Information related to Maquiladora Certifications
Companies in Mexico that are part of the IMMEX program, better known as maquiladoras, must comply with diverse fiscal and custom-related obligations. These requirements, obligations, and benefits are linked to the level of certification that a company pretends to obtain. It is very important that you understand and know your fiscal obligations as an IMMEX Company. Learn more about the periods of time for applications, benefits, definitions, as well as other important related information.
A major part the Fiscal literature published this 2014, focused in a fiscal perspective of internal taxes, the great fiscal-accounting firms of prestige, identified a great opportunity in the impact that the Fiscal Reform has in the 38,473,767 people that integrate the taxpayers’ registry, this means, a base of customers that requires services with a high level of specialization in internal taxes, that offer different firms of national and international accountants.
In our fiscal field of foreign trade and customs, the approximate universe of taxpayers is composed by 36,793 Exporters and 78,963 Importers, of which 5,900 approximately have an IMMEX program.
In some border states of the Republic, the IMMEX sector represents a great number of direct and indirect jobs, for example; an economically active population in Baja California represents 1,553,308 of people, from which approximately 254,000 work directly in IMMEX companies and 750,000, work indirectly.
This small universe of taxpayers in foreign trade, receives skewed or selected information by the Fiscal Accounting Firms that have influence in the areas of decision taking of the companies and that provide the information according to a program that benefits the firm and not the client, even when the dispositions for its publicity is issued by the SAT, but to most of the ordinary citizens or that make decisions, are not interested in reading them or have a hard time understanding them, or does not want to address them at all.
More than one of the readers will identify with the comments, information, and answers that we will try to give to the most frequently asked questions in regards to the guidelines in order for the IMMEX companies to be considered certified companies, with the objective of avoiding the payment of the VAT in temporary import operations as of January 1st, 2015.
Before trying to clarify some doubts, we would like to share with the reader a series of reflections that allow us to understand the IMMEX companies.
This sector has a background history in Mexico that evolved during the last 40 years; the primary activity they make is manufacturing, transformation, elaboration, repair of products with inputs that come from abroad under a scheme of tariff deferral, but incongruously, do not detect as a preponderant and vital activity the importation and return of the goods of foreign trade, like we will discuss.
The IMMEX on terms of foreign trade must comply with diverse obligations both fiscal-accounting, as fiscal-customs, the most common are:
- To manage an adequate Annex 24 control of Inventories, which is tool capable of allowing us to show in an automated way our information, but on colloquial terms, we could identify it as; “the cherry on the cake”, but “as the recipe of the cake”, because the Annex 24 requires to be fed with data and information that is subjected to real and true customs compliance.
- Let´s put it in a language of the areas of the companies and accounting-fiscal firms that take decisions, seeing it as a total solution in foreign trade, would be, believing that to handle the accounting it is only sufficient to have an Accounting system that obviously exist automated, without being required to feed it correctly, verify it constantly, analyze and study the result it gives.
- The reality of the operative plant of the IMMEX is found in most cases, unsuited to the structure of the Annex 24, condition that subjects them to the use of parallel controls of inventories, migration of unhealthy balances, and cyclic reconstructions of Annex 24.
- Hypothetically considering that the total amount of IMMEX companies require a reconstruction, multiplying them by a low fee, that a Brand of Annex 24 offers.
- Firm of prestige that subcontracts a Brand of Annex 24, we could calculate that the reconstruction would represent an amount up to $100,300,000 dollars.
- The scarce margins that the IMMEX have, even that the inputs in the practice are not own but foreign that the maquila requires, do not lose in the process neither a band aid nor a screw, reason why, the information used by the company to control its real or physic inventories, is based in a scheme that downloads what really used the plant, this means, really have the recipe of the cake that was cooked, while the Annex 24 used a generic bill of materials that is the recipe of the cake, but most of the times different to the one that really ended up being cooked in the plant.
Now, the term of customs compliance, demands much more than having the certainty of the cake, it demands to know the recipe, for example; for us to identify correctly the tariff classification of the goods we import, that our program is updated, having the permits, special authorizations, international commercial treaties, adequate identifiers that are declared at the time the customs declaration is filled, determination of the origin, customs evaluation, payment of taxes, handling losses and wastes, without naming the obligations of administrative maintenance that the IMMEX decree establishes.
How do the IMMEX see their areas of foreign trade?
The orientation based in a fiscal accounting perspective of internal taxes that live in the IMMEX companies, does not identify foreign trade as a vital activity for the subsistence of the production, they even perceive it, as an area of delivery and reception of goods, this means, an area that is demanded quickness but not exactitude, that gets a scarce investment of resources, when it is the vital area to subsist of the IMMEX companies, since without the inputs, the cake can`t be cooked.
This situation generates, a 100% reactive and no proactive or preventive dynamic, let me explain myself a different way; the actual customs compliance of the IMMEX companies derives of what the customs authority is detecting in exercise of verification faculties and from the experiences that other IMMEX companies share, but not From the obligations that are contemplated in the Customs Law, Foreign Trade Law, Regulations, Agreements, Decrees, Treaties, among others.
What role does the Customs Agent play?
Additionally, it is considered as a professional obligation for the Customs Agent to grant solutions after the customs dispatch of goods, when its performance is developed, before and at the time of transfer of goods by the customs office of entry, with the unified responsibility that preserves, but the obligation as customs agent does not cover, the subsequent activities to the exit of the goods in customs, the treatment to the same, and the compliance of foreign trade in the process of the IMMEX.
An IMMEX reporter
In a meeting a few days ago, a reporter asked me about the effort and investment that the IMMEX companies must make to get the certification to avoid the payment of the VAT in temporary import operations, I answered that the investment is the same or greater to the one destined to comply in the fiscal accounting field of internal taxes the corporate areas of these companies.
In this interview, I added to my answer, that it is a certification that will grant the General Administration of Foreign Trade Audit, as its name establishes it, specialized in the field of foreign trade, since, if the spirit would have been of internal taxes the authorization would be emitted by the General Administration of Federal Fiscal Audit, situation that does not happen in the species.
If we comply we shouldn’t be scared of the Certification
Why fear this certification that demands compliance, when in theory from 40 years ago in this evolution of foreign trade of the IMMEX companies must be complying, this means, requirements of compliance that are not new are established, because they have always been in the dispositions and must be observed by the areas of foreign trade of the companies, well of those who had it, the novelty, is to start implementing customs processes and of compliance until now, in other words, stop being reactive.
In the requirements of this certification, only three are related to Foreign trade and customs, 1.-having a System of Control of Inventories, 2.- allowing an initial inspection or supervision of personnel of the General Administration of Foreign Trade Audit, but the one that does not have a check list and is the most important is; 3.- “fulfilling the parameters of the customs regime in which the operations of foreign trade are made”.
I taught my older son, since little, that he had to comply with his obligations, one of them, school, that he must dedicate time to the homework that was assigned, but at the start of his instruction in elementary school, he would approach me and say, Dad –“I am done with my homework, I have complied with my obligation”, when we checked it, we noticed that he was missing some pages and he would say, Dad “I already answered some but not the other ones, I did my homework”, it was obvious that he hadn´t done his obligations and there was no other option, but to finish what he had started, in our language of professional foreign trade “Complying is complying”, but that customs compliance, is not found in a checklist or Annex 24, we find it from years ago in the fiscal-customs dispositions related to the IMMEX programs and the obligations of customs and foreign trade.
How does the certification work?
Entering the subject of the VAT certification for IMMEX companies, the cited publication seemed a clear message from the SAT that said “start to revise the administrative, fiscal, and customs compliance of your IMMEX companies”, but for some consultants that did not have in the agenda the importance of this certification, exteriorized a message to the areas of decision-taking of the companies, instructing to “wait for the instructive with the guidelines to be published in order to start working in the requirements to get this Certification”, which is notably a mistake.
To understand the certification, we have to identify the important concepts, like: fiscal-accounting compliance, fiscal-customs, system, investment, permanence, congruence; in the infrastructure and the productive process, direct jobs; social security; employer-employee quotas, among others.
The requirements, obligations, and benefits are linked to the level of certification that Company pretends to get, either A, AA, or AAA, therefore, it is important to mention that in case the company is seeking an AAA certification for considering it complies with the requirements that it establishes, but once the SAT determines the application and assuming that determines the non-compliance, there is no actual mechanism that allows the SAT personnel to re-classify you as AA or A, but this option is expected in the future.
More than 30 recommendations, we only provide the most important:
- Administrate your risk; Let´s start with the certification A, since the common benefit of all levels A, AA, AAA is “to avoid the payment of the VAT in IMMEX temporary import operations”, we must understand that technically the IMMEX that obtain the certification, will cause the VAT, this means, they will declare in each IMMEX temporary import operation of inputs or machinery and equipment that they undertake from January 1st, 2015, but will not pay it, for this, within the VAT Law was described as “fiscal credit”.
Possibly, in a future you could migrate from the A certification to the AA or AAA before the end of the period.
- Ask for the matrix of security and the “Data Stage” of your Company to the SAT, since it contains the radiography of your IMMEX Company.
- Immediately, obtain the positive opinion of the Company and the people that must pay taxes in Mexico, since, if the opinion is denied, you must clarify and in this certification is very important to be precise with the periods of time.
- Do not wait until the publication of the instructive to begin the diagnosis process and integration of the information.
- Do not be confused with the common benefit that this certification has, the one that refers to the devolution of the VAT, that will be of 20 days for the A, 15 for the AA, and 10 for the AAA, but the devolution of the VAT linked to this benefit is for example; the one that derives from permanent import operations, does not have any relationship with the VAT in IMMEX temporary import operations, which I insist, obtaining this certification it will not be paid.
- Follow the calendar, to get to January 1st, 2015, with this certification, because in case that the SAT requires some information your maximum time of answer would be 95 days.
|Regional administration of Foreign Trade Audit||Period|
|Certified companies in accordance to Rule 3.8.1., section L and companies that operate under the regime of tax warehouse to be subjected to a process of assembly and manufacture of vehicles.||April 1st to the 30th|
|North Pacific||April 15th to May 15th|
|Northeast||June 3rd to July 3rd|
|North Central||July 7th to August 7th|
|Central||August 7th to September 8th|
|West and South||September 22nd to October 22nd|
- Print the application, identify and read carefully the instructions, give out the information between the areas involved with the certification.
We specially recommend implementing the following four phases
1. Diagnosis of compliance:
- “Annex 24” System Diagnosis,
- Physical inventory + Information of Annex 24 of the Company + DATA STAGE.
- Fiscal- customs diagnosis.
- Fiscal- accounting diagnosis.
- Integration of processes and documents,
- Application and monitoring.
- Maintaining and implementing better practices.
- Getting the certification is not the difficult part, but the challenge is to maintain it and to implement better practices.
Frequently asked questions in the forums we have organized and participated in
- Within the frequently asked questions we have for example, what is the criteria to calculate the percentage returned that establish the requirements for the A of 60% and for the IMMEX of sensitive goods of 80%?
Must consider, 1.- the value of the goods in Mexican currency transformed and returned, 2.- returned in its same state, 3.-with changes of regime, or 4.- the ones that a services has been applied, 5.- wastes, against the value of the temporary import operations of inputs during the same period, in its case it must represent more than 60% or 80% of the temporarily imported inputs.
According to what an expert in foreign trade told me, Julie Smith, it could represent a problem, let´s see why; the companies that have a combination between NEEC, which period of permanence is of 36 months, and that would have invested in Mexico in the last 12 months, bringing new lines of production and generating more jobs in Mexico, possibly, in this adverse scenario would find themselves doubly injured by this disposition and would be unable to comply.
- Another of the frequently asked questions in the forums is in regards with the number of employees of an IMMEX Company, having to prove a minimum of 10 employees, while for the IMMEX linked with operations of ANNEX ITER or Annex 28, it is required a minimum of 30, let´s remember that when we subcontract, we are obligated to accredit the relation or contract with the Company that administrates the personnel, the positive opinion of fiscal obligations of this company with an emission date no longer than 30 days before.
It is possible to demonstrate the number with direct employees or through an outsourcing, even with the sum of both schemes.
- In regards to employee-employer quotas it is essential to be up to date and to implement the process in order to migrate to SIPARE, but at the moment for the SAT, it will be enough to accredit the compliance and the totality of employees registered before the IMSS with the document that the SUA emits.
- In relation to the form of accrediting the investment, it is necessary, to identify the amounts that represent counting the documental support that could be, invoices, change of regime, or permanent import operations of machinery and equipment, contracts of financial leasing of machinery, contracts for the sale of goods, property titles, customs declarations of importation or any other document that accredits the investment.
- Concerning the requirements related to the 40% for the AA or 70% for the AAA of the suppliers have a positive opinion of fiscal obligations, we must consider as suppliers all who provide inputs for our primary activity, even those that transfer goods through virtual customs declarations.
- In the case of Annex 24, it must attach the report of balances of the temporarily imported goods with a gap not bigger to three months.
- We have to provide the name, denomination, and/or business name of clients or foreign suppliers.
- The SAT establishes as a necessary requirement the presentation of the positive opinion for the partners, shareholders, legal representative, unique administrator, Council of Administration, obviously the obligation to present the positive opinion relies only in those that are obligated to pay taxes in Mexico, remember that there are foreign partners and shareholders that must pay taxes in Mexico.
- All the documents must be attached in Spanish. In case the documents are in English, the simple translation of the same must be annexed; in case they are in another language, certified translations must be annexed.
- It is allowed to present the application considering a group of companies, having to accredit the personnel, infrastructure, and the amounts of investments through some of the companies, attaching a diagram of the corporate and shareholding structure, as well as a certified copy of the public deeds, in which the shareholding of the companies that are part of the group, is indicated.
- The certification scheme will generate a domino effect of fiscal compliance, where the partners, shareholders, legal representative, unique administrator, or members of the Council of administration must accredit being up to date with their fiscal obligations, the companies having valid programs, not having firm fiscal credits or not guaranteed, demonstrate necessary infrastructure for the activity they make, describe and prove with evidence the productive processes that are developed, and accredit the return of the imported inputs.
- We will have to annex the detailed description of the primary productive process that a diagram contains from its origin point, the entering point to the country, its receipt in the Company, warehousing, its integration to the productive process, and its destination or dispatch, must include the complementary processes and services considered as sub-manufacture.
Because of the limited space, there are more answers that we would gladly provide by other means.
Validity and deadline for reply
The Service of Tax Administration will reply the application in a period of 40 days from the time the taxpayer has the totality of the requirements, but in case the Administration requires a document, it will grant us a period of 15 working days and after that period, the 40-day period will start again.
The validity for the authorization will be of 1 year for the “A”, 2 years for the “AA”, and 3 years for the “AAA”.
Some causes for cancelation of the Certification
The companies that would had their certification cancelled, could not access the same again until 24 months have pass from the time the cancelation has its effects.
There are diverse causes for cancelation, being among them “when it is accredited that any of the requirements for the inscription to the applicable modality were not complied anymore”.
Denying the access of the personnel of the customs authority to the facility, either to the initial inspection or the visits for supervision of compliance.
That once the procedure of suspension to the specific importers or exporters registry, the irregularity was not disproven.
Not accrediting during the inspections the ownership of the necessary infrastructure to undertake the operations of manufacture and maquila, to the industrial process or of service according to the modality of your program, among others.
By the way, remember: the processes of the users of foreign trade could be represented by a figure similar a propeller, this means, the companies of foreign trade develop similar processes, but never the same.
Finally, I consider the certification is accessible but the areas that take decisions in the companies have the answer, from years ago it has been recommended to the industry to pay attention to the areas of compliance of your primary activity, this means, foreign trade.
TLC Asociados S.C.