and over, with hours and hours of work to clarify things, only to get stonewalled. Even if we were to get paid the whole deposit amount for our fees, we still would be losing money. I hope to make them think and change their policies for the benefit of foreigners all over Mexico. Lic. Spencer Richard Mc Mullen Cedula Fed#7928026 / State #114067 Attorney and Official Translator www.chapalalaw.com
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