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Unraveling Transfer Pricing Rules in Mexico

Sep 7, 2023

Dealing with tax regulations can often feel like navigating a maze, especially for businesses that operate globally or engage in transactions with affiliated entities. Such transactions often involve intricate details, compliance requirements, and meticulous documentation. In the vast sea of international taxation, Mexico has pinpointed Transfer Pricing (TP) as a crucial area of concentration, highlighting its significance in the country’s tax framework. But, given the complexities that surround TP, it’s no wonder businesses can feel overwhelmed, not just with compliance (form aspects), but also best internal practices.

Understanding Transfer Pricing

Transfer Pricing refers to the rules and regulations governing the prices charged in transactions between related parties, which can include but are not limited to sales of goods, provision of services, intangibles, and loans. Essentially, the primary objective of TP regulations is to ensure that transactions between related entities are carried out at arm’s length, meaning at a price that would have been charged had the parties been independent entities negotiating in a free market. The importance of TP regulations has grown significantly in Mexico due to the country’s commitment to prevent tax evasion and to align its practices with global standards, particularly those established by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in which Mexico is member. Proper adherence to these regulations ensures that the correct amount of tax is paid in Mexico and that profits aren’t artificially shifted to lower-tax jurisdictions or allocated within the country where they shouldn’t.

Annual Compliance Requirements:

Each year, Mexican businesses must adhere to compliance requirements to ensure they are in line with fiscal regulations and avoid penalties. These include:

  • Transfer Pricing contemporaneous study is essential, detailing the functional and economic analyses of the taxpayer, counterparties and intercompany transactions.
  • Annex 9 of DIM for a comprehensive view of their transactions with foreign and domestic related parties.
  • When applicable, businesses should provide Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) documentation (tactics businesses use to move profits from high-tax to low-tax jurisdictions) and informative returns.
  • Other informative returns according to the type of transaction and materiality (i.e., loans, leases)

Collectively, these documents offer insights into specialized financial and economic engagements and help ensure transparency in operations.

Business Obligations

In Mexico, larger businesses have specific obligations to fulfill in terms of financial reporting. If a company have declared in the previous fiscal year income surpassing MXN 1,650 million (approximately USD $94 million) or was publicly listed at the year’s conclusion, it must furnish a Statutory Tax Report, known as Dictamen Fiscal. Any taxpayer meeting these criteria must also provide distinct Transfer Pricing exhibits formulated on their comprehensive TP analyses and associated documentation.

In the other hand, small businesses are exempt from the requirement of preparing and maintaining contemporaneous documentation supporting income from related party transactions. To be eligible for this exemption, small businesses must have a turnover in the previous year of less than:

  • 13 million pesos (USD ~$740,000) for non-professional activities.
  • 3 million pesos (USD ~$170,000) for professional activities.

Documentation Guidelines

According to guidelines set out by the Mexican Income Tax Law (MITL), there are specific technical criteria that taxpayers must adhere to.

  • Information on comparable transactions must be that of the year under analysis. However, there’s a provision to consider data from earlier years, especially if it relates to a transaction that has had prolonged acceptance in the market or has a business cycle spanning several years.
  • The details encompassing functions, assets, and risks must be related to the taxpayer, and the taxpayer must analyze the application of each method to every related party transaction.
  • When determining a range, taxpayers must primarily use the interquartile method, a statistical measure that helps determine a range within which an arm’s length price likely falls. The only exceptions arise if the SAT, or “Servicio de Administración Tributaria”, Mexico’s Tax Administration Service, proposes an alternative or if there’s a mutual agreement in place.

Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Documentation

When focusing on BEPS documentation and its corresponding returns, there’s a mandate for electronic filing with the SAT. If companies are bound to submit the Dictamen Fiscal, their related parties must also furnish a local informative return. However, certain exemptions exist. For instance, taxpayers under the Maquiladora regime with an advanced pricing agreement or Safe Harbor, without no additional related party transactions, don’t need to submit a local file. Additionally, it’s worth noting that a foreign-affiliated party can craft a master file. Although, there’s a language criterion to this; the file can be in English or Spanish and must align with the standards set by the OECD Action 13 of the BEPS project.

Submission Deadlines for Fiscal Year 2023

For businesses operating within Mexico, punctual compliance with submission deadlines is essential to ensure smooth operations and adherence to the nation’s financial regulations.

Deadlines in Mexico

Type of ObligationFiscal Year 2023
Annex 9 of the DIMMay 15, 2024
Local File Informative ReturnMay 15, 2024
Master FileDecember 31, 2024
Country by Country ReportDecember 31, 2024
Information on the taxpayer’s tax situation (ISSIF)March 31, 2024
Statutory Tax Report (Dictamen Fiscal)May 15, 2024

Maquiladora TP Overview

Maquiladoras are foreign-owned entities manufacturing export goods. While they had multiple TP compliance options historically, since 2022, they’re restricted to the Safe Harbor approach. This method determines taxable profits based on a fixed formula, which is 6.9% for asset-intensive or 6.5% for cost-intensive maquiladoras. Maquiladoras must analyze the tax implications of this method and assess the benefit of maintaining their current tax status. Individual evaluations are vital, especially as more maquiladoras consider departing from this scheme due to its high costs, mainly for asset-intensive entities.

Navigating the intricate landscape of fiscal responsibilities in Mexico requires diligence, expertise, and foresight. As such, partnering with a knowledgeable advisor is not just recommended but vital. Contact your CRI advisor today and ensure your organization remains compliant and poised for success by leveraging expert guidance.

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