By Gerardo Hernandez Reyes,  Jose Luis Alvarez Palacio, Sergio Barajas Perez, Turenna Ramirez Ortiz and Luis F. Martinez, Basham, Ringe y Correa, S.C.

In recent years, the Tax Authority Auditing Offices have begun to implement a series of revisions in the area of Foreign Trade, which have resulted in exorbitant tax calculations and fines, and created uncertainty within the industry.

These audits have focused directly on reviewing the requests for import permits filed between 2001 and June of 2003 the description of the imported merchandise, and (b) the allocated customs tariffs within the authorizations issued in connection with manufacturing programs. The auditing officers are seeking to verify  the merchandise has indeed entered the country legally.

While no one questions the tax authorities’ inspection powers, there are plenty of questions as to the basis for each of their decisions. Indeed, in the majority of instances, the conclusions, and therefore, the calculations issued by the tax authorities deal with the same facts, but render different conclusions without any explanation. This has resulted in uncertainty in the industry in general.

Some of the problematic interpretations and conclusions that the authorities have set forth are the following, among others:

a) They consider that the bonded assembly plants count with two manufacturing programs; one under the RNIM code and the other under the SICEX-Maquila code, both of which have distinct rights, benefits, and obligations.

b) They interpret that the authorization of a manufacturing export program is the same as the allocation of the RNIM code, with which the program beneficiary is identified.

c) When the "pedimentos" (requests for import permits) refer to the SICEX-Maquila code the tax authorities do not assess the value of merchandise granted temporary import permits while the RNIM code is in effect,.

d) Absent the inclusion of a description of the imported merchandise that corresponds exactly with the content of the import authorizations issued under the SICEX-Maquila scheme, they will deemed unauthorized.

e) The customs tariffs stated on the "pedimentos" must coincide with those contemplated in SICEX-Maquila change code authorization, and those belonging to their renewals, for they will otherwise be deemed unauthorized, thus, their import will be presumed illegal and in violation of Section 176, Subsection III of the Customs Act.

f) If the description of the merchandise matches but the customs tariffs do not, or vice versa, the authorities will understand that to mean that the merchandise is not authorized in the program.

These interpretations have provided a basis for the many diverse manufacturing plants that are litigating the legality of their operations before the Federal Tribunal of Fiscal and Administrative Justice, in an effort to avoid losing their manufacturing program and avoid having to pay considerable amounts pursuant to contribution calculations they evidently did not cause.

At Basham, Ringe y Correa, S.C. we have implemented various alternatives to counteract the authorities’ actions, since we consider that there is no reason for companies to dedicate economic and personnel resources to try to clarify the illegality and incongruence of the above mentioned interpretations, which do not have legal support and gravely affect the interests of the contributors.  

As always, our attorneys specializing in Foreign Trade Shipments: Gerardo Hernandez Reyes (, Jose Luis Alvarez Palacio (, Sergio Barajas Perez (, Turenna Ramirez Ortiz ( and Luis F. Martinez (, are ready to assist you and are available to discuss this or any other issue with regards to your regular customs operations.