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All About Income Tax in Mexico for Canadian Expats

Understanding a country’s tax laws and regulations, especially the income tax in Mexico for Canadian expats is as important as keeping up-to-date with current events. It is an important and unavoidable aspect living and working in Mexico

This comprehensive guide is designed to provide Canadian expats in Mexico with a clear and concise overview of the Mexican income tax system, including information on taxes owed, exemptions, deductions, and more.

This article isn’t tax advice and the facts might have changed since we first wrote it.

Whether you’re a new expat or a seasoned veteran, this guide will help you navigate the complexities of Mexico’s income tax system and ensure that you stay compliant with the law.

If you are looking to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, which is what I specialize in, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or WhatsApp (+44-7393-450-837).

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Filing and paying income tax. Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Overview of the Mexican Tax System

The Mexican tax system is an intricate set of laws and regulations designed to ensure equitable taxation throughout the country. It is broadly divided into three categories: Income Tax, Sales Tax, and Value Added Tax (VAT). 

Income tax is the Mexican government’s most significant revenue source and is typically charged based on an individual’s annual income. It applies to both resident and non-resident citizens, with varying rates depending on a person’s total yearly earnings. 

Income earned in Mexico that is not considered remittable abroad is taxed at a flat rate of 30% by the Federal Income Tax Law. Individuals earning more than MXN 500,000 (roughly US$25,000 per year) will have their income taxed at a progressive rate of up to 30%. This means that the higher your income, the higher your tax rate will be.

For income earned in Mexico by a non-resident, such as a Canadian expat, taxes are generally at the same rate. 

On the other hand, sales tax is imposed on retail sales of goods and services in Mexico and is based on the value added to products during each stage of production. The rate of Sales Tax varies from 8% to 16%. 

VAT or the tax levied on purchasing goods and services, is charged at a rate of 16%, with some exceptions for certain items such as food and medicine. 

For businesses, corporations are required to pay taxes on their profits at a flat rate of 30% and a VAT of 16%. They can also be charged with Capital gains taxes on the profits made from selling property or investments and are taxed at progressive rates depending on how much money was earned. There are also many other taxes that apply to businesses in Mexico. These include property taxes, excise taxes, and payroll taxes.

In addition to these taxes, the Mexican government collects citizens’ social security contributions. These contributions are used to fund various programs, including pensions and healthcare. 

The Ley de Impuesto Sobre la Renta (LISR), or Income Tax Law, is enforced by the Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público (SHCP), or the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, governs the taxation in Mexico.

The SHCP is responsible for collecting taxes, allocating resources, and implementing fiscal policy initiatives. The federal government collects income taxes from both individuals and corporations, while state governments collect their own taxes from residents of their states. 

Required Taxes for Canadian Expats in Mexico

There are different types of taxes that Canadian expats living in Mexico are responsible for paying. Depending on your income level and type, you may be subject to any combination of these taxes: 

  • Income Tax (ISR): This tax is charged on earned income, such as wages or salary. You can pay the taxes owed throughout the year in monthly installments or make a one-time payment when filing your annual return. 
  • Value Added Tax (VAT): This indirect tax is applied to the transfer of goods and services. All Mexican companies must collect this tax, but it does not apply to individuals. 
  • Capital Gains Tax: This tax applies to any gains on selling investments or property, such as stocks and real estate. 

 Property Tax: If you own residential or commercial property in Mexico, you will be responsible for paying property taxes. 

  • Inheritance Tax: This tax applies to any inherited assets or funds transferred from one person to another. 

Tax Rates and Brackets for Canadian Expats in Mexico

The Mexican taxation system is based on two main principles: income tax (Impuesto Sobre la Renta) and value-added tax (Impuesto al Valor Agregado, or IVA). The country also has a wealth tax for taxpayers with foreign assets valued at over MXN 45 million (US$2.4M). 

On the other hand, Mexican tax brackets are based on a taxpayer’s “Family Unit” (Unidad Familiar), which includes the taxpayer, their spouse, and any children under 18 years of age who depend on them for economic support. 

For Canadian expats living in Mexico, the tax bracket you fall into will depend on your income level and whether or not you consider yourself a resident of Mexico.

If you are considered a non-resident, meaning that you have not lived in the country for more than 183 days during the taxable year, then your taxes will be assessed on any Mexican source income only. The tax rate for non-residents is flat and fixed at 12.5%. 

However, if you are considered to be a Mexican resident, then your income will be subject to the graduated tax rates and brackets that apply to all individuals in the country. These income tax brackets range from 1.92% to 35%. The tax rate you will pay is determined by the amount of your income, with higher incomes taxed at a higher rate. 

The taxable amount for a Canadian expat begins at MXN 11,000 and increases with each progressive tax bracket. Taxpayers in the first two brackets, 1.92%, and 6.4%, are only taxed on income above MXN 11,000 and up to MXN 54,817, respectively. The highest tax rate of 35% kicks in when taxable income is more than MXN 802,685. 

It is important to note that the tax brackets for Mexican tax are subject to change each year, so it’s important to stay up-to-date with any changes. 

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Canadian expat working in Mexico. Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Filing Income tax in Mexico for Canadian Expats

The first step in filing income tax returns in Mexico as a Canadian expat is determining your residency status. 

If you have lived in Mexico for more than 183 days in a calendar year, you are considered a resident and must file taxes on your worldwide income. If you have lived in Mexico for less than 183 days, you are considered a non-resident and are only required to file taxes on income earned within Mexico.

Then, you will need certain documents, such as your passport, work permit, and documentation of income earned in Mexico, to file your income tax. It’s important to note that all documentation must be in Spanish.

Next, ensure that you submit your tax return on time. The deadline for submitting an income tax return in Mexico is April 30th of each year. If you owe taxes, they must also be paid by this date.

Requirements for Filing Income Tax in Mexico for Canadian Expats

Aside from knowing your residency status and the deadline for filing, as mentioned earlier, there are also other important steps to be considered to file your income tax in Mexico successfully.

For one, a tax return form that must be used for filing taxes in Mexico is known as the Formato de Declaración Anual (FDA) or the Annual Declaration Form. This form must be completed in Spanish, so it’s important to seek professional advice and guidance from a tax professional or accountant fluent in Spanish.

To file your income tax return, you must also have a passport, work permit, and documentation of income earned in Mexico. These must also be in Spanish.

Lastly, while you can file your tax return online by using the SAT (Servicio de Administración Tributaria) website, you also have the option to file your tax return in person at a local tax office.

Deductions and Credits Available to Canadian Expats

As a Canadian expat living in Mexico, you may be eligible for certain deductions and credits when filing your income tax return. Here is an overview of some of the deductions and credits available to Canadian expats in Mexico:

  • Mortgage interest: If you own a home in Mexico and have a mortgage, you can deduct the interest paid on your mortgage from your taxable income.
  • Charitable donations: You can deduct donations made to Mexican charities from your taxable income. However, it’s important to note that donations must be made to a registered charity, and you must have a receipt for the donation.
  • Retirement savings: Contributions made to a Mexican retirement savings plan, such as the Afore system, may be deductible from your taxable income.
  • Medical expenses: You can deduct certain medical expenses, such as doctor’s visits and prescription drugs, from your taxable income.
  • Tax treaty: As a Canadian expat in Mexico, you may be able to claim foreign tax credits on your Canadian tax return for taxes paid in Mexico. This can help to avoid double taxation.

It’s important to note that the deductions and credits available to Canadian expats in Mexico may change from year to year. Hence, keeping up-to-date with both countries’ tax laws and regulations will help ensure that you take advantage of all the deductions and credits available to you.

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The Canadian flag. Photo by Ryan on Unsplash

Double Taxation Agreement between Canada and Mexico

To mitigate double taxation, Canada and Mexico agreed to allow foreign tax credits to be claimed. This helps avoid double taxation on the same income.

The agreement stipulates that taxes paid in one country can be credited against taxes owed in another. Hence, if you pay taxes in Mexico on your income, you can claim a credit for those taxes on your Canadian tax return. Similarly, if you pay taxes in Canada on income earned in Mexico, you can claim a credit for those taxes on your Mexican tax return.

It is important to note that to claim a foreign tax credit, you must have documentation of the taxes paid in the other country. This includes a tax return, a certificate of residence, and proof of payment of taxes.

Additionally, you should be aware of certain limitations and restrictions to claiming foreign tax credits. For example, the foreign tax credit is limited to the amount of tax payable in Canada or Mexico on the same income. Also, certain types of income may not be eligible for a foreign tax credit, such as capital gains or dividends.

Claiming Foreign Tax Credits as a Canadian Expat in Mexico

To claim foreign tax credits, you must have documentation of the taxes paid in Mexico. This includes a tax return, a certificate of residence, and proof of payment of taxes.

Make sure to complete Form T2209, the Foreign Tax Credit form. This form calculates the foreign tax credit you are eligible to claim. Once completed, you can file your Canadian tax return electronically or by mail.

After that, you can already claim the foreign tax credit by entering the amount of foreign taxes paid on the appropriate line of your tax return. 

However, there are also certain limitations and restrictions to claiming foreign tax credits. For example, the foreign tax credit is limited to the amount of tax payable in Canada or Mexico on the same income. 

Also, certain types of income may not be eligible for a foreign tax credit, such as capital gains or dividends. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a professional to ensure that you are claiming the credit correctly and avoid penalties or fines.

Tips to Minimize Tax Liability in Mexico

Take advantage of tax treaties. Canada and Mexico have a tax treaty that can help reduce or eliminate double taxation for Canadian expats living in Mexico. 

You may also check if you are eligible for housing, education, and medical expenses deductions. Keep detailed records and receipts to ensure you claim all the deductions you’re entitled to.

Another way to minimize tax liability is to plan your investments and understand the local tax laws and regulations to make the most of your investment.

Tax laws in Mexico are always subject to change, so it’s important to keep an eye out for announcements from the Mexican government and consult with a tax professional to ensure you’re compliant.

Finally, you may opt to work with a tax professional with experience handling Canadian expats in Mexico. Navigating the tax laws of a foreign country can be complicated. These professionals can help ensure you’re taking advantage of all the deductions and credits available to you and help you avoid any potential mistakes.

Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding the income tax regulations in Mexico as a Canadian expat can be a complex process. However, by familiarizing yourself with the tax laws and understanding the different tax forms and deductions available, you can ensure that you fully comply with the Mexican government and avoid potential penalties. 

With the right guidance and preparation, you can successfully navigate the income tax system in Mexico and keep more of your hard-earned money.

Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 760.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

This website is not designed for American resident readers, or for people from any country where buying investments or distributing such information is illegal. This website is not a solicitation to invest, nor tax, legal, financial or investment advice. We only deal with investors who are expats or high-net-worth/self-certified  individuals, on a non-solicitation basis. Not for the retail market.

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