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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Expats in Mexico face impossible deadline to comply with new tax law

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Taxpayers in Mérida wait for their numbers to be called at the SAT office. Photo: File

A tax reform intended to snare money launderers has foreign residents scrambling to get a tax ID number.

But tax offices are overwhelmed, and expats are having trouble getting appointments at the SAT.

An RFC — official tax ID number — was once only required to open a business in Mexico, but now all foreign residents have to have one by July 1. It’s causing a mad rush at the tax office.

An application for an RFC number must be completed in person at the SAT, but making appointments online is very tricky. Slots in Mérida are hard to get, if not impossible. But the website will offer more faraway options, such as Campeche. At least one expat in Progreso had to drive over five hours to the Chetumal office to meet with a tax official.

The process is complicated. The SAT website puts residents in a virtual queue, or fila virtual, and communication shifts to email. Residents report on social media that their appointments are being scheduled well past the deadline.

Once at the SAT office, have a residency card, passport, and proof of address such as a bank statement or utility bill with your name on it.

As with most SAT transactions, also bring a thumb drive to receive electronic files, an electronic signature in particular.

Without an RFC number, documented on an official Constancia de Situacion Fiscal, foreigners’ lives get extremely limited: they can’t sell property, get an internet account, or buy a car, for example.

Some foreign residents have found they have an RFC without knowing it. This actually happened to the resident who drove from Progreso to Chetumal.

“Say what? Seriously, we drove six hours to walk into an office for them to tell us we already had our tax ID numbers. Somehow, they were generated for us by someone back in 2020 and 2021, but who knew?” she wrote on her Facebook page.

The CURP number found on one’s residency card is the key to finding out. A step-by-step from “Qroo Paul” is here. He also demonstrates other SAT procedures on his YouTube channel.

The deadline is impossible, but that’s OK, Mérida Expat Services wrote on Facebook.

“There is no way everyone will have their new RFC numbers by July. An impossibility … so relax,” said Vikki Hillman, who runs the consultancy. “When things settle down, apply or get your appointment now for months down the road in Mérida.

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