New role of the Mexican Customs Agency
For the last 25 years, the customs office in Mexico was part of the Tax Administration Service. However, effective January 1st, 2022, a new role of the Mexican Customs agency has been created by the President. This office will report directly to the Minister of Finance and oversee compliance with customs regulations at the border-crossing of goods, ensuring a proper collection of duties and taxes on import & export transactions.
On December 21st, 2021, an official decree determined the creation of a new customs agency as a separate entity from the tax service but still within the Ministry of Finance. Customs is an organization in charge of preserving the country from national security threats such as firearms, drugs, and goods illegally imported affecting domestic industries. It is integrated by around 7,000 people distributed in 50 customs ports of entry.
One of the relevant strategies from the government in the fight against corruption is to redesign the way customs officials perform their function, so an aggressive approach has been taken to include both former and active military personnel as part of the customs structure. It is expected they will implement more discipline through a military command to avoid discretionary decisions, among other operational changes.
This new body will focus on border transactions, such as inspections, issuance of regulations as well as collect customs duties and taxes on imports and exports, whereas the Tax Administration Service will continue with post-importation audits, collection of Income Tax, Excise Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) and issuance on rulings and authorizations of VAT Certification and Authorized Economic Operator programs.
Full coordination shall exist among these two entities by sharing taxpayer’s database information, intelligence programs, and joint strategies to tackle tax evasion and contraband. In 2021 alone, customs revenue represented 16% of all government revenue. It is also important to highlight the agency’s role in contributing to a business simplification environment by being a National Trade Facilitation Committee member.
The brand new “Agencia Nacional de Aduanas de Mexico (ANAM)” will have autonomy on technical, operational, and administrative matters. ANAM is intended to improve competitiveness and international trade and has the following premises: providing better care and expeditious support on import & export procedures, improving and streamlining trade, and eliminating trade barriers.
In the short term, this adjustment to the governmental structure will not represent a dramatic change or pose a high risk to the 110,000 importers/exporters and customs brokers in Mexico. However, in the mid-term, more in-depth physical inspections on inbound and outbound shipments might be conducted by customs officials with a military background to verify compliance with foreign trade regulations.
About the Author:
Alberto Ortuzar, International Trade Compliance Director, Grupo Prodensa
For 30 years he has held different positions in both public and private sectors, underlining his work as Assistant Commissioner for Customs Intelligence and Investigations and for Tax Audits within the Tax Administration Service, as well as Director of Customs and Tax Controversy in Johnson Controls and Deloitte.
His main responsibilities at Grupo Prodensa are to design tax and customs compliance strategies with an emphasis on rules of origin under free trade agreements, implement trade promotion programs, conduct risk assessment analysis and anti-corruption processes.
He lectures in various international fora and is a constant articulist on specialized publications on trends and strategies related to compliance and digital transformation.
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