Companies manufacturing in Mexico and exporting goods receive an incentive from the Mexican government. The incentive consists of allowing a Mexican company to carry out “temporary” importations of production inputs and assets without having to pay the otherwise assessed value added tax; which is 16% in the interior of Mexico and 11% on the border zone. To obtain the incentive a Mexican company must be in the business of directly or indirectly producing goods which are subsequently exported and must be registered with Mexico’s Department of Economy under the IMMEX program.
Being a registered IMMEX company and enjoying its benefits requires certain recordkeeping and inventory controls for traceability in case of regulatory audits.
Mexican companies that are registered under IMMEX and import goods “temporarily” must export those goods within a certain time frame out of Mexico or “transfer” those goods to another IMMEX company within Mexico or change the status of “temporarily” imported goods to a “definitive” status.
There are five distinct types of IMMEX registrations:
- HOLDING COMPANY IMMEX. Example: ACME MANUFACTURING along with its 3 affiliates have 4 legal entities in Mexico that manufacture various types of goods. Rather than require each of the 4 companies to have their own unique IMMEX registration, one company designated the “holding” company can act as the controlling entity for purposes of ensuring compliance with IMMEX requirements.
- INDUSTRIAL IMMEX. Example: ACME MANUFACTURING transforms raw materials into finished goods in Mexico which are subsequently exported.
- SERVICES IMMEX. Example: ACME LOGISTICS is a legal entity in Mexico that distributes goods within Mexico that are subsequently exported or used in products that are exported. This designation may also be given to manufacturers’ recyclers, special processing, software developers, and other types of service companies. The criterion for approving SERVICE IMMEX registration is at the discretion of the Department of Economy.
- SHELTER IMMEX. Example: THE OFFSHORE GROUP has a legal entity in Mexico that that is registered as a “shelter” provider to foreign manufacturers that want to make products in Mexico without having to have their own legal entity and corresponding IMMEX registration.
- THIRD-PARTY IMMEX. Example: ACME INDUSTRIES is a legal entity in Mexico that does not have manufacturing infrastructure of its own and therefore contracts its manufacturing with third parties. Rather than require all of the subcontractors to have their own IMMEX, ACME INDUSTRIES can be registered as IMMEX and include each subcontractor under that one IMMEX.