February 10, 2013

PRACTIQUE LEGAL – Tax Amnesty Law for Unpaid Taxes in Mexico, The “Get Current” Program

By Rene Cacheaux

Mexico’s annual Federal Fiscal Revenue Law (Ley de Ingresos de la Federación) and Federal Expense Budget (Presupuesto de Egresos de la Federación), by their nature, are the instruments that determine the guidelines for fiscal revenue (taxes that can be collected each fiscal year) and public spending. Nevertheless, in recent years, the Federal Fiscal Revenue Law has included other concepts and aspects, such as the tax regime applicable to Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), rates applicable to surcharges for late tax payments and preferential tax treatment regimes. For fiscal year 2013, the Federal Fiscal Revenue Law includes a tax amnesty program for certain unpaid tax amounts that may or may not be pending resolution in administrative proceedings before Mexican tax authorities, including those currently pending and awaiting the issuance of a judgment by a competent court. This new program will remain in effect only until May 31, 2013 and is known as the “Get Current” (“Ponte al Corriente”) program. Such program is clearly an effort by Mexico’s new federal administration to clear up tax liabilities and to collect potential revenue with respect to tax liabilities that are outstanding and have not been paid by taxpayers. The program establishes that taxes and surcharges from fiscal years 2006 or before will receive 80% forgiveness or elimination, and a 100% reduction or elimination of surcharges and fines. In certain cases where taxpayers were also subject to audits by the Tax Administration Service (Servicio de Administración Tributaria) for fiscal years 2009, 2010 and 2011, and no adverse findings resulted with respect to the taxpayer’s tax situation, the forgiveness or reduction of unpaid taxes for fiscal year 2006 and before will be 100% of the tax obligation. In the case of unpaid taxes for fiscal years 2007 through 2012, there is no forgiveness as to the amount of taxes due or surcharges; however, there is a 100% reduction as to surcharges and fines. For taxes due for fiscal year 2013, forgiveness will apply only to fines, up to 60%, as long as the taxes due are paid within a term of 30 days as of the respective notice of payment. A distinct feature of this forgiveness or reduction of taxes and fees procedure is that it can be done via Internet, since the percentage of elimination or reduction of tax liability is fixed, removing any exercise of discretion by tax authorities. Miscellaneous tax rules supplementing the instructions for the respective administrative proceeding have just been issued. Taxpayers must have a valid advanced electronic signature (FIEL) to participate. A noteworthy characteristic of this tax amnesty program is that prior to applying for a tax benefit, the taxpayer must withdraw all the defenses that have been filed and are pending resolution, whether such be administrative proceedings or tax lawsuits. When the tax authorities have granted the ability to make payments in installments for taxes due, the “Get Current” program will apply only as to the amounts pending payment. Tax obligations that have already been paid are not covered by this program and the taxpayer may not request a refund for payments already made. As a final point, tax obligations arising from criminal liability are also excluded by this program. As seen above, this is a clear program where the tax authorities have no discretion. This program should be well received, as it will serve to resolve tax controversies in all amounts given that its application is not limited to a certain amount of liability. With any luck, this program will be renewed prior to May 31, 2013.


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Issue 109–February 2013